August 17, 2010

Dulce de Leche Peach Tart

Dulce de Leche Peach Tart

I’ve always been a really picky eater. I’ve made some progress on that front since I started this blog, but I’m still way too picky to be called a “foodie” or anything like that. But this summer I’ve made some pretty big discoveries that have challenged my preconceptions of certain foods and because of that I’ve decided to change. I made this challenge to myself: I will try everything at least once. If I don’t like it, fine, but at least now I know I don’t like it and I’m not just assuming based on how it looks or smells or whatever weird childhood memories it brings up.

For example, I’ve never liked carrots because in elementary school I threw up in the middle of the cafeteria after eating some. Now it turns out, I still don’t really like the taste of raw carrots. But I use carrots in my cooking all the time now because I’ve discovered that if they are in something else, like a soup or salad or pot pie, then I don’t mind them. I used to obsessively pick …

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December 7, 2010

Mint-Chocolate Bottom Shortbread Cookies

These cookies have been on my mind for a while. You see, 10 months out of the year I make a pretty concerted effort to eat healthy. Obviously I splurge sometimes, many posts on this blog can attest to that, but for the most part I try to limit the really high fat/calorie foods to only a few times a month. But then Thanksgiving comes around and I go absolutely nuts. Did you know that the mashed potatoes I made had butter, half and half AND cream cheese. Yeah. And I didn’t feel even slightly guilty for eating them. Because they were damn good. There’s just something about the period from Thanksgiving until New Year when I just don’t care. I want to eat all my favorite foods no matter how unhealthy they are and the guilt I usually have isn’t there anymore.

So when everyone was talking about cookies last week on twitter it made me realize how much I’ve been wanting to make these. I made them a couple of years ago and every time I go through my recipe binder I think about making them again. Finally, with Cookie Week and my guilt on vacation, it was the perfect time.

I decided to play with the original recipe a bit, but it still has the same components: shortbread, chocolate, peppermint. I honestly can’t stand most of those bland sugar cookies that everyone seems to make this time of year, I’d much rather have delicious, buttery, shortbread. Each shortbread cookie has a layer of peppermint infused chocolate spread on the bottom. Then I lightly brushed a peppermint glaze on top that soaks into the shortbread and I sprinkled on some colored sugar. If you want to go extra peppermint crazy, you can stick two cookies together with a layer of peppermint filling in between!

If you think that sounds like too much peppermint, don’t worry because I used very small amounts of peppermint extract. Plus the buttery shortbread works well with the peppermint and doesn’t let it overpower the whole cookie. And you can always reduce the amounts to your own tastes. Or maybe even try another flavoring: I think orange extract would work really well.

These cookies are so good and highly addictive! I made them on Friday and Brandon and I had finished them off by Sunday. If you have lots of cookie lovers in your house, I would recommend doubling the recipe because they will go fast.

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November 8, 2011

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Biscuits

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Biscuits

I went to high school in a teeny-tiny mountaintop town in Tennessee. At the time it only had two options for fast food: Hardees and a rundown Dairy Queen (it later got a McDonald’s because even teeny-tiny towns on a mountain need a McDonald’s) I don’t even like Hardees, but when you’re in boarding school and the only other option is cafeteria food, you’ll eat pretty much anywhere else when you get the chance.

But there is one thing at Hardees that I always looked forward to eating: their Cinnamon ‘N’ Raisin biscuits. If you’ve never had one before, it tastes like a cinnamon roll but it’s a cinnamon biscuit covered in icing. So basically it’s like crack. I could eat those biscuits all day long. It seriously brightened my day when my friend would come into school carrying a carton of cinnamon biscuits just for me. I don’t eat much fast …

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February 7, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Malt Cookie Sandwiches

Cherry Chocolate Malt Cookie Sandwiches

I’ve never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day. It’s nice to get some flowers but I don’t expect anything else. We don’t even bother going out to eat on Valentine’s Day anymore because the restaurants are always so crowded. Besides, my birthday is less than a week later so it’s easier to celebrate both occasions then. But there is one thing I love about Valentine’s day, especially since I started this blog: it’s a great excuse to make chocolate desserts!

I decided to make some cookies because Brandon’s coworkers have been asking for more cookies from me ever since my epic cookie testing project last December. It’s definitely flattering that they liked my cookies so much, so it seemed like a good idea to keep them happy and to find a great recipe to post for Valentine’s Day at the same time! I found these chocolate malt cookies in one …

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September 30, 2010

Fall Recipe Round Up

Okay, I’m cheating a little with this post. I’ve just gotten back from vacation so I haven’t had time to try out any new recipes in a few weeks, but I did bake a bunch of muffins and breads to take on our trip and that got me looking though my recipe archives. Plus, I’ve seen a big increase in search engine traffic looking for soups and other Fall comfort foods, so I thought I’d make a list of my favorites.

I’ll be back next week with something new, until then try out some of these great recipes:

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July 13, 2009

BBA Challenge: Ciabatta

Ciabatta

The seventh recipe for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was Ciabatta. This was one I was really excited about attempting but also pretty apprehensive. It’s probably one of the most complicated breads we’ve done so far and from surveying other BBAers on twitter and the forum it was pretty apparent that “results may vary”. Good Ciabatta is full of big giant holes and that involves having a very wet dough, which you can imagine, is hard to work with. In addition to working with the very wet dough for the first time, making this bread involves some special tools as well as setting up your oven in a very specific way, so there’s quite a bit of prep involved.

There were two different versions, using different kinds of pre-ferments: poolish or biga. These are just mixtures of bread, water and yeast that sit out for a certain amount of …

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November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Raisin-Bread Pudding

Pumpkin-Raisin Bread Pudding

I love bread. It’s probably my favorite food. When we order pizza, I take off the greasy cheese and just eat the crust. My favorite restaurants are the ones that bring you a basket of bread. Low-carb diets? I couldn’t make it more than a couple days. I have a pretty major sweet tooth, but if I was ever forced to choose between bread or sugar, well, this blog would have a whole lot less desserts on it. (But let’s really hope that “Sophie’s Choice” never comes to fruition, okay?) What I find really strange is that despite my love of bread, I have never had bread pudding before. I don’t know how that happened, but I have been meaning to rectify it for a while.

I had a loaf of raisin bread sitting around and getting stale so I finally decided this …

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November 15, 2011

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup & Gouda Grilled Cheese

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup & Gouda Grilled Cheese

It’s nearing the end of the year which means that I only have a few more deliveries from my CSA and I’m starting to get sad when I think about not getting that box every Wednesday. But I’ll definitely be signing up for another year and, thankfully, I only have to wait about two months since they pick back up in March.

I started this blog several years ago to become a better cook and put more effort into developing healthy eating habits, but joining this CSA has really been the final kick in the pants I needed to make that happen. I’ve probably tried more new vegetables in just the last 6 months than in all of the last 10 years. It’s been great and has helped me to finally convert my inner picky eater into someone who will try anything at least once. There’s still …

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