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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #7 and Mini Lemon Soufflés

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Soufflés–whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert–are an underutilized treat. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because they need to be prepared at the last minute and eaten promptly. But that’s true of many culinary favorites, from omelets to hamburgers; yet we don’t shy away from preparing them.

We think soufflés are the perfect dessert for Reading and Recipes! For one thing, they are fun to make; and we try to choose recipes that are as much fun to prepare as to eat. Secondly, you can make a small number, to indulge only yourself or yourself and a few lucky others. Finally, they provide immediate gratification, as in take them out of the oven and eat! A couple months ago, we snuck in a soufflé under the name Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes. It’s been one of our most popular desserts for 2015.

This week we’re offering Mini Lemon Soufflés. They are light and airy with the wonderfully enticing flavor and aroma of lemon (make your whole house smell nice!). They are also rich and satisfying. So don’t be afraid to give them a try, along with a side helping of Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #7.

And maybe you too will begin to wonder why we don’t make soufflés more often!

mini lemon souffleMini Lemon Soufflés

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

zest from 1 lemon

3 eggs, at room temperature and separated

juice from 1 lemon (2-3 Tablespoons)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

lemon souffle

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 1-cup individual serving ramekins or a 1-quart dish.

Using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and lemon zest and cream ingredients together. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the creamed butter until well mixed. Add the lemon juice, Greek yogurt, and vanilla to the mixture and slowly stir ingredients together. Once ingredients are combined, stir in the flour and salt.

In a separate, clean bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter, ensuring that the batter is light and airy.

Divide the batter between the four prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins in a 9×13 dish and pour hot water up to 1 inch deep. Bake the cakes in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and the center is just set and puffed. Remove the cakes from the oven and the water bath; place the ramekins on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.

Serves cakes warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and fruit on the side.

Serves 4.

mini lemon souffles

{Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #7 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #7, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #7, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #6 and Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Candies

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So last week we at R&R were little angels. Our recipe was Angel Food Cupcakes and it was healthy as desserts go. Around here, that counts as angels or as close as we’re going to get.

But that didn’t last long.

This week we’re back to our old indulgent habits where fun and pleasure and pampering are top priorities. And being good (as in counting calories) is so far down on the list–well, it isn’t on the list. Don’t misunderstand–we’re all for good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. But part of that healthy lifestyle includes unwinding by making and partaking of decadent sweet treats in small doses.

These Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Candies fit that bill purr-fectly. They’re made from common ingredients. They’re easy to mix, require no baking, and don’t take that long assemble. Most of your time will be spent waiting for them to firm up before coating in the white chocolate.

Then the big challenge will be waiting for the white chocolate to harden before taking a bite. But we’ve got you covered (like the chocolate–get it?) there too. Just entertain yourself with Serial #6 of Two Sisters Times Two. You can listen to the audio file in twenty minutes or so–about the amount of time it will take for the coating on the candies to harden.

Then enjoy. Being little angels is O.K. now and then. But making and partaking of Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Candies has that beat all to hell–I mean heck.

chocolate hazelnut candiesChocolate Hazelnut Cream Candies

1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)

1 Tablespoon marshmallow cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

3 ounces white melting chocolate

sprinkles to decorate

Nutella candies

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and hazelnut spread until well mixed. Stir in the marshmallow cream and vanilla extract until all ingredients are combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar and stir until a soft dough forms and all ingredients are mixed together.

Begin rolling the dough into balls, about 1 inch thick. You should get 6 candies. Place the candies on a plate lined with parchment paper and freeze for 30-45 minutes, or until hardened.

Once the candies are frozen, melt the white candy coating according to package directions. Dip each ball into the melted white candy coating, making sure to coat all sides. Do this quickly to ensure that the chocolate candy does not begin to melt. Place the coated candy back onto the parchment paper and add sprinkles. Repeat with remaining candies. If you notice that the chocolate candies begin to soften or melt, place them back into the freezer until they hardened.

Cover and store candies in the refrigerator.

Makes 6 candies.

chocolate hazelnut truffles

{Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #6 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #6, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #6, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #5 and Angel Food Cupcakes

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O.K., confession time–Reading and Recipes is not known for its low-cal desserts.

Sweet indulgence is in our DNA, you might say, as this website was founded on the idea of giving visitors a little pampering at the end of a long day or a busy week with a recipe for an easy treat for one or two and a story to kick back and relax with. And let’s face it–pampering when it comes to dessert usually means calories.

But this week we’re going to do a little penance for our culinary excesses and put on our halos and offer Angel Food Cupcakes as our recipe. This recipe is actually a great idea, perhaps even divinely inspired, as it is easy, healthy, and almost infinitely versatile. The cupcake shape makes both serving and storage a snap, and angel food matches up with just about anything, from any kind of fresh or frozen fruit (the healthy way to go) to flavored whipped cream (a little less healthy) to rich and decadent sauces (chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, peanut butter–yikes! all my good and healthy intentions are beginning to falter).

But the toppings are on you (or, more precisely, on the Angel Food Cupcakes). We just want credit for putting a healthy dessert on our website, before heading back to sweet and sinful ways next week.

(Do you really think angels eat this kind of cake? Do you have to watch your waistline in Heaven?)

angel food cupcake  Angel Food Cupcakes

2 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

angel food cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt with a handheld mixer. Slowly add the granulated sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and flour. Fold the sifted mixture into the stiff egg whites until combined. Divide batter between four or five cupcake molds, filling each to the top. I got five cupcakes, but you might only get four depending on the size of your muffin tin.

Bake cakes for 13-16 minutes, or until the cakes are baked through and spring back when touched. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around cakes and remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

When ready to serve, plate the cakes and top with fruit, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and/or ice cream.

Makes 4-5 cupcakes.

angel food

{Adapted from Slender Kitchen}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #5 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #5, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #5, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #4 and Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Hold on a minute while I finish blowing out these candles and unwrapping the present.

(Huff-and-puff, huff-and-puff! Crinkle-crinkle, crinkle-crinkle, tear-tear!)

Phew! That was a lot of work! Lucky there were only two candles! But getting all that tissue paper off of the present took forever! Who decided you have to wrap everything in twenty layers of tissue paper, anyway? But when I got to the bottom of all that paper, there was this cutest little spatula! I’d have it bronzed as a memento but then it would cover up the I never met a cookie I didn’t like saying. So I guess I’ll just have to use it.

In case you’re wondering about all the fuss, it’s Reading and Recipes second birthday! Happy Birthday to us!

And now I’ll put that spatula to work on this week’s classic recipe: Chocolate Chip Muffins. We think it’s the perfect way to celebrate our birthday–with an easy and quick and versatile but delicious sweet treat. This one will work anytime, anyplace, and even makes enough to share.

Or keep them all to yourself–one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for snack, and one for dinner. And if you’re so inclined, stick a candle in one and blow it out while sending a thought R&R‘s way. We’ll appreciate the gesture.

Then enjoy your treat. Just remember to wipe the smear of chocolate off your lip before heading out the door!

chocolate chip muffinsChocolate Chip Muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

pinch of nutmeg

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup milk

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup chocolate chips

choc chip muffins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a regular size muffin tin with four muffin cups set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combined the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar until it becomes pale yellow. Mix in the milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until all ingredients are incorporated. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, careful not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter between the four muffin cups, filling each muffin cup to the top. Bake the muffins at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake the muffins for an additional 14-18 minutes, or until muffin tops are lightly golden brown. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving warm.

chocolate chip muffin

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #4 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #4, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #4, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #3 and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

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So you’re ready to hit the biking trail or the hiking trail, ready to tone up those abs and tighten up those calves which maybe have suffered just a tad from sitting inside all winter (and eating too many R&R treats without enough exercise–believe me, I know the feeling: someone has to sample all these goodies!).

Well, right on! Get outdoors, get some exercise, soak up some sun (but be sure to wear sunscreen)! Reading and Recipes is behind you 100%!

In fact, we’re so much behind this exercise kick we’re going to give you an energy booster treat to propel you through the rigors AND a story to keep you entertained!

Here’s the deal: this week’s Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies will give you high-energy calories to help you burn some of those stored up low-energy calories. And our audio Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #3 will keep you entertained along the way. Just load it onto your favorite mp3 player and pop in the ear buds.

And if you’re going for a long walk or ride, download the first three serials of Two Sisters Times Two and get to know Brooke and Leah, Jodie and Penni right from the start. They’ll be pleased to make your acquaintance.

Springtime is a great time to get some exercise. And R&R is ready to help you along the way!

chewy peanut butter cookiesChewy Peanut Butter Cookies

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 egg white

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons chocolate chips, candies, or dried apple pieces (optional)

chewy pb cookies (small batch)

Add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream the ingredients together. Add the peanut butter to creamed ingredients and mix in until fully incorporated. Mix in the egg white and vanilla. Slowly add the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix until just incorporated, careful not to over mix. If using chocolate chips, fold those in now. Chill the cookie dough in your refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spoon tablespoon size cookie dough onto cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies just begin to turn golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 6 cookies.

chewy pb cookies

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #3 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #3, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #3, text © Jeffrey Anderson