Daring Bakers: Jalapeño, Bacon and Cheese Beer Bread & Blueberry Almond Streusel Bread

Oh, how I love quick breads.  They are delicious, easy and, most importantly, quick.  This month’s challenge was quite versatile and so fun.  I was able to make one loaf of savory bread to serve with dinner and then a sweet loaf a couple days later for breakfast.  Getting started on this challenge more than a day before the posting date was immensely helpful and I hope I can do the same thing next month.  But we shall see…I have a history of acknowledging how great it was to work on something and get it done early and yet still managing to go back to my old ways of procrastination.

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

This jalapeño bread was a big hit.  I made a meal of barbecued chicken, creamed corn and cole slaw (all recipes I’d never used before and all of which were flops) and then this bread.  My husband told me the bread was the best part of the meal, and he was right.  I used a sharp cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, crumbled bacon and a bottle of Shiner.  We ate it with dinner warm from the oven and the next couple of mornings toasted with butter. I’m bummed it’s all gone, so I’ll probably have to make another loaf.

Jalapeño, Bacon and Cheese Beer Bread


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. Measure and then sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the the chopped jalapeños, cheese and bacon.
  4. Pour one can of beer into the mixing bowl and mix until blended.
  5. Pour mixture into the loaf pan, then pour half of the melted butter over the top.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then pour remaining butter on top of the loaf.  Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool an additional 10 minutes.

The blueberry almond bread recipe came from Joy the Baker.  She used raspberries in her bread, and I might try that next time, or maybe a mix of berries.  I used frozen blueberries that I’d thawed out and drained, and dried as much as I could on paper towels.  I added a buttery almond streusel to the top of this bread that was so delicious, sweet and crunchy.  It might have been my favorite part of the loaf.

Blueberry Almond Streusel Bread


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cups sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Mix together all ingredients except for almonds and butter.
  2. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter pieces are mostly the size of small pebbles with some larger pieces, then mix in the almonds.  Refrigerate until ready to use.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or thawed and drained if frozen
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease and sugar a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour and sour cream. Fold in the crushed fruit and almond slivers.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, then top with streusel.  Bake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, turn right side up and cool completely.

Quick Chicken, Black Bean, Corn & Feta Tacos

These little guys come together easily with very little cooking, making them a quick, easy and tasty weeknight meal.

All you need is a rotisserie chicken, a can of black beans, a can of corn, tortillas, feta cheese, avocado, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, limes and fresh cilantro.

You can change anything about this meal to make it fit your family, the amount of time you have and the time of year.  Use flour or corn tortillas, different cheeses, cook your own black beans, use fresh corn and roast it on the grill (yum), cook your own chicken the way you like it, and you can even leave out the chicken altogether for a vegetarian taco dinner.

I found a Honey Jalapeno rotisserie chicken at HEB and it was really tasty with just the right amount of spicy kick and sweetness.  I shredded half the chicken and that made 8 generously sized tacos.  I used the rest of the chicken throughout the week for lunches.

Prep everything before beginning to assemble the tacos.  This just makes life easier, and is necessary if people are going to assemble their own.

You can use room temperature tortillas, but heating them makes the tacos much tastier.  Here are some ways you can warm tortillas.

  1. Wrap as many as 12 tortillas in paper towels that have been lightly splashed with water.
  2. Microwave on high for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Turn over stack of tortillas. Microwave 15 to 30 seconds longer or until heated thoroughly.
  1. Wrap as many as 12 tortillas in aluminum foil.
  2. Heat in 325°F oven for 20 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

This is my favorite because you can get a perfect crunchy edge if you want it.  Don’t let them get too crunchy or they will crack when you try to wrap the taco.

  1. Heat a heavy pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Warm tortillas for 15 seconds on each side or until heated thoroughly.
  3. After heating, keep wrapped in a clean dishtowel while you warm the rest.

Chicken, Black Bean, Corn and Feta Tacos


  • Shredded chicken, about 2 cups
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • salt, pepper and cumin to taste
  • 1/2 cup (or more) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced or cubed
  • diced tomatoes
  • pickled jalapenos
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 6-8 tortillas, flour or corn, warmed


  1. Combine black beans and corn in a small saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons of water.  Warm over low heat and season with salt, pepper and cumin if desired, stirring occasionally until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Warm tortillas and keep warm while prepping the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Assemble tacos: In the center of the tortilla layer chicken, then bean and corn mixture, cheese then the vegetables of your choice.  Squeeze a lime wedge over the taco if desired.

You Can Make Your Own: White Bread

This is not going to be impressive to you bread aficionados.  Who can’t make simple white bread, you ask?  Me.  That’s who.  Well, until now.  Feast your eyes on my first decent loaf of white bread.

I have only recently begun to feel more comfortable using yeast.  Pizza dough really gave me my initial confidence with trusting something to rise, and I haven’t been too afraid of it for a good while now.

However, after my first trial with making some simple white sandwich bread this past week I was yet again fooled by that tricky micro organism!  I guess I knew it was going to be a flop before I even started.  I bought a jar of yeast at the store because they were out of packets.  I thought, “Well, this is nice.  A big jar I can measure from instead of cutting open those pesky packets.”  I first opened and used the yeast a week ago in pizza dough which rose beautifully.  Then guess what I did.  I put it in the cabinet.  Because that’s where I always keep yeast.  I pulled it out this past week to make this bread and noticed a little, ok fine, a rather large, note on top of the jar that gave a simple instruction.  “Refrigerate after Opening”  Oops.  So what did I do?  I kept on working.  Mixing everything together thinking that by some miracle it would work.  Well, it didn’t.  I plopped the unrisen dough ball into the trash.  It was sad.  I hate throwing food away.

The next day I tried again with new yeast from a package.  It still didn’t rise to double its original size each time like the recipe stated it should, but the end result was a nice, slightly dense white bread of which half a loaf is gone a mere 24 hours later.  So I think I am going to work on perfecting this bread.  It is simple and yummy.  Nothing too complex about it.  It is just good white bread.  This morning we made cinnamon toast with it and it was breakfast bliss.  I think this would make excellent grilled cheese sandwiches and spectacular turkey or ham and cheese, or just simple toast with butter and jam.

This recipe comes from a Houston Junior League cookbook that my friend Megan gave me.  Thanks, Megan!  This cookbook is a lot of fun to browse through since it was originally printed in 1968.  This recipe caught my eye with its title “Old Fashioned White Bread”.  Some recipes don’t get better or improve tremendously over time, and I think basic bread it one of them.  I only changed one ingredient, I used butter instead of shortening, and I changed the instructions a bit since I have the luxury of owning a stand mixer.

If you have any great recipes for white bread, please share them!  While I loved this bread, I always love to try recipes others swear by and also would love any tips you have for bread baking.  I am just a beginner and I know that good bread bakers are made, not born.

Old Fashioned White Bread

Houston Junior League Cookbook


  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water or milk


  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine sugar, butter, salt and 2 cups lukewarm water.  Add yeast and mix.
  3. Mix in flour and run the mixer on slow speed for 2 minutes, then on medium speed for 4-5 minutes.  Dough will be sticky.
  4. Oil a large bowl and turn dough out into the bowl, turn to coat with oil.  Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
  5. Sprinkle hands with flour, punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut dough in half and shape into 2 loaves.
  6. Place dough into 2 greased loaf pans, cover and let rise for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  7. Brush loaves lightly with egg wash.  (You will not use it all.)
  8. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes until tops are lightly browned.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then completely on wire racks before cutting.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is Jacques Torres’s secret recipe!  I found it on Martha Stewart, so it’s really no big secret.  In the summer of 2010 I went to visit my sister and her family in Brooklyn.  We stopped by the Jacques Torres shop in Dumbo and we got one of these cookies.  I think these have got to be among the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.  The chocolate is in these thin layers thanks to chocolate pastilles, not chocolate chips.  You can find these online, at some grocery stores and baking shops.  This makes a huge difference. You get lots of chocolate in every single bite and it is melty, gooey and wonderful.  Pastilles are those big flat chocolate disks.  You’ve probably seen them.  They look like this.

Now, I will not claim to have duplicated the magic of Mr. Chocolate in my kitchen, but I did turn out some tasty cookies.  They would have been tastier if I’d gotten the chocolate I was supposed to get and hadn’t been distracted at HEB by Fabio.  That’s right.  Fabio from Top Chef, and me, and Carson.  We took a picture together.

I was almost done with my grocery list.  All I needed were a few more produce items and 1 pound block of the best chocolate HEB had to offer.  Then I found out Fabio was doing a cooking demo and in my haste to get everything I needed in time for Fabio, I forgot about it.  About 5 minutes after he started cooking Carson started getting pretty grumpy, so we had to check out and head home.  I had to go out later (in the pouring down rain, without an umbrella) to the store closer to us that didn’t have a great selection.  I wound up with some 60% cocoa chocolate bars, one bag of semi sweet and one of milk chocolate chips.

The recipe below is the full batch.  I made a half batch of the smaller sized cookies and wound up with somewhere around 50 larger than average size cookies.  I can’t imagine any occasion where you might possibly need to make a full batch, maybe a bake sale or if you’re making Christmas cookie plates for the neighborhood.  The half batch made a ton of cookies.

The recipe calls for pastry flour, but I used cake flour.  For the chocolate I used 8 ounces of chopped 60% cocoa chocolate, 4 ounces of semi sweet chips and 4 ounces of milk chocolate chips.  I let the dough sit overnight in the fridge.  I’ve heard that this lets the flour soak up more moisture and then there’s some scientific mumbo jumbo about letting the gluten strands relax which is said to create better texture.  Either way, these have wonderful chew, a terrific flavor and are dangerously addictive.  Be very careful if you make these and make sure to give lots of them away!

Jacques Torrres’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds Jacques Torres House (60 percent cocoa) Chocolate or other best-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.
  3. Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Valentine’s Cream Puffs

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I made these as a last minute Valentine’s dessert.  And by last minute I mean I thought about doing them last night and made them this morning.  The great thing is that they turned out!  Not in the perfect heart shape I was hoping for, but love isn’t perfect.  So, I’m going to pretend that it was intentional and I meant it as a metaphor for life.  Love isn’t always perfect, but it is delicious! 

If you haven’t made cream puffs before, you really should try it.  They aren’t that difficult or time consuming, you can fill them with a variety of tasty things, and they are impressive.  You can tell people you made pâte à choux, which sounds fancy and hard, but only because it is French.

I used a pâte à choux recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  The recipes in this cookbook are different than most, but once you read through it and see how it’s all laid out, they are actually quite easy to follow.  I retyped it below in the usual form of ingredients followed by directions.  Julia uses a side-by-side form that I really do like.  If you have the book, turn to page 175!  I had no issues with these puffs.  I made mine on the larger side, so there is some extra cooking time involved.  I’ll include directions for little and big puffs below.

You can use ice cream, whipped cream or pastry cream as a filling for your finished puffs.  The recipe I used for pastry cream was quite thin, so I couldn’t pipe the filling into the puffs like I’d planned.  Here is a good pastry cream recipe.  I cut the top off of the puff and spooned the cream into the center and placed the top back on.  This is an easier and less messy method anyway, so I’m glad I was forced to do it this way.  For a really simple dessert, just slice the puffs in half and fill with a little scoop of your favorite ice cream, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and you have profiteroles.  Again, fancy sounding but so very simple.

If you fill these with pastry cream before you plan to serve them, refrigerate the puffs and do not dust with powdered sugar.  Dust with sugar and drizzle with chocolate right before serving.  If you’re using ice cream or whipped cream, fill right before serving.  Enjoy!

Piped Puffs
Center of Cooked Puff
Baked Puffs
All of these hearts are a little different (and some don’t even look like hearts at all!)
Filling the Puffs with Pastry Cream

Pâte À Choux


  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg beaten with 1/2 teaspoon of water for glazing the puffs


  1. In a heavy 1 1/2 quart saucepan, bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a low boil, stirring, until butter is completely melted.
  2. Remove from the heat and immediately add all the flour.  Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly.  Then beat over moderately high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until mixture pulls from the sides of the pan, forms a mass, and begins to leave a film on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Remove pan from heat and make a well in the center of the paste with your spoon.  Break an egg into the center and beat it into the paste for several seconds until it has absorbed.  Continue with the rest of the eggs, one at a time.  The third and fourth eggs will be absorbed more slowly.  Beat for a moment more to be sure it is well blended and smooth.
For the hearts (10-12 puffs)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F and set oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  2. Fill a pastry bag (or ziploc) with a 3/4 inch diameter tip (or cut an opening in your bag) with the choux paste.
  3. Pipe the outline of a heart onto the pans lined with parchment, then fill in the center.  Hearts should be about 2 inches in diameter and no more than 3/4 inch high in the center.  Space them about 2 inches apart.
  4. Dip pastry brush in the beaten egg and water, letting the excess drip off.  Slightly flatten the top of each puff with the side of your brush.  Be careful not to let the egg drip down the sides, or the puff will not rise as high.
  5. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Then, reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.  Puffs will be golden brown, and firm and crusty to the touch.  Turn off the oven.
  6. Remove from the oven and cut a 1-inch slit in the side of each puff.  Return pans to the oven and let sit for 10 minutes with door ajar.
  7. Test one puff by opening it and making sure the center is not wet or uncooked.  If it is, remove the uncooked portion from that and all the other puffs.  Allow the puffs to cool completely on wire racks.

For small puffs (35-40 puffs):

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and set oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  2. Fill pastry bag (or ziploc) with a 1/2 inch diameter tip (or cut an opening in your bag) with the choux paste.
  3. Squeeze the paste onto baking sheets lined with parchment, making circular mounds about 1 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch high, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  4. Dip pastry brush in the beaten egg and water, letting the excess drip off.  Slightly flatten the top of each puff with the side of your brush.  Be careful not to let the egg drip down the sides, or the puff will not rise as high.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until puffs are golden brown, firm and crusty to the touch.  Remove from the oven, pierce the side of each with a knife.  Turn off the oven.  Set back in the oven for 10 minutes with the door ajar.  Then cool puffs completely on a wire rack.

Pea and Avocado Guacamole

Who would have thought?  Peas.  And, to shock you even more, it was GOOD.  And not just so-so, but really, really good.  Like I finished it off by scraping the sides of the bowl.  That kind of good.  And you still feel good because at least half of the bulk of this guacamole is pureed green peas and not high fat (even though it is good fat) avocado.

I made this for a Superbowl party.  It was a small gathering and we probably didn’t need any snacks along with our pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, baked beans, fruit salad and cookies.  But it was the Superbowl, and for some reason that has become an excuse for Americans to stuff themselves silly.  I made a compromise with myself to still have guacamole, but to make it a little healthier.  I don’t know where I originally saw this idea.  Maybe Pinterest?  I found many recipes, some using peas and avocado, some using all peas and no avocado.  I decided a combination would be more like the original and therefore more likely to fool people.

I love cilantro.  If you don’t so much, use less.  Same with the jalapeno, but I didn’t find the amount I used below to be too much.  As with all guacamole, taste as you go and adjust your seasonings accordingly. I like to taste test on what I’ll be serving with the dip.  Since I was serving this with tortilla chips, I probably used less salt than if I was serving it with crudites.  Enjoy!

Pea and Avocado Gaucamole


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 10-ounce bag of frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup finely minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes (I used about 15 quartered cherry tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • dash of garlic powder (or use finely minced fresh garlic to taste)


  1. Puree peas in food processor until smooth.
  2. In a bowl, mash avocado with peas.  Stir in onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and tomatoes.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic.  Taste and adjust.
  4. Serve immediately or cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Buttery Pie Crust (Pate Brisee) and Ham & Cheese Quiche

This is one of the first things you will see as you start preparing this pie crust.  2 whole sticks of pure and lovely butter.  So you know it’s gotta be good.

There is nothing at all wrong with buying your pie dough.  I do it all the time.  Those twin packs of Pillsbury pie dough are convenient and really tasty.  However, if you can find the time to make pie dough from scratch, it is well worth it.  The great thing about this particular recipe is that it makes enough for a double crusted pie so you can use one now and keep the other in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Since I was going to make quiche with this pie crust, I had to blind bake it.  I hate blind baking.  I always feel like my efforts to make an attractive edge are futile.  After putting the dough in the pie plate you have to put in and take out the foil and pie weights which inevitably causes some part of the edge to get bumped.  I am not good at this.  This time I also had a little trouble with the crust sliding down from the top of the plate during baking, so I had to squish the still pliable dough back up to the top of the plate.  After searching a little on this issue I learned that a quick rest in the freezer would have kept it from losing as much of its shape during the blind baking.  An obvious thing that I probably should have known to do, but didn’t.   Even though this crust was far from the prettiest it was delicious.

Thanks to the generous amount of butter, this crust is absolutely delicious.  You just cannot beat the flavor of butter.  The crust is also slightly flaky and the layers just melt in your mouth.  A mix of butter and shortening is supposed to yield a more flaky dough, so I will have to try that sometime.  The dough comes together quickly in a food processor, but you can also use a pastry blender.  It rolls out easily, but do make sure you dust your surface and rolling pin with flour as you’re rolling.  After a few rolls make sure you pick up your dough and rotate it 90 degrees.  I have the tendency to roll with more pressure when the pin is closest to me and less pressure when it is far away.  So rotating the dough not only helps with sticking, but also with keeping your dough an even thickness.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.

Pâte Brisée


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water, more if needed
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (Or use a pastry blender to combine ingredients.)
  2. With machine running, add ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough comes together without being wet or sticky.  Do not process more than 30 seconds.  Dough should hold together and not be crumbly.  Add 1 tablespoon more of water if it is crumbly.
  3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface.  Divide in half, place each on a piece of plastic wrap.  Shape into flattened disks and wrap in the plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.  Place your pie plate on the dough and make sure you have about 2 inches excess all around.  Roll dough onto pin, then unroll into pie plate.
I searched for a healthier quiche just to kind of balance things out since I was using an all butter pie crust!  I found some that used skim milk, but we all know how well those things usually turn out.  Bad.  That’s how.  So I kept looking and found some that used non-fat evaporated milk.  So I decided to combine some 2% milk with some evaporated milk.  I also noticed many recipes that used whole eggs and egg whites.  So I used 3 whole and 3 whites.  The resulting texture was different than the usual whole egg and all milk quiches I have made, but it wasn’t weird.  The flavor was quite good and we finished the quiche off in 3 days.  Feel free to use any meat you have, any cheese, and any vegetables.  Quiche is good for emptying the fridge.  Pardon this bad picture!  Still documenting food with the iPhone and it is getting old.  I miss my camera.

Ham & Cheese Quiche


  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup non-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Blind bake the pie crust for 7 minutes, then remove the pie weights, (rice, beans, etc.) and bake for an additional 4 minutes.
  3. Whisk eggs, whites, milk, salt and pepper until foamy.
  4. Stir in ham, cheese and scallions.
  5. Pour filling into pie crust and bake for 35-45 minutes.  Center can be slightly jiggly, but bake for the longer time if you want a firmer texture.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.


Brown Butter Icebox Cookies

As often happens to me these days, I had the urge to bake, but not much to work with.  But if you have butter (and flour and sugar), you have everything you need!  I’ve expressed my love of brown butter before.  Brown butter has this nutty wonderful flavor and can transform a baked good or even a vegetable dish like these brussels sprouts.  Brown butter can turn something that is just so-so into something spectacular.

This shortbread-like cookie recipe comes from Gourmet.  Here is the link.  I didn’t change a thing about this recipe.  The resulting cookies were so deliciously buttery, crunchy, sweet and just the perfect touch salty.  I’m sad that they are almost gone.

The only tricky thing is browning the butter without burning it.  Just keep the heat moderate, stir consistently and take the pot off the heat when you start to get more and more browned bits.  Once the bits begin to brown the process speeds up, so watch it closely.  Just don’t let it burn or you’ll have to start over.  After you’ve browned the butter, let it cool in the fridge until it is solid, mine took about an hour and a half.  It doesn’t have to be hard like the stick of butter you took from the fridge, just not liquidy.  Does that make sense?

I liked the crunchy sugar on the edges of the cookies, but if you don’t have raw sugar on hand you can leave it out.  If you are going to use the sugar, cut about 1/3 of the log of raw dough, roll it in the sugar, pressing firmly.  Then slice into pieces for baking.  I found it was easier to roll parts of the log instead of the whole thing.  While a batch is baking, keep the rest of the dough refrigerated so it remains easy to slice.

Brown Butter Ice Box Cookies

From Gourmet.com


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar


  1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has a nutty fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer butter to a bowl and chill until just firm, about an hour and a half.
  2. Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then mix in flour and salt at low speed until just combined. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper or parchment and form into a 12-inch log, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Roll dough in raw sugar.  Slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, arranging 1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until surface is dry and edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.