breakfast, snacks

Honeycomb Granola

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Do you ever have a grand idea that in your mind makes you so proud of yourself? Where you pat yourself on the back before you even see if your idea would even work? And then when you test the idea, and it fails miserably, you realize how absolutely, embarrassingly ridiculous it was to even think for a second that the idea would work? No? Oh… Well I do, and that’s me today. I was making granola last night and as I poured the honey out of my local honey jar that still held a big chunk of honeycomb in it, and I thought “Hmmm! I wonder if little chunks of honeycomb would taste good in the granola?!” The honey inside the hexes of the comb is the most condensed, most raw form of honey. Once taken from the comb, it tends to attract water from the air, diluting itself. So I chopped about half of it up into bits and mixed it in. When the granola came out of the oven, I couldn’t see a speck of honeycomb anywhere! I thought that I must’ve just chopped them too small. So I went and bought another jar of (not cheap!) honey with honeycomb this morning and brought it home to perfect this genius idea I had of oat covered, toasty-crunchy-chewy honeycomb chunks to snack on and top my yogurt with! I heated my knife up and painstakingly sliced the honeycomb into perfect little cubes and ever-so-gently mixed them into the granola mixture like tiny newborn babies were inside. When I took the pan out of the oven after 10 minutes to stir the granola around, the honeycomb had disappeared again! And when I saw the puddles of thick, shiny, gooey sticky-sweet mixture surrounding where they were, my expression changed immediately, as the delayed light bulb finally went off. Honeycomb is beeswax… Wax… Wax melts. Okay. I knew that. I was fully aware of these facts, yet in my head I just knew I’d just invented the best thing ever- toasted honeycomb. Please don’t give up all hope on me. I have these moments sometimes, and we should all just shake our heads and move on. Deal? It’s Friday, apparently my brain is done for the week.

But wait! After what I thought was the stupidest thing I’d ever done, I tasted the granola, and it is freaking fantastic. It’s almost “praline-ish.” Like a mix of granola and honey brittle. Because I used honey and the comb, it ended up being a lot of honey in that pan! Let’s get one thing straight though- this isn’t the kind of granola you can sprinkle with abandon on your yogurt and claim you’re watching your waistline. It’s all but dessert. It clumps beautifully and is shiny and delicious, and the honey flavor knocks your socks off! It’s really worth it to use the honeycomb, you just don’t need to be as delicate with it as I was. Glad no one was watching! What a goof I am, but hey, it was a happy ending. Click on the link under these photos to view and print the recipe!

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CLICK HERE TO STEAL (PRINT) THIS RECIPE!

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Uncategorized

“Skinny Joes”

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01 Around when the snow sleds are put away and the flowers start to bloom, I realize that I’m not quite ready to put away the cardigans, scarves and other forgiving layers to show off my post-holiday body yet! Cold weather baking always gets me. I’m not into a whole lot of processed foods- particularly processed sweets- but we make our share of sweets at home for sure, and the holidays are always an excuse for a baking free-for-all.  So now that it’s already been in the 80’s here in Arkansas, I’ve got to get ready for summer! Time to back off on the sugar and starchy carbs for a while. But that’s not so easy for me! I love a good hearty meal, so I try to find ways to trick myself into thinking I’ve not cut back on anything in my cooking.

I don’t usually crave sloppy joes, but I was trying to figure out what I could do with the 9% fat ground beef I thawed from the night before and I was craving something hearty. I had canned tomatoes and some portabello mushrooms, so I thought I’d try to make a sloppy joe using the mushrooms as the bun. Great success! I really didn’t miss the bun. Using kale chips in place of chips was another story though… they were good, but I did miss the chips! All in the name of bathing suit weather though, right?

Traditional sloppy joes are made with ground beef mixed into a sweetened tomato sauce that’s usually made with ketchup, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, or a mix of these. To sweeten this sauce naturally I used apple cider vinegar to cook down the shallot and garlic, fresh squeezed carrot juice along with the tomatoes, and a handful of dates that both sweetened and thickened the sauce. It turned out good enough to pass as the real deal in my opinion! But you may not be able to trust me on that one, I haven’t had anything sweet in a while… Regardless, it was really tasty.

