Deb’s Hot Chocolate Mix

to post graphic

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Deb’s Hot Chocolate Mix

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

BAH Note:  Deb calls this decadent.  “ridiculously good” is what I scribbled on this recipe.  If that doesn’t convince you to make this, I don’t know what will.

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a food process and blitz until fully combined and powdery.  Transfer to an airtight container.

When ready to use, whisk together 1/4 cup mix per cup of milk in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the milk just comes up to a simmer and the mix is completely incorporated.

{printable recipe}

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Roast Chicken with Dijon Sauce

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Roast Chicken with Dijon Sauce

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Not to be confused with Smitten Kitchen’s Buttermilk Roast Chicken, this dish requires a bit more hands on but is equally delicious.

  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil in an oven safe skillet over medium high heat.  Working in batches, place the chicken skin side down in the skillet and cook approximately 5 minutes or until nicely browned.

Once all the chicken has been browned, remove any excess fat from the skillet.  Return all the chicken to the pan and roast for 20 minutes.  Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, transfer the chicken to a plate and loosely cover to keep warm.  Add the chicken broth and sherry to the skillet, bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid reduces by about half.  Whisk in the mustard and then add the half and half.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and coat the chicken pieces thoroughly in the mustard sauce before serving.

{printable recipe}

Chicken Marsala Casserole

pasta bakeI’ve wanted to talk with you about what I’ve been cooking but I feel like I’m supposed to have a pretty picture to oooh and aaaah over before I post.  Which makes for a lot of radio silence here at BAH .

Clearly I’m still feeding my family.  I’m just not doing a great job of documenting what’s been on our plates.  Which is really a shame because I have been serving up some serious deliciousness.

Like Chicken Marsala Casserole.  I grabbed this one from Smitten Kitchen, as you can tell from my (not food) photo above.  If you’d like to see a pretty picture of baked pasta, clicky here to see the lovely photo Deb included in her post.  Mine looked remarkably similar.  And tasted good enough that I’ve made it again AND put some in the freeze for a future get-out-of-dinner-free night.

Here’s why this dish appeals to me:

Making a double batch = 2x reward and only 1x work.  (You do the math.)

There’s something for everyone at my table.  If The Libster is feeling peckish, she can pick out the pasta and politely say no thank you to the porcini and poultry.  The Mistah and I aren’t quite so persnickity.  (Try saying this five times real fast.)

If I can’t cobble together enough time to get from start to finish in a single shot I can make the sauce and keep it in the fridge for a day or two until I’m pasta ready.  Come to think of it, I could probably make and freeze the sauce and then have it at the ready to spoon over cooked pasta anytime. (I just had an a-ha moment!)

Feel free to use any of my reasons, or come up with one of your own.  But get to know this casserole. (No aside necessary.)

Chicken Marsala Casserole

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

BAH Note:  Sturdier pastas like ziti, rigatoni, twists, and penne are well suited for this application.  I’ve used plain white mushrooms as well as crimini and they’ve both worked equally well.  I work on making the sauce while I’m waiting for my pot of water to boil and pasta to cook.

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • kosher salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, working in batches if you need to.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Return the pan to the stove, add the remaining oil, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid released by the mushrooms is nearly cooked away.  Add the marsala and cook until most of the wine has cooked down before adding the butter to the pan.  Once the butter has completely melted and been stirred around once or twice, sprinkle the flour on top of the mushrooms, give the mixture a good stir so that all of the flour combines with the butter and mushrooms, and cook for about two minutes.

Add about a quarter cup of broth to the pan and whisk.  It might bubble up angrily and look pasty; just keep going.  Slowly add the remaining broth and continue to whisk until the sauce smooths out.  Keep the sauce on a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens up slightly.  Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to sauce and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of well salted water for 10 – 12 minutes.  You want the pasta just a teensy bit underdone so it can finish cooking off in the oven.  Drain the pasta, add it back to the pot, and stir in the sauce and grated Parmesan.

Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

{printable recipe}

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

cupcake
would this face lie about a cupcake?

Life, in general, is not easy.  Life with a toddler, specifically, is not easy.  Especially when it comes to matters that concern the safety of said toddler, life is not easy.

Toddlers don’t understand that you don’t run out into the street….everything is a game of catch me.  Toddlers don’t consider that a car may come around the corner at any second when they decide to park their bottom in the middle of the road…walking from the car to the house takes a lot out of you and sometimes you just need to rest, geez momma.

Toddlers, much like Honey Badger, don’t care.  But as their parents, we do.

So it is that I’ve been on the hunt to repair the fence in our front yard.  Thanks to the driving skills of our neighbors, our fence has been hit, banged, knocked, and generally whacked out of service.  The posts are so far out of alignment that the gate can’t latch closed, the top rail isn’t connected to anything, and the chain link itself has pulled away from the posts leaving huge gaps.

Exactly the kind of gap that a toddler can use to make a break for it.

