Monday, March 30, 2015

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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When we have anyone making a trip to Louisiana I like to send goodies to my family there. Travis helped make these fudgy peanut butter cookies and I have to say they are gluten free yet still have a lot of flavor as well as being super easy to make.

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

(Adapted from Averie Cooks)

 

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1 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (i.e. one heaping cup - I prefer creamy honey roasted; plain or crunchy may be used; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter, it's too runny)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed (dark brown may be substituted)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Dutch-process or Hershey's Special Dark may be substituted)

1 teaspoon baking soda

 

To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and the sugar is fully incorporated and is mixture is no longer gritty or granular, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Note regarding peanut butter - although natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter may work, I recommend using store bought peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan or similar so that cookies bake up thicker and spread less. Using natural or homemade peanut butter tends to result in thinner, flatter cookies, that are prone to spreading.

 

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Add the cocoa powder (I don't bother to sift), baking soda, and beat to incorporate, 1 to 2 minutes. Dough may be a bit crumbly in pieces, but pieces should all stick together forming a large mound when pinched, squeezed, and pushed together. If your dough seems dry, adding 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of peanut butter will help it combine.

 

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Using a 2-inch medium cookie scoop (about 2 heaping tablespoons of dough or 1.80 ounces by weight), form dough mounds or roll dough into balls. Recipe makes 13 cookies; dividing dough into 13 equal portions is another way to do this.

 

Place dough on a large plate and flatten each mound with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern on top. Slightly flattening the mounds before baking ensures they don't stay too domed and puffed while baking because this dough, when properly chilled, doesn't spread much; just don't over-flatten. Cover plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough.

 

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Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Space dough 2 inches apart (8 to 10 per tray) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center. It's tricky to discern if they're done or not because they're so dark, but watch them very closely after 7 minutes. I recommend the lower end of the baking range. Cookies firm up as they cool, and baking too long will result in cookies that set up too crisp and hard (The cookies shown in the photos were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark, and have chewy edges with pillowy, soft centers).

 

Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container 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.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

HEB Finishing Butter

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I thought I would share a cool product I found at HEB near the butter section. Of course instead of trying one of the cheaper items I grabbed the most expensive one to give a try. I loved this white and black truffle butter. We used it on steaks and on toasted bread to accompany pasta. I can’t wait to try the chili lime on grilled chicken. Have you tried any of these yet? If so what did you use them on?

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Buttermilk Biscuits with Eggs and Sausage Gravy

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Here’s another recipe I’ve held off on posting because it didn’t turn out like I thought. I hate being suckered into watching cooking shows because they make me want to make a dish right away because my mouth is watering from the show. That’s what happened here. My brother came in town and I totally changed what I was making for breakfast to this. The biscuits tasted ok, but they where a funky color and didn’t look like Bobby Flay’s. I’m talking beyond rustic looking. Total let down!! The gravy was really good and I just smothered it all over the dish to hide my funky biscuits. In the end it didn’t look pretty but it all tasted good. I’ll give them one more try to see if maybe I can get them to come out pretty.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Eggs and Sausage Gravy

(Adapted from Bobby Flay)

 

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SAUSAGE:

1 pound ground pork

2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped to a paste

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoons canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Combine the pork, garlic, sage, thyme, onion powder, and oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover the sausage and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Cook's Note: The sausage can be prepared 8 hours in advance and refrigerated. Form the sausage mixture into 8 patties. Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat and cook the patties until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

BLACK PEPPER BUTTERMILK BISCUITS:

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to dust

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, not super fine and not coarse, somewhere in between

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

 

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

 

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Using a dough cutter, combine the ingredients until they are incorporated. Cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

 

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Add the buttermilk and gently mix until the mixture just begins to come together.

 

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Scrape the dough onto a lightly-floured counter. Pat the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Use a 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits. Press together the scraps of dough, and repeat the process.

 

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Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with the black pepper.

 

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Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on a baking rack. Yields: 10 to 12 biscuits

 

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CREAM SAUCE:

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Put the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

 

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Melt the butter in a second small saucepan over medium heat, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, do not allow the flour to color.

 

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Slowly whisk in the warm milk, increase the heat to high and continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken and the raw taste of the flour has been cooked out, about 5 minutes; season with the salt and pepper. Keep warm. Yield: 2 cups

 

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SCRAMBLED EGGS:

8 large eggs, lightly beaten

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

 

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter over low heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the eggs and cook slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until soft curds form.


Slice each biscuit in half and put a sausage patty on the bottom of each biscuit and place the other half on top. Serve 2 sausage biscuits per person. Serve with cream sauce and scrambled eggs.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak

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If you are looking for an easy sauce to serve with a fresh piece of fish this is a great one that I came up with. I love the flavor combos and the light zest of fruit flavor the orange adds.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak

(Created by Finding Inspiration in Food)

 

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1 5 ounce ahi tuna steak

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds (toasted)

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (toasted)

1 tablespoon oil

 

Press the tuna steak into the sesame seeds to coat.

 

Heat the oil in a pan then fry the tuna steak for 2 minutes per side.

 

Serve over rice and top with Orange Teriyaki Sauce.

 

Orange Teriyaki Sauce

 

3 tablespoons soy

3 tablespoons mirin

3 tablespoons sake

1 tablespoon sugar

zest of 1 small orange


Heat in the soy, mirin, sake, sugar and zest in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Andes Mint Chip Soft Fudgy Chocolate Cookies

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Nothing beats a nice gooey cookie for me, and these hit the spot. I used a smaller cookie scoop since they are rich I didn’t want to make them too big.

I didn’t follow the directions about “Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.” Mine seemed to come out fine, but maybe they would be better chilled to come out thicker.

Andes Mint Chip Soft Fudgy Chocolate Cookies

(Adapted from Averie Cooks)

 

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3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 packet instant chocolate pudding mix, about 3.7 to 3.9 ounces (not sugar-free and not 'cook & serve')

1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (optional, but recommended; brings out the chocolate flavor and does not make cookies taste like coffee)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt, optional and to taste

one 10-ounce bag Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips (try Walmart, Target, Amazon, regular grocery stores; mint baking chips may be substituted)

2.5 to 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe's 72% Pound Plus Bar)

 

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.

 

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Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the pudding mix, cocoa, espresso granules, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

 

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Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

 

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Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the Andes chips, chopped chocolate, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

 

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Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 14 equal-sized mounds of dough. Roll into balls, and flatten slightly.

 

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Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.

 

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Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 10 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked and glossy in the center. Don't overbake which is easy to do with dark cookies. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don't use a rack.

 

Cookies are best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

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