I decided to turn my beautiful green vegetables into muffins. I have absolutely no idea where this recipe originally came from but it's been in my recipe collection for years. I love these muffins because they're loaded with pecans and cherries and they are perfectly moist thanks to the zucchini.
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 zucchini, shredded and drained
3/4 cup dried cherries (I used cherry flavored craisins.)
1/4 cup pecans (optional)
You may never have had a zucchini muffin quite like this one. These are so good, you'll forget that they're packed with zucchini.
Long gone are the days that I would spend hours pouring over cookbooks in search of new recipes. Now I turn to google to search out recipes. My ipad is normally set up on the kitchen counter while I cook so that I can get instant answers to any pressing culinary questions. (Trust me, I have a lot of questions.)
I have a friend who really likes the Lacey Cookies from Trader Joe's so when his birthday rolled around earlier this month, I turned to the internet in search of a Lacey Cookie Recipe. (You can find a recipe for almost anything on the internet.) I found a website called myjerusalemkitchen.com and she claimed to have recreated these delicate cookies in her own kitchen. I didn't really have anything to lose so I jumped right in and started my own batch of Lacey Cookies.
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c almonds; coarsely ground
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 c honey
1/2 c dark chocolate (for dipping)
Bake 6-8 minutes in a 350 oven. If you want them more like toffee brittle leave them in on the longer end. I like mine slightly chewy in the center and crispy on the outside.
Immediately remove the parchment paper from the tray and let them cool on the counter.
Once the cookies are cool, melt dark chocolate. I spooned chocolate onto the flat sides of my lacey cookies.
I put the cookies in the refrigerator to set the chocolate quickly. Once the chocolate was set, I could move the cookies to a platter.
Some of the chocolate actually came through the top to make a deliciously, gooey and chocolatey praline cookie.
My final evaluation of these Lacey Cookies: good but could use some improvements. First of all, I think I will leave out the orange zest when I make them again. That proved to be more of a distraction from the flavor than a bonus. I also think that I would bake my cookies a little longer next time. The cookies were a little soft (An issue that could be remedied by storing them in the freezer.) instead of crispy like their Trader Joe's counterparts. By tweaking those two simple things, I think this recipe could produce superb cookies that would rival the Trader Joe's Lacey Cookies.
I am not a huge fan of red meat so a couple of weeks ago when I fixed steaks on the grill for the rest of my family, I made some stuffed mushrooms for myself. (My husband thought they were a nice compliment to his steak too.) Whether you are looking for a great appetizer, a vegetable side dish or a meat alternative, you will not be disappointed in these mushrooms. They are fresh and hearty and super delicious.
10 portobello mushrooms (I used baby bella mushrooms instead.)
4 Tablespoon olive oil
2 bags baby spinach
2 slices white bread
2 Tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sherry
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 ounces goat cheese (I substituted cream cheese.)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Flip mushrooms, gill side up and distribute filling evenly among mushrooms.
Top each with 2 Tablespoons bread crumb mixture.
Broil mushrooms 1-3 minutes.
Black and White Cookies
For those of you that have trouble deciding between chocolate and vanilla, I have the cookie for you. Black and white cookies are usually gigantic in size and cakey in their texture. They are common in New York City bakeries but for those of you who don't happen to live in NYC, you can make your own delicious black and white cookies at home. This recipe came from a Cook's Country magazine and I think you're going to like it.
Black and White Cookies
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
5 cups powdered sugar
7 Tablespoons whole milk
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Scoop dough onto silpat lined baking sheets. (I made 16 cookies.)
Spread 1 Tablespoon of vanilla glaze on half of the bottom of each cookie.
Let icing set for 15 minutes.
Cover other half of cookie with chocolate glaze.
These cookies didn't last long.
On the cover of the February issue of Cook's Country, these cookies are pictured leaning against each other but I was hesitant to stack them. The icing never really got super firm so I found a tray where I could lay them flat.
Now I need to make a trip to New York City to see how my black and white cookies compare to the bakery version.
I love bread.
There I said it. I am completely - 100% addicted to really great bread. There is something absolutely wonderful about a hot, just out of the oven, yeast roll that I just find irresistible. My obsession over warm bread may be bordering on addiction but I like to think of it as a healthy addiction. (Do you actually believe that?) I love when a waiter brings a basket of freshly baked, warm bread to the table when I am dining at a restaurant. I would be perfectly happy eating the complimentary bread and a great salad instead of ordering an entree. I know that when I make a batch of rolls at home, I am going to have to eat one before it even has a chance to cool. (I have the burns on the roof of my mouth to prove it.) I used a Cook's Illustrated recipe to make my latest batch of yeast rolls. They did not disappoint.
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup butter
1 egg white
Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.
Piping hot yeast rolls - yum!
If they made computers that would let me actually capture the aroma of these rolls and email it to you, I bet that you would have to eat one too. These rolls are really yummy. Soft and chewy on the inside with a thin crispy crust. They are superb warm and not too shabby when they are cool either. Whip up a batch for yourself but don't say that I didn't warn you - they're irresistible.
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