With the promise of a thaw from this endless winter, at some point we will want to be out in the front yard.  But before that can happen, the breach must be secured.  Never, in my wildest imagination, did I expect to pay nearly two month’s worth of mortgage payments for some metal posts, chain link mesh, and a gate.  And yet I am about to sign a contract to do just that.

If it gives me one less thing in life with toddler to worry about, I’m all for it.  And when you come visit me in the poor house because I’ve gone broke paying for the fence, please bring these cupcakes.  They are easier than most moments of life with toddler….and they are pretty freaking delicious.

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I’m already planning on making these for Miss Libby’s birthday.  They are what my memory says is a perfect birthday cake…moist, tender, and frosted with indulgence.  Seriously, my frosting was almost too sweet because for some reason I only used 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate.  For more balance, use the full 2 ounces.

BAH Note: According to The Smitten, this makes one dozen cupcakes or one 8 OR 9 inch cake, so plan accordingly.  The Smitten also provided both volume and weight measures, so they are below.  But if you ask me, it’s so much easier to weigh out your dry ingredients….because hello, precision.  But you use what you’re most comfortable with.

Cake

    • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (145 grams) firmly packed brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
    • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Frosting

    • 2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
    • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy)
    • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) butter, at room temperature
    • Pinch of fine sea salt
    • 1 tablespoons cream, milk, or half and half
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees, place paper liners in a cupcake pan, and lightly grease the top of the pan with a little butter to help get the baked cupcakes out with minimal resistance. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork or whisk to combine and break up any clumps of cocoa powder.

In the workbowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fully combined and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined.  The batter might look curdled at this point, and that’s ok.

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost just combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the batter a final mixing by hand to make sure there are no dry streaks of flour hiding at the bottom.

Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and  then flip the cupcakes out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Combine the melted chocolate, salt, and butter in a medium bowl and use a hand mixer to beat until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until fluffy.  Add the milk/cream/half and half to thin the frosting till it’s to your liking and then turn up the speed on your mixer for a minute for maximum frosting fluffiness.

Spoon or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and try not to gobble them down all at once….easier said than done.

 {printable recipe}

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

Brownie Ice Cream Sammich

What kind of crazy made me think  it was reasonable to order my child’s birthday present six days before her birthday and expect to get away with it?

The kind of crazy that comes from sleep deprivation.

Who in their right mind orders their child’s present three times, from three different vendors, and pays for expedited shipping, counting on at least one of them to show up in time?

Nobody in their right mind, obviously.

And that would be the same kind of mindless crazy that made me think I needed to see if I would like a brownie ice cream sandwich recipe.

I can’t believe I even considered such a question.  Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?  Brownie + ice cream = classic.  It’s the dessert equivalent of a little black dress.

I don’t yet know how the birthday present situation is going to end.  Two of the three orders have been cancelled and Amazon SWEARS that the Peppa Pig Playhouse will arrive in two days.  Only time will tell.

What I do know is that I need to exercise restraint when it comes to this brownie ice cream sandwich because it is ridiculously easy to make and it got enthusiastic thumbs up from every member of the household.  Which means it could make frequent appearances in our home.  Which means I might have easy access to brownies and ice cream on a regular basis.

I think I gained five pounds just considering that possibility.

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

BAH Note: Deb used 8 inch square pans to bake her brownie layers.  I used 9 inch round pans, because that’s what I have in my kitchen.  Either one will give you thin brownie perfection. Since I used round pans, I turned a big circle into a square by cutting off the curves after the layers had been sandwiched together and frozen.  Those scraps may have been nibbled on to get a quick fix when nobody was looking….what you do with them is between you and your conscience.

Be sure to smooth out the batter as much as possible in your pan.  It’s pretty thick and takes some gentle convincing to cover the bottom of the pan.  Oh, and you need to clear space in your freezer to stash the cake pans as soon as they come out of the oven and to store your finished product.

According to Deb, “you can store the cut sandwiches in an airtight container or bag in the freezer as-is, or individually wrapped in squares of waxed paper. They should keep for at least two months in the freezer, but good luck with that.”

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped or broken
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pint ice cream, slightly thawed

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line two cake pans (see note above) with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, cooking in 30 second increments and stirring in between.  Add the sugar and stir until completely combined before stirring in the eggs and salt.  Add the flour, folding it into the batter just until it disappears.

Spray your parchment lined pans with cooking spray and divide the batter between the two pans.  Use a spatula or spoon to smooth the batter out in the pans and bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the brownie comes out clean.

Place the cake pans on a dish towel or pot holders and transfer to the freezer for approximately 20 to 30 minutes for the brownies to cool completely and become firm.  While the brownie layers cool in the freezer, set your ice cream out to thaw a bit.

