Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cookbooks that will make you fat but you won't care because YUM

I have a lot of cook books. Having lived through omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan phases in my life, I have accumulated an awesome array of cookbooks, some of which I have never opened, and some of which include recipes so loved that they will automatically open to the right page. 

Now, it is well known to my friends that my two favorite treats in the whole world are pie and muffins. And it is less well known that my husband's two favorite things in the whole world are ice cream and breakfast. It doesn't matter what time that man wakes up, he eats breakfast. Awake at noon? Pancakes it is. He repeats "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" but I think he doesn't get that it means you're supposed to eat when you wake up, not that you're supposed to make waffles.  I love him anyway, and I gladly eat the breakfast when he makes it, so it's all good.

Soon after we were married, I discovered the most amazing boxed set of books there ever was. It was made for our household. It was incredible! It was:

Williams-Sonoma Boxed Set: Ice Cream, Pie and Tart, Muffins, and Breakfast

I have no link. They don't make it anymore. But you can get the individual books, which is good. 

I admit it. I have been having a love affair with these cook books since we bought them. We don't use the books all the time. Our ice cream maker and thus the Ice Cream book got the most use early in our marriage, until I gained 30 pounds and had no idea where they came from. Then we put that one away for a while. Each of the other books has one or two recipes that we can't live without. I am sure that we will eventually make nearly everything in the books. We have yet to come across a bad recipe in one of these books. Really.

Why am I talking about this now? Well, I just had leftover home fries for lunch and I couldn't stop thinking about them. From the Breakfast cookbook, these home fries have potatoes, green and red peppers, onions, and a spice mix that is to die for. The cayenne pepper really gives them kick. When he feels up to it, Adam makes up a huge batch and serves them topped with a fried egg or two. The best thing about the potatoes is that they make everything else you eat taste that much better too. Home fries with egg? Best egg ever. Home fries with bacon? Best bacon ever. Even the coffee is suddenly spectacular when augmented with the deliciousness of these home fries. It's my favorite recipe from that book. 

My second favorite is the German Apple Pancake recipe. It's definitely a once-in-a-while, maybe even once-a-year recipe. We tend to save it for the first week of Honeycrisp apples at the farmer's market--a special occasion breakfast. My God is it delicious. There are never any leftovers. 

Now in addition to the home fries making me think about these books, I also recently made a batch of Jam-Filled Muffins from the Muffin book. Oh yes, you read that right Jam-Filled Muffins. Because the only thing better than a muffin with jam on it is a muffin with jam in it. To counter the sweetness of the jam, the muffin recipe includes sour cream. You end with the perfect combination of sweet and sour and YUM. The recipe makes only 12, and in our case, they are gone after a day and a half. I have never met a person who didn't like these muffins. 

Next to the jam-filled muffins, the orange cranberry ones are also fantastic. In fact, I buy extra cranberries during cranberry season and freeze them so that I can have them throughout the winter. Really.

And now that I'm thinking about the books and the fact that I am getting sick of winter fruit, I am wondering if I should get down my Pie & Tart book and make an end-of-winter apple pie, just for the heck of it. Because the Apple Pie recipe? Also a major Yum. 

Now, I am about to share a recipe and I know I shouldn't but I love you all very much and you should make these. Besides, my friend Amy begged me to. Also, I just raved about the books so if W-S doesn't like it, well I guess I'll just remove it :)

Jam Filled Muffins
2 c All Purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1t vanilla extract
1/4 t almond extract
10 oz sour cream
about 1/2 cup jelly or jam 

Preheat to 375. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray or butter

In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients

In another bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients except the jam. I have discovered that you really want to whisk this a lot, until it gets really foamy, or else your batter will be too thick.  Add the wet to the dry. Batter will be pretty lumpy and thick even with the extra whisking.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling only 1/3 of the way full. Drop a heaping teaspoon of jam into the center, and then cover with more batter until it is level with the rim of the cup.

Bake until golden, dry, and springy, 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then unmold the muffins. Serve warm or cool.

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