Brown Sugar Maple Cookies

I made two different maple cookie recipes the other day,  to have coworkers taste test them to find the best. I thought these were the CLEAR winner, in taste, texture, and appearance, but most of the other folk to try both have leaned the other way? It’s a mystery to me, but I’ll share these today and the other ones next week, and you can decide for yourself? These ones are thick, soft, maple-y, and stay a good texture for days.

IMG_6066Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 – 1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract, to taste
  • 1 cup bread flour (you can use all all-purpose, but will have flatter, less chewy cookies)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Using your mixer’s paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

IMG_6049Add the sugars and beat on medium high until well combined and the color has lightened, about 3 minutes.

IMG_6050

You’re beating additional air in, which is what makes the color change.

Add the egg, vanilla extract, and maple extract (starting with 3/4 teaspoon and adding more to taste – I used 1 1/4 teaspoons total) and beat until well combined.

IMG_6051Add the flours, corn starch, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low until just combined.

IMG_6052Scoop the dough using a 2 ounce cookie scoop or measuring a scant 1/4 cup, into 13 – 15 portions, rolling into balls. Place on a plate and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days.

IMG_6053Preheat oven to 350 and line or grease two baking sheets. Spread the dough balls widely, and bake 10-12 minutes, rotating at 5 minutes, until just starting to brown at the edges.

IMG_6062 IMG_6064If your cookies are still big domes when removed from the oven, tap them on the top with the back of a spoon to flatten. Cool on the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_6065How anything can top these, I just don’t know!

Brown Sugar Maple Cookies

From Averie Cooks.

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 – 1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract, to taste
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Using your mixer’s paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat on medium high until well combined and the color has lightened, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and maple extract and beat until well combined. Add the flours, corn starch, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low until just combined.

Scoop the dough using a 2 ounce cookie scoop or measuring a scant 1/4 cup, into 13 – 15 portions, rolling into balls. Place on a plate and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days.

Preheat oven to 350 and line or grease two baking sheets. Spread the dough balls widely, and bake 10-12 minutes, rotating at 5 minutes, until just starting to brown at the edges. If your cookies are still big domes when removed from the oven, tap them on the top with the back of a spoon to flatten. Cool on the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

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Chocolate Pudding Pie

A rich no-bake dessert for your summer evenings!

IMG_6045Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 30 chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers (I’d actually strongly remember using 15 Oreos instead, as the leftover Oreos are way way better than the leftover Nabisco cookies)
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white rum OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fresh raspberries and whipped cream, for serving

IMG_6023To make the crust, process the wafers in a food processor until finely ground.

IMG_6021Add the melted chocolate and oil and continue to process until well blended. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9″ pie plate. Freeze 15 minutes, or until set.

IMG_6022In the meantime, make the filling. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in a large saucepan and whisk well. Add 1 cup of the milk and the egg yolks and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly.

IMG_6024 Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

IMG_6026Stir in the rum or vanilla, then pour into the crust.

IMG_6027Cover with saran wrap and chill 4 hours, or until set.

IMG_6041Serve with the berries and whipped cream.

IMG_6043 IMG_6044

Chocolate Pudding Pie

From myrecipes.

Crust:

  • 30 chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers (which I learned while making this are boring/bad alone, but taste like the cookie part of Oreos when used in a crust) or 15 Oreos
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white rum OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fresh raspberries and whipped cream, for serving

To make the crust, process the wafers in a food processor until finely ground. Add the melted chocolate and oil and continue to process until well blended. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9″ pie plate. Freeze 15 minutes, or until set.

In the meantime, make the filling. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in a large saucepan and whisk well. Add 1 cup of the milk and the egg yolks and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the rum or vanilla, then pour into the crust. Cover with saran wrap and chill 4 hours, or until set. Serve with the berries and whipped cream.

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Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

One of my coworkers (Hi Carol!) has been bringing me recipes pages from a local paper, and this recipe comes from one of those. These sandwich cookies are thin and firm, but chewy. They’re a good balance of chocolate and marshmallow, too!

IMG_6017Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus additional for rolling
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 salt
  • 24 marshmallos

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. My new roommate brought a Kitchenaid when she moved in, but it fell out of her car onto the street so now the power lever’s a bit messed up and you have to just unplug it to turn it off. Still, broken Kitchenaid > no Kitchenaid!

IMG_6006Beat in the corn syrup, egg, and vanilla.

IMG_6008Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bow, then add to the butter mixture, beating until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate dough 15 minutes. During that time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

IMG_6009Pour sugar into a plate or pie dish. Roll dough into 1″ balls, then roll the balls in the sugar to coat. Place balls 3″ apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

IMG_6010Bake 10-11 minutes, or until set.

They can be moved pretty quickly from the oven to a cooling rack, as long as you have a spatula.

They can be moved pretty quickly from the oven to a cooling rack, as long as you have a spatula.

Remove cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. By the time you’ve got all your batches of cookies out of the oven, your first batches will be cooled and ready for the next step.

IMG_6012Place several cookies face down on a plate, and place a marshmallow on the center of each. Microwave 12 seconds, then immediately put another cookie on top of the marshmallow and press to create a sandwich.

IMG_6013 IMG_6014 IMG_6015Repeat with remaining cookies. I ended up 1 cookie short of 27 sandwiches, but eating that one loner wasn’t too much of a hardship!

Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

From the Casper Star Tribune.

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus additional for rolling
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 salt
  • 24 marshmallos

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the corn syrup, egg, and vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bow, then add to the butter mixture, beating until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate dough 15 minutes. During that time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour sugar into a plate or pie dish. Roll dough into 1″ balls, then roll the balls in the sugar to coat. Place balls 3″ apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-11 minutes, or until set. Remove cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Place several cookies face down on a plate, and place a marshmallow on the center of each. Microwave 12 seconds, then immediately put another cookie on top of the marshmallow and press to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.

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San Francisco Pork Chops

Now, before you ask, I have no idea what makes these SF-y. I do know, however, that I liked them, which will have to do for today.

IMG_6004Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I thought I had bought these, but couldn’t find them and ended up using a dash of cayenne instead)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 inch-thick boneless pork chops (or 4 3/4″ thick boneless chops), with excess fat trimmed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • noodles, for serving

Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, and the red pepper flakes in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves, then set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chops until browned, about five minutes per side, then remove to a plate and set aside.

IMG_5999Add the garlic to the oil left in the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the pork chops back. Pour the broth mixture over the chops and raise the heat until the liquid comes to a boil, then cover the skillet and reduce heat to low.

IMG_6000Simmer until the meat is tender, 30-35 minutes, flipping the chops once around the 15 minute mark.

You can see the biggest one has been cut, to check that it was cooked all the way through.

You can see the biggest one has been cut, to check that it was cooked all the way through.

Remove the cooked pork to a platter. Whisk together the cornstarch and water, then pour into the liquid left in the pan and simmer until thickened, about five minutes.

IMG_6002Serve the pork over the noodles, and drizzle the thickened sauce on top.

IMG_6003 IMG_6005Yum! I have somehow gone through an alarming amount of soy sauce since I moved to WY, but I didn’t find this especially salty in the finished dish. Just…tasty.

San Francisco Pork Chops

From AllRecipes.

  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 inch-thick boneless pork chops (or 4 3/4″ thick boneless chops), with excess fat trimmed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • noodles, for serving

Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, and the red pepper flakes in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves, then set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chops until browned, about five minutes per side, then remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the garlic to the oil left in the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the pork chops back. Pour the broth mixture over the chops and raise the heat until the liquid comes to a boil, then cover the skillet and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the meat is tender, 30-35 minutes, flipping the chops once around the 15 minute mark.

Remove the cooked pork to a platter. Whisk together the cornstarch and water, then pour into the liquid left in the pan and simmer until thickened, about five minutes. Serve the pork over the noodles, and drizzle the thickened sauce on top.

 

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Plum Cobbler

There is the possibility, which I will neither confirm nor deny, that I have eaten this for dinner three nights in a row. It’s just really good! And, I mean, it’s basically fruit and a biscuit like I might have had with dinner anyway, so… Yeah basically healthy. Basically.

IMG_5985Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups sliced, fresh, unpeeled plums
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Stir in the plums and lemon juice, then put over medium-high heat.

IMG_5977Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils, then cook, continuing to stir, for 1 minute before removing from heat.

IMG_5978Pour into an ungreased 2 quart casserole, then place in the oven.

IMG_5979Combine the flour, remaining tablespoon of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir together. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the milk until just evenly combined.

IMG_5980Take the plum mixture out of the oven and drop the dough on it in six large spoonfuls.

IMG_5981Bake 25-30 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.

IMG_5982Serve, still warm, with whipped cream.

IMG_5983 IMG_5984

Plum Cobbler

From Better Crocker.

  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups sliced, fresh, unpeeled plums
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Stir in the plums and lemon juice, then put over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils, then cook, continuing to stir, for 1 minute before removing from heat. Pour into an ungreased 2 quart casserole, then place in the oven.

Combine the flour, remaining tablespoon of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir together. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the milk until just evenly combined, then take the plum mixture out of the oven and drop the dough on it in six large spoonfuls.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Serve, still warm, with whipped cream.

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Breakfast Popsicles

An exciting concept, right? These are basically a frozen yogurt parfait, but you cook the fruit a bit so that it’s not rock hard like uncooked frozen fruit straight from the freezer is. These are a fun, quick way to get rolling in the morning. My only complaint is that I was hungry again about 2 hours later, but I’m always hungry so maybe these will carry you through until lunch?

IMG_5992Ingredients:

  • 3 cups berries, roughly chopped (I actually used nectarines, as you’ll see, and I think you could probably also do plums or peaches as well)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (you can use plain plus 2-3 tablespoons honey, but I vastly prefer the flavor of vanilla)
  • 3/4 cup granola

This makes roughly enough for six 1/2 cup popsicle molds.

Combine the fruit and sugar in a medium saucepan and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Some liquid should have collected in the bottom of the pot. In the meantime, you can go dig through drawers to find all the pieces of your popsicle mold set.

IMG_5986Put the saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the fruit has reached a simmer, cook 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture resembles jam. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature. I think the nectarines I used didn’t shrink/reduce as much as berries would have, so I had leftovers, but they keep in the fridge for a week and are just tasty fruit you can use however you want!

IMG_5987Once the fruit has cooled, combine the granola and 1/4 cup of the yogurt and stir together in a small bowl.

IMG_5989Pour a spoonful of yogurt into each of your popsicle molds. Follow with a spoonful of granola, and a spoonful of fruit. Tap the molds lightly on the counter to settle, then repeat with another spoonful of each of the yogurt, granola, and fruit, filling very close to the top of the molds. Tap again to work out any air bubbles. Insert the popsicle sticks and freeze at least 6 hours.

IMG_5990 IMG_5991To work the popsicles loose, hold under hot water briefly, until just loosened.

Shoulda tapped a bit more, still got air bubbles!

Should have tapped a bit more, still got air bubbles!

These taste like breakfast, but with some of the excitement of dessert, and are a good way to cool down if the temperature is already unbearable in the morning. I’ll definitely be experimenting with different fruits, when I’m not using the molds for dessert popsicles…

IMG_5996

Breakfast Popsicles

Adapted from The Kitchn.

  • 3 cups berries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (or plain yogurt plus 2-3 tablespoons honey, to taste)
  • 3/4 cup granola

Combine the fruit and sugar in a medium saucepan and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Some liquid should have collected in the bottom of the pot.

Put the saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the fruit has reached a simmer, cook 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture resembles jam. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Once the fruit has cooled, combine the granola and 1/4 cup of the yogurt and stir together in a small bowl.

Pour a spoonful of yogurt into each of your popsicle molds. Follow with a spoonful of granola, and a spoonful of fruit. Tap the molds lightly on the counter to settle, then repeat with another spoonful of each of the yogurt, granola, and fruit, filling very close to the top of the molds. Tap again to work out any air bubbles. Insert the popsicle sticks and freeze at least 6 hours.

To work the popsicles loose, hold under hot water briefly, until just loosened.

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Shepherd’s Pie Potatoes

A tasty, filling take on a baked stuffed potato.

IMG_5737Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces lean ground beef
  • 17 ounces beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • a few shakes each of dried parsley and oregano
  • 2 large russet potatoes, baked
  • salt
  • handful grated cheddar cheese

Since potatoes take forever to bake (around 90 minutes at 350 degrees), I actually baked mine the day before, threw it in the fridge wrapped in foil, and then just took them out when I got to the steps where I needed them.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook several minutes, until softened.

IMG_5726Increase to medium-high heat and add the ground beef, cooking until browned.

IMG_5728Stir in the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, parsley, and oregano, and cook 15-20 minutes until the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.

IMG_5729 IMG_5730During that 15 – 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 390. Cut your potatoes in half length-wise and scrape out the inside, leaving a bit of a shell to ensure you don’t tear the skin. Mash the removed potato, then add the butter and salt to taste, warming if necessary to allow the butter to melt in.

IMG_5727Line a baking dish with foil, then put the empty potato skins cut-side-up. When the beef mixture has thickened, spoon it into the potato skins.

IMG_5731Cover the beef with the mashed potatoes, and top with a small handful of cheese.

IMG_5732Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

IMG_5735One half ended up being enough for dinner for me, although that may have been because of all the cookies I hate while the onions cooked??

Shepherd’s Pie Potatoes

Adapted from goodfood.

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces lean ground beef
  • 17 ounces beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • a few shakes each of dried parsley and oregano
  • 2 large russet potatoes, baked
  • salt
  • handful grated cheddar cheese

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook several minutes, until softened. Increase to medium-high heat and add the ground beef, cooking until browned. Stir in the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, parsley, and oregano, and cook 15-20 minutes until the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.

During that 15 – 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 390. Cut your potatoes in half length-wise and scrape out the inside, leaving a bit of a shell to ensure you don’t tear the skin. Mash the removed potato, then add the butter and salt to taste, warming if necessary to allow the butter to melt in.

Line a baking dish with foil, then put the empty potato skins cut-side-up. When the beef mixture has thickened, spoon it into the potato skins. Cover the beef with the mashed potatoes, and top with a small handful of cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

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