Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chicken & Onion Paprika

This recipe does not pretend to be authentic in any way, but it was pretty tasty and paired well with the Lithuanian rye bread my husband brought home from the bakery today.

I made it up as I went along; no actual measuring took place--generally I eyeball stuff like this.

Next time I'm adding more onion to this--it was the best part!


1 TBL olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
1 onion, sliced thin
1 heaping TBL minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, or 2 to 3 diced plum tomatoes
1 TBL Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Brown chicken on both sides, then remove from pan and cook onions on high heat until they begin to brown. Lower the heat and add garlic to the pan. Cook 2 minutes, then return chicken to pan and add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Serve over noodles.

Science-Fair Success!

Although our first shot at a science-fair experiment was by no means a waste, we did have to redo the recipe with the correct proportions of ingredients. That meant we'd have to make more chocolate-chip cookies. (It's a tough job...)

The original cookie recipe came from My Kitchen Escapades. I cut the recipe in half, and we used baking powder in one batch and baking soda in the other. We used the same size cookie scoop, baked for the same amount of time, and measured the cookies after they baked and cooled.

Here's the recipe as Little Brother made it. Today, he had help from a friend who was visiting. I supervised and underwrote the cost of the ingredients. And I'm not letting him know that I'm reporting on his science-fair project here! He has to write his OWN report for school.

(makes about 2 1/2 dozen)

1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp (baking soda OR baking powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Melt butter in saucepan.
2. Stir in both kinds of sugar.
3. Let cool 5 minutes.
4. Stir in egg and vanilla.
5. Stir in flour, baking soda OR baking powder, and salt.
6. Make sure dough is cool.
7. Stir in chocolate chips.
8. Measure scoops of dough onto baking sheet.
9. Bake 9 minutes at 350.
10. Allow to cool on pan at least 5 minutes before removing to rack.

The hypothesis was correct! The baking-powder cookies remained tall and puffy, while the baking-soda cookies spread a little more, so they were wider and flatter. Both cookies were delicious; it's just a question of the shape and texture you prefer.

Little Brother measured the cookies after they baked and cooled. The baking-powder cookies averaged 1 inch tall and 1 3/4 inches wide. The baking-soda cookies averaged 1/2-inch tall and 2 1/2 inches wide.

Personally, I preferred the cookies with baking soda. I like a cookie with a crispy outside and chewy inside. The baking-powder cookies were softer and puffier.
The proof is in the cookie!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kitchen Experiments: Brownie-Chip Cookie Bars

This recipe was born of a science-fair experiment gone wrong, plus a taste-test of a "make-your-own" brownie mix. Put it all together and you get one delicious treat for the chocoholic in your household.

Here's the story behind the mistake:  Little Brother and I were making cookies for his science-fair project. Yes, his science-fair project involves baking cookies! He is testing to see the difference in the finished product when using baking powder versus baking soda. I have him using the Saucepan M&M Cookies from My Kitchen Escapades because the batter is mixed in a saucepan and is very easy to work with. Plus, the cookies come out really good. We think that using baking soda in these cookies instead of the baking powder called for in the recipe will result in a flatter, wider cookie. But that's a story for another day.

I helped Little Brother get all set up in the kitchen, and I was guiding him through the recipe. But it had been a busy day, and I was really tired, and I just wasn't thinking about the fact that 1 stick butter is NOT equal to 1 cup butter. No wonder the batter was a little dry, and hard to mix. The cookies tasted good, though, and I thought they'd be a great base for a combination dessert. The recipe below contains the amount of butter I used in this dessert. If you want the original recipe for cookie-making purposes (and I highly recommend that you try these) then visit My Kitchen Escapades.

1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add both sugars. Stir until smooth and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, then add dry ingredients and stir until blended. Wait until batter is completely cool before adding in the chocolate chips.

BROWNIE MIX from Lindsey's Kitchen (this is a great recipe to substitute for boxed brownie mix.)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, oil and vanilla and stir until just blended.


Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9-inch square baking pan (I lined it with Reynolds Release foil.) Pat cookie batter into bottom of pan until the entire bottom of the pan is lined in cookie batter. Pour brownie batter over the top.

Cover the entire cookie layer with brownie batter.
Bake between 28 and 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then lift the foil from the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

For St. Patrick's Day: Irish Tea Brack

I like Irish soda bread as much as the next Irish girl, but the recipe I use makes a LOT of soda bread. I tried this recipe today, since I wanted to bake in a smaller quantity. It's based on a recipe from Georgina Campbell's book Classic Irish Recipes (Sterling Publishing, 1992). It is a "soda bread" but unlike the traditional soda bread, the liquid in the recipe comes from tea. Here's the recipe as I made it.


1/2 cup strong black tea
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup raisins
1 TBL orange zest
1 TBL lemon zest
4 TBL butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used Penzey's Baking Spice instead)
pinch of salt

Mix tea, sugar and raisins in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool. This can be done well in advance.
Grease a 2-quart round glass baking dish and line the bottom with waxed paper. Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl, combine tea mixture with citrus zest, butter and egg. Add dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Turn into prepared pan.
Bake 50 minutes or until firm to the touch. A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle will come out clean.
Cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack.


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