Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Muffin tin apple tarts

This treat began with a kitchen clean up.  You know, when you go through the fridge and start tossing things or seeing how they can be used up.  With left over pie pastry, some small apples, and a partial bag of caramel bits I came up with these.

These perfect little bites of apple goodness were quick and easy to make.  First, I rolled out my  dough and cut out flower shapes with one of my handy dandy cookie cutters.  I lightly sprayed a muffin tin, and pressed the dough inside.  Next I got out my 

I adore my APPLE-THING-A-MA-JIG, and use it constantly through out the fall.  

This time, I did something different with it.  I left the apples in their spiral "slinky" form.  After dusting them with a little flour, sugar, and cinnamon, they were placed inside the pastry cups.

These were tiny apples, so they fit just right.  I had just enough caramel bits to fill the centers and then topped them with a small piece of butter.

Don't they look cozy and yummy cuddled up in their cups?  

They were popped into a 350 degree oven and when I checked them after 25 minutes, they were done.  

Perfect for a winter day and a nice pot of tea or coffee.  

If I was inclined to get fancy (or had any in the fridge...) I would have topped the centers with a cherry for a splash of color.  

You may have noticed that there hasn't been quite as much baking going on around here, and there is a reason.  As my austerity program progresses, it is downright dangerous to have too many goodies around.  I saw a kid the other day eating some chocolate and I fantasized about knocking them down, snatching it away from them, shoving it in my mouth, licking it off my fingers, and then cackling gleefully.  

Insert sound of heavy sigh.  

A little tart keeps me from getting too dangerous when I am out in public.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sweetie pies

I was in a pie baking kind of mood today.  

And because anything is more fun when it is in an individual portion, I made single serving pies.  

Think fast food pies, but cuter.

I made the Barefoot Contessa's pastry dough and then rolled and cut out heart shapes.  

Next, I made filling out what I had on hand; apples, pears, dates, and a few caramel bits (for fun!).   I cut heart shapes out of the center of the top crusts for venting.

To make them extra special, I painted roses and leaves with food coloring.  Before I slipped them in the oven, I carefully brushed cream on the unpainted areas and sprinkled them with sugar.  

To be cautious, I lightly covered them with foil to prevent them from over browning and ruining the colors.  

Then I gave my sweetie pies to my real life sweetie pies.

Did I just make the first shabby chic pie?

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Valentine Swiss cake roll with a special twist

Do you know what is special about this cake?  
See the red scroll work?  It isn't frosting.  Here is a closer look.

That's right boys and girls, it is red cake batter!  

I know - crazy and fabulous!

After baking, cooling, and admiring the genoise, I filled it with red Swiss meringue buttercream that I had in the freezer.  IMHO, ice cream is the way to go with a cake roll, but I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to run to the grocery store.

I try really hard to come up with my own ideas here at the E.O, but when I saw this technique, I knew I had to try it.  The GENIUS who came up with this fabulosity is Sandee at La Receta de la Felicidad

I can't wait to try other designs and flavors.  Oh my, this is FUN!

All I can say is

Swiss cake roll with red valentine swirls!  

The family has started squawking a little about the lack of sugar around here, so this should appease them.  And being a virtuous woman who did an hour of dancing on the Xbox Dance 3 AND spent some quality time with Billy Blank's Cardio Inferno Bootcamp,  I could probably get away with having a piece of my masterpiece.  

I am going to TRY not to.

I said TRY, not PROMISE...

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Tattoo cookies

Each one of my children at one time or another asked me what I would do if they got a tattoo.  Understand that I am in the over 50 crowd, and tattoos aren't something that were mainstream for most of my life.  

Now, don't get mad at me tat fans, it just isn't my thing.  And besides I know that my capricious nature would have me getting a butterfly then wishing I had done a heart, then thinking a Celtic knot would be better, then an inspirational word like LOVE or IMAGINE or DREAM.   I like changing things up so I think you get the picture.  I would eventually run out of skin.

So getting back to my kids' question.  I am a big believer in reverse psychology (and bribes), so I didn't want to scream "No way",  "Over my dead body" or "I FOOOOOOOORBID you!".  Instead, I said that would be great as long as it says


Since the older three brothers are quite busy at the moment, I thought I would be a really nice mom and come up with some designs for them.

This would look good on Drew's back.

How about this on the green beret's shoulder?

And I think Teddy should have this proudly emblazoned on his chest.

Maybe I am starting to warm up to the idea of my kids and tattoos.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Steampunk valentine cookies

I tried in my own words to describe steampunk to my husband, and I could not.  Even though it is a style that I am drawn to - it is interesting, odd, kind of vintage, and for me defied description.  

So I googled a definition, and after reading through several of them, I was still stumped.  Isn't it strange that I can point out an example of it in a heartbeat, but for the life of me not be able to put it into words.

But, I can put it on a cookie.  This is my version of an anatomical heart that has been steampunked.

I am in valentine's day mode and all.  

I finally found a definition at The Clockwork Century that made sense.  It is like a view of the future from the past that never happened.  That got you scratching your head didn't it?  

 Apparently, there is quite a bit of  CONTROVERSY about what qualifies as steampunk and what does not.  Had no idea my icing and I were walking straight into a hornet's nest.    

Hope my little cookies don't make anyone mad  :)

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sweet romance valentines

Did you know I collect vintage valentines?  

I adore the forget me nots, roses, clever poems, and general sweetness factor.  Today's valentine cookies are actually healthy.  In fact, these little dolls are gluten free, reduced fat, and sweetened with raw honey - and with rather lovely results.  I haven't forgotten about my little diet detox/bootcamp workout/gluten and refined sugar abstinence hell.  Nope, haven't forgotten at all.  

 I will share the recipe at the end of the post, but first I will share my ideas for valentine's day gifting COOKIE STYLE.

  You can't go wrong with flowers.  Ever.  And I adore the looks and sentiment of forget me nots.

I can't think of anything more romantic to wear than pearls and lace.

OK, I am just going to toot my own horn here.  These are my favorite cookies that I have ever done.  Teeny tiny little minute icing tips made this happen.  And I love the pearl dragees around the edges.

The little honeycomb pattern isn't that difficult to do once you get the rhythm of it down.  I would love to make these for Drew and Genevieve's wedding, but I am not sure how I feel about making these in large quantities.

Can you say carpal tunnel?

Let's move on to chocolate.  The universal aphrodisiac - for women at least.  

And in a French vintage font.  Ooh la la!

And speaking of French, they also bring us the most romantic fragrances.  Ooh la la again.

Even cheap-o scents are glorious in an atomizer bottle.  

And here is a valentine gift from me to you.   A recipe for honey oat sugar cookies.  'Cause I like you all.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp.vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla butter emulsion
3 cups oat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream together butter and pumpkin.  Add in honey and combine as well as you can.  Add in eggs and extracts.  Sift together dry ingredients and slowly add into wet mixture.  Chill.  Roll out, cut into shapes, and bake for 6 - 8 minutes.

These cookies are dense, sweet, and you don't taste the pumpkin at all.  If you don't like pumpkin, that's a good thing.  If you do like pumpkin, then you are out of luck (sorry).  I liked them VERY much!  

Oh, and my tight jeans are comfy, I have tons of energy, and I feel great!  And I am getting used to kale chips and green smoothies.

I am going to be participating in The Doll House Bake Shoppe's virtual valentine's day party!!!  Sunday Feb. 5th

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I am linking with
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Royal Icing Decorating Challenge
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A Stroll Thru Life
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday
Sweetology 101
Flamingo Toes
The Tablescaper
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Chic on a Shoestring
Freestyle Friday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets
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My Romantic Home

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The girl with the dragon cookie

The healthy roll out cookie quest continues, but this time I wanted to make a chocolate version!  

And since this is the

I figured that some dragon cookies would be a fun decorating motif.  

I am also anxious to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie.  But I digress.  Back to cookies.

These cookies are gluten free and contain no refined sugar AND reduced fat.   And the best part of all, is that I think they taste good.  

The recipe is my healthy riff on Smitten Kitchen's recipe found here.  I made the Smitten's recipe over Christmas and they were fantastic.  You should give them a try!

My chocolate Gluten free cookies

3 cups oat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter room temp.
3/4 cup mashed banana (really mass it well)
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a splash of cold coffee
2/3 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, banana, and agave nectar.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.  Add vanilla and coffee and mix.  Sift dry ingredients together and slowly add to wet mixture.  Chill.  Roll out into desired shapes and place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake 8 - 11 minutes.

I was really nervous that switching to agave was going to make my dough too thin or sticky, but it didn't.  I was also nervous that they would taste like a banana cookie, and they didn't .    They are definitely not as sweet, but I really loved the taste because the chocolate flavor was intense.  Kind of like the difference between eating milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

I also discovered that it is fun to make Chinese characters with icing.
  I chose the words PEACE, LOVE, AND JOY.  

Kind of interesting that the word love is so complicated...

So there you have it my friends - Chinese new year and healthier chocolate cookies.

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Linking up with
This Chic Cooks
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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gluten free sugar cookies that taste great!

No, I have not fallen off the planet
I have taken a much needed break from kitchen duty.  I have been filling my days with taking down the Christmas decorations, being sad about the older kids leaving, and doing a much needed dietary detox.  Oh, and exercising.  It's been a party.

Instead of counters full of icing and cookies, it has been looking more like this.

I found a killer recipe from the Gluten free Goddess for Mulligatawny detox soup that is really good and packed with healthy ingredients.  So I am drinking detox tea, eating fresh whole foods, and eating boatloads of detox soup.  


Not easy for someone who's blog is called the enchanted oven.  Sigh.

I began with lots and lots of research as to how to cut out gluten, refined sugar and minimize fat.  I read, planned, shopped for ingredients, and concocted a grand scheme for the healthiest cookie on the planet.

Only one problem.  It was inedible.  Really.  I will spare you the recipe (you're welcome).  This kitchen nightmare had gluten free baking mix, pumpkin puree instead of butter, and sweetened with agave nectar.  My icing was a lovely combo of arrowroot powder, stevia, and almond milk.  And, are you ready for this?  I decided to tint my icing with BEET JUICE.  

My dog Nellie didn't even want it, and she eats snot filled tissues out of the wastebaskets like it was her job.

Time for plan B.  

I used a gluten free recipe that I found on the Land O Lakes website, but used rice flour instead of the prepacked gluten free baking mix.  In my humble opinion, that stuff is the devil in a bag.  AND, it is very expensive.  I figured, how bad can rice flour be?  I also found it for very cheap at Walmart in the Hispanic food aisle.  Because of humiliating level of my failure, I chose to use organic brown sugar for sweetening and butter for the fat in the recipe.  Even if I couldn't eat them, these babies were not going in the trash.  

I ate one, and I loved it.  My husband ate a couple and loved them.  Insert sound of a choir of angels singing. 
They are delicate and so need to be handled with care.  In fact, I let them sit on their baking sheets for about six minutes before moving them to a cooling sheet. 

They remind me of Keebler pecan sandies, which is a very big improvement over the first attempt.  They still contain sugar and fat, but hey, nobody is perfect.  I just have to keep MY hands off them.  

I hadn't decorated any sugar cookies since before Christmas, so I was ready to get back to work.  To cut down on the sugar, I chose to not flood the cookie, instead just doing designs in bright colors.  Because I am in a yoga/healthy eating/zen kind of mood, and I am big fan of patterns found in nature - my yellow cookies were a lotus blossom pattern.

The orange were a chrysanthemum pattern.

The red cookies had spider webs.

The green's had a leaf pattern.

Blue was a snowflake.

And purple was a spiral.

Put it all together, and you get a crazy rainbow of gluten free cookie goodness.  

Before I share this great recipe with you, I would like to share one of my pet peeves with you.

I HATE it when healthy recipe is touted as wonderful when it isn't.  When they are as hard as a hockey puck and taste like Milk Bones dog treats or worse, they aren't good.  So if I tell you it is good, well, it is good.  Really, really good.  I plan on continuing my experimentation with a healthier roll out cookie this week. I have a couple of ideas (none of which involve beet juice...) but I'll be honest, a scoop and plop cookie is a lot easier to make healthy and tasty than a roll out.  The problem for moi, is that I need a roll out to decorate.  

You see my problem, right?  

Gluten free sugar cookies adapted from Land O Lakes 

1 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/4 cups rice flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks and extracts and mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  At this point I typically chill my dough for at least 4 hours, but this one didn't require nearly that amount of time.  Roll out, place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes.  Allow to cool on pan for 5 to 6 minutes and then carefully transfer to cooling rack.  

I hope we are all going to be able to have our cookies and eat them too!