Category Archives: Martha Stuff

Peach Buckle – Way Back Wednesday

A peachy delight from way back in September 2010.

Rustic and elegant. That’s how I’d describe this incredible Peach Buckle from issue #14 of Everyday Food Magazine.

First, it’s almost the perfect time of year to be using the sensationally seasonal peach. I have to say, this recipe made for a divinely moist cake. And the crunchy, cinnamon-sugar-almond topping was perfect. The magazine indicates that you can use a square baking pan, but if you have a cast-iron skillet, you should use it. It makes the presentation of the final product that much more special. I have a feeling that this is the first of many buckles to come.

Peach BuckleEveryday Food, November 2003

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inches pieces (4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; beat to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until incorporated. Fold in peaches.

Spread batter in prepared skillet or pan. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and almonds. Sprinkle mixture over top; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean the topping is golden, 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Perfect Cookies Become Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwiches

Four of the perfect chocolate chip cookies didn’t make the voyage to work this morning. They have become two after-dinner ice cream sandwiches for tonight. These perfect cookies held up perfectly to the ice cream smooshing.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Perfection

I realized this week that I’ve never featured a basic chocolate chip cookie.  There have been many cookies, usually with other mix-ins like dried cherries, nuts or espresso powder. But a good-old fashioned chocolate chip cookie, nope.

A co-worker approached me earlier in the week. Many years ago, I made a batch of Martha Stewart chocolate chip cookies. They clearly made an impression on Shirley. She asked if I’d make a batch of these cookies for an upcoming vacation. How could I resist? Particularly after being reintroduced to this classic recipe in Martha’s newest cookbook, Martha’s American Food. It’s an especially beautiful cookbook, broken down by regions of the country. The photographs will make your mouth water. The cookies are found in the first section, the All-American collection.

A few notes about the recipe. These are so simple to put together. Even better, there are none of those fancy-hard-to-find ingredients that Martha is occasionally known for. Use good, pure vanilla extract.  That’s my only demand for your cookies. Recently I found the most incredible cookie baking tip. Don’t you hate it when you bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, but all the chips are hidden inside the baked cookie? From now on, after you’ve scooped your dough, place 3-5 reserved chocolate chips on top of the dough mounds. Voila! Chips on top of your baked cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookiesadapted slightly from Martha’s American Food

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla, beating until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Reserve the other 1/2 cup for topping the dough balls later.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Top each ball of dough with 3-5 reserved chocolate chips. Bake, rotating sheets half-way through, until cookies are golden around the edges but still soft in the middle, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Bacon Jam – Way Back Wednesday

And now, for something a little different. This week’s Way Back Wednesday features my most popular post from back in November 2010, Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam:

I have an important introduction to make. That, up there in the photo, is slow-cooker bacon jam. Intrigued? I was. You see, I love all things bacon. Well except for canadian bacon, that’s just ham with really good public relations. This edition of Everyday Food (December 2010), devotes an entire section to the crisp and smoky and delectable food that is bacon. There are recipes for bacon-wrapped chicken tenders, bacon pancakes, onion and bacon soup, maple-glazed bacon, bacon-wrapped potatoes, and the one recipe that stopped me in my food-ever-loving-tracks…slow-cooker bacon jam.

A day after receiving the issue, I swung past the grocery store on the way home from work to pick up the several items I needed to make this jarred treasure. A simple shopping list of bacon, yellow onions, garlic, cider vinegar, dark-brown sugar, maple syrup and cup of piping hot Dunkin Donuts coffee. When I make this again, and I will, it won’t be at 5 pm on a weeknight. This is surely a Saturday or Sunday project. After crisping up the bacon, sauteing the onions and garlic, and mixing in the rest of the ingredients, everything goes into an uncovered slow-cooker for four hours. A quick blitz in the food processor, then portioned into glass jars to cool on the counter followed by a visit to the fridge. The recipe took me about five hours all together.

I had some doubts about the final product when I gave it a taste while it was still warm. But after a night and a day in the fridge the flavors have mellowed a bit. The jam makes a great spread on crackers and bread or my favorite, a dip for crispy salty pretzels. It’ll last up to four weeks in the fridge. Well, probably not in our house.

If you’re looking for a unique way to get more bacon in your life. And let’s be honest, who isn’t? Give this recipe a shot.

Thank You and a Prize

May has been an incredible month for me and my little blog. And I have you to thank you for that. More views, more likes and more comments than any month before. In fact, the number of views in May, rivals all the people who live in my hometown.

There are some people who deserve a lot of the credit. First, and most importantly, the person that I love to bake and cook for the most, my partner Greg. He’s the guy that frequently gets stuck with the “less than photograph-able” baked goods. He also has to wait to eat dinner until I’m done getting all of the photos taken. On the plus side, he always gets the cookie dough-covered mixer blade to enjoy. Without his never-ending support, there would be no Made by Mike. Second, to all my friends and co-workers that never have a problem eating all the treats I bring to work and get-togethers. Without you, I’d be tipping close to 500 pounds. Finally, to my good friend Jason who did a guy a tremendous favor. He redesigned my logo and gave my blog a more professional look. That new logo energized me to work on Made by Mike more consistently.

So thanks for a great May. I look forward to an even better June.  In the meantime, I’d like to give one of you loyal readers a thank you gift. Comment below, in this blog post, with your favorite item that I made in May. A list of those items is below. I will randomly select a comment and that person will receive a year’s subscription to Everyday Food magazine. (U.S. resident only. Contest ends on Sunday, June 3, 5 pm eastern time.)

1. Orange-Vanilla Meringue Swirls

2. Vanilla-Sugar Palmiers with Chocolate Drizzle

3. Peanut Butter – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

4. Cappuccino Brownies

5. Chocolate Malted Whopper Cookies

6. Oatmeal Cream Pies

7. Blueberry Crumb Cake

8. Frozen Honey Cream

Cappuccino Brownies – Way Back Wednesday

Welcome to the first Way Back Wednesday at Made by Mike. A new weekly feature where I spotlight a recipe and post from some time ago. I realized that I get new readers every day. Readers that may have missed all the fun we had way-back-when. To kick off the series I reintroduce you to the Cappuccino Brownie from Everyday Food magazine.  I originally wrote about this very special brownie back in August of 2010. Here’s the post:

My partner Greg has declared this, the best brownie ever. And who am I to disagree?

What I liked most about this recipe was the addition of several spices that really rounded out the flavor combination of the chocolate and espresso. These brownies really pack a kick. Don’t even get me started on the chewy fudge-like texture. Bake a batch today.

Cappuccino Brownies - Everyday Food, March 2004

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Coat paper with butter, set aside.

In a large saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and butter together, stirring until completely melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla and eggs.

in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet, 30-35 minutes, Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

peanut butter – chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

What happens when you combine the best traits of three amazing cookies into one cookie? You get the Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie. Like any drop-cookie, they are a breeze to put together. The recipe bakes up 60 of these crispy-around-the-edges and chewy-in-the-center cookies. I particularly liked the addition of the salted whole peanuts. These are hearty cookies of substance. Make sure that you’ve got a full gallon of ice-cold milk in the fridge.  You’re going to need it.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies - Martha Stewart’s Cookies

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups salted whole peanuts
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Put sugars, butter, and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Reduce speed of mixer to low. Add oat mixture, and mix until just combined. Mix in peanuts and chocolate chips.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop balls of dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

vanilla-sugar palmiers with chocolate drizzle

Who’s up for baking a very simple cookie? You know, a cookie where you don’t even need to make the dough! Well, here it is,  the Vanilla-Sugar Palmier with Chocolate Drizzle. The recipe is based on one from Everyday Food magazine (of course it is). Their version uses cinnamon and sugar. Well, I’ve been going through quite a few vanilla beans lately. Yes, we’ve taken a second mortgage out on the house to do so. When I’m not throwing the scraped vanilla beans into my homemade vanilla extract solution, I’m putting them in a jar of sugar to make vanilla-sugar. It smells divine. So that’s what I decided to use in place of the cinnamon and sugar for these palmiers.

The recipe is as simple as unfolding the puff pastry dough on top of a sprinkling of the vanilla-sugar mixture, adding more sugar mixture on top and then rolling the dough out just a tad.  Then there’s some fancy dough folding and another dip in the sugar. A trip to the oven to bake, flip, and bake some more. Finally, a cooling off period and a drizzle of melty chocolate goodness. If you’ve got a dough-phobia, these cookies are you.  There’s really no way that you can mess these up. Well, that is, unless you forget to set the oven timer and burn them to a crisp. But I believe in you.  You can do it!

