Hey everybody!  Check out the Matters and Musings page for an awesome recipe for homemade hand cream!
 

Welcome to the Circle B Kitchen!  We love that you're here and hope you'll browse the site and grab some recipes.  The Circle B Kitchen has been blogging since September, 2009.  We have loads of recipes and thoughts on food to share in the coming weeks and months, so come back and check in often!  We love hearing from you and hope you'll leave a comment or shoot an email our way.  Whether you have questions about a recipe or the site in general, please let us know...

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Our Favorite Things For Fall...

       Homemade Apple Butter!

      Caramel Pumpkin Custards

       Oven Roasted Applesauce

Turkey (or Chicken) Enchilada Soup

              My Fall Apple Crisp

   New England Clam Chowder

Spiced Molasses Pumpkin Bread

                 Apple Tart Tatin

   Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce (Yum!)

       Apple Ginger Pudding Cake

      Bean and Barley Veggie Soup

Foil-Wrapped Pears with Caramel                               Sauce

         Creamy Artichoke Soup

   
             Brown Sugar Pie

       Pumpkin Apple Stresel Muffins

Apple Molasses Gingerbread Cake

... and just in case you were wondering...

       

 

Our oldest daughter, Erin, has been riding, training and showing horses since she was a teenager.  She graduated from Colorado St. University with a degree in Equine Science and is now Financial and Administrative Manager for HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Association), which provides therapy through horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes.  For more information or to donate to this amazing cause, please visit http://www.hetra.org/ .

 

 

Entries in dessert (16)

Friday
Sep052014

3-Berry Crumble

I know you’ve all been there… You have this amazing food experience that is inextricably woven with a memorable setting, an incredible dining partner or just an unforgettable mood or ambiance that leaves you wondering if that meal or that certain dish might have tasted differently in another setting or at another moment in time or with someone else.  

Such was the case for me with this scrumptious berry cobbler.  I threw it together on a whim just because I had berries I wanted to use up and I’d had this recipe in the file for like 30 years and it was time to get it made up.  I only had enough berries to make half a recipe, which was fine because it was just the two of us.  When I tell you that this is an easy dessert to assemble, I'm not even kidding... 10 minutes tops  No crust to make, nothing tricky, especially if you've got a food processor.

So after watching the most recent episodes of Outlander a couple of weeks ago, we grabbed two spoons and that little cobbler up there and went out onto the porch on a warm summer’s evening and proceeded to eat the entire thing, all the while being serenaded by a million crickets and entertained by the last couple of fireflies of the season, twinkling and dancing in the moonlight. 

We were completely and totally blown away by how good this cobbler was and were still talking about it the next morning.  But I had a niggling sense that on such an evening at such a moment with that particular guy sitting next to me, a bowl of cheerios might have seemed magical. 

So before I could sell this to you as the spectacularly delicious dessert I remembered, I was just going to have to make it again.  To determine if it was as good as I remembered, I wanted an objective experience of this cobbler and decided to take a scientific approach in order to be completely sure.  I hadn’t thought to eat this second crumble by myself in a dark room, but I sort of planned that this taste test would be a bit more clinical than our experience two weeks ago.

So last night after we finished watching the most recent episodes of Outlander, we grabbed a couple of spoons and headed out to the porch and a gorgeous summer evening in which a million crickets serenaded us with... um.  I pretty much suck at science.  But lucky for us, I am apparently very good at making berry crumbles.  It was every bit as good as we remembered, but to be truly convinced, I guess you’ll have to try it for yourself.  Here’s the recipe…

3-Berry Crumble 

Click here for a printable recipe

This is such an incredibly delicious dessert for so little effort.  The crunchy, caramel-y topping is just ever so good next to those sweet, juicy berries.  I added a little mulberry jam to the fruit and it created a wonderfully jammy texture to the fruit.  As I mentioned below, you can quickly and easily make the crumble topping for this in the food processor.  One note of caution... do not use more berries than the recipe calls for as that will throw off the ratio of crumble to filling which makes this so good.  If you're making 1/2 recipe, reduce the baking time to about 25 or 30 minutes.

4-6 cups of fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4  cup blackberry, blueberry or raspberry jam (optional)

The Topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick cold butter 

Preheat oven to 350º. 

Toss the berries with the flour and sugar and stir in the jam. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish, preferably rather shallow (more surface area for the crumble). 

For the topping: Mix together flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut butter into small pieces. Using your hands, work in butter until large, moist clumps form.  (you can do this in the food processor, pulsing several times until you have pea-sized clumps). 

Crumble the topping over the berry mixture. 

Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and light golden brown. 

Serves 6-8

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Saturday
Apr052014

Coconut Macaroon Pie

You know how you sometimes have things all planned and locked in and you’re all ready to press the launch button and then without warning you get completely and totally yanked out of that plan by something so awesomely incredible that you get whiplash from the suddenness of the u-turn you just executed?  Yeah, me too. 

In fact, that very thing just happened to me yesterday.  No kidding.  I was all set to post some amazingly fun and delicious edamame recipes when I happened to be perusing the L.A. Times recipe section and came face to face with a photo of this coconut macaroon pie.  Within 2 hours I had one cooling on my kitchen counter.  It wouldn’t have taken me so long, but I decided to take some photos along the way… just in case. 

And boy howdy am I ever glad I did because that meant I could waste no time sharing this experience with you.  And what an experience it is.  I mean, it starts with how ridiculously easy this pie is to make.  If you happen to have some coconut in your pantry, then you probably can make it right now, especially if you’re one who likes to make your own pie crusts.  But maybe you have one of those in your freezer or something. 

The best part of the whole coconut macaroon pie experience though, is of course, that first bite.  I was totally unprepared for how those simple ingredients had conspired together to create this luscious coconut custard, topped with that crisp, browned coconut.  As much as I love coconut macaroons, and I do, I’ve never had one that tasted like this. 

And when I say this pie is easy, I mean it.  Easy as pie.  Sorry. 

Let’s start with the crust.  I’ve been making pie crusts for over 30 years, so I can pretty much throw one out in my sleep (here’s my recipe), but use a store-bought one if that’s your preference.

 Once you get your pie crust in place, 

we’re going to whisk together a couple of eggs, a little flour, water, salt, butter, sugar and coconut. 

And then we’re going to add my secret weapon to make this pie even more spectacular.  Ready? 

Yep.  Coconut extract.  It wasn’t in the original recipe, but I cannot make a coconut pie or cake without it.  We’re not talking imitation flavoring.  Your pie will be better if you leave that out.  No, we’re talking about the real deal… extract.  It’s a bit hard to find, but if you’re determined, you can order it online or find yourself a spice shop that carries it. 

Then we’re going to pour that lovely coconut mixture into your pie crust and sprinkle the top with more coconut. 

Then we’re going to bake it, let it cool and slice it up.  It’s that easy. 

Oh, and if you really must, but it sure doesn’t need it, you can drizzle your slice with a little chocolate. 

I hope I’ve persuaded you as to the deliciousness of a coconut macaroon pie.  My fear, actually, is that I’ve over-sold it.   Perhaps I’ve raised your expectations so high that no pie could possibly meet them.  This is, in truth, a very simple pie with very simple ingredients that just happens to be crazy good. Guess I’ll just stick with that.  Here’s the recipe…

Coconut Macaroon Pie

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Saddlebag Lake Resort 
  via the L.A. Times

As I mentioned in my post, I added coconut extract, but if you can't find it, I'm sure it will be fine without it.  Also, it took my pie the full hour to bake, and then I had to turn the oven up to 350 for the last 5 minutes.  Every oven is different, so check your pie at 45 minutes, but it may take a bit longer.

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (not flavoring)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, plus extra for sprinkling over the top of the pie if desired.
Unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, sugar, coconut extract, flour, salt and butter. Fold in the vlaked coconut. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell, and top with a little extra coconut if desired to brown as the pie bakes.

Place the pie in the oven and bake until lightly golden and the custard is set (it will jiggle only slightly when tapped), 45 to 55 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. If the pie colors too quickly before it is set, loosely tent with foil.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Saturday
Feb152014

One Perfect Bite

I was watching a Top Chef episode not long ago wherein the chefs had been challenged to create “one perfect bite” for the judges.  Of course their little bites were mostly pretty complex in terms of flavors and ingredients, but I’m here to tell you that sometimes a perfect bite can be insanely simple and un-complex; this little Clementine being a case in point. 

