BLT Steak Popovers

popover 1

One word: Popover.

You will love them.  You will crave them.  You will keep yourself up at night thinking about them.

You see, it all started innocently enough last year during Arizona’s Restaurant Week.  The BF and I saw that BLT Steak had an awesome (read: SUPER cheap) prix fixe menu.  We had to go.  And so we did.

The food was phenomenal, but it didn’t even matter because I was full even before my salad came.  Full of this delicious, magical, puffy goodness that was brought to our table.  A cheesy balloon of delicious.  They bring these wonderful treats to your table after you order, while you await your meal, for no reason at all, except to taunt you.  You know that if you eat it, you won’t have room for your dinner, but how could you resist?

popover 3

You can’t.  You can’t resist.  Not if you are even a tiny bit human inside.

I asked to wrap my remaining bit of popover to take home, and the wonderful waitress brought me a brand new one instead.  That beautiful woman.  If you follow wee eats on instagram, you would have seen it.  It looked like this.

blt popover

That’s it after I brought it home and reheated it, wrapped in foil, in a 375 degree oven until it was warm again.  Magical, right?

So you can imagine how thrilled I was that they served them with a recipe card.  Yes, WITH the recipe.  Like all, “Here are our popovers, and we know you will love them so much that we will also give you the recipe.  Aren’t we amazing?  Why yes, yes we are”

Since I don’t need a giant belly-filling popover, I used my mini popover pan (this is the recipe that caused me to buy it, by the way), and instead of gruyere I used cheddar.  Because I happen to really like sharp cheddar.  Use whatever cheese you love, they are all yours.  Serve them warm with butter and sea salt.  Your life will be changed.

popover 2

BLT Steak Popovers

Makes 24 mini popovers or 12 large popovers

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups milk, heat to very hot, but NOT boiling*
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 generous teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup cheese, finely grated (BLT uses gruyere, I used cheddar for these)

1.  Place popover pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put into the oven.  Preheat your oven, with the pan in it, to 350°F

2.  Warm milk on stove top or microwave until hot, but not boiling (about 1.5 – 2 minutes in my microwave).  Set aside.

3.   In a small bowl combine the flour and kosher salt, set aside.

4.  Whisk eggs until frothy and pale yellow in color, you can do this in a blender, in a large bowl with an immersion blender, or with a standard mixer.

5.  Once frothy, reduce the speed and slowly add 1/3 of the milk to the eggs until combined.  You want to make sure to go slowly with the milk so that you don’t curdle your eggs.  Once 1/4 of the milk is added, add slowly another 1/3 of the milk while mixing.

6.  While continuing to mix on low, add your flour mixture.

7.  Once flour is incorporated, add the remaining 1/3 of milk and mix until blended.

8.  Here is where the trickiness comes in, you can rest the batter anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes if you feel so inclined.  But you see my popovers up there?  I didn’t have the patience to rest anything.  Those were baked right away.

9.  Remove hot pans from oven and spray with non-stick pan spray* (or drop a little butter, or a little shortening, you remember this part from this recipe, right?), and pour batter about 3/4 (maybe a little more) to the top of each cup.  Sprinkle the top liberally with the grated cheese, be careful not to have the cheese touch the actual baking cup or it will melt and stick and prevent your popover from “popping”.

10.  Bake 50 minutes for full-size popovers, or about 35 to 40 minutes for mini popovers (I started peeking through the window around 30 minutes, if you don’t have a window, don’t even think about opening that door until 35 minutes in).  Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5 to 10 minutes, until you can comfortably handle them. Note: If you are using a muffin tin or mini muffin tin, your baking time may be less

* If you’re afraid of curdling your eggs, you can probably skip warming the milk and just make sure to use room temperature milk and eggs.  I just said to warm it because that’s what BLT says (and that’s what I did, and it worked beautifully).

* You can grease your tins with butter (which I used), but there is folklore surrounding the need to use vegetable shortening, and equally as much about using vegetable oil, or even PAM.  I put about a teaspoon-sized cube of butter into each mini tube before putting it into the oven.  The pool of butter did give them little “pigtails” at the end, I wish I’d taken a picture.  They were super cute.

I’ve read that regular-size muffin tin popovers will bake in about 35 minutes or 18 – 23 minutes for mini-muffin tin popovers., but I’m not sure since I’ve not made them.

* If making multiple batches, reheat the pan in the oven for 10 minutes before adding your second batch of batter

Brownie Swirl Cake

brownie swirl cake 8362

I’m going to tell you all that I had high hopes for March.  I know that Spring is right around the corner and I was all excited to share some “healthy” (well, more healthy than usual) recipes with you so that you didn’t have to swear off the website while you readied yourself for Spring Break or whatever it is that you have looming around the corner that may require you to wear some less-skin-covering clothing items.

