Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reindeer Cookies….perfect for baking with kids!

I had the privilege of baking these tasty cookies with my talented cousins! They are such wonderful little bakers….take a look for yourself!

 It’s the perfect cookie to bake to get the holidays started!

 In order to make these cookies, you must first create the simple cookie dough

Next, its time to assemble these darling Reindeer Cookies
Make a large and small circle out of the dough to create the face of the reindeer
Add the antlers by placing the pretzels on the larger circle of dough
Add M&M's to create the eyes and the nose
 Kids can easily assemble the reindeer face!
ready to be baked...
The kids are happy to be putting them in the oven-the quicker they bake the quicker they can eat them!
Baked and ready to be enjoyed!

Time to enjoy this kid-made treat!
Reindeer Cookies 
Author: Brenna Bowers
Serving: about 20
Ingredients for the Cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda

Extra Ingredients for the Cookies
Small Pretzels
M &M’s

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well mixed. Add in dry ingredients and mix completely just until combined.

Spoon out a 1 ½ Tbs scoop of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Slightly flatten the dough to about ¼” thickens and place on a greased cookie sheet. Spoon out a ½ Tbs scoop of cookie dough and roll this into a ball and flatten to about ¼” and place the corner on the large flattened circle of dough.
On the larger circle of dough, place two pretzels about 1” apart to create the “antlers”. Place two M &M’s as the eyes on the larger circle of dough under the antlers and one M &M as the nose for each reindeer cookie.
 Repeat this process until all the dough is gone.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. (You will have  placed the m&m's and pretzels on before baking- so when you pull them from the oven they are ready to eat!)
Enjoy these cookies with a glass of milk- just as Santa would do!

Brenna's disclosure:
I learned an important lesson- watch those kiddos closley as they will keep dipping their little fingers into the yummy dough ending up with a BELLY ACHE!
I caught him red-handed; not once but 6 times!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Inspired Muffins...

The smell of sweet spices, pumpkin, and apples wafted through my apartment as the perfect day began with baking muffins for breakfast. 

Streusel and Spice Pumpkin Apple Muffins
A moist muffin with a strong flavor of pumpkin and hint of apple…delicious!
Author: Brenna Bowers
Makes: 18 muffins

Muffin Batter and Streusel Topping 

Batter is ready, time to fill the muffin cups...

 Filled two-thirds full, Generously add the crumble topping

 Before baking...

 After baking!
 The Finished product!!!

Streusel and Spice Pumpkin Apple Muffins
A moist muffin with a strong flavor of pumpkin and hint of apple…delicious!
Author: Brenna Bowers
Makes: 18 muffins

1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups of canned pumpkin
½ cup vegetable oil (3 oz)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces (1 large apple)

Streusel Topping:
4 Tbs flour

8 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces


For the muffins, in a large bowl, combine and sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until just combined (Tip 1). Fold in apple pieces (Tip 2).

For the streusel topping, in a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter pieces in with a fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Fill a muffin tin with muffin cups and then spoon in the batter (about two-thirds full) and sprinkle generously with the streusel topping mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes * or until a toothpick insert comes out clean.

Tip 1: You never want to over-mix muffin batter. If you stir too much, the muffins will not rise properly coming out rather flat and unrisen. Stir just enough to combine the dry and wet ingredients and incorporate all the ingredients and then place the batter into the muffin cups.

Tip 2: “Folding” ingredients means you are using a spatula to just turn the batter so the apples get dispersed in the batter but you are not using a stirring motion. The purpose is to keep the structure of the batter without over beating.

*There is nothing worse than dry muffins so if you are not sure if they are done, if anything pull them from the oven. I say Gooey is always better than dry and crumbly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Focaccia and Vinaigrette Cooking Class with Chef Brenna Bowers...

I was asked to be the special Chef Host for a College Cooking class offered at PLNU for the college students, November 12, 2010.
I had the privileged of teaching twelve lovely women how to make... 

Homemade Rosemary Focaccia and a Tangy Vinaigrette Dressing 

Beginning to make the Rosemary Focaccia Dough

The necessary ingredients for the Focaccia and the Menu

Chopping the Fresh Rosemary (Left), Making a "well" to add the wet ingredients to the dry (Right)

Kneading and forming the Focaccia
Adding fresh Rosemary to add a wonderful flavor

Drizzling olive oil and sprinkling with Sea Salt right before baking it
I get to explain the baking process and the finishing touches of the bread.
 The Focaccia was placed into the oven and in the mean time I began to teach about the vinaigrette.
Students worked in pairs to make their dressings and taste-test of course!

The finishing touches to the perfect Vinaigrette

Just as we finished up the dressings, the Focaccia bread was ready to be pulled from the oven.

Then came dinner time, time to taste and eat!

Fabulous! Nothing quite like it!

Overall a wonderful class an opportunity for me to share my passion of cooking with others!