Homemade English Muffins

August 20, 2012 20:45 by Suzy

With all of the yummy homemade jam goodness around the Suzy and JD household lately, we've been addicted to English Muffins.  For whatever reason those crumbly round muffins are the perfect vehicle for gobbling up said jam.  Unfortunately, store-bought "nooks and crannies" don't come cheap, so I started wondering about making them from scratch.  I had never seen a recipe, nor had I known anyone who made homemade English Muffins, but a quick search on Google and I was in business.

Many recipes did not look promising...the finished muffins looked more like biscuits.  Others looked like hockey pucks and just as dense.  Then I found this recipe at She Simmers and Eureka!  She was looking for the same perfect English Muffins that I was, and she found and honed the recipe it so all I had to do was follow along.  Perfection.

English Muffins
adapted from She Simmers, who adapted a recipe from Alton Brown

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon sugar, divded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening, melted
1 cup hot water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine nonfat dry milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, shortening, 1 cup hot water in large bowl and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

In smaller bowl, combine yeast, 1/8 teaspoon sugar, and 1/3 cup warm water.  Set aside until yeast is creamy and bubbly.

Pour yeast mixture into milk mixture and add flour.  Beat with wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.  Cover and let rest in warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat nonstick plan over medium-low heat.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.  

Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda into the batter.  Place English Muffin rings in pan and spray with nonstick spray.  Before you ask, no, I don't have those either.  Another Google search gave me a sneaky work-around:  I folded heavy-duty foil into a strip, one quick staple and bam!  Instant English Muffin ring!  You can also use empty tuna cans with the tops and bottoms removed.

Using an ice cream scoop or large ladle, scoop batter into each ring.  Cover pan with lid or cookie sheet and let cook 5-6 minutes.  Remove the lid and flip each muffin, still in the rings, with spatula.  Cover them up again and cook 5-6 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.

Let cool completely before splitting.

Tin Roof Sundae ice Cream

August 13, 2012 19:01 by Suzy

Does anyone else think of the "Tiiiiiiin...Roof!  Rusted." line from "Love Shack" when you see this ice cream at the store?  Just me?  Oh well.

When it comes to ice cream at home, we usually have a stash of Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs pints in the freezer.  This past year, however, I've been trying to keep the food bill down, so I started buying Turkey Hill's Tin Roof Sundae ice cream for our occasional dessert treat.  It's not B&J's Chocolate Fudge Brownie, but it's actually quite good...with a nice ribbon of fudge and a hit of salty from the peanuts.

After the roaring success of my Coffee Ice Cream, I bought myself a copy of "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz to continue with my ice cream adventures.  I never would have thought to make homemade Tin Roof ice cream, but there it was!  I couldn't resist...

Honestly, I think this is one of my favorite things EVER to be featured on Suzy's Goodies.  Incredibly smooth and creamy with the perfect mix of rich fudge and salty peanuts.  JD said I out-did myself.  I must agree.  I'm also going to add the fudge ripple to almost anything that comes out of my ice cream maker...if I don't guzzle it straight first.

Tin Roof Sundae Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop

3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fudge Ripple:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate-Covered Peanuts:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup roasted, lightly salted peanuts

Make Custard:  Combine the milk, sugar, salt and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until hot and steamy but not boiling.  Add the vanilla bean paste, stir and remove from heat.  Cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.

Place remaining cup of cream in medium bowl set in an ice water bath.  Beat egg yolks in another bowl.  Return the saucepan to medium heat and again cook, stirring, until hot and steamy.  Slowly pour hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly so the eggs do not scramble.  Pour egg yolk/milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until custard thickens and coats the back of a spatula (run your finger across the spatula and it should leave a clear path).  Pour custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of cream and stir until cool.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Chill, tightly covered, in fridge until very cold.

Make Fudge Ripple:  Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and cocoa powder in small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it starts to boil.  Keep at a low boil, whisking, for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Let cool, then cover and chill in fridge until very cold.

Make Chocolate-Covered Peanuts:  Line dinner plate with plastic wrap.  Place chocolate in dry microwave-safe bowl.  Heat chocolate in microwave, stirring every 15-30 seconds, until melted.  Add peanuts and stir until evenly coated.  Pour onto plastic-lined plate and spread out in an even layer.  Chill in fridge until cool, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Make the ice cream:  Churn custard in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  When finished, fold in chocolate-covered peanuts.  Layer ice cream in storage container with spoonfuls of the fudge ripple (you probably won't use it all).  Don't stir or you won't get the "ribbon" effect.  Cover tightly and freeze until firm.  


Pull-Apart Buttery Dinner Rolls

August 6, 2012 18:55 by Suzy


***this is all that was left of the pan after JD and I got a hold of it***

I went into the weekend with a craving for homemade bread of some sort, but didn't have a specific recipe in mind.  We're still in the swampy-hot days of summer so I knew I didn't want to go crazy and have the oven on for a huge amount of time.  Enter these rolls.  Holy crap they were good.  Think traditional holiday dinner rolls but a million times better...soft and fluffy and just a bit sweet.  JD and I devoured nearly an entire pan of them for dinner...we'd had a late lunch so hot buttery carbs were all we needed Yum.

Pull-Apart Buttery Dinner Rolls
adapted from King Arthur Flour

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1-2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing

Combine all ingredients in mixer bowl and knead with dough hook until soft, smooth and a bit sticky...about 7 minutes.  Place dough in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.

Grease two 8" round cake pans.  Gently deflate dough and divide into 16 equal pieces (divide in half, then in half again, and so on...).  Shape each piece of dough into a round ball and place into cake pans, 8 pieces evenly spaced in each pan.  Cover pans and let rise again for 60-90 minutes, or until the rolls are puffy and crowded up against each other.  Towards the end of rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake rolls at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes, or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter and serve warm.

Blackberry Jam

August 5, 2012 12:43 by Suzy

I'm in mourning.  I had such high hopes for homemade apricot jam this summer.  Apparently I completely missed apricot season...I had no idea their season was so early, or so short!  Apricot jam has always been my favorite, and here in my first year of making jam I completely miss out.  Sucks.

I've been trying to console myself with my peach jam, which is incredibly delicious (seriously, you need to make some!) and then with this blackberry jam.  My batch turned out a little thick but still very good.  Next time I will trust my instincts and not the candy thermometer and take the pot off the heat a bit earlier.

Blackberry Jam
adapted from Food in Jars

6 cups blackberry puree (press fresh blackberries through fine mesh strainer)
4 cups sugar
zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 packet liquid pectin

Prepare jars:  wash pint or half-pint jars and rings in hot soapy water, rinse and set aside.  Put lids in small saucepan of water and bring to a simmer (do not boil).  Keep lids in saucepan over low heat.

Prepare canner:  put rack in bottom of canner or large pot and place clean jars on rack.  Fill canner with water and bring to a boil.

Combine blackberry pulp and sugar in large heavy pot and bring to a boil.  Add lemon zest and juice and continue to boil, stirring, until thickened.  Stir in liquid pectin, return to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Remove jars from boiling water.  Carefully fill jars with jam, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Wipe rims with damp paper towel and apply lids and rings.

Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Remove from canner and let cool on towel-lined countertop.  When cool, check seals and store in cool, dark place for up to 1 year.