Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monster Cookies

This is my version of the popular cookie, which is so called because of it's size and because it has all kinds of goodness mixed into the batter. You can use whatever candy/nut/chips you have on hand.

Monster Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup peanut butter M&Ms
1/2 cup peanuts
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup toffee chips

1. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add in vanilla. Beat in flour and next 3 ingredients until thoroughly combined. Gradually add in M&Ms and remaining ingredients. Scoop dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
2. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Parmesan-Thyme Crackers

This recipe is from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. The crackers are perfect as an appetizer, and the variations are endless.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1. Beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in Parmesan cheese and remaining ingredients.
Remove dough from bowl, and roll into a log; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Slice the log into thin disks, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
3. Bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Blue Cheese-Pecan-Rosemary Crackers: Replace the Parm with 3/4 cup blue cheese; substitute chopped fresh rosemary for the thyme; and add in 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans and 1 tsp. grated lemon zest.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chocolate Chip-Cherry Scones

This is adapted from Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery cookbook.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. whipping cream

1. Combine water and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cooking until sugar dissolves. Strain cherries, reserving liquid.
2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; add in butter cubes. Pulse until mixture is combined and resembles coarse sand. Place flour mixture in a bowl, and stir in cream, chocolate chips, and cherries. Use a 1/4-cup scoop to scoop batter onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
3. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Combine powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. cream, and 3 Tbsp. reserved cherry liquid. Drizzle over warm scones; serve immediately.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Key Lime Bars

1 cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Key lime juice

1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat just until a smooth dough is formed. Press into a parchment paper-lined 13- x 9-inch baking pan.
2. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. Stir together eggs, remaining 1/3 cup flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; pour over baked crust.
4. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until set. Let cool completely in pan; cut into squares.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Slow-roasted Spiced Pork

This terrific recipe feeds a crowd or can be frozen in meal-size portions for later. Use the meat for tacos, for sandwiches, to top baked potatoes, in soups—the possibilities are almost endless. The directions call for baking the pork in the oven (which is great if you are home that long), but, if not, it also works to cook it in a slow-cooker on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.

Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork
6 garlic cloves
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pork butt
1 (32-oz.) carton chicken broth or 1 bottle dry white wine
Lime wedges

1. Process garlic, onion, and next 6 ingredients in a food processor until a paste forms. Gradually add in vinegar and olive oil until combined. Place pork in a baking pan, and rub garlic mixture all over pork. Pour chicken broth into pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
2. Bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the foil, and bake for 4 more hours. Allow meat to stand for 30 minutes, and then shred meat. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired, and squeeze lime juice over meat just before serving.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups dried apples

1. Place the pecans on a sheet pan, and bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Break cooled pecans into pieces.
2. Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat in oatmeal, flour, and next 5 ingredients. Add in toasted pecans and dried apples. Scoop batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
3. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes.