Monday, October 31, 2016

Retro Recipe Redo!

Hi readers (and Happy Halloween, by the way)! It's time for our latest challenge! This time around 37 Cooks went a little retro!

Remember those old recipes from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80's? Layered salads, chicken a la king, fondue, anything in a bread bowl, odd combinations of food suspended in gelatin....past decades have brought us some delicious (and sometimes downright frightening) recipes! We thought it would be a lot of fun to challenge our cooks to either make an old favorite just as the original was written, or remake and update an old recipe. Our cooks sifted through their old cookbooks and family recipes and came up with some some great dishes to share. Along with finding some great old recipes, we had some petty funny conversations and about some of the more, let's just say, "interesting" ones we ran across from days gone by!

We hope you all enjoy the recipes our cooks have made for our "Retro Recipe Redo"!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Savory Chile Bread Pudding

The Spice House offers an amazing selection of chile peppers. Dried, powdered, or in blends, you will find the highest quality chiles to perfect your recipes. Here, I have combined New Mexican chiles (both dried and ground), smoky Chipotle, spicy Ancho, and bright Aji Amarillo, accented by Aleppo and ground black pepper. This combination lends a robust flavor sensation to this savory bread pudding, which will be the perfect side dish to your next grilled or roasted main course. Top with fried eggs and fresh salsa for a zesty brunch dish!

Savory Chile Bread Pudding
by Gary Gee at My Cooking Blog
Adapted from Southwest Chile Cheese Bread Pudding
Serves 8

8 cups day-old bread or rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 dried New Mexican chiles, rehydrated and coarsely chopped
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar, divided use
1/2 cup sliced green onion, plus additional for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish, if desired
6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter, bacon fat, or chicken fat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon Aji Amarillo chile powder
1 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toss bread cubes with chiles, half the cheese, the green onion, and cilantro. Place in 9 x 13-inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over bread cubes. Fold gently, ensuring all bread cubes are moistened. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. (Dish may be prepared to this point and refrigerated overnight).

Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Garnish with additional green onion and/or cilantro, if desired.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Date Bars with Cardamom, Mace and Orange Flower Water

I recently discovered that I no longer fear Indian food. I have been experimenting with cardamom and other India-centric flavors and thought date bars would be a great vehicle for this new-found love. Fragrant and hearty, these treats go well with coffee, tea or as a dessert. Powdered sugar can be applied if desired, but it’s certainly not required.

Date Bars with Cardamom, Mace and Orange Flower Water
by Louise Chiffonade Brescia

1 1/2 pounds dates, roughly chopped
10 ounces orange juice
10 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Orange Flower Water
2 Tablespoons orange zest shreds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt

3 cups oats
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Cardamom
1/4 teaspoon The Spice House Mace
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup roughly chopped pistachio meats (for top crust)

15 x 10 x 2 glass baking pan sprayed with vegetable spray. (For thicker bars, use a 13 x 9 x 2 pan.)

Prepare filling. In a small saucepan bring to a boil the filling ingredients. Lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12-15 minutes, or until dates are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Pulse the date mixture in a food processor until spreadable consistency, but do not liquefy. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, salt, baking soda, cardamom, mace, cinnamon and brown sugar. Rub in the butter with hands until mixture is crumbly. Press half of crust mixture into the bottom and about 1/2” up the sides of the prepared pan. Toss chopped pistachios with remaining crumbs and set aside.

Spread cooled filling evenly on crust. Distribute remaining crumb mixture over top of the date filling. Bake in the preheated 350°F oven 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store any leftover bars in a single layer in a plastic container with a tight fitting seal.

Cutting Tip: A metal bench scraper is a very effective tool to use when cutting these bars. Score by pressing the bench scraper gently into the bars to mark the portions. Using the score marks as a guide, firmly press the bench scraper all the way until it touches the baking pan. The cuts will be clean and complete.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Old Town Spiced Chai Pound Cake

My kids have always preferred homemade birthday cakes, especially John. A few years ago, we were at our camp for his birthday. He asked for a pound cake or a coffee cake. He then explained that a coffee cake wasn't coffee flavored, but spicy and would be nice with a cup of coffee. I scrounged around and found a pound cake recipe online and it became our new favorite. I jotted down that recipe and headed to the nearest grocery store. When I decided to make a pound cake that was a little spicy and would be nice with a cup of coffee, I pulled out the old recipe card. After some online investigating, I found Paula Deen's Mama's Pound Cake. That was it!!! I do use unfiltered coconut oil instead of shortening and with a little help from The Spice House, a new favorite was whipped up.