To counter the lack of richness and depth that low-fat cooking can have, I used sun-dried tomatoes and smoked paprika. Anything sun-dried or smoked adds that hearty flavor that I crave when I’m hangry and watching what I eat.

I have slight OCD when using only part of a can of something in a recipe (can’t do it!), so I used the whole can of diced, roasted tomatoes, which ended up making quite a bit of sauce. I’d say this batch would be enough to stir into about 2 lbs. of ground beef.  I poured what I needed into my 8 ounces of browned meat (for 2 servings) and then bagged the rest up in a few portions to keep in the freezer for quick lunches whenever I want. I can even see the kids loving this as pasta sauce with that extra sweetness!

For the portabello “buns,” I wiped them off with a wet paper towel, then hollowed them out carefully with a spoon (plucked the stem out with my hand), then sprayed them on both sides with coconut oil spray, then put them on a pan, top side up, under the broiler for a few minutes until browned and tender. Then turn one upside down on the plate, fill with the meat and sauce, then top with the other. By the way, It’s way too sloppy to pick up and eat this “skinny joe,” so you’ll need a knife and fork!

I hope you give this recipe a try- if you do, post it on Instagram with the hashtag #stoleyourrecipe so I can see it and hear any feedback you have about it! Link to view and print recipe is below photos.


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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT THIS RECIPE!

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breads

Honey Maple Banana Bread

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01One of my all time favorite movies (as is common for someone born in the early 80’s) is Fried Green Tomatoes. One of my favorite scenes is when Idgy gets the honeycomb out of the tree with no bee gear on. I remember being memorized by how wonderfully raw and beautiful honey is: I don’t think I ever knew where it came from before watching that scene. If honey is the sweetest gift, honeycomb is the prettiest! Bananas and honey are a heavenly combination, and when you include equally pure and golden maple syrup, well, you’ve got the perfect Sunday treat!

My ideal banana bread is sturdy, moist and sweet. I want to be able to spread my butter or cream cheese on without it falling apart, but I want it sweet enough to eat alone, and I absolutely want it to be as far from dry as possible!

My son can eat his weight in bananas, but I buy more than we need on purpose sometimes to be able to make banana bread at the end of the week. This week was one of those weeks.

This bread calls for whole wheat flour and uses a mix of honey + maple syrup in place of some of the sugar, and I use brown sugar rather than white. It’s not because I want to try to pass this bread off as “healthy,” but because I think bananas lend themselves to these raw, hearty flavors. This loaf turned out how I imagined the best loaf would. It was a success!

While not much can beat a warm slice of sweet banana bread with salted butter slathered on, and I’m usually a fan of “the simpler the better,” I have to admit my favorite way to enjoy banana bread is with cream cheese, a spoon of strawberry jam, and slices of ripe kiwifruit. A drizzle of honey on top of all of that is just for indulgent’s sake. It makes it worthy of a fork dessert for guests rather than a simple sweet snack to use up old bananas. Although both situations are worthy of making this bread!

Click on the link below the photos to view and steal the full recipe!

The darker the spots, the better.

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Break the bananas into bite size pieces in a large bowl.

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Melt butter halfway in a mug, then add the brown sugar, syrup and honey, and melt altogether (about 30 seconds).
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Pour hot honey maple caramel over bananas, and mash with potato masher until mostly smooth (there will be lumps; Let there be lumps). _MG_0241-1 _MG_0246-1

Add the rest of the ingredients (wet, then dry), and pour into greased loaf pan. I drizzled about 2 teaspoons of maple syrup over the top of the batter in the pan before going into the oven, because it was left in the measuring cup and who lets pure maple syrup go to waste?!

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When it comes out of the oven, take a few deep breathes in and enjoy the way your entire kitchen smells. Then very carefully remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a rack.

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Slice and serve however you want. You can’t go wrong. Although warm is always better.
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My favorite way to eat banana bread:_MG_0030-2 ig blog photo 2 IG blog shot banana breadCLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT RECIPE!

