Nut Pie Cookies

Last week my friend Danielle and I made some cookies for our mutual friend Jen’s wedding. The wedding had pies, not cake, so we made some cookies to match. This is a recipe Danielle and her mother make every year at Christmas, and apparently tastes just like mini pecan pies, despite using walnuts. I didn’t taste them (as I haven’t started liking nuts since last week) but apparently they’re a hit every Christmas, and all Danielle’s family’s other Christmas cookies that I’ve tried have been great, so I’m willing to trust them!

IMG_3538Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon melted vanilla
  • 1 egg

Stir together the crust ingredients by hand until mixed, kneading a bit if necessary. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

IMG_3531 IMG_3532Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate the dough into 24 equal portions, roll each into a ball, and place into the wells of a mini cupcake pan.

IMG_3534Press the dough into the pan until it evenly covers each cup, coming up to the top of each.

IMG_3535Stir together the filling ingredients with a fork, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the mixture into each of the dough-lined cups, sharing any extra filling mixture evenly between them all.

IMG_3536Bake 20 minutes, until browned and risen. Let cool in the pan.

IMG_3537These came out cute, and apparently are like a delicious bite sized pecan pie! Just the start of a sweet married life for my friend! (Ew, that was maybe the worst thing I’ve ever typed!) Congrats, Jen!

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Nut Pie Cookies

From my friend Danielle’s kitchen.

Crust:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon melted vanilla
  • 1 egg

Stir together the crust ingredients by hand until mixed, kneading a bit if necessary. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate the dough into 24 equal portions, roll each into a ball, and place into the wells of a mini cupcake pan. Press the dough into the pan until it evenly covers each cup, coming up to the top of each.

Stir together the filling ingredients with a fork, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the mixture into each of the dough-lined cups, spreading any extra filling mixture evenly. Bake 20 minutes, until browned and risen. Let cool in the pan.

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sticky Bun Dip

Another recipe from last weekend’s brunch, this one’s super easy and quick to throw together. It’s from Karo, and in my experience recipes directly from food companies are usually pretty foolproof, because they want you to have a good experience with their product. I’ve got a whole book of recipes from the back of packages, that a friend gave me years ago, that I should really dig out one of these days, but for now this one’s from Karo’s website.

IMG_3526Ingredients:

  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Karo® Dark Corn Syrup OR Karo® Light Corn Syrup (I used mostly light, as the bottle of dark was about empty)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I left these out. I will always leave nuts out.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread in an 8X8″ baking dish and set aside.

IMG_3521Combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.

IMG_3522Boil for 1 minute, the remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. (Or don’t.) Pour the brown sugar mixture over the cream cheese mixture.

IMG_3523Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly, then remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.

IMG_3524Serve with cookies, graham crackers, and/or apple or pear slices for dipping.

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Not the most appealing colors, admittedly, but it tastes good!

It is, as you might expect, sweet, and pretty delicious!

Sticky Bun Dip

From Karo Syrup.

  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Karo® Dark Corn Syrup OR Karo® Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread in an 8X8″ baking dish and set aside.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, the remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly, then remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.

Serve with cookies, graham crackers, and/or apple or pear slices for dipping.

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Chickpea Chicken Soup

I had a few friends over yesterday for brunch, and everything turned out really quite delicious. This soup, for instance, has a great flavor from the bacon, but also some sweetness, I think probably from the onions. It’s also, not surprisingly, much more filling than a thinner soup, with all the vegetables and chickpeas in there, although you don’t even really notice the chickpeas that much, especially not flavor-wise. It’s really a fantastic soup!

IMG_3518Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

By the time we get to adding the chicken to the recipe, we’ll want it to be cooked and chopped. You can cook it on the stove or bake it while the other ingredients cook in the first few steps, or use leftover shredded chicken from an earlier meal, it doesn’t really matter as long as it is no longer raw by the time we get to it.

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat. Once brown and crispy, remove the bacon, leaving the grease behind.

IMG_3513Still over medium heat, cook the onions, mushrooms, and peppers in the bacon grease.

Steaming up the camera lens!

Steaming up the camera lens!

Cook until soft, 5-8 minutes, then add the garlic, spinach, paprika, and cumin, and stir together for 1 minute.

Getting nicely colorful.

Getting nicely colorful.

Reduce the heat to low and add the chickpeas, celery, carrots, chicken, and seasoned salt. Pour in the chicken stock, stir together, and simmer 30 minutes.

IMG_3519Add the bacon back right before serving, then garnish each bowl with parmesan cheese, if desired.

