Monday, January 26, 2015

A Bunch of Repeats

For Cookie Monday this week, I made Soft & Chewy Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars Cookies and I still think they're one of the greatest cookies I've ever made.

Last Monday, I made Peanut Butter Buckeye Pretzel Bites, another repeated recipe. Mostly because I needed something easy, with minimal effort.

I've also been making some tried-and-true recipes for dinner! I made THIS VODKA SAUCE with some broccoli and gnocchi. I've made like eight pans of Hash Brown Casserole to hoard in the freezer for days we want cheesy potatoes at home. I made Cinnamon Roll Waffles over the weekend, which doesn't really count because it isn't a recipe and it screwed up my waffle iron again but it was worth it. I made Crispy Rice & Bean Burritos a few times - including some variations I saw on Pinterest (adding Fritos makes every burrito better!). I've made Vegetarian Reubens a BUNCH of times, including some weird substitutions, like kimchi instead of sauerkraut and tempeh instead of mushrooms (I had a similar sandwich at Musikfest last year and it was phenomenal).

I've made more things, too! Soups and casseroles and stuff. I still post all the new recipes here. I just want you to know I've been making and eating food, I just forget to blog about it now.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cookie Monday: Soft-Batch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

No seriously guys, this is one of the greatest cookies ever. They're perfectly soft, not too sweet, and maintain the simplicity of a traditional chocolate chip cookie. I'm in love. The recipe notes that you can freeze the little discs of dough and I think I'll do that next time because I love these. And from the feedback I got today, so does everyone else. What an excellent Cookie Monday!

Notes: My brown sugar solidified so I panicked, but Google saved me. What I learned is that if you run out of brown sugar, you can substitute 1/2 dark brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar for the amount called for. There were also formulas for mixing white sugar with molasses but I am lazy so I did it this way, and it worked just fine. Also, I doubled the recipe and had an enormous amount of cookies (maybe 6 or 7 dozen?).


Soft-Batch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
Averie Cooks

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.

Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds (I made my cookies smaller, which is probably why I ended up with so many). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cookie Monday: Cookie Butter Cloud Cookies

It's Saturday and I'm just now posting Monday's cookie. I'm sorry.


Cookie Monday is back! -Ish! It's mostly back! I'm going to try really hard!

So I'm in love with Trader Joe's Cookie Butter and recently did a Pinterest search to see what else can be done with it, besides just dipping cookies or a spoon into it. Cookie Butter, which is also sold in grocery stores as Biscoff, is like peanut butter, but instead of peanuts it's ground-up speculoos cookies. It's amazing. I love it more than Nutella.

Pinterest informed me that a bajillion different other kinds of cookies and foods can be made with cookie butter, so I've collected all of them. This simple cookie seemed like the place to start.

Well, I hated them. I made that known and my coworkers disagreed with me, but personally I felt these were not "cloud"-y at all. They were very, very dense. I kept thinking I had left an ingredient out but I hadn't. I also thought they didn't taste so much like cookie butter. It was like a very subtle, dense snickerdoodle. So. Mixed feelings about these ones. I'll do better this week!


Biscoff Cloud Cookies
The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook via Cookies & Cups

1/2 cup butter -- room temperature
1/3 cup creamy Biscoff Spread (or TJs Cookie Butter)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350°

Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer cream together butter, Biscoff Spread and both sugars about 2 minutes.

Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

With mixer still running add in salt, cornstarch and cinnamon and mix until incorporated.

Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until dough comes together.

Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dough won't spread really at all.

Bake for 8 minutes until edges just begin to become golden. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 2 dozen

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Parsnip Risotto with Mascarpone and Sage

Last night I was scrolling through my recipes and realized I had ALL the ingredients needed for this recipe, which is bizarre since who ever has parsnips just sitting around? This girl. That's who. So I made this. My gentleman was out, so I had a nice, warm vegetarian risotto for dinner.

I think I've pretty much mastered risottos at this point. I think Gordon Ramsay would be happy with me. It takes a little patience and practice but eventually it'll cook properly. I followed the recipe exactly, but I didn't have fresh spinach so I threw in some frozen. That wasn't a great idea. It just isn't the same. So don't do that. Either use fresh spinach or skip it.