Old Town Spiced Chai Pound Cake
by Melissa Cook
Adapted from Mama's Pound Cake by Paula Deen

2 sticks of room temperature butter
1/2 cup of unrefined coconut oil, plus extra to prepare bundt pan
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of The Spice House Chai
1/4 cup of The Spice House Chicago Old Town Premium Spiced Sugar
5 eggs
3 cups of all-purpose flour, plus extra to prepare bundt pan
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare your bundt pan with oil and flour.

Cream the butter and coconut oil. Mix the sugar, chai and spiced sugar together and slowly add it to the butter and coconut oil. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to the mixture alternating with milk, making sure to start and end with the dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a tester comes out clean.

I used two 4-cup bundt pans instead of one 8-cup. The cooking time was just under 1 hour.

As an afterthought, I whipped one pint of heavy cream with 1 teaspoon of the chai and 1 teaspoon of the Chicago Old Town Spiced Sugar. Not only is it good on the cake, it's good in a cup of coffee too!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Creamsicle Fudge

The Spice House is one seriously unique place. I cannot tell you how much I learn just by going on the website. They are not only informative...they have everything you need to cook. I would and do recommend this company to each and every one of my friends. I have been lucky enough to have gotten other ingredients from this company in the past and I am actually using two of these in this recipe. If you ever have the need for a specialized ingredient you only need to look to The Spice House.

Creamsicle Fudge
by Traci
Adapted from Baked Fudge by Ree Drummond

2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon The Spice House Madagascar Vanilla Powder
1 stick butter melted
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons The Spice House Orange Flower Water

Prepare a 8 x 10 pan by lightly buttering.

Beat eggs until light and foamy. Combine in sugar and vanilla powder and melted butter until mixed well. Add in flour and mix.

Separate 1/4 of the mixture and add the Orange flower water, Mix well.

Add main mixture to pan and level out. Add orange mixture and swirl throughout.

Place prepared pan into a baking pan bigger than this with water added to it. This needs a water bath.

Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. You can make this a crunchy fudge, if  you want, by cooking it longer. I elected not to.

Please visit The Spice House for all your needs!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cinnamon Toasted Pecan Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Cheesecake has always been a favorite in our household and when I found out that 37 Cooks would be sponsored by The Spice House for our second challenge with them, I jumped at the chance to put a spin on this traditional dessert by spicing it up a little bit. I hope you enjoy the sweet and gently spicy combination of cinnamon, honey and toasted pecans, along with the smooth and creamy finished texture.

Cinnamon Toasted Pecan Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping
by Lori Churchill

1.5 cups honey graham crackers
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
A pinch of The Spice House Himalayan Pink Salt - coarse ground (I grind it with a mortar and pestle)

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (full fat)
1/2 cup local honey
1 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons The Spice House Chinaese "Tung Hung" Cassia Cinnamon
1 teaspoon The Spice House Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
A pinch of The Spice House Himalayan Pink Salt - coarse ground (grind with mortar and pestle)
3 medium eggs

Sour Cream Topping & Toasted Nuts:
1 cup toasted pecans (finely chopped)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons local honey (plus extra for drizzling)

6 x 3 inch round cheesecake pan with removable bottom

Instant Pot:
For pressure cooking your cheesecake - Instant Pot

Let the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs come to room temperature for about four hours. This step is very important to a finished cheesecake that has a smooth and creamy texture. I like to remove everything from the refrigerator when I’m enjoying my morning coffee, and then make my cheesecake after lunch on a leisurely Saturday.

Line the bottom and sides of your cheesecake pan with unbleached parchment paper, making sure to trim off any excess with a knife or scissors.

Be sure to line the sides all the way up, also cut a “round" of parchment paper that can be placed on top of the filling prior to cooking. This will easily be removed after cooking.

Prepare the crust by adding enough graham crackers to your food processor to equal 1.5 cups after it has been pulsed to the coarseness of your choice. Add melted butter, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt then mix until everything is moist and sticks together when gently pinched with two fingers.

Add crust mixture to the lined pan; I usually use all but approximately 1/4 cup of it. You can be the judge of how thick you prefer your crust. You can never have too much yummy crust with your cheesecake.

To prepare the filling, add cream cheese and honey to your stand mixer and beat until smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides down with a spatula two or three times during this process so that everything is nicely incorporated. Add sour cream, cinnamon, vanilla and salt to taste, then gently fold. Hand beat eggs in a bowl, then gently fold into cream cheese filling until just incorporated. Be careful no to over-mix!

Pour the filling into your neatly lined cheesecake pan and place the round of parchment paper on top. It should fit just inside the pan. Place the rack in the bottom of your Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Next, carefully place your cheesecake-filled pan inside the Instant Pot. Put the lid on and set it to “manual” for 30 minutes. Make sure that the pressure release valve is on “sealing”.
Once the timer is finished, let the Instant Pot release naturally. This means that you will leave the vent in the “sealing” position and the pressure will slowly release on its own. This takes about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the Instant Pot as soon it has naturally released and you are able to unlock the lid. Be sure that your cheesecake has cooled to room temperature before you place it in the fridge. This will prevent any cracking and will allow it to set nicely.

Toast pecans in a dry cast iron skillet until lightly brown, let cool then fine chop and set aside.

Once it has chilled in the fridge, prepare the topping in a small bowl by mixing together the sour cream, whipping cream and honey. Pour the sour cream topping on your cheesecake in a nice, thick layer, sprinkle liberally with pecans and drizzle with honey.

Slice, share and enjoy with your favorite people!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Orange Canelé de Bordeaux

Pastries in France vary from region to region. The canelé hails from Bordeaux. This smaller than cupcake sized treat has a crunchy and chewy outside with a custard-like inside. True to the region, canelés are made with *vanilla and rum. However, other flavors can be substituted. In this version of canelé, I used Cointreau and orange extract from The Spice House. The orange flavoring in this extract is spot on. It's fruity without being overly orange or bitter. Oh. My. Yum. I am already planning frosted sugar cookies using this extract.

This recipe is best made by weighing the ingredients. Otherwise, the dough gets temperamental and will either puff too much or deflate like a fallen soufflé. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator a day or two before baking also helps remove the air to render a custard-like interior.

Typical canelés are baked in copper molds lined with a mixture of butter and beeswax. Being that this was my first attempt at making this pastry, I opted for a more cost effective solution using butter-lined silicone molds. While the silicone molds did not produce the dark colored exterior that one would find using the copper molds, they did create the carmelized outer texture that are unique to this pastry. My American friends did not care about the color of these treats. They gobbled up two batches within a day. Even my French husband was singing my praise on these.

Orange Canelé de Bordeaux
by Tonda
Adapted from a recipe given to me from a friend in France

50 cl (2.11 cups) whole milk
50 grams butter
125 grams pastry flour
250 grams powdered sugar, sifted
2 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 Tablespoon Cointreau
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Orange Extract
Butter for the molds

Add the milk and butter to a saucepan and boil until the temperature reaches 183°F. Remove the pan from heat and allow the liquid to cool. Add the flour, powdered sugar, eggs, Cointreau, and orange extract to a large bowl. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add the cooled milk and butter and whisk again to blend the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Melt a couple of Tablespoons of butter to brush inside the molds. Then, fill the molds 2/3 full with the batter. Set the silicone molds on a baking sheet and bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375°F, and bake and additional 40 minutes. This cook time is for the small molds. Immediately remove the canelés from the molds and allow to cool on a wire rack.

*To make the original recipe, slice open one Spice House Madagascar "Bourbon Islands" Vanilla Bean, and scrape out the beans into the milk and butter mixture. Add the sliced open bean to the milk before it boils to extract as much vanilla flavor as possible. Strain the cooled milk mixture through a fine sieve when adding it to the flour mixture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Caribbean Calypso Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread from the Virginia Hospitality Cookbook is one of my all-time favorites. It's my most requested tea bread from my husband's coworkers and from my sons. I have brightened it up and given it a gentle nudge of heat by using the Spice House's Caribbean Calypso seasoning. The seasoning is rich with citrus zest, coriander, ancho chile, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. It also has a bit of salt, which is why I chose to omit salt from the recipe.

This recipe also makes wonderful mini muffins--just be careful if you go that route. My guys treat them as pumpkin poppers and they're gone in no time at all!

