Category Archives: Cookies

Anise Tea Crescents

I have to be honest. I’m a lazy bum when it comes to figuring out new technology. I literally haven’t posted in my blog since spring because I got a new laptop, and the transition from Dell to Macbook was almost too much for me! Well, guess what? It turns out it’s actually about 10x easier to post from the Macbook. All I had to do was take a few minutes and figure it out. Who knew??

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These Anise Tea Crescents are from the December 08 Cooking Light. They have a cookie feature, and I’m planning on baking my way through as much of it as possible! I’m not a huge fan of licorice flavor, but the anise seed was subtle enough that I don’t mind them. Also, they are egg-free, which is useful for people like my husband’s Aunt who is allergic to egg. They were really yummy with a cup of tea. Enjoy!

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Anise Tea Crescents, from Cooking Light, December 2008

32 cookies (serving size: 2 cookies)

  • 6.75  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4  cup  cornstarch
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/4  cups  powdered sugar, divided
  • 5  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 2  tablespoons  canola oil
  • 2  tablespoons  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1  teaspoon  aniseed, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

3. Beat 3/4 cup sugar, butter, and oil with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and aniseed; beat at low speed until blended. Chill 30 minutes. Shape dough into 32 (2-inch) logs; bend logs to form crescent shape. Arrange 16 crescents 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 14 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove from oven; cool on pan 3 minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining 16 crescents.

4. Sift remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a medium bowl; toss warm cookies in sugar to coat. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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Everything but the…

Kitchen Sink Cookies! Yes, that’s what they’re called. 🙂 But that’s dessert.  Let’s start with a menu for tonight’s dinner.  (I planned tonight’s menu around the fact that I had today off.  Sadly, I filled my day with other random stuff, and dinner was late anyway. Oops!)

**All recipes are from the March 08 issue of Everyday Food (www.everydayfoodmag.com)**

Apps: Citrus Bloody Marys with Smoked Salmon Canapes
Dinner: Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce and Cucumber Salad
Dessert: Kitchen Sink Cookies

Citrus Bloody Marys
6 cups tomato juice, chilled
1 to 1 1/2 cups vodka, chilled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes), plus 8 lime wedges, for garnish
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon celery salt (ack! just realized I accidentally omitted. I guess we didn’t miss it much!)
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 celery stalks, for garnisih

1. In a large pitcher, stir together tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, hot-pepper sauce, and celery salt; season with salt and pepper.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day. Serve over ice, garnished with a celery stalk and lime wedge.
Serves 8. (I drastically scaled down, since it was just the 2 of us!!)

Smoked-Salmon Canapes with Tarragon
4 oz. red-fat bar cream cheese (I used regular bar cream cheese, because that’s what I had!)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarrago, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
6 thin slices pumpernickel bread (crusts removed), cut into quarters
4 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon, torn to fit bread

1. In a med. bowl, combine cream cheese, tarragon, and lemon zest and juice; season mixture with salt and pepper.

2. Dividing evenly, spread bread with cream cheese mixture (about 1 teaspoon per slice). Top with smoked salmon, and garnish with tarragon leaves.
Makes 24. (Again, I scaled down greatly!)

 We decided the particular brand of smoked salmon wasn’t smokey enough for us, but other than that we were happy with the results!

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Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce
Serves 4; Prep Time: 15 min; Total Time: 20 min

2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 flat iron (shoulder top blade) steaks (1 1/2 pounds total), gristle removed if any (I used skirt steak)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish, drained

1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (I also sprayed the foil with some cooking spray); set aside. Soak eight 6-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 10 min.

2. Meanwhile, on a work surface, chop garlic and rosemary, and sprinkle with a little salt. Press blade of knife back and forth across mixture to make a paste. Place in a med. bowl, and stir in oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. Cut steaks into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch chunks. Add to bowl; toss to coat. Thread 3 chunks of beef onto each skewer; (I must have cut mine smaller, because I fit 4-5 pieces on each skewer); place skewers onto prepared baking sheet.

4. Broil (without turning) (I did turn mine, because we like our meat really done, at least on the outside!) 4-6 minutes for medium-rare (we probably did ours closer to 10 minutes!). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. Serve skewers with horseradish sauce.

I put mine over green leaf lettuce and served with some sliced cucumber.

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And for dessert: Kitchen Sink Cookies! “…everything but the kitchen sink…” Again, from EF, March 08 issue.

John’s Kitchen Sink Cookies
2 1/2 cups AP flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (I used chips)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture just until combined.

4. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks, raisins, pecans, and oats.
NOTE: This is why I freaking work out. No, I don’t mean so I can eat more cookies guilt-free.  I mean so I can handle mixing these things by hand. Phew! That was a hard one. 🙂

5. Drop 2-inch balls of dough, spaced 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly. Bake 12-16 minutes (mine took 18, and yes, I do have an oven thermometer!), or until cookies are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.

6. Cool 5 min on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.)

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I didn’t think of it until I ate one, but I totally think the chocolate and raisins make it taste like there are Raisinettes in there. Mmm. 🙂 The recipe suggests putting in dried apricots or dates instead of raisins, and we think dried cherries would be an awesome combo with the chocolate. It also suggests skipping the oats and subbing sweetened shredded coconut for a tropical cookie. Can’t wait to try those variations too!

Romantic date night at home!

Tonight was a Saturday date night at home. Yay! There is nothing better than enjoying a special dinner at home with my husband… we can sit and talk as long as we want without feeling like someone else needs our table, we can make the food however we want it, and especially just enjoy each other’s company. Why tonight? Well…why the heck not? 🙂 Plus, we had some prime filet in the freezer that we wante to use.

Tonight’s menu: Filet Mignon with Mushroom Madeira Sauce Flambeed with Brandy, Smashed Sweet Potatoes, and Grilled Baby Eggplant. For dessert: Mocha-Chip Meringues.

So, I started with dessert: Mocha-Chip Meringues (recipe from the Jan/Feb 2008 Everyday Food  for details). Someday I’ll know how to insert a link. Maybe. 🙂

Quick little tribute to my awesome KA mixer… although a hand mixer would have made it easier to identify when the meringue’s hard peaks had formed…
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Cookies on their baking sheet:
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…and finally some close-ups of finished meringues. They didn’t get quite as airy as I would have liked, but they’re still pretty darn tasty! Next time I think I’ll beat them a little longer, and maybe cook them a minute or 2 more.
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For the steak, I made a reduction sauce combining a Wolfgang Puck recipe for Madeira Sauce that I found on the Food Network website with a dish we get at one of our fav restaurants (www.accomacinn.com)

1 package sliced baby portabella mushrooms (enough for 2 servings)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Madeira wine (this is a dessert wine found by the Sherry, Marsala, etc.)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
1 cup veal stock (I used beef stock)
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
2 filets (4-6 oz. each)
1/2 cup brandy

Start reduction sauce: In a saucepan, bring Madeira, shallots, and thyme to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until only 1/3 cup remains. Add the stock; continue to reduce, over medium heat, until slightly thickened. I mixed about 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water at this point and whisked it into the sauce, to aid in thickening. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a pan.  Add filets, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and pan sear for 4 min. for medium doneness. Turn, season the other side, and pan sear for another 4 min. (again for medium, or to desired doneness.) Remove Madeira reduction from heat, and whisk in 2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour reduction sauce into mushrooms and heat through. Pour reduction sauce over filet. In hot pan, add 1/2 cup brandy and light to flambee. Burn off as much alochol as desired. Serve steak with sauce and mushrooms.

Heehee, playing with fire is fun 😉
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Do you love how I’m smiling at the camera like I don’t even realize I have a flaming pan? HAHA. Also note the incredible mess on my counters in the background. Fancy date night at home as a price… 😉

For sides I peeled and cubed a very large sweet potato, covered with water in a pot, added some salt, covered, and simmered until fork tender. I drained the water out of the pot, then added some milk (well, ok, it was half and half, because I had some and was feeling indulgent!), a pat of butter, and about a tablespoon of light brown sugar. I used a hand masher and smashed so there were still some chunks of potato.

The baby eggplant was sliced lenghthwise in thin slices, then grilled on my grill pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme to tie the flavor in with the steak.  The sweet potatoes and baby eggplant got their own plate, since the steak was so saucy.
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The dinner was accompanied with a Red Zinfandel made with organic grapes. Mmm. 🙂

Snickerdooooo…

So I decided to try some snickerdoodles as a dessert for dinner tonight.  (Dinner was homemade spaghetti sauce with turkey meatballs, pasta, and garlic-butter-herb bread…no pics of the dinner, though!)  Oh, and some Italian Saviognese, if I spelled that correctly.

These turned out well – nice and lightly crispy, the way I like my snickerdoodles (partly due to the fact that I replaced my baking powder today?). The recipe is from the Sept 07 issue of Cooking Light.  They also have a strong enough cinnamon taste that it doesn’t get lost in the sugar.

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls.

Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Yield

30 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

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Nutritional Information

CALORIES 99(30% from fat); FAT 3.3g (sat 2g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 0.9g; CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 17mg; SODIUM 59mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 0.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.9g

 **Note: to get the tops to crack I had to bake mine for 10 min. 

The following pics are both of the same exact plate of cookies in 2 different lighting situations, believe it or not!

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