Friday, July 29, 2016

Chewy Pistachio Blondies

My husband sometimes buys me interesting ingredients for gifts. A while ago he gave me a can of pistachio paste, which is similar to peanut butter make with pistachios. I held on to this for a while because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make with it. I did some searching a couple of weeks ago and came across a couple of recipes. When I mentioned to my husband that I was looking for recipes, he actually found some of the same recipes I had found, so I was on the right track.

The pistachio paste is really thick, and the oil had completely separated, kind of like old-fashioned peanut butter. It took a lot of work to get the mixture to be smooth! I measured the pistachio paste, but for some reason I felt like it might be too much. The mixture is quite a strange texture, almost like sand, which then became a soft sticky dough/batter. Interesting.

The paste itself is green, but not a bright green, a duller, split-pea soup kind of green. Adding food coloring didn’t help at all, and once baked they have just the slightest green tint. I had a hard time figuring out when these were baked through. In the end, I knew they wouldn’t be quite done in the center and I was right. They were done along the edges, but I think I should have sacrificed the edges to get them baked through. Oh well. They do have a great pistachio flavor, just a little on the soft side!

Chewy Pistachio Blondies
1/2 cup pistachio nut paste
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Green food coloring
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the pistachio paste and brown sugar. Beat on medium until combined.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix again until incorporated. Add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and food coloring. Beat until smooth; the batter/dough will be sticky. Spread batter into the prepared pan.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, until set in the center. Allow the blondies to cool in the pan. Lift the blondies from the pan, peel away the foil, and cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.  

Recipe from Always Order Dessert

Friday, July 22, 2016

Butterscotch Coconut Cookies

I don’t talk about this a lot, but one of my hobbies is ballet. I started taking ballet as an adult and I have a great group of friends that I have made through ballet class. My dance teacher was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, and after a valiant fight, she recently passed away. The dancers had a memorial for her, where we performed a short piece to honor her memory. It was beautiful.

The memorial was a potluck, and I made cookies. My teacher loved butterscotch, so I went looking for a butterscotch cookie. While there were lots of recipes, most of them were oatmeal butterscotch cookies and I wanted something more exciting than that. It was a memorial in a park, so while I didn’t want something super fancy, I didn’t want to be boring. I came across these, butterscotch combined with coconut and that sounded interesting.

I know that this isn’t all that different from a chocolate chip cookie with different mix-ins, but they are really great! Butterscotch is a flavor that has fallen out of favor, which is too bad. I like butterscotch, sweet and buttery, how could that be bad? Combining the butterscotch and the coconut together adds to the buttery flavor, and the coconut brings a certain nuttiness. I made these cookies a little larger than I typically do, because these flavors deserve a nice, substantial cookie. 

Butterscotch Coconut Cookies
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups shredded coconut
1½ butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium until fluffy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and continue beating on medium until well incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut and butterscotch chips with a spatula.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie.     

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cook on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from The Daring Gourmet The Daring Gourmet

Friday, July 15, 2016

Blueberry Pie Cookies

Nothing says summer like blueberry pie! I came across this recipe and it sounded just perfect for this week. I was really surprised that this recipe was posted by Crazy for Crust in December. I have to say that I’m not thinking about fruit pie that time of the year. But this recipe uses frozen wild blueberries, which can be found all year around, so you could make it any time that pleased you.

Make sure that you use wild blueberries for this recipe, as they are smaller and work best with the mini muffin cups that form the crust of these cookies. I had hoped to find fresh wild blueberries, and I’m sure I could have if I had explored a bit. I used frozen ones, which seem to be popular because they are used in smoothies. If you do use frozen wild blueberries, make sure you drain them super well. I thawed mine and then let them sit on paper towels for about 15 minutes to be sure they were as well drained as possible.

Pressing the dough up the sides of the mini muffin cups is a bit tedious, but not too bad. This recipe made exactly the right amount of dough for 18 cups and I had exactly the right amount of filling to fill those 18 cups. I can’t say that’s usually the case with me, so it was nice for something to come out so precisely. It doesn’t make too many, which is the only drawback. These are a bit fragile, and mine got a little crumbly on the trip in to work, but they were absolutely delicious anyway!

Blueberry Pie Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup wild blueberries, fresh or thawed and drained well
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 24 section mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium again to combine. Add the vanilla and salt and stir to incorporate. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour. Mix just until the dough comes together.

Place 1 tablespoon of dough into 18 of the muffin cups. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of each cup with lightly floured hands.

Make the filling: drain the blueberries. Place the blueberries in a medium bowl and add the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently stir to combine. Divide the filling between the 18 muffin cups.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Cool completely before removing from pan. Once cool, remove the cookies from the pan with the help of a small metal spatula.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the white chocolate and shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the white chocolate into a plastic bag, snip off the end of the bag and pipe onto the cooled cookies. Allow the white chocolate to set before serving.

Recipe from Crazy for Crust