Much to absolutely no one’s surprise, that ended quickly.  I promise that I’ve been making juices and salads for you, but in between all of those green and healthful things there is cake.  So.  Much.  Cake.

Well, since March is my birthday month and I’m always in search of the perfect cake for my birthday anyway, I decided to embrace my cake madness and MAKE ALL THE CAKE!  Followed by eating all the cake, and posting all the cake.

all the cake

Last year I made pretty much the best cake ever - a three layer rich chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and finished off with a dark chocolate ganache.  It was heavenly.  It’s going to be really hard to top.

But not everyone has hours to dedicate to cake-making.

brownie cake 8354

So, what if you have a birthday say, tomorrow, and you want to do something a little more special than just a box cake mix and you don’t know what to do because you have a job and a life and not enough hours in the day?

That’s where this comes in.

You get the ease of a box mix but with super fancy sprinkles and swirls that make it look like you worked really hard.  And the weirdest part?  Somehow you use brownie mix and a cake mix and it magically turns into this fun and pretty marbled sensation.

Not too shabby, huh?

So in honor of March, I’m going to say IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH AND I CAN EAT CAKE EVERY FRICKIN’ DAY IF I WANT TO AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME.  And if you feel the need to celebrate March (officially renamed “Cake Month”) with me, then more power to you!  We’ll save all that healthy stuff for next month or something (or I’m sure I can sneak a recipe or two in between the cake).

For now, I’ll take another piece of cake please.

Brownie Swirl Cake

Yield: One 9- by 13-inch cake

Ingredients

  • *1 (15.25 oz) box cake mix
  • *1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • *1 egg
  • *1/2 cup milk
  • *1 "Family Size" box Brownie mix
  • *1 recipe frosting (or just a large can of frosting, I won't tell)
  • *Sprinkles, if desired

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray or line with foil/parchment.
  2. 2. In a medium mixing bowl combine cake mix, oil, egg and milk. Beat together for about 1 minute, until ingredients are incorporated.
  3. 3. Spread batter in the bottom of the prepared pan (it will be thick). I find the easiest way to do this is to wet my hands with water and use them to press and spread the mix until it covers the bottom of the pan.
  4. 4. Make your brownie batter according to the directions on the box. Pour the brownie batter on top of the cake layer.
  5. 5. Bake approx 25-30 minutes until center is set, err on the side of slightly underbaking than overbaking. What I ended up with was delicious brownie outsides (I like the dry brownie outside) and a nice, cakey inside. Surprisingly tasty.
  6. 6. Frost and top with sprinkles, if desired.
http://wee-eats.com/2013/03/03/brownie-swirl-cake/

 

[ Adapted from Cookies N Cups ]

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

cinn popover 1

There are a lot of “tricks” that are mentioned whenever making popovers.  So many, in fact, that it makes you wonder how anyone makes a popover at all.  Half of them are even contradictory to each other, which is why it took me so long to finally get around to making them.  You always see the pictures of sad, deflated popovers (Even Food & Wine’s “foolproof” recipe features a picture of sunken popovers) and everyone’s got a “secret” to achieve the perfect popover.  I will tell you the only important piece of advice, the only advice that I followed: DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.

I made the batter, put them in the oven, DID NOT TOUCH THE DOOR and they bake (and poofed) perfectly.

My one request:  Please make this in a popover pan.  I hate buying single-purpose items for the kitchen, but you will not achieve nearly the same lift with a muffin pan as you will with a popover pan.  I’m sorry, it’s just not happening.  So, use a muffin pan if you must, but just know that you are absolutely, without a doubt, robbing yourself of the true popover experience.

cinn popover 2

These cinnamon-sugar popovers are light, airy, and perfectly sweet.  As I was biting into it, I was thinking about how much the flavor resembled one of my other brunch favorites, the german pancake.  Now I feel like I should cover my next german pancake in cinnamon sugar.  Yeah, that’s totally happening.

Sorry, back to the popovers.  They taste like a donut without the heaviness… and without all the guilt associated with eating a donut.  I ate like 3 or 4 of these before I felt as guilty as I feel about eating just one donut!  (Nutritional value totally unrelated to the guilt, this could be a bad thing, but they’re not deep-fried so I’m going to say I’m winning this one).

These, like all popovers, are best served fresh from the oven, but the BF was definitely snacking on the last of them cold as an after-lunch snack.  So they’re definitely still edible, but there’s no way that they are as delicious.

If you find yourself crunched for time, you can make the batter the night before, store it in the fridge, and bake them off the next morning (just make sure you take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before baking).  The batter comes together so quickly, though, that I don’t see why you would possibly need to make it in advance.

Cinnamon-Sugar Popovers

Makes 12 large or 24 mini popovers 

Printable Recipe

For the popovers:

  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ Tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the sugar dusting:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1.  Place the greased popover pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven while it preheats to 350ºF.

2.  Once the oven is preheated, warm the milk in the microwave about 1 minute, just until warm to the touch.  Set aside.  Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in another bowl.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until pale yellow.  Once frothy, slowly whisk in the milk.  Make sure the milk is warm, not hot, or the eggs will curdle.

4.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Add the vanilla extract and continue whisking until smooth.

5.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven and fill each tin ½ to ¾ full with batter and quickly return the pan to the oven.  Once the oven door closes, lock it with your imaginary oven door lock.

6.  Bake 50 minutes for full-size popovers, or about 35 to 40 minutes for mini popovers (I started peeking through the window around 30 minutes, if you don’t have a window, don’t even think about opening that door until 35 minutes in).  Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5 to 10 minutes, until you can comfortably handle them. Note: If you are using a muffin tin or mini muffin tin, your baking time may be less (see below). 

7.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl.  When you can handle them, dip the popovers in the melted butter and then toss with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

* You can grease your tins with butter (which I used), but there is folklore surrounding the need to use vegetable shortening, and equally as much about using vegetable oil, or even PAM.  I put about a teaspoon-sized cube of butter into each mini tube before putting it into the oven.  The pool of butter did give them little “pigtails” at the end, I wish I’d taken a picture.  They were super cute.

* I’m lazy and too much whisking makes me tired, so I used an immersion blender, and added the ingredients in the order listed.

* I’ve read that regular-size muffin tin popovers will bake in about 35 minutes or 18 – 23 minutes for mini-muffin tin popovers., but I’m not sure since I’ve not made them.

Thursday Things – Happy Valentine’s Day!

valentine

It’s Valentine’s Day and that is the card my wonderful, loving boyfriend got me.  It came all the way from Europe.  It’s extra hilarious because the one that I got him looks like this:

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Same thing… pretty much.  Right?  Right.

I also found these super cute owl printables that I gave out to the people at work (because I’m 5 years old).  Seriously.  So cute.

owlval

And then there’s Rachael over at Movita Beaucoup who posted a link to this pretty amazing love letter to carbs.  I can totally relate.

The BF and I usually don’t do gifts for Valentine’s Day (dinner at our favorite restaurant is enough of a gift), but this year he surprised me with physical gifts, too!  Of course, since he has no self-control, I received them as they arrived.  :)

Gift 1: Miracle Berries!!!

mberry

Have you heard of these things?  They make sour sweet and sweet sour.  I can’t wait to try them!

Gift 2 & 3: An adorable owl bank.  I’m medium obsessed with owls (in case you haven’t noticed yet).  BF also got me these nesting owl measuring cups :)  Aren’t they the cutest thing ever!?

owl  owl 2
AND… if you’re still scrambling around for Valentine ideas, or if you’re planning celebrating late because Thursday is seriously a pretty lame day for Valentine’s Day (BF and I are actually celebrating tomorrow)

Or if you hate Valentine’s Day and I wasn’t able to change your mind… Here are some delicious recipes to make and share, or eat alone (no judgment from me!)

Valentine’s Recipe Round-Up

For dinner…

How about some super easy chicken parmesan?  Even the BF who used to “hate chicken parm” LOVES this recipe (and it’s the only chicken parm he will eat!)

super easy chicken parmesan

Or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, how about some fig and goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts from Love & Olive Oil?

fig & goat cheese stuffed chicken breast from love and olive oil

Or, I guess if you’re not into chicken, you could always do Bakeaholic Mama’s beef bourguignon

Bakaholic Mama's Beef Bourg

Or some stuffed shells for the vegetarian (not vegan) valentine ;)

vegetarian stuffed shells

For dessert…

Make something simple like Brown Eyed Baker’s flourless chocolate cake, and throw on a dash of Valentine sprinkles

brown-eyed baker flourless chocolate cake

or maybe cut some delicious brownies into heart shapes

a periodic table's espresso chocolate brownies

Or, if you’re really low on time, try some heart-shaped strawberry rice krispy treats from Foodie Crush

foodie crush strawberry krispies

In Defense of Valentine’s Day

valentine brownie 2

Valentine’s Day gets a lot of grief from an ever-growing anti-Valentine crowd.  The “nonbelievers” (as I shall call them) seem to think that it’s not a “real” holiday.  Another excuse is that you should show someone you love them every day and “not just on Valentine’s Day.”

So,  maybe Valentine’s Day has become overly-commercialized, unlike  St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras, which are “real” and happily-celebrated holidays (at least by the non-believers that I know).  And maybe it has been hijacked by greeting card and candy companies, unlike those other real holidays (I’m lookin’ at you, Christmas and Easter).

I happen to like Valentine’s Day.  Possibly because I have a severe medium addiction to chocolate and will happily celebrate any holiday that make it acceptable for me to receive an entire box of it, but also because it’s a pretty easy holiday.  I only have one gift to buy, only one other person to feed, and I don’t have to binge-drink 1,000 pounds of green food coloring.  (Red food coloring is way better for your health, true story*)

*Totally not a true story.  Just made that up to support my argument. 

Of course, Valentine’s Day is not about candy or presents, and you don’t need a special day to show someone that you love them (If you are only showing affection one day out of the year, there may be many issues at play there).  The BF and I do little things for each other every day, but going out of your way to not celebrate a day that is dedicated to the one(s) you love just seems like a silly concept.

To me, at least.

So, even if you do something special every day, why not do it on February 14th?  What did February 14th ever do to you?

valentine brownie 3

Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, you can spread the love to your friends and/or co-workers.   What’s wrong with having just one more day of the year that you can show the people you love (or just the people you spend your day with) that you care?

And, even if you’re still not convinced…  Even if you’re still set on being a Valentine Scrooge…

Even if you “don’t believe” in Valentine’s Day…

I’m pretty sure that you probably believe in brownies.

So, Scrooge, make these brownies on the 13th, or the 15th, or make them in April for all I care.

Make the frosting orange or blue or whatever color you want, crush up the hearts and sprinkle them on top, broken and shattered.

But please, don’t take your hatred of Valentine’s Day out on these poor, innocent brownies.  Don’t let your Scroogeness (totally a word) prevent you from trying these delicious, bite-size morsels.

So make these for your sweetheart, or your friends, or your co-workers, or yourself.

valentine brownie 1

Not super into the whole chocolate/strawberry combo?  The frosting recipe for this is like the easiest thing ever and infinitely adaptable.  You can just replace strawberry jam with the flavor of your choice:  Raspberry jam?  Peanut butter?  Nothing at all?  Whatever floats your boat.

After I made these, I totally realized that I did a strawberry and chocolate combo last year for Valentine’s Day, too.  What can I say, chocolate and strawberry is the BF’s favorite combo, and Valentine’s Day is all about him.

Well, for me it is.  Hopefully not for you.  That would just be silly.  (Plus I would totally fight you.*)

*Just kidding.  I love you.  It’s Valentine’s Day.  Have a brownie.

valentine brownie 2-2

Valentine Brownie Bites with Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting

Makes: 24 mini brownie bites with frosting

Note: Following the recipe from its source yielded WAY MORE than the 24 mini brownies that it claimed, I’ve provided the halved recipe below, which should give you enough for 24 brownie bites and frosting for each. 

Printable Recipe

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup  sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 7-ounce container of  marshmallow fluff
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup seedless strawberry jam
  • pink or red food coloring, if desired
  • decorations, if desired

Make the brownies:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F and line a mini muffin tin with 24 of the cutest  mini paper liners you can find.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated.
3.  Spoon into 24 prepared mini paper liners and bake  for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes of baking, turn the heat off and leave pan in the oven for another 5 to 6  minutes.  Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing individual brownie bites to a rack to cool completely.  The tops will be dry and slightly cracked.
(To make in standard muffin tins, bake for 19-20 minutes at 350°F, then turn off the oven and let sit for another 10 minutes before removing from the oven.  Cool in the pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.)

Make the frosting:
1, In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add marshmallow fluff and continue beating until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and mix to incorporate, then and the jam and continue beating until it is evenly distributed.
At this point the frosting will be a light pink or red color depending on the jam you used, you can beat in food coloring (I did) to achieve your desired color.

2. Top brownie bites with frosting and sprinkles.  I scooped the frosting into a gallon-size ziplock and cut off one of the corners of the bag making an opening between ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.  Gently squeeze frosting into the cupcake, creating a frosting “bubble”.

[ Adapted from: A Farmgirl's Dabbles ]
If you like these brownies, you may enjoy these other romantic sweets:
dsc_5818small  mocha brownie thumb  chocolate cake thumb
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