Monday, December 31, 2007

Kolachkes, Polish Cookies

The last post of 2007, on-theme.
A cookie with one of the craziest recipes you'll ever see (it's a cookie?), but one of our favorites. One of us is half-Polish, so it's like family.
Makes about 4 dozen

1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
About 1 cup fruit preserves
Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Heat oven to 400°. Combine sour cream and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside until slightly bubbly, about 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in egg until smooth. Set aside.
2. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in sour-cream mixture until dough comes together.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 minutes.
4. Make a depression in center of each cookie. Fill each depression with 1 teaspoon preserves. Bake until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on pans for about 5 minutes; remove cookies to a rack to cool. While cookies are still warm, drizzle with sugar glaze.

Sugar Glaze for Kolachkes
Makes about 3/4 cup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk

Combine sugar and butter. Add corn syrup, stirring to combine. Drizzle in milk a little at a time until the glaze has a runny consistency.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Too Many Cookies to Choose From!

For the last couple of years, we've subscribed to The Food Network's "12 Days of Cookies" newsletter. The 2007 series has already concluded, but you can access all the recipes for this year and previous years too. This year we are partial to the Nanaimos and the Zimtsternes.
Knock yourself out!

Wheat Pizza Crust 2

Erin first posted a pizza crust recipe here, but I deem this different enough in ingredients and technique to be worth posting. Makes one 14" crust.

Dissolve together:
1 c warm water
1 T sugar
2 1/4 t yeast

Mix in:
1 t salt
3 T olive oil
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c white flour

Dough will be soft (but not sticky) and forming a nice ball.
Allow to rest in bowl ten minutes.
Dust cooking stone with cornmeal and press dough out with oiled fingers.
Top with sauce and desired toppings. Bake at 425 F for 14 minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cashew Butter Cookies

1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup cashew butter
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, chopped, plus 48 cashew halves (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Combine the shortening, butters and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer; beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes, until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stop the motor and use a spoon to stir in the flour and chopped cashews.

Scoop out the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, roll into 1 1/2-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheets (the cookies do not spread). Flatten slightly with the tines of a fork and press a cashew half onto the top of each cookie, if desired. Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the sheets front to back and top to bottom; bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the cookies start to brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.

Note from e: These are NOT inexpensive cookies. First, you need the cashew butter. We found this at Whole Foods, but I'm sure most health food stores have it near the peanut butter. It cost $5 for the 8 ounces (enough for the cup). Also, the cashews are expensive. We also got them from Whole Foods and spent about $2.50 for the cup (which was about 4 ounces, I believe). But they are good and just different from your regular peanut butter cookie.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies

This recipe is super easy, and always a hit. Lately I have kept the ingredients on hand for a quick dessert when I need to have one for something. Sorry I don't have a picture--they are gone as quickly as they are made!

1 pkg. devils food cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk chocolate chips
36 Andes Mints (or buy the bag of Andes candy pieces by the chocolate chips--I find that this is easier)

Mix cake mix, eggs, and oil together. Batter will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by te4aspoolnfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes, until tops of cookies just "crack." Do not overcook! Remove cookies from oven and either place a mint or a spoonful of mint pieces atop each cookie. When candy is softened, swirl gently with knife. Cool completely to set candy (put them in the fridge for quick setting).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chicken Garlic Pizza


1-2 skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 T. butter or margarine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 T. chopped green onion
1/2 t. dried basil
2 diced tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
pizza crust - homemade is the best!

Place the chicken breast in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until no longer pink, about 20 min. Drain and cool slightly, then cut into stips.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with garlic, onion and basil. Pour into a chilled dish to cool and refrigerate until set.

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450. Roll out pizza dough and spread the herb butter mixture over the surface using the back of a spoon. Arrange chicken on top, then dot with ricotta cheese. Top with tomato slices, cilantro and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes in the oven.

e-notes: so ben and i have made this twice and really, really love it. here is what i have done. the first time i basically did it like it said, although i did 1/2 the butter and then omitted the cilantro. adding cilantro with the basil/garlic mixture sounds a little weird to me?

the second time (tonite) i changed things a little bit and liked how it turned out much better. i once again omitted the cilantro and 1/2ed the butter, but then instead of letting it chill in the fridge i poured it over my already cooked and chopped up chicken (i then put that in the fridge since i did this step in the early afternoon). later on i rolled out the dough and spread out the ricotta - rather than making dots with it, i spread it out over the entire dough (i don't know if i used 1/2 c. or more - just enough to spread it all out). then i put on the chicken and diced tomatoes. i cooked it for about 10 minutes and then put the parmesan cheese on it for the last 5 minutes. it's a pretty pizza and tastes good.

Peppermint Cookies

So Erin asked that I post the recipe so that she could check beforehand to see what she has on hand before going to the store. So here is the recipe, as found on the back of the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. white sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 c. flour
1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. coconut
1 1/4 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 c. Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Sorry, but I am being lazy and will not type out the recipe. It's found on the back of the bag.

e-notes: I halved the recipe and it worked just fine. I did not put any chips on top of the cookies as the bag says to do. I also did not do the nuts.

but yummy! this will be a new holiday tradition in my house. i really like them.

Monday, December 3, 2007

PB and Honey - Christmas-style

so obviously this isn't a recipe - just a fun idea to do with a simple PB and honey. i can't take credit for it - credit good ol' Martha.

i also saw snowflake quesadillas that i might try. i'll post that, too, if it works out!