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dinner, lunch, party food, pizza

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

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Pizza! It’s my family’s most requested meal. For special occasions, for when company is coming over, and for both-kids-have-afternoon-activities-and-I-haven’t-thought-about-dinner-yet nights, pizza reigns supreme. I spend an afternoon making a boatload of dough, and then I cut them into individual balls and put them in bags in the freezer for later. It’s a rare moment when I don’t have pizza dough for an army in my freezer! Did you know pizza dough freezes well? As a matter of fact, I almost prefer it frozen first! I think it’s that slow thaw that does something to the yeast… I don’t know the science behind it, but it’s always tasty.

The pizza pictured above is one of about 31 gagillion different variations I’ve made with pizza dough. I’ll blog about my favorite white flour dough later, but right now the one I’m digging is this whole wheat version. Winter makes a good case for craving all things hearty and earthy. This dough is perfect for layering strong cheeses and sweet fruits to counteract salty meats. I made this pizza with a creamy brie spread thinly on the base (no sauce), then layers of manchego, gouda and blue cheeses with thinly sliced pear, julienne spinach, local thinly sliced ham, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, a drizzle of honey and a few cracks of pepper (the cranberries and walnuts were sprinkled after cooking). It was a big hit with our friends from out of town. I always like to serve several different types of pizza when friends come over. A typical pizza you’d find on any menu, a kid-friendly version, and one for the adventurous spirit (or to prove to a non-adventurous person that it’s worth it to try new things once in a while).

On the other end of the spectrum is the “I have nothing else for dinner but a fridge full of less-than-two-servings of random veggies.” That’s when I make a kitchen sink pizza. No one complains, and I get to feel good about not wasting all those things in the fridge! What’s your favorite pizza combination? Are you a red sauce fan or do you like to change it up?

For this whole wheat recipe, first I “bloom” the yeast in a mixing bowl with warm water and a good pinch of sugar. When other recipes say “warm water” when yeast is involved, keep in mind that it’s referring to a temperature of 105-110 degrees F. Yeast cells die at 130F so if you keep a candy thermometer in your kitchen, do a quick check. To me it feels like in between a bath I’d give my littles and a bath I’d give myself with a magazine and a glass of red (warmer than “lukewarm” but not “hot”). There’s debate on whether sugar helps yeast bloom in a recipe like this, but I throw in a good pinch for the sake of “just in case.” It works for me this way, so I’ll continue! This is what it looks like when you leave the yeast, sugar and warm water for 5-10 minutes. It “blooms,” and if you’re standing right above it, you’ll smell it right away as it starts to bubble and foam. That typical yeast/bread smell is intoxicating!

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After you’ve seen the yeast bloom, add a little olive oil and a good spoon of salt, then add your whole wheat flour. Use the dough hook on your mixer (or be prepared for an arm workout if you don’t have a mixer). Let it knead until it’s pretty safe to say it’s all come together.
IMG_0027-1 The dough should be moist and tacky, but shouldn’t stick to your finger when you press it. If you it does stick, add just a few tablespoons of flour at a time in the mixer until it’s right.IMG_0028-1 When it’s the way you want it, take the ball out of the mixing bowl, and holding it in one hand, drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil in the mixing bowl. Pat the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl, and swirl it all around until the inside of the bowl and the dough ball are both lightly coated with the oil. Cover with a *lightly* damp dish cloth (I have a water spray bottle I use to tame my son’s fantastic bed head in the mornings and I use this to spray the cloth a few times after I cover the bowl). Set aside for a 2 hour rise. (TIP! If you don’t have 2 hours, you can set the covered bowl in your oven, set it on any temperature and let it start to heat up for a few minutes, then turn it back off- you just want the oven to warm up, not cook the dough. Keep the dough in there for an hour with the door shut, and it should be close to doubled in size. The rule with yeast is the longer the rise, the more flavorful the dough, but when you’re in a crunch for time and you’re going to top the dough with plenty of flavor, go with this faster method!)IMG_0031-1 This is what it should look like after 2 hours. Bubbled and doubled…IMG_0041-1At this point, punch it down, knead it out a minute or two and press it into your pan, throw it in the bottom rack of your oven on a super hot temperature, and watch that pizza bubble and brown into a masterpiece! I’ve found whole wheat dough doesn’t really give you enough elasticity to throw it in the air like a pro, so skip that fun step with this recipe, and just press it out. I’ve even been known to use a rolling pin sometimes (but don’t tell my Italian BFF). Click the link below this photo to steal the recipe!
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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT THE FULL RECIPE!

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Uncategorized

Chocolate Stout Cake with Dark Chocolate Bourbon Ganache & Potato Chips

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01My husband Brian is turning 35 this week! It’s hard for both of us to believe how fast time flies. It feels like just a few years ago we would flirtingly stare each other down in the hallways at Conway High School. It’s not the typical “high school sweetheart story” though. We dated for a few months and when he graduated, we agreed to go separate ways. Two years later, we ended up at a mutual friend’s house while I was visiting from Springfield, MO where I was living at the time, and we exchanged email addresses and a few weeks later I moved back home (for other reasons, but I can’t lie and say he wasn’t a catalyst), and the rest is history! Now we’ve gone through quite a bit to be where we are 13 years after that night we exchanged emails, with several moves, two young kids, a blooming eye care practice, a dog, and a 60’s modern split level house that we’ve been working on for the last 3 years. It’s been quite the adventure, and although it’s not perfect, he still somehow ends up deserving a big ol’ chocolate cake for his birthday.

I was at the liquor store a couple weeks ago and while I was grabbing some Sam Adams Cold Snap for him, I noticed Shiner had a “Birthday Beer” out. I thought it’d be fun to surprise him with some for his birthday, so I grabbed the sixer they had and hid them in the pantry. I didn’t even notice they were a chocolate stout until I got them home. I knew then that some would have to be made into his birthday cake! The Beeroness is an amazing resource for cooking with beer, so I knew I’d find a great starting point on her blog. This cake is adapted from her recipe for chocolate stout cake. I wanted to put my own spin on it, so I decided what a better pairing then beer and potato chips?! Salty + sweet is the yin to the yang, so it was a no brainer for a man’s birthday cake! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Dark chocolate ganache is probably my favorite frosting to work with- it’s just so easy and the absolute perfect amount of sweetness + smoothness + richness. The vanilla and bourbon added to it were just for the sake of the indulgence that are Birthdays!

The batter made SO much, so I ended up just filling two 9 inch cake pans and making a 2 layer cake, and 12 cupcakes. I froze all the cupcakes for later, because ain’t no way I need a birthday cake AND a dozen cupcakes lingering around the house. This way I’ll have a fantastic last minute dessert when company comes over next! But if you’re having a party, make a 3 layer cake with 3 9-inch pans. Or you can make a ton of cupcakes and put one chocolate covered chip on each cupcake. I’m doing that someday… maybe 6 years from now when I work off the calories from this cake!

I made the dark chocolate covered chips the night before and put them in the fridge to see if they’d stay crispy to let you know how far ahead you can make them. They were super crispy and delicious almost 36 hours later! So feel free to make these ahead of time. Also, feel free to make more than the cake needs so you can snack on them, because they’re magic! I thought about making a gorgeous decoration by sticking them in the cake halfway in a spiral pattern, but I thought “It’s for a man.” A messy pile of chocolate covered potato chips on top of a dark chocolate stout cake is exactly what he never knew he wanted! The crushed chips along the bottom were just because I couldn’t help myself. It begged for them. It evened out the texture as far as styling goes.

Guys, this cake is rich. Oh so rich. If you serve it cold like I did, it becomes a smooth, non-crumbly mouthful of perfectly sweet-salty goodness without overtaking the back of your teeth with sugar. It’s indulgent in the exact way it should be.

On another note, the Birthday Beer alone is seriously good! It tastes like a Tootsie Roll, but less sweet, and in a good way, if you can possibly imagine that in a beer. I’d recommend one for a fun birthday treat!

Happy birthday to my husband, my partner in crime. He’s the salty to my sweet. The dark chocolate to my potato chip. Now excuse me, I have to go sneak a chip off the top of that cake in the fridge. Click the link below the pictures to steal this recipe! You’re going to want to, believe me.

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CLICK HERE TO STEAL THIS RECIPE!

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Jams and Spreads

Champagne Orange Marmalade

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Winter is dreary.  Even in the south, where we typically only deal with 2-4 “snow days” every year.  It’s even been really mild this year with no real snow so far, but everything is still brown, barren, dead.  There’s only one small farmers market open and although it’s a gem and I love it, it’s not overflowing with the hustle and bustle of people out to get fresh air with their kids and dogs and friends.  We’re there to get gorgeous locally grown food and then we race back to the car where it’s warm!  But citrus.  Ohhhhh, sweet citrus.  It’s here to cure us of the winter blues!  How can one be unhappy while eating a bright, sweet juicy orange?  Particularly if it’s a cara cara orange!  I don’t guess I’d been paying attention in years’ past, but this is the first year I’ve noticed them and noticed that I ADORE THEM. They’re sweet, tart, and have an almost pink flesh.  My family hasn’t been able to keep them in our fruit stand for more than a day or two without gobbling them all up.  My kids especially love that there are no seeds.

I’m a huge fan of trying to savor the seasons.  I freeze everything I can get my hands on in the summer, but oddly enough, I’ve never officially “canned” anything.  I’ve made enough freezer jam to fill the Titanic, but never anything shelf stable.  Until today!  It’s really less daunting than I let myself believe, and I’m so proud of how the little beauties turned out.

The inspiration for making orange marmalade came from a few things.  I saw someone mixing whole grain mustard with orange marmalade as a glaze for broiled scallops and I thought that it was something I absolutely had to do, and when I did it and became obsessed with the flavor as a glaze for fish and chicken, I thought about how homemade marmalade would be a bajillion times better, and why on earth would I not try to make it homemade when I had a bowl full of gorgeously delicious and in-season cara cara oranges right there in my kitchen?!  I skimmed through several different recipes, then landed comfortably on Love and Olive Oils‘ blog.  Isn’t it funny how when you’re looking for a recipe and there are so many different versions, you somehow just *know* when one is THE ONE you’re looking for?  She made blood orange marmalade three ways- one with strawberry, one plain, and one with chianti to further highlight the color of the blood orange and kick the flavor up.   Her recipe also didn’t ask me to use 8 cups of sugar for 5 cups of water (some of those recipes were cuh-razy!).  So, seeing as how I had bright cara cara oranges instead of blood oranges, and seeing as how I love to add that little something special and unexpected to my recipes (as she did with strawberries and wine), and seeing as how I still had leftover champagne from NYE (that I froze for cooking, not drinking), I came to the conclusion that I had the perfect vision for this recipe!  I did use a bit more wine to water ratio than she did (because why not), and I reduced the sugar and replaced some of it with local honey.  This is what I mean by “stealing a recipe” to make it your own.  Gone are the days of the coveted, top secret grandmothers’ hand written recipe card with 40 years of cooking splatter on it (which does, admittedly, have a ridiculous amount of charm attached to it), and here are our days of finding a boatload of different versions of the same recipe, some with a new idea or an interesting tweak to them, all just waiting at your fingertips for you to recreate with your own spin on them.  I love it.

Make this soon, then smear some with butter on a steaming hot biscuit for a badass breakfast.  Then smear some with brie and roll it up with some chicken and greens in a tortilla for a badass lunch.  Then stir a spoonful of whole grain mustard into 3 spoonfuls of marmalade and smear it onto some salmon and broil it for a badass dinner.  There are so many sweet and savory ways to use this gold!  I’m so very happy with it, and I hope you’ll make it soon to see for yourself how good it is!  Click on the link below the photos to view and print the recipe.

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CLICK HERE TO STEAL MY RECIPE!

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Uncategorized

Coconut Citrus Tea Cakes

_MG_0289-1GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Happy New Year!  A little late.  It should be fitting that my first post of the New Year is my first cheat from my Resolution, right?!  I’ve been doing so well with clean eating, and I have a lot of recipes to share, but this afternoon was the first chance I’ve gotten to spend time photographing all the steps, and the first time I thought to myself “I NEED SOMETHING SWEET.”