Once the brownie layers have cooled, gently remove the brownie from one pan, peel off the parchment, and set the brownie on a plate.  Use a paper towel to wipe the cake pan clean and line it completely with parchment, freezer paper, or plastic wrap making sure it extends up the sides.  Return the brownie layer to the pan, placing the flat smooth side up facing you.  Remove the brownie from the second pan, discard the parchment, and set the brownie on a plate.

Working quickly, stir your ice cream so that it is spreadable and spoon or scoop it into your prepared pan.  Use a spoon or spatula to spread the ice cream into an even layer on top of the brownie.  Top with the second brownie, flat side down, and cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap.  Use the now empty cake pan to press down on the layers and return the stacked pans to the freezer.

Freeze for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until your sandwiches are completely frozen.  Use the parchment, freezer paper, or plastic wrap extending up the sides of your pan to remove the giant sandwich from the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into single servings.

{printable recipe}

Deb’s Buttermilk Roast Chicken

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

What is it about getting older that makes my bad memory even worse?  I freely admit that it’s not unusual for someone to tell me a story about a past event that I was part of and have absolutely no recollection of it.  Not a speck.  I just shake my head and mutter “if you say so”.  They could be making it up and I wouldn’t know the difference…not that I’m inviting them to test this theory or anything.

One of my college roommates has this disturbing power of recollection.  She can talk about something that happened years ago with exquisite detail….we did this and you were wearing this and he said this and blah, blah, blah.  It makes my head hurt to think of all that detail just swimming around in her brain waiting for a chance to be called upon. But good on her for being able to pull random facts out at will.

This forgetfulness of mine recently paid a visit to me in the kitchen.  See, I had been recommending Smitten Kitchen’s Buttermilk Roast Chicken to someone and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I made it.  Not because I’m walking around like Guy Pearce’s character, Leonard, in Momento but because it had been months since this dish hit my table.  So I put buttermilk and chicken on the grocery list and when the time came to set up the chicken and the buttermilk on a blind date, all I could remember was that the two needed to hang out in the fridge for a day or so.  I forgot that they needed some sweet and spicy chaperones.  It wasn’t until I went back and looked at the recipe for the oven temp that I realized my mistake.

Thankfully, not even my crappy memory was able to break this recipe.  Because I seasoned the chicken with paprika, salt, and some chili seasoning after its milky date and it was every bit as delicious as if I had remembered to season the buttermilk in the first place.

Deb’s Buttermilk Roast Chicken

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

BAH Note:  Super delicious.  This might even become your weeknight go to chicken dish.  You could set your oven as high as 425 degrees and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.  It may sound foolish but that kind of heat makes me nervous….so you do what you’re comfortable with.   Either way you get delicious, moist chicken.

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (sweet or smoked, whatever you have)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 pounds bone in, skin on chicken (you use the parts you like best)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine the buttermilk, garlic, salt, sugar, paprika, and pepper in a zip top plastic bag or a bowl large enough to hold the chicken.  Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 2 hours to 48 hours.

When ready to bake, heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking dish or sheet pan with foil.  Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and place in your dish or pan.  Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and roast for 45 – 60 minutes until done.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Blogs That Rock, Smitten Kitchen

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 1/7/09 on Exit 51.

Blogs That Rock – Smitten Kitchen

Deb, of Smitten Kitchen, is the kitchen goddess I aspire to be.  Her blog has the power to unleash the Seven Deadly Sins from her home kitchen.

Lust is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires.  Take one look at her photos and you will be consumed with the desire for a taste of whatever she’s making.  Doesn’t matter if you like the particular ingredients, you will be mesmerized by the pictures.  Yes, this is food porn at its finest.

Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over consumption of anything.  Seriously, would one taste of the Peanut Butter Crispy Bars be enough for anyone?

Greed is a sin of excess. Greedy behavior, including hoarding of materials or objects, is one possible side effect of making her recipes.  Would YOU really share the Peanut Butter Crispy Bars?  Be honest.  It’s ok, I wouldn’t either.

Sloth is a sin of laziness or indifference.  Like after you’ve eaten the entire batch of Crispy Bars, you will be completely indifferent to whether or not you shared them with anyone.

Wrath is a tricky one.  It may be described as feelings of hatred and anger and is not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest, although one can be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy.  As in you did choose to share some of those Crispy Bars and the jealousy you experience over knowing you won’t be able to enjoy ALL of those tasty treats is overwhelming.

Envy, like greed, may be characterized by an insatiable desire.  On a daily basis, I am envious of what Deb is able to accomplish in 80 square feet of kitchen space AND her ability to capture such stunning pictures of it all.

Pride is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others or excessive love of self.  I can  attest that when I was able to get an edible loaf from her Bread Without A Timetable recipe, I was feeling all kinds of important and prideful.  Not pretty, I know, but it’s the truth.

You’ve been warned, Smitten Kitchen is some powerful juju.  But in moderation, and with deliberate thoughtfulness, its powers can be harnessed for good, instead of evil.