Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Winter! (Kind of...)

So, November just started, and in my mind that means that winter has officially begun. 
It's getting colder, we start breaking out jackets instead of just sweatshirts, we start holding onto our coffee in the morning just to keep our hands warm, and Thanksgiving is almost here!
{I love Thanksgiving.}

I carved my pumpkin three days before Halloween, and roasted the seeds. They are delicious.
[Also, how cute is that candy corn dish?]

I also made some delicious pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies, which taste very similar to my Golden Gingerbread. 
If you liked that, give these a try!
(Recipe at the bottom)

On a more serious note, I am so sick of the election coverage. 
I'm not eligible to vote, but I sure wish I was. 
There are so many social issues that have been addressed in both campaigns, and the more I think about the election, I start thinking about "what if's". I wish I could vote, just to give myself some peace of mind.

Basically me.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Slightly adapted from here

For the cookies:
-1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-3/4 cup pumkin puree
-1 large egg
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 3/4 cups flour
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-(I also added 1/4 tsp allspice)

For the coating:
-1/2 cup granulated sugar 
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-dash of allspice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree, then beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (and maybe allspice). With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until fully incorporated. Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degreed. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner. Mix the coating ingredients in a small bowl. Scoop equal dough balls and roll in sugar mixture. Set on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dip the bottom of a flat drinking glass into water, then into the sugar mixture and use to slightly flatten the dough balls. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until baked through. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to make a freaking delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte.

It's {almost} officially fall. 
That means any and all devilbucks drinkers go crazy over their pumpkin spice latte.

From here

Now, let's set something straight. I was a barista. I enjoy a good cup of coffee. I enjoy pretty coffee art. Et cetera.

...And I am not a Starbucks drinker.

Yeah. And I'll let you in on a secret. all they do for a pumpkin spice latte is add in a shot of HFCS-filled syrup. 
[Say what????]

Anyway, let's make our own and rebel against Starbucks and their syrup.
-Buy a can of pumpkin puree.
-Brew a really strong cup of coffee.
{I use the smallest cup setting on my Keurig brewer}
-Take a heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin puree, and stir it into your coffee. Add your favorite sweetener (to taste) and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and any other spices you see fit (Cardamom, nutmeg, etc). 
[I don't add too much, because I don't like feeling the spices in my coffee. It's unpleasant to me, but I do add some.]
-Heat up about a cup of milk.
(If you have a milk frother/foamer whatever like I do, use this to achieve the ultimate latte. Otherwise, using warm milk is basically the same thing.)
-Pour the milk right over the coffee/pumpkin spice mixture


I like this better than adding pumpkin and spices and sugar to a regular cup of coffee, because although you are using brewed coffee, not espresso, you can still achieve the latte effect, with the small amount of coffee to the foamed milk ratio that we have going on here. 
I have seen other recipes that suggest mixing up "pumpkin milk", and that was pretty delicious, but it had all the spices in there which I didn't like. With this recipe (It's not really a recipe, more like a tutorial, but whatever this is a food blog, everything is a recipe.), it is completely customizable and you can add as much or as little of anything as you want. I just wanted to bestow upon you the knowledge that I have, having worked with coffee before. 

So, enjoy my lovely darling friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Home-Made Pop Tarts

Over the summer, I got on the lazy side and didn't quite feel like making myself a fancy breakfast.
So I went to the pantry, and grabbed a pop-tart. I probably went through two whole boxes by myself.
As much as they did satisfy my grumbly morning tummy, I knew there has to be a way to make them more delicious.

So the obvious answer was Nutella.

I took a dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and instead of going with the healthy option of using fruit jam, I used our favorite nutty-chocolate-y spread.

The result was delicious.

Nutella Pop-Tarts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons milk

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender, or food processor (I used a food processor), until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible and mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk milk and one egg together in a small bowl. Place dough on a counter or baking board and make a crater in the center of the dough. Pour egg and milk mixture into the crater and knead it in with your hands until it holds together nicely. Add flour if needed.

Divide dough into two rectangles. Roll out until each is 1/4 inch thick. Cut each rectangle into nine 3x3" squares. Place on cookie sheet, brush with egg wash. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of Nutella onto 9 of the squares, cover with another pastry square. Press down edges with a fork and poke holes in the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cheese rolls

I finally got cheese rolls right!
My lovely friend Christine asked me to do a post for her blog, and you can find the recipe for these rolls here.
Give her blog a look, it's really adorable.

Sidenote: I have another personal blog that I will be updating a few times a week, so check it out if you'd like to stalk my life. 

Have a lovely weekend, you beautiful babes!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quick post: Patriotic berries

Hello, friends! 
It's been awhile since I've seen you here so I'd like to share with you the most delicious thing from my Independence day:

Now, I'm not one for white chocolate. It's kind of weird, but I'll eat it if I have to.
But these berries were out of this WORLD.
{There's something in those blue sugar sprinkles...}
Everyone I fed them to loved them.

If you don't know how to make chocolate covered strawberries, I'll run through a quick tutorial.

1. Set up a double boiler with white chocolate chips, bring water to a simmer and melt chocolate.

2. Dip berries in chocolate, holding them by the leaves

3. Carefully roll the bottom part of the berry in blue sprinkles.

4. Place on waxed paper, cool and refrigerate.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Cheesy Potato Stacks

Hello friends!
Today I'm going to be sharing with you a Mankus family tradition.
Every Sunday night, my dad makes a steak dinner for the family.
Even though this isn't that big of a deal because my dad loves cooking, and he still doesn't do the dishes afterwards, this is one tradition that we always follow. I don't really know why.
So I decided I'd help him out in the kitchen for his classic steak dinner, and take spin on the classic "steak and potatoes".

Another thing you should know about my family is that we L.O.V.E cheese. 
My whole life, we have had a drawer in our fridge dedicated to all kinds of cheese, and I had thought that was completely normal.
So. Much. Cheese.

Anyway, let's get started.
Peel your potatoes and cut them in half if they're too big. I usually do about 6 large Idaho potatoes, cut in half, and that makes enough for my family and then leftovers. You could also do this with little red potatoes, and you wouldn't even have to peel them.
[PS they're even better the next day!]

Boil your potatoes. It should take about 20 minutes. You want to be able to smoosh them down pretty easily.

Next, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the potatoes, and place them on a pan with parchment paper.
[The parchment paper makes for an easier clean-up, since you won't have to scrape cheese off the pan.]

Then take one of these nifty potato mashers
{I'm not sure if that's the right name, but that's what my little sister always called it when she would make mashed potatoes with my mom}

Or you can use a fork, to just mash the potato down. If it falls apart into a billion pieces, just clump them all together into one little stack with your hands.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT the lightest recipe you willl ever find. 
(Keep in mind I am only 17, with a high metabolism and a huge sweet tooth. No dieting allowed.)

Yes, you're going to scoop butter on top of these potatoes. About a teaspoon and a half. Per potato.

Then, yes, you put a ton of cheese on it. I just use what ever pre-packaged shredded cheese we have in our fridge, which is usually the KRAFT Mexican 4-cheese bland or a bag of shredded mozzarella.
{I prefer the four cheese blend.}

Then, we season.
You can season with literally anything you want. I've done spicy cheese potatoes with cayenne pepper, or just plain and simple salt and pepper, but this was my favorite.
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.


Then pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
And enjoy!


It's summer now, and I have a ton of recipes and ideas on deck to put up here. 
I'm also going to be taking a ton of pictures this summer, and every week, I'm going to do a "five things" post, inspired by a few of my favorite bloggers. 
I've also started up a catering business out of my home and it would be AWESOME if you would like my Facebook page!

So stay tuned! 

Much Love,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Do what you love

Hello there friends!
I don't have any recipes to share with you today, but I definitely will soon.
{SPOILER ALERT: I'm thinking home-made pop tarts...}
But I would like to take some time and pass on some words of advice, and a story.

I have always loved baking. When I was in middle school, and I got off that bus, I would always run straight to my house and fire up the oven to make a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.
I would feed them to my family, my neighbors, and my friends.
Now, I don't really know what really sparked my initial interest in baking. I literally have no idea. There wasn't a huge amount of baking already going on in my house, and it's not like I was watching the Food Network instead of Disney Channel. 
I would say it was my love for food, but I am and always have been a picky eater.
But once I got in the kitchen and started baking, I knew I loved it.
I don't think you really need a reason why you love something. 
If you love it, you love it. It just is.

Last weekend, I made a bunch of cupcakes for the choir at church.

I attached a little business card to the box they were individually packaged in, not really thinking anything of it. {Other than it's probably not very nice to be advertising in church...}
But later that Sunday, and the week after, I had calls and e-mails telling me how great they were. 
I know that the treats I make are good, because I always taste them [My chef always says to never serve something you're not proud of], but hearing it from someone else gets me on a whole new level.
Then I got calls and emails from people asking me to bake them more treats, and they would pay me!
This is a whole new thing for me. This is one of my dreams. 
I have always wanted this for me, but I didn't think it would happen until I'm older. 
I thought I'd have to go off to college or something before that happened.
But I am getting paid for my sweets now, and I'm seventeen years old!

And don't they look good?
I am so happy doing what I'm doing. I never dread making four dozen cookies. It's a big number, and I don't even care how long it takes. I enjoy every single minute of baking, and it makes me so so so so so happy.
If you're still reading this, you rock. 
And if you're still reading this, I want to pass on some knowledge to you. 
Do what you love and love what you do.
I know that's been said a lot, and I know I'm young and pretty dumb, but you need to absolutely love what you do, every second of every day, and I guarantee your happiness will increase.

Stay hungry!
Love, Emily

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coffee Cake is the best kind of cake.

Hello, friends! 
Please forgive my absence, I have been settling into a new house.
(The kitchen is wonderful.)