I was scrolling through a few blogs for some inspiration last night and found myself loving so many things on La Gallette’s beautiful blog, and then after about about 10 minutes I looked at her “about” section and saw that she’s only 17!  Then I thought “HOW do I not have it more together at 32??” When I was 17 I was waiting tables and loving food and cooking, but blogging wasn’t really a “thing” yet, I had hardly any money for rent much less props for styling, and I still had a 35mm SLR.  At this point in my life, I’m just beginning to be able to carve out enough time for myself to occasionally post recipes without having to worry about a dining room wall covered in permanent marker or a toilet filled with… well, use your imagination.  Archer is 3 and Violet is 5 and they’re at a point where they play together without constant need for hovering supervision *mostly,* and when Archer starts pre-k this August I have so many plans for my time!  I have to work on being able to focus my time and attention wisely.

So back to La Gallette’s blog… I noticed a particular recipe that substituted ground coconut flakes for powdered sugar and I wanted to hug her!  What a fantastic idea!  I don’t have a coffee or spice grinder, so I had to make do with my food processor, but a grinder is on my list of things to get soon so I can do this more often, and top desserts with it rather than powdered sugar.  I decided to try using ground coconut and ground almonds in place of some flour in a little treat!  These little tea cakes are so good.  The texture is like a muffin or a cake doughnut, but the shape of the mini bundt cake, the airiness from the egg whites, and the delicate glaze makes these feel more “feminine” than a plain ol’ muffin.  But if a muffin tin is all ya got, they make great muffins too!  I’d even say they’d make for a great glazed bread!  I wanted to make this without any processed sugar, but after tasting the finished cake it really just begged for the glaze, and it’s surely less than a teaspoon or two on each cake.  It goes from being not quite sweet enough to being the perfect amount of sweetness without your teeth hurting!

I’ll admit I did overfill the tins- they rose more than I expected them to!  So look at the photo of how full I piped them into the tin, and scale back a bit if you want a flatter bottom. I didn’t mind it though, as it created a little pool in the middle rather than a hole so the extra glaze got stuck in there.

I hope you make these soon and enjoy them as much as we did!  If you love them, post a photo on instagram with the hashtag #stoleyourrecipe!

Click the link under the photos to view the printable recipe!

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cakes and cookies

Peppermint Popcorn Cookies

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Last night we wanted to watch a holiday movie (Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas).  The kids couldn’t agree on whether we should make popcorn or cookies for our movie treat.  The lightbulb took a while to go off, but it eventually happened!  Smitten Kitchen’s glorious cookbook is one of my favorites, and I’ve had a sticky note tabbed to her Buttered Popcorn Cookies recipe since the day I was gifted the book.  Now was the time to try them!  I am one of those annoying moms who likes to at least attempt to make everything festive around the holidays, so I wondered what I could do to “festivize” these (that’s a new word, btw).  Then I remembered that Violet was given a big candy cane at The Nutcracker Ballet the other night and it was still in my purse!  I got that bad boy out and used my rolling pin to wack it into dust to mix into the cookies (reserving some to sprinkle on top before going in the oven).  I also threw in a handful of white chocolate chips to add some creaminess to offset all the crunch from the popcorn and candy cane.  The verdict?  Indulgent holiday treat perfection!  I did use the lazy method of a microwaved bag of popcorn rather than making it on the stove like Deb.  Make these soon!  You’ll be glad you did!  Click on the link below the photos for the printable recipe, after wiping the drool from your mouth…

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT THE RECIPE!

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Uncategorized

Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01So here me out.  I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving.  But look, you can make these now and keep them in the freezer so when parties and cookie exchanges and teacher gifting time sneaks up on you and you’re dizzy from shopping, you can rest assured knowing that you have something mouthwatering without much time or thought at all!  Also, you can send the cookies off with the recipe to let them steal it and pass it on!

