Friday, April 29, 2016

Pecan Sandies

You probably think that since I bake so many cookies, that I don’t buy them at the store very frequently. That’s generally true, but there are some cookies that I just can’t resist. I often come across recipes that are homemade versions of store bought cookies, but those are typically disappointing. (The only exception is my homemade HobNobs , which I humbly think are just as good as the original.)

Pecan Sandies are a cookie that I remember eating when I was a kid, but I’ve not had any in years. I saw this recipe and I remembered that I really liked them and that I should give them a try. It didn’t hurt that this cookie uses ingredients that I had on hand, which is always a bonus. These cookies are similar to shortbread, so they have a thick and crumbly or “sandy” texture. This recipe does use an egg, so they aren’t true shortbread, but they are a close approximation.

The browned butter adds good flavor to these cookies, but gives the dough a different texture. I made the dough and I thought that it seemed too oily, so I decided to refrigerate the dough for a bit. That wasn’t a good idea. The dough got too cold and hard and was very difficult to shape. It was ok after I let it warm up. You use a good amount of dough for each cookie, thus this recipe makes about 30 cookies. Are they the same as the store bought ones? Well, I haven’t had them in a long time, but I’d say they are pretty close!

Pecan Sandies
½ cup butter
½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup chopped pecans
Additional sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Brown the butter: place the butter in a small saucepan. Heat oven medium-low heat until melted. As the butter continues to cook, swirl the pan occasionally. Watch the mixture carefully, cooking until the butter is lightly browned and smells nutty. Be careful not to burn the butter. Transfer the browned butter to a small bowl and all to cool for 10 minutes.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the browned butter, oil, egg, powdered sugar, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium until smooth. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar and beat on low until the dough comes together. Add the pecans and stir again to combine.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork dipped in sugar, flatten the cookies slightly.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are set and are ever so slightly browned on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from Miss in the Kitchen

Friday, April 22, 2016

Soft and Chewy S'more Cookies

When I pick cookies each week, I try to think about what I can do that’s different. I made bars last week, before that something with peanut butter, and a British Easter cookie. I pin a lot of recipes, but I seem to go in spurts where I pin a bunch of bars cookies, so I feel like I am stuck in a rut. I had pinned this recipe a few weeks ago, and it just seemed the right recipe to make with the summer like weather we’ve had in the Seattle area the past week!

I like s’mores, and in cookies they can’t be beat. Marshmallows are kind of tricky to bake with, as they have a tendency to melt all over the place. This recipe tries to tackle that, by baking to cookies 80% of the way through, then topping with the marshmallows, and baking the final few minutes. Do bake the cookies once you’ve added the marshmallows for just 2 minutes. 3 minutes was too long I discovered, which is how long the first batch baked.

Based on the amount of these that my husband had eaten, then are really good! No, all kidding aside, these are super tasty. The chocolate chips paired with graham cracker and milk chocolate is such a familiar flavor and instantly takes me back to camping out. I could have chopped the Hershey bars a little smaller, but I kind of really like the bigger chunks of sweet chocolate. I have a feeling that these cookies won’t last very long.

Soft and Chewy S'more Cookies
¾ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Hershey bars, chopped
About 1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again on medium until mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until almost fully incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and Hershey bars and turn the mixer on for a moment to mix them in. (Don’t add the marshmallows.)

Scoop the dough by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 9 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and top each cookie with 3-4 mini marshmallows. Bake for 2 additional minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Carlsbad Cravings

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche

This month’s What’s Baking theme is quiche, which really opens up a world of possibilities. I make quiche or frittatas for dinner every once in a while, and they are a great, quick dinner. My husband likes quiche, too, which is great. I went looking for something interesting, beyond the traditional ham and cheese quiche and I found this recipe for pepperoni pizza quiche. I figured that would be a winner since my husband is such a big fan of pepperoni pizza.

This recipe only uses 3 eggs, which isn’t a lot of for a quiche. The filling also has evaporated milk, which in the end gave this quiche a lovely consistency. This was very easy to make, and we really loved it. The ingredients can be whatever you have. I used turkey pepperoni since it has less fat, and used a combination of shredded mozzarella and shredded Mexican blend, as that was what I had on hand. We added mushrooms. You could really use any combination of meat, cheese and vegetable add in.

As I said, my husband and I really loved this. It was quick and easy to make and tasted wonderful. The texture was nice and creamy, but didn’t have the feeling of being under baked. This will now be my go to recipe for quiche, and I can change up the mix-ins depending on what we have on hand. Thanks to this month’s host, Liz of Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks .
Pepperoni Pizza Quiche
1 unbaked 9-inch frozen pie shell
5 ounces sliced mushrooms
8 ounces shredded cheese, divided
2 ounces sliced pepperoni, quartered, divided
12 ounce can evaporated milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until cooked. Allow to cool slightly.

Into the bottom of the pie shell, sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese, half of pepperoni pieces and the cooked mushrooms. In a medium bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, flour, Italian seasoning, and the garlic powder. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust. Top with the remaining cheese and pepperoni. Place the quiche on a baking sheet.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Nestle