There are few things that aren’t made better by a little chocolate, so this isn’t all that much of a stretch, but little Clementine segments really are the perfect little bite-sized vehicle for chocolate-dipping.  Adding some toasted almonds and a sprinkle of sea salt creates a lovely, complex burst of flavor that takes it right over the edge of yumminess into Greatness.  Well, that’s what I think anyway. 

So before the little clementines take their leave for another season, might I suggest taking them for a little chocolate dunk?  Here’s the recipe…

Chocolate-Dipped Clementines with Toasted Almonds and Sea Salt

Click here for a printable recipe

You can use any kind of sweet tangerine for this.  I had some “Cuties” on hand and they worked well, but any seedless mandarin would be great.  And if you don’t have any flaked sea salt, you can use kosher salt or coarse-grained sea salt.  I prefer to eat these as soon as the chocolate hardens.  If they sit out too long, the tangerine segments have a tendency to start to dry out.  They’re still good, but not quite as juicy.  The measurements here a just approximations.  You can add more nuts or chocolate to suit your own tastes.

For 2 Clementines:

1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped, toasted almonds (or more, if you'd like)
flaked sea salt for sprinkling

Peel the clementines and separate the segments.

Place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on a flat plate or baking sheet.

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-second intervals until they're smooth and melted.  Stir in the chopped nuts.

Dip half of each clementine segment in the melted chocolate and place on the wax paper.  Sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt.

When all of the clementines are dipped, place them in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.  It will harden at room temperature in about an hour.  These are best if eaten right away.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Tuesday
Jan282014

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Popovers

 

Oh, popovers.  How we do love them.  They’re ever so scrumptious with their custardy center and crispy exterior, and they look so cute when you open the oven door to see them all puffed up and pretty.  If only you never had to take them out of the oven. 

Before I get to that, though, I must tell you that these are some of the best-tasting popovers you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.  Just a hint of brown sugar and vanilla and scented with cinnamon and quite honestly, I could eat several at one sitting.  The recipe says to sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar when they come out of the oven, which is a bit like gilding the lily, and perhaps more appropriate as a dessert popover than breakfast, but that’s just me.   I felt they needed no embellishment, but the powdered sugar looked sort of pretty.  They really are very special and you will want to make these for yourself to see just how special they really are.

…But.   Yes, we have to start this paragraph with “But”.  But… they are not beautiful.  I’ve made these three times now, and the first time I made them exactly as stated in the recipe.  The second time I made a couple of modifications.  The third time I tried using little ramekins instead of my popover pan.  But none of my sweet little popovers turned out like the photo on the Relish website.  I think they cheated and inserted some other popover photo because these popovers are not pale and delicate as shown in the photo.  No sir, these are brown sugar cinnamon popovers and they are ruddy- complected and rather earthy-looking and I just thought I should warn you. 

And then at the end of the recipe, it says to “serve immediately before they deflate.”  That is hilarious!  I mean they start deflating the moment you open the oven door, continue to deflate as you remove them from the oven, deflate further when you remove them from the pan and deflation intensifies as they cool.  You get the picture…  deflated, shriveled popovers.  Oh, but they’re so good.  I described these to my Cousin Katie the other day as soothing.  Simple, warm, soothing and oh so good.  And did I mention easy to make?  Two bowls and just a couple minutes of mixing and they're in the oven, so these definitely qualify as breakfast food.

After doing a little research, I’ve learned that perhaps using whole milk will prevent shriveling (I used 2%), and/or extending the baking time to 40 or 45 minutes will set the popover so it doesn’t shrivel or deflate quite as much, but that would also set the interior and we might lose our squishy center.  I'm pretty sure that the addition of brown sugar adds something to the mix that keeps them from holding their shape as they cool.  The addition of a little more flour might provide a bit more structure.  I may work on this some more, but to be honest, I’m afraid to mess with the recipe much more for fear of losing its textural personality which we so dearly love.  So I’ll leave it to you to decide.  If you like your popovers slightly sweet, crisp and custardy, and don’t find the site of a shriveled popover bottom abhorrent, these may just be the popovers for you.  Here’s the recipe…

