Monday, February 21, 2011

Milk and Cookies and Milk


Here’s a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen that I wanted to share with you. It’s for Lactation Cookies. These cookies include ingredients said to increase the nursing mom’s milk supply.

Peaceful Parenting has a nice post telling you about the benefits of oatmeal, flax and yeast in increasing milk supply. Check it out here.

I thought these were some pretty yummy cookies. I diverged from the original recipe by using margarine instead of butter, adding more chocolate chips and because I didn’t have fresh yeast I used 1 1/2 tablespoons dried yeast. I also think that because of the effect the flax has on the finished cookie, these are best on the crispy side. I left them in the oven a little longer to do this, and probably the margarine helped them spread well too. You can store these in a plastic freezer bag. Take one out of the freezer and microwave about 10 seconds before enjoying. Eat at least 1 a day for the milk increasing benefits.

Here’s where you can find the recipe. Of course, if you’re concerned about your milk supply, finding a good Lactation Consultant and/or a breastfeeding support group will be very important. A Lactation Consultant will make sure your baby is getting a proper latch, getting enough milk, and can help with other nursing troubles too.

StarIf you have other family members jealous of your special cookies, by all means share! You don’t have to worry about your husband or children spontaneously lactating. They can benefit from these healthful ingredients too!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dessert Wars: Dark Chocolate and Hearts

Dessert Wars: February's Theme

Dark Chocolate and Hearts is this month’s challenge for Dessert Wars. Dark Chocolate is quite possibly my favorite food. So it broke my heart when during my pregnancy with Sophie I had a food aversion to chocolate. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t get enough of pinto beans of all things, but chocolate? No thank you! Weird huh?

I can think of several really easy ways to use dark chocolate and hearts, but since the reason to compete in Dessert Wars is to “step outside your comfort zone, push yourself in the kitchen to learn new skills and get your creative juices flowing,” I decided to attempt something I have on my Foodie To Do List. That is to work with laminated dough. Even if you don’t know what laminated dough is, you’re certainly familiar with it if you’ve ever had a croissant, Danish or anything made with puff pastry.

Lamination is achieved by spreading butter over rolled out dough, folding and rolling out again. This rolling and folding process is repeated until the dough has many layers. The butter in between these layers of dough create the flakiness and lift in the baked dough. And it sure makes it yummy too! There’s only one way to make it any better, that’s right, add chocolate…and hearts! I’m making Pain au Chocolat, you can join me every step of the way or just scroll down and see the pictures.

By the way, I love the name Pain au Chocolat. French names sound so fancy, but translated it just means chocolate bread. I think I’ll start naming everything in French. How do you say peanut butter and jelly sandwich in French?

Pain au Chocolat

Makes 20-24

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen

Détrempe (Dough Mixture) Ingredients
1/2 cup warm whole milk (110-115 degrees)
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup cold whole milk
Beurrage (Butter Mixture) Ingredients
3 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Other Ingredients
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1-2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
or 24-48
chocolat batons for filling the rolls
Writing Chocolate, optional (click for recipe)

Step 1 Make the détrempe: Whisk together the warm milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix in the yeast and leave until the yeast is activated, around 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to bubble and grow. In a large bowl add the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using forks or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add the yeast and cup of milk and stir together with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Lightly flour your counter and knead the dough until it comes together a little bit more. Don’t knead too much because there will be a lot of rolling and folding done to the dough later. Wrap the dough in plastic cling, but not too tight since there is yeast in the dough it will expand. Refrigerate for at least a half hour or up to an hour.

Step 2 Make the Beurrage: Toss the butter with the flour and stick back in the fridge for 20 minutes. Using a mixer, beat the butter with a medium speed until all the butter is smooth and pliable. It must stay cold too! Wrap the butter in plastic cling and refrigerate until needed.

Step 3 Incorporating the Beurrage with the Détrempe: Lightly flour the counter. Place dough on the counter and lightly dust the top. Roll the dough into a tall rectangle measuring 15x12 inches. Try to make the edges straight and the corners sharp. You can gently stretch the dough to achieve this. Brush off the extra flour. (Extra flour will make for a very dry, tough dough so remember this throughout the whole process.) With your eyes, divide the dough into thirds as if each third was a section of a folded letter. Using your fingers, spread the butter over the top two thirds of the dough, leaving a half inch border around the outside of the dough.


Step 4 Using the Letter Fold: Fold the bottom third of dough over the middle third of dough as if you were folding a letter. The empty bottom third of dough will be resting over the butter of the middle third. Finish the letter fold by folding the top third down. Very lightly pinch the seams together and carefully roll your rolling pin over the dough to seal the seams. As long as your butter is still cold, you may proceed with the next step. If not, wrap the dough in plastic cling and return to the refrigerator for an hour.

Step 5 Using the Book Fold: Lightly flour the counter. Place dough on the counter and lightly dust the top. Roll the dough into a tall rectangle measuring 20x12 inches. Dust off extra flour. Fold the two short sides of the dough into the middle leaving a space of 1/4 inch between the two. Then fold both sides together like folding a book. Roll the dough gently to seal the seams. Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 6 Another Letter Fold: Lightly flour the counter. Place dough on the counter and lightly dust the top. Roll the dough into a tall rectangle measuring 20x12 inches. Dust off extra flour. Fold the dough using the letter fold. Gently roll to seal edges. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours. You could freeze for up to a month instead.

*This is a really good place to stop for the day. That’s what I did.