IMG_3527I made mine Saturday, stored the soup and bacon separately, then reheated and served it Sunday, and it was excellent. Much as I am lazy about chopping vegetables, I will definitely be making this again in the future!

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Chickpea Chicken Soup

Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is.

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 25-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat. Once brown and crispy, remove the bacon, leaving the grease behind.

Still over medium heat, cook the onions, mushrooms, and peppers in the bacon grease. Cook until soft, 5-8 minutes, then add the garlic, spinach, paprika, and cumin, and stir together for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the chickpeas, celery, carrots, chicken, and seasoned salt. Pour in the chicken stock, stir together, and simmer 30 minutes.

Add the bacon back right before serving, then garnish each bowl with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Posted in Brunch, Dinner | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Stuffed Zucchini

Hello lovely blog readers! I am back in the US! I’ve actually been back about 3 weeks, but hadn’t done a lot of cooking new things until now. It’s pretty delightful having a kitchen that has all the right bits and pieces, but you won’t need anything too special for this recipe.

It can be a bit of a struggle for me to make vegetable-heavy meals that I’ll actually like, but adding cheese and sausage does a pretty good job of overcoming that. This is real tasty, and at least healthier than layering the cheese and sausage in a heap of pasta.

 

Vegetables!

The internet tells me these are called Eight Ball Zucchini, which I’ll go along with.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eight ball zucchini
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used gluten-free ones, because that’s what we have)
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling

Start by cutting the stems off of the zucchini, then cutting the zucchini in half, top to bottom.

IMG_3480Scoop out the inside of the zucchini, using a melon baller, ice cream scoop, or grapefruit spoon. Leave about a 1/4″ “shell” intact. Chop up the insides that you’ve scooped out, then set aside in a large bowl. Microwave the outsides for 3 minutes, and set those aside as well.

IMG_3481Preheat oven to 375.

Over medium heat, cook the onion and celery with a glug of olive oil until softened.

IMG_3482Pour the onion and celery off into the same bowl as the chopped zucchini. Cook the sausage in the now-empty pan until lightly browned, then add that to the bowl.

Briefly beat the egg, then add to the bowl. Add the bread crumbs, thyme, and cheese and stir everything together.

IMG_3483Lightly grease a baking dish just large enough to hold all the zucchini shells open-side up, such as an 8X8″ pan. Fill the shells with a heaping amount of the sausage mixture. Place any remaining mixture in a small greased pan, like a bread pan.

IMG_3484Sprinkle additional cheese on top of the zucchinis, as desired.

Bake 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

IMG_3490Serve, enjoy, and feel a bit healthy for having eaten veg!

IMG_3491

Stuffed Zucchini

Inspired by AllRecipes, with some help from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

  • 3 eight ball zucchini
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling

Start by cutting the stems off of the zucchini, then cutting the zucchini in half, top to bottom. Scoop out the inside of the zucchini, using a melon baller, ice cream scoop, or grapefruit spoon, and leaving a 1/4″ “shell” intact. Chop up the insides that you’ve scooped out, then set aside in a large bowl. Microwave the outsides for 3 minutes, and set those aside as well.

Preheat oven to 375.

Over medium heat, cook the onion and celery with a glug of olive oil until softened, then transfer to the bowl with the zucchini. Cook the sausage until lightly browned, then add to the same bowl. Briefly beat the egg, then add to the bowl. Add the bread crumbs, thyme, and cheese and stir everything together.

Lightly grease a baking dish just large enough to hold all the zucchini shells open-side up, such as an 8X8″ pan. Fill the shells with a heaping amount of the sausage mixture. Place any remaining mixture in a small greased pan, like a bread pan. Sprinkle additional cheese on top of the zucchinis, as desired.

Bake 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, and serve.

Posted in Dinner | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Istanbul

As I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m in Turkey this month, and specifically in Istanbul. Our kitchen here barely exists, so I don’t expect to make anything worth sharing. So that you don’t all forget me entirely, I’ve taken pictures of some of the food my roommates and I have had and/or seen outside the apartment.

I'm not positive "kitchen" even applies

This is it. All of it.

IMG_2898

Heaps of profiteroles!

Maro excited for her profiterole.

Maro excited for her profiterole.

IMG_2899

Didn’t try any of this stuff, too busy with profiteroles!

IMG_2904

Ready to be consumed!

IMG_2900 IMG_2901 IMG_2969

Fish sandwiches under the Galata bridge are a 'thing' you're supposed to try. (I don't eat fish, though, these weren't mine!)

Fish sandwiches under the Galata bridge are a ‘thing’ you’re supposed to try. (I don’t eat fish, though, these weren’t mine!)

this was

this was

IMG_2975

spice market

IMG_2976 IMG_2323 IMG_2324

chicken salad with pomegranate and cheese

chicken salad with pomegranate and cheese

IMG_2337

cat in a restaurant!

IMG_2502

Dondurma – slightly thicker/chewier ice cream

IMG_2503

IMG_2522

Bosnian food, although if you said that that rice was Mexican rice I would have accepted it without much complaint.

IMG_2523

Bosnian meat UFO filled with cheese

IMG_2638

meat and some veggies in a wrap, super creative

IMG_3152

gluten free!

gluten free!

(this is the gf one)

(this is the gf one)

I’ll be back to the US in a week and a half, and will start cooking things to share with you all as soon as I can wake up and stumble down the stairs after that!

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Chocolate Cheesecake

Hello food blog! It’s been a while, eh? The last few months have mostly involved a lot of really mediocre cooking, and one or two things I intended to share that didn’t work out quite right. I’m down to my last week in Greece, which will be followed by a month in Turkey, and then back to a fully functional kitchen in a country where I can read the packages in the store. Exciting!

IMG_2283Before leaving Greece however, we made use of the kitchen one last time for chocolate cheesecake. It is…a really nice cake. Smooth and chocolatey, but not oppressively rich. I could easily eat more of it. Oh, wait, only 3 days left to clear out the fridge – I will eat more of it!

Crust:

  • 24 Oreos
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

To make this gluten-free, I used all-purpose gluten free flour in the batter, and just kind of winged it for the crust – I just melted some butter and stirred in cocoa powder, sugar, and some more a-p gf flour without measuring or anything, and it worked out fine. But assuming you want to follow the recipe…

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9″ springform pan. Crush the Oreos, stir together with the powdered sugar, and then stir in the butter until evenly combined. Press evenly across the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake 15 minutes, the remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.

To make the filling, first combine the milk and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Stir constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso powder if desired, and set aside.

IMG_2271In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain.

Greek cream cheese does not come in portions useful for non-metric recipes.

Greek cream cheese does not come in portions useful for non-metric recipes.

smoooooooooth

smoooooooooth

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add the vanilla, then the flour.

IMG_2274Add the chocolate mixture, beating slowly.

IMG_2276Pour into the crust and smooth the top.

IMG_2277Bake 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted 1″ from the edge comes out clean. (I didn’t actually check this.) It’s fine if the center doesn’t look set yet. Leave the cake in the oven, with the heat off and the door cracked open several inches, and let cool for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack until room temperature (several tortuously slow hours), then transfer to the fridge to chill through.

Put a bird on it?

Put a bird on it?

Serve chilled, possibly with some berries, whipped cream, or chocolate sauce.

My (metrically sized) pans are larger than 9", so yours will be thicker.

My (metrically sized) pans are larger than 9″, so yours will be thicker.

Made some whipped cream.

Made some whipped cream.

IMG_2282

Chocolate Cheesecake

From King Arthur Flour.

Crust:

  • 24 Oreos
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9″ springform pan. Crush the Oreos, stir together with the powdered sugar, and then stir in the butter until evenly combined. Press evenly across the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake 15 minutes, the remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.

To make the filling, first combine the milk and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Stir constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso powder if desired, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add the vanilla, then the flour. Add the chocolate mixture, beating slowly. Pour into the crust and smooth the top. Bake 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted 1″ from the edge comes out clean. It’s ok if the center doesn’t look set yet.

Leave the cake in the oven, with the heat off and the door cracked open several inches, and let cool for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack until room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill through before serving.

 

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Brownie Batter Dip

Once again I had a bunch of cream cheese to use up, and this time it wasn’t going away without bringing a billion calories with it. Luckily, this dip is really delicious, but not something you need to eat a giant amount of to be content, so you can share the fat with your friends. Or at least pretend that you’re going to, and then eat it all yourself over a few days.

IMG_1379Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • something to dip in the dip

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. This is much easier if you do actually take them out in time to become room temp.

IMG_1374Beat in the brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour, vanilla, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the milk, until smooth.

IMG_1375Beat in the powdered sugar and a second tablespoon of milk, until smooth again. You can add the remaining tablespoon of milk if you’d prefer a thinner dip, I didn’t find it necessary.

IMG_1376Mix in the chocolate chips.

IMG_1377Serve with cookies, pretzel thins, or maybe some apple slices? Or just, of course, spoons.

IMG_1378An excellent amount of chocolateyness.

Brownie Batter Dip

From Something Swanky.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour, vanilla, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the milk, until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar and a second tablespoon of milk, until smooth again. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if you prefer a thinner dip. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Serve with something to dip.

 

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments