Monday, October 31, 2011

Salted Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I have less than 4 weeks left until my due date and my sweet cravings are in full effect.  I'm definitely starting to get a bit uncomfortable and sugar cures everything, right?  I've always loved traditional shortbread cookies so I decided to try making a chocolate version and they were glorious.  The mixture of salty and sweet was perfectly balanced and my only complaint was that I couldn't stop eating them.  

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
3. With the mixer off, add the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on and off low speed (pulse) for a second or two about 5 times so that the flour mixture gets incorporated. Then mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, just until the flour disappears into the dough (the dough will look crumbly).
4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it in two. Shape each half into a 9-inch log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you don’t need to defrost before baking – just slice the logs into cookies and baking the cookies 1 minute longer.)
5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
6. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are ½-inch thick. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Sprinkle a small amount of extra salt on top of each round.
7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes – they won’t look done, and won’t be firm, but that’s how they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fettuccine with Turkey Meatballs

I can't get enough comfort food these days and have been trying lots of new pasta recipes.  Gabe loves meatballs so I tried this recipe for Turkey Meatballs in marinara sauce recently and it was fantastic.  Although the sauce took some time, it was absolutely worth it in the end and as you can see, we had lots of leftovers for the next few days.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tomato and White Bean Quinoa Soup

I love soup this time of year and I'm always looking for new recipes.  I generally prefer broth based soups that have lots of vegetables and thought this Tomato and White Bean Quinoa Soup looked interesting.  I'm so glad I tried it because it's now my new favorite soup.  It was rich and hearty, but super healthy and made a huge pot so we had lots of leftovers.  In fact, I think it was more flavorful the next day.

Tomato and White Bean Soup with Quinoa (Adapted from The First Mess)

1 cup dry beans soaked overnight and drained (I used navy beans)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped fine
1 sprig rosemary, leaves chopped fine
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 cups diced vegetables (I used zucchini, green beans, and more celery)
1/2 cup quinoa, soaked (or rice or millet or small pasta etc etc)
5 sprigs of parsley, leaves chopped fine
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a big soup pot over medium. Add the onions and cook until they soften up just a bit, about 5 minutes. I kind of like to stew the onion in the oil for a while so that it gets really soft and blends right in with the soup. Add the celery and bay leaf and cook until the celery softens, another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir continuously until paste is broken up and its flavour is cooked out, about 5-7 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes and stir to coat in the tomato paste mixture. Add about 1/2 cup of the stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to get any browned bits up. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the beans soften but still have some bite, about 2-3 hours or more.  Add the quinoa and stir.  Cook for 10-15 minutes and serve.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Smores Cookies

These smores cookies are the perfect example of a creative twist on an old favorite (my last smores dessert can be found here).  I made them over the weekend to take to a friend's house and they were a huge hit.  They were rich, sweet, and gooey (all things I look for in a dessert).  I'm already looking for an excuse to make them again.  

Smores Cookies (adapted from Cookie Madness)

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup/ 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3 regular Hershey bars, roughly chopped

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, graham crackers, salt and baking soda and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips then cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour. 
Preheat oven to 375 F. Take a tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball, and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of dough, leaving about 2 inches between each to allow it to spread. Bake for 6 minutes, then remove from the oven. Push a 3 - 5 marshmallows and a few pieces of a Hershey's bar into each cookie. Return to oven and bake for another 2 - 3 minutes until golden brown and the marshmallows are a bit toasted. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

We've had a cold, rainy week here with temperatures down to 40 degrees.  Gabe and I are scrambling to get gloves, hats, warm sweaters, and coats in order to prepare ourselves for a Michigan winter.  Comfort food is also at the top of my list of cold weather necessities and I'm planning on getting the most out of my slow cooker this year.  Pot Roast is one of my favorite slow cooker meals and this one really hit the spot.  I loved the addition of portobello mushrooms and eggplant.  I'll definitely be making it again soon.

Pot Roast (adapted from allrecipes and

  • 4 pounds chuck roast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth (add more if necessary)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 small eggplant, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  1. Take the chuck roast and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat.  Remove from pan and add onions and chopped garlic.  Sauté until soft. Add tomato paste and cook down for about 5-8 minutes.  
  1. Place roast, onions, and garlic in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, broth, Worcestershire sauce, wine.
  1. Add mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, potatoes, celery.  I add them after about 4-5 hours because I like them a bit more firm.  
  1. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, add salt and pepper if necessary.