Vanilla-Sugar Palmiers with Chocolate Drizzle - adapted from Everyday Food, December 2011

  • 1 cup vanilla-sugar
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, sprinkle work surface with 1/2 cup of vanilla-sugar. Top with thawed puff pastry. Sprinkle each sheet with 3 tablespoons vanilla-sugar and gently roll dough into two 9-by-11 inch rectangles.

Working with one rectangle at a time and starting from the long end, gently fold the dough several times toward the center in 1-inch increments. Turn dough and starting from the other long end repeat the process and fold the dough towards the center to meet the other folded side. Wrap dough in plastic and freeze until very firm, but not frozen, about 20 minutes,

Cut dough crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Dip both sides in remaining vanilla-sugar. In batches, place cookies, 2 inches apart, on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Carefully flip each cookie with a metal spatula (I sprayed my spatula with cooking spray so that the hot sugar mixture didn’t build up on the spatula) and bake until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking a sheet and let cool completely. With a fork, drizzle cookies with chocolate and let sit until set, about 30 minutes.


orange-vanilla meringue swirls

A little sweet, a little crispy and a little chewy. These Orange-Vanilla Meringue Swirls are a perfect little treat. It’s amazing what a few great ingredients can become when combined with simple techniques.They taste almost like one of those delightful orange creamsicles.

Featured in the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, I’ve been looking forward to making these meringues for weeks. But first, I needed to find a half-inch plain pastry tip. After searching many stores, I had to settle for a half-inch star tip. And to be honest, I kind of prefer the look of the meringues with the decorative ridges.

The recipe calls for half of a vanilla bean’s seeds. I threw the other half and the seeded bean into the jar where I’m making homemade vanilla extract. I’m still about a month or so away from it being ready. More on that in another post, on another day.

Finally, I love the design left on the parchment paper after I removed the baked meringues. I’m thinking about framing the design. You can see a portion of the meringue imprint in the lower left image of the collage below.

Orange-Vanilla Meringue SwirlsMartha Stewart Living, May 2012

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Large pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Gel-paste food color, orange

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place egg whites in a heatproof mixing bowl. Add vanilla seeds and sugar, and whisk by hand to combine. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Add salt and cream of tartar.

Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and meringue is mostly cooled, about 7 minutes. Beat in orange zest.

Using a small paintbrush, paint 3 vertical stripes of food coloring inside the pastry bag fitted with a half-inch tip. Fill bag with meringue, and pipe 1 3/4-inch circular shapes 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside, about 75 minutes. (I baked mine an additional 15 minutes.) Let cool completely on a wire rack.

glazed citrus doodles

The weather has turned a bit cold, wet and gray, as of late. But who am I to complain after such an amazingly mild winter? To counter the gray, I turned to these bright and cheerful cookies from the May issue of Everyday Food magazine.  It’s their riff on the cookie-favorite, snickerdoodle.  Here, they’ve swapped out the traditional cinnamon for the zest of lemons and oranges. And they’ve gilded-the-cookie with a tart and delicious citrus glaze.

While at the grocer on Sunday, picking up my citrus, I came across a pile of Meyer lemons. I’ve always wanted to incorporate these citrus jewels into a recipe, but have rarely seen them at the store. I decided this would finally be my opportunity.

The cookie batter comes together very quickly. Most of the prep time revolves around zesting the lemons and oranges. If you find ostrich egg-sized navel oranges, like I did, you’ll only need one. Seriously, they were huge. I ended up adding about another 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar to the glaze recipe to stiffen it up a bit. Start with amount listed in the recipe and add by a few tablespoons until you reach the consistency that you are looking for. Also, I baked my cookies for the full 15 minutes. Check yours at 12 minutes, you’ll just want them to brown a bit at the edges.

Glazed Citrus Doodlesadapted slightly from Everyday Food – May 2012

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (from 2 oranges)
  • 4 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice (from 2 Meyer lemons)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, 1 tablespoon of orange zest, and 2 teaspoons of Meyer lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Do not over mix the dough.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. A 1 1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop makes quick and perfect portioned work of this. Placed rolled balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are lightly golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to cookie racks to cool completely.

For the glaze, whisk together 1 tablespoon orange zest, 2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest, both citrus juices and confectioner’s sugar until smooth.  Add additional confectioner’s sugar by tablespoon until the glaze is a spreadable consistency. With a small spoon, spread glaze over each cooled cookie. Let set 1 hour.

*A special thank you to Greg for capturing the photo of me glazing the cookies. He was compensated in freshly baked cookies.


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