Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Whole Wheat Cardamom Snickerdoodles

These Whole Wheat Cardamom Snickerdoodles are spicy, buttery and addictive...and they're whole grain so they're healthy (a little bit, sort of)! They're particularly fabulous served alongside some Earl Grey tea, which is how I ate about a zillion of them last night! 

Prepare the dough ahead-of-time and freeze the pre-baked cookies so you can bake a few up whenever you need a delicious treat or quick dessert. 

Whole Wheat Cardamom Snickerdoodles 
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book 
(Makes 50 small cookies)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
teaspoon spice/sugar mixture (below)
1 stick (8T) salted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large organic eggs

Cardamom Cinnamon Sugar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Combine the cardamom, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl or baggie and set aside. 

Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside. 

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, shortening and sugar for about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs until the batter is fluffy and lightened in color. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. 

Roll 1 tablespoon of dough between your palms to form a ball and then roll that ball in the spiced sugar mixture. Place each cookie about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silt-pat. Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for 7-8 minutes until the cookies have puffed and just started to brown and crack. When you look into the cracks, the batter will look undercooked. This will result in a chewier more tender cookie! 

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet until slightly firmed, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling. These cookies work really well when they're made larger too, so use 2 Tablespoons of dough per cookie to make 25  big ones if you prefer. Bake for about 10 minutes.  

Note: Prepare all the cookies at once and freeze them for future use! I like to roll all the dough into balls and then roll each ball in the spiced sugar. 

I set each finished raw cookie on a baking sheet, and when they're all done, I pop the whole baking sheet into the freezer and allow them to harden for about two hours. 

Then I transfer the frozen dough balls to baggies and store them in the freezer. This way, any time I NEED a snickerdoodle, I can just pull out however many I want, place them on a prepared baking sheet, preheat my oven (this allows time for the cookies to warm-up a bit before baking) and then bake them as directed above. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon, Pecorino and Basil. Thank you, Ina!

Ina Garten, I want to thank you. Your recipes rule and you manage to be super classy (what a super classy thing to say!) while also appearing approachable and fun (something not all celebrity chef's manage, but I'm not naming names here). 

The idea of partying down with you and all your "boyfriends" in East Hampton makes me feel almost giddy. I don't generally consider myself a chef-groupie, but for you Ina, I'd snip hydrangeas, iron button downs, and carry picnic baskets full of fine china and pâté all-day-long! 

So, here's to you, Ina! Thank you for sharing your rad, well-tested recipes. High five!

Lemony Pecorino Roasted Broccoli
Adapted from Ina Garten's, Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli
6 medium heads broccoli (about 8 cups)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
5 Tablespoons of "Good" olive oil, plus some more 
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
50 turns freshly ground black pepper
zest and juice of one lemon
1/3 cup pecorino, Parmesan or other aged hard Italian cheese
handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Chop the broccoli florets, leaving a nice long stem when possible. In a large bowl, toss the florets with 5 tablespoons of "good" olive oil (or whatever olive oil you have), the sliced garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer the broccoli florets to a baking sheet(s) large enough so they're in a single layer and not crowed together...like this!

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until "crisp-tender" and starting to brown. Shake the baking sheet at the halfway mark to ensure even roasting.

Once roasted, take the broccoli out of the oven and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest and juice, pecorino and basil. Smack lips with glee! "Now, how easy is that!"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tangy Charred Red Pepper Sauce á la Smitten Kitchen

This tangy charred red pepper sauce is absolutely delicious. It's very similar to BBQ sauce but has a more complex, smokey flavor from the charred red bell peppers. This recipe is not my own in the least. I followed it pretty much verbatim from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it only very slightly from Tasting Table. Charring peppers inside may seem a little daunting, but it's really very easy and totally worth it.

Charred Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Adapted (and doubled) from Smitten Kitchen's, Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
(Makes about 3 1/2 cups steak sauce)
2 large red bell peppers
1 1/3 cups tomato purée
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons molasses
2 scant teaspoons table salt (to taste)
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat your broiler and set the rack as close as possible to the flames while still leaving enough space for your peppers. 

Wash and dry the red peppers and set them on a baking sheet. Broil them, turning, until they're charred on all sides. Set them aside to cool while you combine the other ingredients in your food processor or blender.

When the peppers have cooled a bit, tear or cut them open and remove the seeds, stems and membranes. Add the peppers (with charred skin) to the food processor. Puree until everything is smooth.

Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce doesn't burn on the bottom. Press the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pepper fibers. Serve hot over beef, pork, chicken or veggies! This would also be delicious baked on any of the above in a nice hot oven.