Caribbean Calypso Pumpkin Bread
by Diana
Adapted from Pumpkin Bread in the Virginia Hospitality Cookbook
Yields 9 mini bread loaves

3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons The Spice House Caribbean Calypso Seasoning
1 teaspoon The Spice House Ceylon "True" Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon The Spice House Ground Allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9 mini bread loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Stir together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk the eggs, melted butter and oil together and add to the dry ingredients along with the pumpkin. Mix well. Stir in optional raisins and nuts, if desired.

Divide batter between all nine prepared pans. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, until loaves spring back when gently touched and toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sautéed Onion and Mushroom Quiche Pie

Do you ever get in a food rut sometimes, cooking the same things over and over and over again? Well, I do. And quiche is one of those food rut dishes for me (Spinach…always spinach…for years and years…spinach). But, I just shook things up a bit in our little quiche consuming world by using an assortment of spices I got from The Spice House. I said to myself, “Enough is enough! How much spinach can one person eat in the form of a quiche?”

I started by ditching the green stuff and using mushrooms and onions instead, along with a couple of surprise spices added to the filling AND the crust. Let me pause right here to say that if you have one of those store bought frozen pie shells in your freezer, use it! You don’t have to get all gourmet and fancy. Your family will love you and the quiche regardless. Give this quiche a try. It’s husband and teenaged son approved! Funny note, when my son was little he refused to call it a “quiche.” In his opinion it was a “quiche pie” and he would never use the word quiche by itself. So on to the quiche pie recipe…

Sautéed Onion and Mushroom Quiche Pie
by Maryjo
Crust recipe adapted from the crust recipe for Potato Bacon Torte by Melissa d'Arabian

Crust (makes two pie shells):
2 sticks cold butter, cubed
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Porcini "Extra AA" Dried Mushrooms, Powdered
1 teaspoon The Spice House Garlic Powder, Granulated Organic
8 to 10 Tablespoons ice cold water

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced (about 2 cups raw)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup water (if needed)
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups raw)
4 large eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Porcini "Extra AA" Dried Mushrooms, Powdered
1 teaspoon The Spice House Onion Powder, Granulated Organic
1 teaspoon The Spice House Garlic Powder, Granulated Organic
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, stems removed, lightly chopped
1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/8th teaspoon fresh cracked The Spice House Brazilian Pink Peppercorns
1 cup half & half
2/3 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces Baby Swiss cheese, shredded

To make the crust:
Put the cold butter, flour, salt, mushroom powder, and garlic powder into a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add 1 Tablespoon of water at a time, pulsing 1 to 2 times to combine before adding the next Tablespoon of water. When the dough starts to clump together slightly and looks a bit like wet sand (usually after 8 Tablespoons of water in my house), stop! You don’t want to put too much water in there. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (overnight is even better). When you’re ready to make the quiche, roll out one of the disks on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to line your pie dish (either a 9 inch or 10 inch dish will do the trick). Carefully place the crust into the pie dish, trimming and decorating the edges however you like, and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. Anytime I have two disks of pie dough and only use one, I throw the other into a zip top bag and put it in the freezer for another day.

For the filling:
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet (I used a 12 inch cast iron). Warm the pan over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onions to the pan and sprinkle with half of the Kosher salt (1/8th teaspoon). Cook slowly until they are soft and golden brown. Reduce the heat and add a little water if they start getting too dark too fast. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient. You’ll be glad you were. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside to cool.

Add the remaining olive oil, the mushrooms, and the remaining Kosher salt to the skillet and sauté until they are golden brown (they will shrink down considerably). Set them aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Special note: I used pink pepper corns because they have a milder, fruitier flavor than black pepper, but black pepper is perfectly fine. So don’t let this one ingredient scare you off!

Pour the mixture into your 9 or 10-inch unbaked pie shell. Place the pie dish onto a clean baking sheet (just in case it spills over the edge while cooking) and bake the quiche on the middle rack for 1 hour, turning the quiche halfway through cooking for even browning. If you think it’s getting too brown before it’s finished cooking, just put a foil tent over the top. Allow it to cool for 15 to 20 minutes because it will need time to firm up a bit before cutting and serving.

Now, please excuse me…I have some quiche pie to eat!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Savory Cheese Custard with Fleur de Sel and Parmesan Wafers

When I first heard our latest sponsor, The Spice House, requested a “baking” challenge, I was perplexed. All my fellow 37 cooks, along with family and friends, know I have no talent when it comes to baking. Yes, I am fine roasting vegetables, but my oven is used to store pans. I almost sat this one out. Almost. Then the wheels started turning! I really enjoy savory foods and I also love a good cheese course. Oh wait….this is a baking challenge! After a light meal recently, I surprised my dinner guests with a cheese “course” they will never forget! I served them Savory Cheese Custard with super light Sea Salt and Parmesan Wafers, along with excellent Blueberry Chutney made by my dear friend, Brooke Brickman. What’s better than cheese and fruit?

Savory Cheese Custard

by Susan Ritchie-Hubbard

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons The Spice House French Broken Leaf Thyme
1 teaspoon The Spice House Lemon Peel Zest
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 large eggs, plus 2 yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon The Spice House Aleppo Pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces freshly grated Gruyere
1 ounce freshly Parmigiano-Reggiano
Boiling water

First Note: All custards start with two basic ingredients, cream and eggs. From there you can create the ultimate savory or sweet custard, whether you use more eggs, or any other thickening ingredient, like cheese! My first choice was of course cheese. Let your imagination run wild!!

Preheat oven to 300°F. Pour the cream into a medium saucepan. Add the thyme, lemon peel and garlic to the cream. Let the cream mixture come to room temperature. Set the heat to medium and stay close. As soon as the cream mixture begins to “steam” , (you will actually see steam start to rise) remove the pan from the heat. While the cream mixture cools slightly, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, Aleppo pepper and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Strain the cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl or large measuring cup. Discard the solids. Very slowly, add the cream to the eggs, whisking constantly. Do not add the cream too quickly or the eggs will begin to cook. Add the Gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano, whisking until the cheese is completely melted. Divide the custard between the ramekin size of your choice. I selected individual ramekins, but I have also used party size ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish deep enough to add enough boiling water to cover the ramekins, leaving 3/4” above the water line. Bake for approximately 28 minutes for individual ramekins and a bit longer for larger ramekins. As the custard cools it will firm up, so make sure the custard has a bit of wiggle in the middle when you remove the pan from the oven. I serve this custard at room temperature, but feel free to serve it warm.

Fleur de Sel and Parmesan Wafers
by Susan Ritchie-Hubbard

Eggroll wrappers
Good quality olive oil
The Spice House "Esprit de Sel" (Fleur de Sel)

Second Note: If you are like me and do not bake, these are the simplest crackers you will ever make and still impress anyone who tries them! I would typically buy a specialty cracker or baguette to serve with this delicious cheese custard. I had to come up with a baked “cracker” so I went with eggroll wrapper wafers. I found them really versatile! You can truly get creative with this ingredient. I know I will definitely use them again!

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet (s) with parchment paper. Cut the eggroll wrappers into wedges, or alternately, use biscuit and/or cookie cutters to make any shape you desire. Place the wrappers (in my case a single layer) on the lined sheet pan. Lightly brush the wrappers with olive oil. Sprinkle the wrappers with the Fleur de Sel. Using a microplane grater, shave Parmigiano-Reggiano over the wrappers. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the wafers are golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan and serve with the cheese custard. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Espresso Chocolate Muffin Tops

Ahhhhhh, The Spice House. One of my favorite past challenges ever. I was so happy to hear that they wanted to sponsor us again. This company not only has the best array of spices for you to buy in bulk, they also have the best customer service I have ever seen. And I am in retail. That means a lot.

You can let your imagination run wild while shopping The Spice House website. I love to bake and that's what they decided to challenge us with this time. I was ready and willing. Please have a look at these ingredients while browsing the website. They are amazing and a real staple to your spice rack.

Espresso Chocolate Muffin Tops
by Traci
Adapted from Coffee Muffins from Sweet as a Cookie
This will make 12 regular muffins, but I made muffin tops using a whoopie pie pan. It yielded 18.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter
3 teaspoons The Spice House Espresso Powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup of warmed milk
1 1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Madagascar Vanilla Powder

Preheat oven to 350°F if using a muffin pan, and 325°F if using a whoopie pie pan. Spray with non-stick spray or butter and flour accordingly.

Combine all of your dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix to combine evenly. Add all of your wet ingredients into a small bowl and mix well.

Slowly add your wet into the dry and fold in. No need to speed mix these. They will combine very well.