This recipe was adapted from an almond orange shortbread recipe I found several years ago in one of those small Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazines (do they make them anymore? I loved them!).  I love this recipe because you can swap out or add so many things!  The original recipe included orange zest and almonds.  I kept the orange zest in these, as well as the almond extract, but added festive red and green through the pistachios and cranberries.  You can swap out the orange zest for lemon zest with almonds, or lime zest with macadamia nuts and dried mango (ohhhh that’s my next one), or use raisins and pecans with a dash of cinnamon and use vanilla instead of almond extract… the possibilities are endless!  They’re buttery, crumbly, and just sweet enough without being so overly indulgent.  Violet insisted that she didn’t like cranberries until I made her eat one of these.  As stubborn as she is even she couldn’t pretend not to love them!

I made the dough at night and stuck it in the freezer until morning.  It needs to stay in the freezer for at least 45 minutes, but if it’s been in there for longer than a few hours, let it sit out for about 30 minutes or so to prevent it from crumbling as you slice the cookies off the log.  I ran my knife under hot water and wiped it dry between each slice and it made it a lot easier.  Slice slowly and it shouldn’t crumble on you.

If you switch up the recipe and find a killer combination, let me know! I’d love to steal it from you. Find my printable recipe under the photos.

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT RECIPE

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Oscar Deviled Eggs

logo devilled eggsGraphicSpoonCMYK-01A couple years ago, a local kitchen store hosted a deviled egg competition, and I didn’t enter because I was out of town. But I couldn’t stop thinking of what version I would create if I’d have entered.  I thought about one of my favorite dishes- beef tenderloin “Oscar style” (topped with crab, béarnaise and asparagus), and I thought maybe it would work to make deviled eggs Oscar style.  Since béarnaise is a luscious butter and yolk sauce, it seemed like it could be great!  I finally came up with a version for lunch today and it’s more delicious than I imagined it would be.  I made the béarnaise sauce super lemony, then added some into the mashed, cooked yolks, then piped it back into the whites, then topped that with some crab meat that I tossed in some lemon juice and some crushed kettle potato chips (I know!), then a hefty drizzle of the béarnaise, then some shaved raw asparagus spears, and then some more crushed kettle potato chips.  I ended up making some grilled bread to go along with this, and it’s the fanciest and most fun little appetizer/brunch/light lunch there ever was!  It’s unexpected and the flavors are just spot on.

I used a refrigerated jar of back fin crab meat from the grocery store.  So besides boiling the eggs, all you have to do is make the béarnaise sauce, which isn’t hard, but you do have to focus.  It’s not so much the “make while your toddlers are in possession of markers in the dining room” dish if you know what I mean. And if you’re wondering if I have the magic equation to ensure that all eggs are peeled flawlessly for deviled eggs, I may come up short.  I do know that fresh eggs tend to be harder to peel, so you should aim to buy eggs a week before you plan to make deviled eggs.  Also, some say that adding salt to the boiling water helps too, but I haven’t noticed a difference (although I still do it just in case).  To boil, I barely cover the eggs in cold water in a pot, then set over high heat.  Once the water starts to boil, I turn the heat off, cover with a tight lid, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Soft, creamy, bright yellow yolks every time (thanks Alton!).  Then I drain the water, add a bunch of ice, put the lid back on, and shake it around gently to crack some of the shells.  I feel like this “shocks” the membrane away from the whites and helps it peel more cleanly, and I always peel under a small stream of water.  Do you have any secrets for flawless egg peeling?

I adapted my béarnaise recipe from Bon Appetit magazine.  I halved the egg, butter, vinegar and tarragon, but kept the lemon and shallot at the full recipe amount.  I simply didn’t need as much, but wanted it to be lemony and with full flavor.

The shaved raw asparagus adds some nice crunch to this (use skinny asparagus, by the way- it’s more tender), but it needed just a bit more crunch, and a bit more salt, so the crushed kettle cooked potato chips were absolute perfection!  Don’t skip this ingredient!

Make them soon!  They’re not your parents’ 70’s dinner party deviled eggs, I promise.

Click the link below photos for full recipe.

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CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE

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