Step 7 Cutting and Shaping the Dough: Flour your counter then roll out the dough to a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick, about 26x14 inches. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough in to 3 1/2 in. x 4 1/2 in. rectangles. For each rectangle, do the following: visually divide the rectangle into thirds as you did with the letter fold before. Place a half tablespoon of chocolate on the top third and fold the top third over the chocolate to the middle. Place another half tablespoon of chocolate where the top third meets the middle and fold the bottom third over the chocolate. Turn the roll over so that the seam is on the bottom.

*The rolls can be frozen at this point. Just cover tightly with plastic cling and freeze for up to a week. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before moving on to step 8.

Step 8 Egg Wash and Proof: In a small bowl, beat the egg and then add the tablespoon of milk. Brush each roll with the egg wash. Save the egg wash in the fridge. Set the rolls in a cool spot in your kitchen to double in size for 1-2 hours. Don’t let them get warm!

Step 9 Baking: Move your oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Put the rolls in the refrigerator until the oven is preheated, at least 15 minutes. (You could leave them in the freezer for 10.) Brush again with the egg wash. Bake for 17-22 minutes turning the pan halfway through. You know their done when they are a rich golden brown. Allow the rolls to the rest on a cooling rack before devouring. Drizzle with writing chocolate or pipe decorations.


*Baked rolls will only last one day, but you must keep them unwrapped. To keep longer, wrap each pain well with plastic then put them all together in a large freezer bag. They can hibernate in your freezer for up to a month! Then just thaw them for about 30 minutes then bake them for 7-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Now I know there’s a lot to do here, but nothing is very difficult. I think the hardest thing for me was rolling out the cold dough. As far as it being time consuming, yeah, it takes a lot of time, but most of that is spent in the fridge. Trust me, if I can find the time to do this with a infant and a toddler, then with a little planning probably anyone can. Just make sure you read the instructions really well before you start.

I definitely recommend finding the chocolat batons to use. They should make things easier. I couldn’t find the chocolate that I really wanted to use, so I just used semisweet chocolate chips. Instead of keeping them whole and lining them up on the dough, I tried to chop them in my food processor and it chopped them too fine. It was a mess. So keep that in mind. But I will definitely order some batons for next time. Nevertheless, these were amazing! I will make these again many times.


GREAT NEWS!!! I won this round. Check this post for more info.

Congratulations to January’s Dessert Warrior

Heather of Girlichef who made

Fried Nutella Ravioli.

Congrats also to January's Runner Up

Xiaolu of 6 Bittersweets

who made


Chocolate Nutella Alfajores

Click here to see the January Round-Up.

The February prize package includes:

Whisk and cupcake necklace from Moon & Star Designs

The Smartshopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer

Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans

Lenox Personalized Musical Cupcake

1,000 ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes

Endless Vanilla and Cinnamon Extract

Unlimited Layers: A Recipe for Turning Your Passion into Profits

Organic Valley $50 Gift Certificate

Organic Prairie $50 Gift Certificate

Theme Kitchen $50 Gift Certificate

BEKA Cookware Crepe Pan

Click here to see the Dessert Wars rules.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good Gravy

Saturday mornings at Nana's means eggs, sausage, bacon, apple butter, biscuits and gravy. I have eaten this all my life. You know you better hurry and get up when you smell the bacon cooking, because you don’t want to miss this!

In my attempt to conquer all of Nana’s recipes, I had to make her Gravy for Biscuits. I tried to learn to make this once, but that was before Nana had figured out the ingredient amounts. “Add a little flour, add a bowl full of milk,” It just wasn’t anything I could replicate without her guidance. But now she has the recipe figured out.

Nana's Gravy for Biscuits

  • 4 tablespoons fat drippings from bacon or sausage
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine fat and flour in an iron skillet on medium-high heat and stir well until lumps are gone and mixture is nice and brown.

Add milk and salt and stir until thick. If it gets too hot it will start to foam, so turn it down a little and continue until thick. (Nana’s gravy is neither too thick nor too thin. It’s just right!)

Serve on top of your favorite biscuits!

* Nana’s Note: “I always make a double batch for our crowd.”

*My Note: Use the skillet you just cooked the meat in and be sure to scrape up all the flavorful bits still stuck to the skillet once you add the milk.

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Claude’s Chocolate

If you ever visit St. Augustine, FL there is a list of things you need to see and do:

  1. Watch a weapons demonstration at the Castillo de San Marcos.
  2. Climb to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse
  3. A Ghostly Experience Walking Tour- If not for the ghosts, then for the history!
  4. A full circuit on the Trolley Tour.
  5. Tour Flagler College to see the beautiful work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
  6. Buy as much chocolate from Claude’s Chocolate as you can!! Then refuse to share.

Claude’s Chocolate is a European style chocolate shop. These chocolates are made with the finest ingredients and without artificial additives or preservatives.

Claude’s has a selection of chocolate bars in milk, white and dark chocolates, some with nuts. There is a variety of items dipped in chocolate like nuts, fruits and pretzels. They also have hot chocolate and sugar free chocolates.

But the main attractions are the bonbons and truffles; gorgeous, gorgeous truffles. My parents recently visited St. Augustine, and my request was a box of chocolates from Claude’s.


Oooooh! I’m so ready for this!


How beautiful are these?


Pardon me, I just need a moment.

Feel free to look at all the different chocolates HERE. We’ve decided that Earl Grey is our favorite. But it was soooo hard to decide.

You don’t have to wait for a trip to St. Augustine to experience Claude’s Chocolate. They ship!! Check out their website, there’s plenty of time to order something special for your Valentine.