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Popovers

Click here for a printable recipe

These really are amazingly good and just right for breakfast or a mid-day snack.  But as I mentioned in the blog post, they aren't beautiful.  If you can get past their appearance (serving them in little ramekins helps), you're in for a very tasty treat.  Also, I've made these in popover pans and in ceramic ramekins. They didn't rise as well in the ramekins, so I would stick with the popover pan or muffin tin.  If cooking them in a muffin tin, I would reduce the cooking time to about 10 minutes (after you turn it down to 350). Depending on how hot your oven runs, just watch them so they don't get too dark.

Recipe adapted from Relish.com 

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons powdered sugar 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 F.

In a bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. In a large glass liquid measuring cup or bowl, heat milk until just lukewarm, about 30 second in the microwave. Whisk in butter, then vanilla and eggs. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture.

Place popover pans or muffin tins in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and spray liberally with cooking spray. Divide batter among cups, filling until half full. Bake 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if using. Serve immediately before the popovers deflate.  :)

Makes 6 full-size popovers or 12 muffin-size popovers.

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Thursday
May162013

Circle B Coconut Pudding

Like most people, I’m all about ethereal desserts redolent with salted caramel or exotic fruits, speculoos-infused pastries or French macarons layered with some decadent ganache, but you know, sometimes you just want a bowl of pudding.  And here's one classy little pudding that isn’t so hip that it can’t deliver a truly comforting spoonful of homey deliciousness. 

A few weeks back I had a craving (yes, another one of those) that I just couldn’t put my finger on.  I absolutely knew I wanted pudding, but I so seldom indulge my sweet tooth, that I seemed to have lost the art of interpreting its signals.  OK, yes, I get it, you want pudding, but what KIND of pudding??  After numerous attempts to point out just about every pudding recipe I had and repeatedly receiving the negative head nod, I pulled out my recipe for coconut pudding and finally got it.  The big YES!  Coconut pudding was definitely IT!

I love this recipe. And I love this pudding.  I love it plain with just a bit of toasted coconut on top, but I also love it with a little layer of chocolate inside and maybe a few chocolate shavings mixed on top with the toasted coconut.

The big question when I went to make it was whether or not to put coconut IN the pudding.  In the end, I opted to keep the pudding smooth and creamy and just add coconut on top, and I think it’s best that way.  But if you prefer, you can stir a little coconut into the pudding itself for an extra boost of coconut flavor and texture.

The added bonus is for those who might be lactose intolerant… we’re making this entirely with coconut milk – no dairy.  There are eggs, so we can’t claim to be vegan here.  But if you would like to use a vegan egg substitute and leave out the butter, you’re good to go.

So just in case your sweet tooth cravings are trying to lead you to something creamy, luscious, simple and homey with just a bit of sophistication, here’s just the thing….

CIRCLE B COCONUT PUDDING

Click here for a printable recipe

This pudding comes out super luscious and creamy.  I've combined a couple of recipes to create it, but there are a couple of options for you to consider.  The first is whether or not to add shredded coconut to the pudding.  I prefer to keep the pudding smooth and creamy, but if you'd like to add a little more coconut flavor and texture, you can stir some into the pudding.  I've also added a layer of chocolate, which, of course, makes this yummy and decadent.  A few chocolate shavings on top makes it pretty speical.  Coconut extract really boosts the coconut quotient, but try not to use coconut flavoring which has a more artificial flavor to it.

Serves 4

2/3  cup sugar
1/4  cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2  cups lite coconut milk (about 1 1/3 cans)
4  large egg yolks
2  tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract (not flavoring)
1/2 cup coconut flakes, divided

1.   In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Very gradually whisk in cocnut milk,taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks. 

2.   Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and s tir the butter, coconut extract, and vanilla into the hot pudding. 

3.   Pour the pudding into individual ramekins or dessert cups, or you pour it into one large bowl.  Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Toast the coconut on a small sheet pan in a 375 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes.  Keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly.  Stir once or twice if it starts to get too brown around the edges.

If using the one-bowl method, before serving, whisk the pudding until smooth; divide among four serving dishes.  Top with toasted coconut.

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