Add to your prepared pans. Muffins will take about 25 to 30 minutes. Muffin tops will take about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

If you have anyone in your life that loves to cook, or just for yourself...I promise you, The Spice House is your go-to source of great additions to your baking spices.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chiffy’s Chocolate Chip Scones with Cake Spice

We’ve all tasted or at least seen cloyingly sweet scones from a national coffee chain covered in a thick shell of sugary glaze – well, these aren’t them. A delicate balance is somehow achieved to create a treat with a touch of sweetness; and a modicum of decadence is added by the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The cream cheese puts these scones over the top, ensuring moistness and richness. Perfect with coffee or tea, or as a late night snack, should you have leftovers from breakfast.

Chiffy’s Chocolate Chip Scones with Cake Spice
by Louise Chiffonade Brescia

3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Cake Spice
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter in small cubes
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole peeled hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Cake Spice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

For Topping:
1 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar

Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 375ºF (350ºF convection). Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. With fingers, rub in the butter until it is well distributed. The mixture will appear dry.

Pour 2/3 cup milk into a 2 cup glass measure. Add the eggs and vanilla to the cup and whisk or stir thoroughly with fork.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry using a rubber spatula. Mix these ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips with the rubber spatula. Switching to hands, knead this mixture gently in the bowl, turning the bowl while kneading. Divide the dough in two.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment, form half the dough into a round 7” in diameter and 1” thick. Using fingers, press the 8 ounce brick of cream cheese into a round and place it on the round of scone dough leaving a border of approximately 3/4”. Sprinkle the cream cheese mixture with Cake Spice and crumble the brown sugar over the cream cheese. Using an offset spatula, gently press the brown sugar into the cream cheese, distributing it as evenly as possible. Top the base with the remaining dough round, sealing the edges well. Alternatively, form the dough into a flat log approximately 12” long, starting with half the dough. With fingers, work the cream cheese into a long bar and press into the flat log of scone dough. Add the spice and brown sugar as above. Top the log with the remaining scone dough, sealing the edges well.

Brush the dough with 1 Tablespoon milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. For the round assembly, cut the dough using a metal bench scraper or other straight edge tool into 8 wedges, gently moving each scone away from the others. In the case of a log assembly (which I find easier), cut triangles by holding a bench scraper at a 45 degree angle and plunging it into the dough creating a wedge, then moving the scone a few inches from the others. Continue cutting scones into wedges, moving scones away from one another.

Bake in 375ºF (350ºF convection) oven for 12 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 12-15 minutes or until nicely risen and light golden brown.

If you must gild the lily, a drizzle of melted chocolate can be applied over the scones. Wrap leftovers individually in plastic wrap.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sausage Cheese Scones

My family loves scones. I love them too, but it's partly because they're so darned easy and quick. They're versatile, too! We had some leftover Italian sausage, which I thought to put into a scone with some cheese and seasonings. I could imagine these with pepperoni and mozzarella, or dried tomatoes, or perhaps bits of olive and feta. The Spice House's seasonings make a terrific impact on a simple scone.

Sausage Cheese Scones
by Maurita Plouff blogging at Get the Good Stuff!
Makes 1 dozen

2 cups self-rising flour
1-2 teaspoons The Spice House Greek Oregano
1/4 teaspoon The Spice House Granulated Organic Garlic Powder
2-3 ounces cooked Italian sausage, crumbled or chopped fine
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (makes 1 cup grated cheese)
8-10 ounces heavy cream plus a bit more to brush on top

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.

In a medium bowl, mix the self-rising flour, seasonings, crumbled sausage, and cheese. Toss the mixture a bit so that everything is evenly distributed and has a light coating of flour. Mix in the heavy cream with a sturdy kitchen fork. You may need a bit more than 10 ounces, depending on the humidity. Just mix until the dough sticks together with no dry crumbles left out.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead two or three turns to make sure everything holds together. Divide the dough into two equal portions.

For each portion, pat the dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter, and about an inch thick. Cut the circle into 6 wedges, and put each wedge on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between.

Lightly brush the tops of the wedges with cream, to help make a browner crust. Bake 15 minutes or so, until the scones are risen, nicely browned, and cooked through.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Key Lime Pie Beer Bread

Beer bread is something that I was first introduced to through a Pampered Chef party over 15 years ago. It was love at first bite. I love that I have a homemade version that I can make anytime I want. I make a version of beer bread at least twice a month when the weather is chilly. My kids love a sweet version, so I knew that I had to make key lime bread with the fantastic extract from The Spice House.

Key Lime Pie Beer Bread
by Lindsay Blogging at Kitchen MusingsToday
Adapted from Short Stop Blog's Homemade Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (consistency of flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
12 ounces beer (I use Blue Moon, Belgian White)
1 1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Key Lime Extract
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup local honey
Zest of one lime

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray or grease a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl mix together flour, graham flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and white chocolate chips.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the beer and the key lime extract into the well, stir together until no dry flour remains. Pour into prepared loaf pan and drizzle melted butter over the batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.


In a small bowl stir together the butter, honey and lime zest.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I don't know about you, but I've always loved and preferred oatmeal raisin cookies over just about any other cookie. Each time I make them, I'm reminded that this is a recipe that my mother used when I was a child and that my grandmother used when my mother was a child. It's nothing spectacular, but it is oh so good. For this recipe, I've used vanilla extract and cinnamon from The Spice House

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
by Glenn Edwards
Yield will be about 3-dozen

Here's what you're going to need:

3/4 cup of melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of The Spice House Madagascar "Bourbon Islands" Pure Double-Strength Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon The Spice House Vietnamese "Saigon" Cassia Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of raisins

Start by mixing the butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Next sift the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and salt together and mix with butter mixture.

Next add the rolled oats and raisins.

Roll tablespoonfuls into a ball (slightly smaller than golf-ball size) and place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and cook at 375°F for 12-14 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Anise, Ginger and Lemon Madeleines with Lemon Glaze

The Spice House challenge has been one of my favorites to date mainly due to the fact that I love playing with flavors and wholeheartedly admit I am a spice-aholic.

I recently came across a perfect madeleine recipe from Annie Rigg’s Summer Berries & Autumn Fruits book that I adapted to make these. Now that I have found a great recipe, I will be experimenting more with flavors. These little cakes are absolutely perfect! I hope you try them.

Anise, Ginger and Lemon Madeleines with Lemon Glaze
by Jenny Blogging at The Cookbook Junkies
Makes about 20

For the madeleine:
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of The Spice House China "Number One" Ginger Powder
1/4 teaspoon of The Spice House Spanish Anise, ground
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
The zest of one lemon

For glaze:
The juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Dash of ginger or anise

Melt the butter and using a pastry brush, thoroughly butter the cavities of two 12-count madeleine pans. After you have buttered the cavities, dust with a little flour, tap out the excess, then place in the refrigerator while you prepare the batter.

Sift the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and anise together in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt for about five minutes until thick and doubled in volume. Add the zest and mix.

Using a large metal spoon and a figure-eight motion, fold in the sifted dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture. Carefully pour the melted butter around the edges of the bowl and fold in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375°F.

Drop a rounded tablespoon of batter into the middle of each madeleine cavity and spread to fill. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 12 minutes until risen and golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Whisk together the lemon juice, dash of spice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. You may have to adjust the amount of sugar or liquid to get the right consistency.

Pop the madeleines onto a wire rack, let cool for a couple of minutes, and then carefully dip the grooved top of the madeleine into the glaze or if you like, carefully dip the entire madeleine into the glaze.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Peach Blackberry Crisp

This dessert is super easy and quick to prepare. I can think of all sorts of wonderful fruit combinations for this crisp, but I decided to use fresh peaches and blackberries from our local farmer's market. The Cake Spice from The Spice House adds just a little something extra special that you won't get from just plain cinnamon. It's a wonderful combination of Chinese cassia cinnamon, star-anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. The La Baleine French Sea Salt (fine) is perfect for all your baking needs. And the Vanilla Sugar from the Spice House is incredible in all sorts of things. Be sure to visit The Spice House website! They have wonderful customer service and so many different spices to choose from!

Peach Blackberry Crisp
by Susan Whempner

7 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Cake Spice
1/4 teaspoon La Baleine French Sea Salt (fine)
4 cups fresh peaches, peeled, pits removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 large peaches)
1/2 cup The Spice House Vanilla Sugar
1 heaping cup fresh blackberries, rinsed and dried
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with 1 Tablespoon of the butter. Set aside.

In food processor, add flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cake spice and salt. Pulse 2 to 3 times to mix. Cut remaining butter (6 Tablespoons) into 1/2-inch cubes and add to flour/oat mixture. Pulse until mixture comes together in small crumbles. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine peaches and vanilla sugar. Pour into prepared baking dish. Scatter blackberries over top and sprinkle on the crumbly oat mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve hot or at room temperature and don't forget the ice cream!