I really enjoyed this because the grated parsnips blend in with the risotto so it's smooth, not chunky or anything, but still has that unique parsnip taste. I love mascarpone so that's always a nice addition. I wish I'd used a stronger white wine because the flavor cooked off really quickly. And make sure you use a good-quality vegetable broth because it's a very prominent flavor.

I'm not sure I'd make this again, but it was great for a cold winter night.


Parsnip Risotto with Mascarpone and Sage
From Delicious Every Day, edited from metric
Originally adapted from Vegetarian: A Delicious Celebration of Fresh Ingredients

32 ounces vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large or 3 medium parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated
6 sage leaves, finely shredded
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons of mascarpone, plus extra to serve
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup baby spinach

Start by placing the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low to keep warm.

In a large pot, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion, parsnips and sage and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is softened but not browned.

Add the rice and stir well to coat before cooking for a few minutes until they begin to turn translucent.

Add the white wine and cook until the wine has all but evaporated.

Use a ladle to add a spoonful of stock to the risotto and stir until the stock almost disappears before adding the next ladle of stock. Continue until all of the stock is used, or the rice is plump but retains a bit of bite.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the grated parmesan, baby spinach and mascarpone and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes.

Serve with extra mascarpone and fried or fresh sage leaves.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peppermint Crinkle Cookies


Maybe. For now. Sporadically, I think.

But we had a Cookie Monday this week!

I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately decided I must make it and feed it to everyone. This turned out to be an excellent idea. I ran out of cookies by lunch time. This is crazy! And a lot of people have asked for the recipe. It's fantastic.

I didn't use the chopped up candy canes because I find that they get a weird texture when baked, and I don't particularly like it. So I used Andes Peppermint Baking Chips, which worked wonderfully. They pass well for candy canes but don't get weirdly chewy. I loved these cookies. I plan to make them again for my family over Christmas. We are planning to make little ice cream sandwiches out of them. Amazing.


Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
Lauren's Latest {not me}

3 whole candy canes, crushed
1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper or use silicone baking mat and set aside.

Place candy canes into a plastic food storage bag and crush using a rolling pin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla and egg. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir all dry ingredients together in a small bowl and then in pour into mixer and slowly mix until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Yield: 2 dozen (I doubled it and got 5 dozen total)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Chickpea Tomato Minestrone

It is cold and has been kind of snowy, which means it is soup season. I have a whole bunch of kale in the refrigerator so I'm trying to use it up (I've made a lot of kale chips, for example). I decided to make this soup, but I changed a few things. Instead of chickpeas, I used cannelini beans. I used mafalda pasta instead of bowties because that is what I had already opened. I used kale instead of swiss chard. And I added fresh rosemary sprigs that I dried from our summer garden to infuse the soup from the start. These were all excellent ideas.

The not-so-excellent idea was to add extra red pepper, and early on, so it would have time to really spice up the soup. The result of this was a very, very spicy but deliciously autumny minestrone soup. My gentleman liked it a lot but did have issues with the amount of spice. I liked it but I did wish I'd reduced the red pepper. Oh well! Next time.


Chickpea Tomato Minestrone
Kitchen Daily

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks -- diced medium
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup small pasta (such as Barilla Mini Farfalle)
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch swiss chard or kale, chopped, discard hard stems
Salt and pepper
Dash red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften. Next, add in the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Then add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes (with the juices from the can), and oregano. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in the stems of swiss chard, chickpeas, and pasta. Let cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the swiss chard leaves and let cook for 30 seconds or just until the leaves start to wilt. Remove from heat.

Add salt / pepper / red pepper flakes to taste and top with Parmesan.

Servings: 6

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bananas Foster Bread

I had some bananas that were beginning to brown so naturally I decided to make banana bread. I had all the ingredients available to make this bread, though I used some coconut rum from the Bahamas instead of dark rum (and it turned out fine). This was super quick, super easy, and super tasty. I probably would bake it for a little less time because the bottom of my bread was pretty dark by the time it was ready, but otherwise this is a good way to use up some bananas. And rum, of course.

Oh! Also, I didn't have flaxseed, because who does? so I used 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour. Totally the same thing, right?


Bananas Foster Bread
Cooking Light, October 2010

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1 cup packed brown sugar -- divided
6 tablespoons butter -- melted and divided
1/4 cup cognac or dark rum -- divided
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 large eggs
6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour -- (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Cooking spray
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons cognac in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat; cool. Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a mixer at medium speed.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon cognac, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm bread.