Fabulous. Look at that double oven.
Okay. Anyway. There's a line in this one song about this girl, and it goes like this
"Betty won't stop listening to modern rock
How she hates to be alone
I try to compensate her lack of love with coffee cake,
Ice cream, and a bottle of ten dollar of wine"
Some may argue that chocolate is the ultimate cure or a "lack of love"
Nope. It's coffee cake.
Always coffee cake.

While I will agree these aren't very good looking, I will tell you that they are delicious.
So here we go.
First, we'll make the cake. 
Combine your yogurt and baking soda together. This will end up bubbling up a little bit. That's okay.

See? Bubbly.
So now take a separate bowl, and cream your butter and sugar together. Then add your egg and vanilla. 
Mix well until combined.

In another bowl, combine your flour and baking powder. 
Now you're going to add this flour mixture to your sugar and butter mixture alternating with the yogurt mixture.

Here comes the fun part.
We're going to make a little syrup. 
When I was doing this I was so excited I was jumping up and down and stuff wow I wish i got a picture.
[I get way too emotional and excited about food.]
Ok so take a little bowl, and put 4 Tablespoons of butter in it, and pop it in the microwave until its all melty and nice. 
then add some maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

Okay, so then take a scoop of your cake batter, and put it in one muffin cup 

Try and get it to cover the bottom completely. 
Then spoon your syrup over it, a little less than 2 Tablespoons per muffin

Then plop some more cake on top, then mix up some butter, flour and brown sugar and sprinkle on top for a crumbly top, and put it in the oven.
{You can do this with a cake pan, and just alternate cake, syrup, cake, crumble}
 And bam, beautiful muffins.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
For cake:
-1 cup plain yogurt
-1 egg
-1/4 cup butter, softened
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
-1tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
For syrup:
-4 Tb butter, melted
-2 Tb maple syrup
-2 Tb brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
For crumble:
-2 Tb brown sugar
-1 Tb all-purpose flour
-1 Tb melted butter
-1/8 tsp cinnamon

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm not Irish enough to make a St. Patty's Day dessert.

Hello, friends!
I hope you had a very merry St. Patty's day.
I have some news for you.
This will be the last time you will see this particular kitchen here on love in the kitchen.
The love will be moving to a new, {bigger}, and equally as awesome kitchen in the next few weeks. 
This is part of my excuse for not updating recently.
[Besides being lazy... oops]
I hope to post something again as soon as we get semi-settled.

Onward to our journey of these chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes.
This idea came to me in US History class.
I was just thinking of how much I missed the chocolates I bought myself for my birthday,
and then I got to thinking about how delicious Godiva's chocolate covered strawberries are.
And then I thought about how I haven't posted a new blog in a while.
And then I thought about cupcakes.
And then I was just like
"HEY. How about I make some strawberry sauce, inject it into chocolate cupcakes, and then top with chocolate frosting and a slice of strawberry?"
Also it was my good friend Randi's birthday, and she needed some sort of sweet.

So I called over my good friend Nick...

And Natalie, who loves my dog.
And they helped me make these cupcakes.

So first, mix up all your dry ingredients, except the sugars. 

Then pretend you're a frightened chocolate warrior.

Cream together the butter and sugars.

Add sour cream. This is the first cake I've ever done with sour cream, and it's so good, You can taste a little bit of tanginess (that is 100% not a word) in it, and it's so moist.

On a low speed, alternate adding the flour and cocoa mixture...

...And your buttermilk. This also added to the slight, pleasant tang of the cake. Perfect.

Then distribute the batter into your muffin cups.
{I got a nifty cookie scoop for Christmas and it works great with cake batter too!}

And pop them into the oven. 

While those cook, whip up a simple strawberry sauce.

I just threw a bunch of strawberries,

sugar, and a little but of lemon juice in my blender and pureed until smooth.

When your cuppycakes are completely cool, it's time to fill them with this strawberry sauce.

I got this little cupcake injector thing for Christmas, too. It's perfect for this job.
But if you don't have something fancy like this, a pastry bag with a small, rounded tip will do just fine.

{"It's just like surgery!" the baker says, not knowing what any type of surgery is like...}
Just push the tip through the surface of the cupcake and fill until it starts to overflow. I have a tendency of under filling them, which is bad.
[In hindsight, I should have definitely taken the cuppycakes out of the tin.]
And I was too lazy to make chocolate frosting, so I just put canned frosting on top.
I hope you enjoyed this time we just spent together. 
And I hope you try out some of my recipes. 
If you do, be sure to tell me, whether it be in the comments, in person, whatever it may be.
I love hearing from you, my darlings <3

Black Forest Cupcakes
(From Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)
Yields 32
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins. With an electric mixer on high speed, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well-incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in sour cream. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and mixing until just combined after each. Divide evenly among muffin cups, and bake, rotating tins half way through, until tops are firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 20 minutes.

P.S. Spring came early this year in the Chicago area. Here are some pictures I took of the flowers that bloomed in my backyard.