Saturday, September 29, 2012

Double Chocolate Cookies

I am not going to say much about these cookies but WOW!!!  These are really amazing.  So quick to make. So few ingredients. Such a delicious end result.  They're crackly, soft, chewy,chocolaty all in one cookie. If you are looking for a very chocolate cookie, may I highly recommend these double chocolate cookies. 

The recipe makes 12 large cookies (size of my whole hand!). Next time I will make them using a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.  Give yourself plenty of room on the cookie sheet as the batter is very thin and they spread a lot when baking.  Also, it is imperative to use parchment paper or a slipat liner as these cookies stick and need to be literally peeled off the paper.  May I just say again, WOW!!

Double Chocolate Cookies

3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 (F).

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups confectioner's sugar, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together 4 egg whites with 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour into the medium bowl filled with dry ingredients (from the first step), and use a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together until well-combined. Don't worry if your batter looks too liquidy! This is normal.  It should have a sludgey, paste-like consistency. If your batter is still too liquidy (if it has the consistency of milk, it's too liquidy), keep adding 1 tablespoon quantities of confectioner's sugar until you have the right consistency.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat and use a cookie scoop to spoon 2 tablespoons of batter on top of each other (if you want to make smaller cookies, just spoon 1 tablespoons worth of batter). Leave plenty of space between the cookies because they will spread.  Bake at 350 (F) for 14 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are cracked, glossy, and flaky.
Rest the baking sheet on a cooling rack and leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Once the cookies have set, use a metal spatula to turn them into the cooling rack to cool completely.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Buratta Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

I have been reading about Buratta fresh mozzarella cheese for quite some time from other food blogs. I finally found some at Trader Joe's and brought some home to try. 
Here is Wikepedia's definition:  Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is also defined by some sources as an outer shell of mozzarella filled with butter or a mixture of butter and sugar. It is usually served fresh, at room temperature. The name "burrata" means "buttered" in Italian.

Let me just say, the concept and idea of it was  much more appealing to me than the cheese itself.  It was so very bland and the texture was just too mushy for my taste.  The Husband wasn't thrilled with it either.  It came in two 4 ounce balls and we still have one left.  It has a very short shelf life due to its freshness.  I was lucky to be given some beautiful Roma tomatoes (along with pears and apples) from a co-worker's garden, so another salad Caprise will be in order later in the week.  I'm glad I tried this cheese, but in the future I'll stick to the basic fresh mozzarella.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Iced Molasses Cookies

School has started and I see the little ones walking toward the neighborhood school on my way to work. It reminds me of those long ago Fall days when my brothers and sisters and I would trek to our elementary school, lunch boxes in hand.  Now kids seem to carry everything they need in backpacks nearly as big as they are.  How much does an elementary student need anyway?

Back to my point.  In our sack lunches besides a sandwich and a milk ticket, would be two or three cookies and an apple.  Nothing fancy but certainly an adequate lunch to see us until dinner.  One of my favorite store bought cookies, though not one we got in our lunches, was Grandmas Iced Molasses cookies.  I loved the spicy soft cookie with the thin vanilla glaze on top. I'm not sure if they are even made anymore, but I looked up this recipe and they are so very reminiscent of those store bought cookies.  One helpful hint. Do not overbake or they will not have that soft center and will be more like a gingersnap.

These are the perfect cookie for Fall with their warm spices to get us ready for the cool days ahead. Enjoy!

Iced Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphered molasses

Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice together in a bowl and set aside.
Use an electric mixer and beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Place remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Working with 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 1 3/4 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
Bake until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, about 11 to 13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks.
Optional Glaze
When cookies have cooled, lay out over a sheet of wax paper. Sift 1 1/4 cups of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) and then whisk with 2 Tbsp of milk until smooth. Dip spoon into glaze and dribble over cookies.
Yield: Makes 18 large cookies.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stout Barbeque Sauce

I don't often make my own barbeque sauce, opting for the more than adequate and copious bottled sauces available in the stores.  This recipe caught my eye though.  It sounded intriguing using stout beer as a main ingredient.  It was a very good sauce for pork country spare ribs and I think it would be just as good for beef or even chicken.

Since I don't have an outdoor barbeque, I baked the ribs in the oven at 250 degrees (low and slow) for about 2 1/2 hours. basting with this succulent sauce every 30 minutes.  When I make this again, I may look for ribs with bones, as the country ribs I used were a tad on the dry side.  The flavor was outstanding with just the right amount of spicy zing from the Sriracha hot sauce addition.  Before the summer grilling days are over you may want to give this sauce a try.
Stout and Sriracha BBQ Sauce

1 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp sriracha
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup Stout beer
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp onion powder
(Yield, about 1 1/2 cups)
In a pot over medium heat, add the oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and stir until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Allow to cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge.