Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Maple Syrup Cookies

In my fridge looms a large jug of Costco’s Grade A Medium Amber 100% Maple Syrup just waiting for this recipe, again. After a few more batches, I’ll need to make another Costco run. Maybe by Friday. Saturday at the latest. Yikes, I just ate the last cookie! Someone stop me!

Maple Syrup Cookies Printer Version
So buttery, fluffy and moist these cookies are truly a worthwhile indulgence.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Granulated or organic sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, syrup and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into mixture until well blended. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool on wire rack.

Makes about 60 cookies.

Submitted by Craig Gund to Allrecipes.com. Pictures by Laura Flowers.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Devil Dogs

This recipe is always popular at Jesse’s work. Sometimes for a change, I fill these decadent sandwich cookies with white chocolate or raspberry flavors, but vanilla is traditional and my favorite.

Devil Dogs Printer Version
You'll need damp hands, but not wet ones, for this recipe so stick close to the sink as you scoop and roll the dough into balls.

Chocolate Cookies
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup hot water
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nonalkalized cocoa powder
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place parchment paper on a couple cookie sheets.

2. Mix the water and baking soda together. Set aside. In a mixer bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Beat in egg yolk. Add vanilla, cocoa powder and butter milk and mix to combine. Add the baking soda water and mix on low. Add flour and beat until just mixed.

3. Place the batter and cookie sheets next to the sink. Wet hands and shake off the excess water. Scoop dough with a standard (size 50) cookie scoop, and roll into a ball with damp hands. Place two inches apart on parchment wetting hands as needed.

4. With your fingers, press the dough into disks about 1/3” thick. Bake cookies one sheet at a time for 5 to 7 minutes until their surfaces crack. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Vanilla Filling
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the ingredients together slowly at first, then on high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth.

Trim an edge of a gallon size bag and spoon in filling, or a fill a pastry bag with a large round tip with frosting. Pipe filling onto underside of half the cookies, top with a cookie and gently sandwich together.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

ButterYum’s Vanilla Nut or Honey Nut Bars

Patricia calls these little gems Vanilla Nut Bars because she uses Lyell’s Golden Syrup. I dubbed them Honey Nut, as I need to finish up a five gallon bucket of honey (long story). Either would work well I think, that’s up to you.

I love my friend Patricia from ButterYum, and not just because we both survived our teenage years slaving away at McDonald's. If you don’t know her, she lives up to her blog name and when I want something really sinful, I head over to her site. Patricia’s unapologetic use of butter in this recipe makes my kitchen smell like a mix between a bakery and a caramel popcorn factory. If only I could bottle that scent, I’d be off floating on a yacht in paradise.

ButterYum's Vanilla Nut/Honey Nut Bars

Printer Version

Makes one 9x13 pan


2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of Fine sea salt

1/2 pound (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup (or honey)

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 pound chopped nuts (I used almonds and pecans)

Preheat oven to 350F. Make the crust by combining the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle or BeaterBlade attachment (LOVE my BeaterBlade) - mix for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter/sugar mixture on low speed just until all the ingredients are completely incorporated. Using well floured hands, press dough into ungreased 9x13 metal cake pan or lined 9x13 quarter sheet pan (see notes below). Bake crust for 15 minutes. Cool. Make the filling.

To make the filling - combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils; continue to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, vanilla, and chopped nuts. Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool until set. Cut and serve!

**Lyle's Golden Syrup is an all natural sugar cane syrup imported from England - it has an addictive caramel-like flavor and I absolutely love it. It can be used interchangeably in any recipe that calls for honey. I've been finding it more easily at grocery stores lately, so have a look around and pick some up.

Notes - if baking in a sheet pan, build up the edges a bit with foil to catch any possible spills. A double recipe will fit in one half sheet pan or two 9x13 cake pans.

Recipe by Patricia at ButterYum.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

These cookies are more like tiny cakes with a dollop of fluffy peanut butter frosting on top. The frosting alone is worth making as a topping for other baked goods, or as my mom does, on graham cracker sandwiches.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Printer Version

Chocolate Cake Cookies
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup butter, softened to nearly melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (18.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix, any kind
1 recipe Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting, below
1 (12 ounce) bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures, cut in half

1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place all the ingredients except the cake mix in a mixing bowl and beat well to combine. Add the cake mix and mix just until incorporated. Scoop with a standard (size 50) cookie scoop 2 inches apart onto parchment. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until no longer wet looking. Rest on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

3. Once cool pipe with Peanut Butter Frosting, garnish top with half a peanut butter cup.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
This stuff is so good you might as well just skip the cookies and dig into the frosting.

3/4 cup Jiff Creamy Peanut Butter
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/3 and up to 1/2 cup whole milk
½ teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar

Beat the ingredients together with a mixer starting with 1/3 cup milk. Mix well and add more milk if needed. Beat on high speed for 4 more minutes until fluffy.

Makes about 52 cookies

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

London Fog Shortbread

There are several cookie recipes I’ve had written out for awhile and never got around to posting, so please try to bear with me this week while I catch up. This one is a tender, buttery interpretation of my favorite drink. Vanilla and Earl Grey tea perfume this beautiful shortbread.

London Fog Shortbread Printer Version
This shortbread needs to rest in the refrigerator and bake three separate times, but it’s worth it! You’ll also need a food processor, or a coffee grinder to grind the up the tea beforehand if you don’t have one.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon loose leaf Earl Grey Tea
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Ultrafine Baker’s Sugar (found near the other sugars)
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

1. Line a 9” square baking pan with foil.

2. Place the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, tea and salt in a food processor and process for about 1 minute seconds until tea is well ground. Move the flour mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.

3. Place the butter, super fine sugar and vanilla extract in the food processor and process until light and fluffy. Add half of the flour mixture back in and process until combined. Add the other half of the flour mixture and process just until almost wet looking but not combined.

4. Turn the batter out onto a clean surface and flour lightly if too sticky to handle. Knead dough just until smooth. Press the dough into the baking pan and smooth with the back of a dough scraper.

5. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours. After resting, place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.

6. Bake One: Bake the shortbread for 55 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes then cut into squares in the pan with the dough scraper. Leave the shortbread in the pan and the oven on during this time.

7. Bake Two: Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes and then move the foil with the cookies to a baking sheet. Separate the cookies a little.

8. Bake three: Bake the cookies on the sheet for 10 more minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes and move to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Perfect Pie Crust

Sometimes you get lucky. Like I did the day Veronica and several other wonderful women decided to induct me into their foodie friend group on MySpace, long before any of us had blogs. Or in my case, before I knew what a blog was. I didn’t realize it then, but quickly learned I was part of a friend group for life. One with strong bonds and big loyalties. A sisterhood.

Our bond is and always has been food. We encourage, celebrate and admire qualities in each other we often wish we had in ourselves. For me, I’ve always admired Veronica’s ability to make pie dough. She’s been my inspiration for years on the subject, and I thought, who better to come and share her secrets and knowledge?

Veronica writes the blog Recipe Rhapsody, a perfect name for a lady who loves to sing, entertain, cook and bake. I am fortunate to call her friend. Even if she does make fun of my store bought pie dough!

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end.

This proverb can be applied to many areas of life, and making piecrust is no exception. Perhaps you have already mastered the art of making pie crust, but many fear pie dough the same way I used to fear yeast breads. This fear is one that can be easily put to rest with some knowledge, understanding, and practice.

I’ve only been making pies a few years, but I make them pretty frequently and while I’m not an expert or professional by any means, I have become fairly comfortable working with pie dough and creating attractive pies.

What I’ve learned along the way:

~Temperature is important when making & working with pie dough. The key to a flaky crust is keeping every element of the dough as cold as possible. Cold fats are essential because they stay in small balls, separate from the flour, which creates pockets of fat that melt and create flakiness as the crust cooks. That is also why ice cold water is used—to keep the fat cold and separate from the flour.

~To prevent sticking and tearing while rolling the dough out, start with a heavily floured surface and flour the dough itself, reapplying as necessary.

~Beaten egg white can be used to create a barrier between the crust and filling, making it less prone to sogginess. Brush some on the crust before filling and baking, or brush it on a prebaked crust a few minutes after removing it from the oven. The residual heat will cook it and help seal it off from excess moisture from your cream filling.

~To create a golden shine, brush the top crust with beaten egg before baking.

~Steam vents are essential in two-crust pies. A small hole in the middle of your pie will do, or you can cut a design or slits, whatever you fancy. Provide a place for the steam to escape or it will create it’s own and it’s not going to be pretty.

~Extra pie dough can be used to fix tears or cracks, and to make fun things like homemade pop tarts or pie dough “cinnamon rolls.” My recipe uses mostly butter and I’ve made some pretty good shortbread with the leftover by adding powdered sugar to it!

As far as pie crust recipes are concerned, I’ve used all-shortening recipes, all-butter recipes, recipes with vinegar and without, recipes with sugar and without, and have come to favor a rich all-purpose pastry recipe that I now use most often. The fat to flour ratio in this recipe is very high, which makes a tender crust. The butter enhances the flavor while the shortening gives it the flakiness that we desire in a perfect pie crust.

So try this recipe and if you don’t succeed, try, try again. Over and over again. Once you get the hang of pie crust, you will be glad you didn’t give up! Homemade pie is very much worth the effort of a homemade crust. Despite Laura and Dishboy Scott’s reassurances to the contrary (sorry, guys!), in my humble opinion there is quite a difference between a pie made with store-bought crust and the real deal.

Just do it. Persistence pays off in the end. Amen.

Perfect Pie CrustPrintable Recipe

Makes enough for two pies or one double-crust pie

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces

1/4 cup shortening, chilled in freezer

6-10 tablespoons ice-cold water (I use a scant 1/3 cup every time)
1 beaten egg, for brushing (optional)

Mix flour and salt. Cut the butter and shortening in with a pastry blender or food processor until pieces are the size of small peas. Add ice water and mix until it starts to form a ball. Divide dough in half, gather in your hands and gently shape each into a ball, flatten them into discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. If they get too hard, leave them on the counter until pliable enough to roll out.

When ready to make your pie, roll out one disk and fit into a pie plate, trimming off the excess. Fill, cover with the top crust, pinch and flute the edges. If desired, brush beaten egg over the top crust for a golden shine, then cut a few vents holes and bake according to your pie recipe directions. If you are making a one-crust pie, you can either halve the recipe or freeze the second disc, wrapped well with plastic wrap and placed in a Ziploc bag, for later use.

To prebake your crust for a cream pie, line the plate with your crust and flute the edges, then refrigerate until firm. Line crust with a square of parchment paper large enough to cover the entire inside. Fill with dried beans and bake at 350 for twenty minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven; pull the corners of parchment toward the middle and lift out. Poke the crust all over with a fork and return to the oven for ten minutes. As soon as you take it out of the oven, brush a beaten egg white over the bottom and sides to seal. The residual heat will cook the egg white and turn it opaque.

Allow the crust to cool before filling.

Pictures and video by Veronica from Recipe Rhapsody. Recipe from "The Dessert Lover's Cookbook" by Marlene Sorosky.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Pie Dough and a Run in with a Pie Judge

Dishboy Scott and I worked for days on our ridiculously challenged pie dough skills to be able to enter a real pie in the fair. Friendly competition and a bit of jealousy ensued on both our parts as one would get a bit better as the other struggled to catch up.

You see, although I make a lot of pies, I am a miserable failure at pie crust. My mom, now she makes it look easy. I just usually make it look messy and strange. This time though, I powered through recipe after recipe until I finally put together something that worked.

Yes, I am that "challenged". That being said, this must be a hard one to fail, because I’ve made it several times since and have yet to screw up. I finally have a good recipe.

Sadly, after all our hard work our pies almost were not entered at all. Dishboy Scott and I showed up to drop them off this evening and were quickly rejected. “NO GLASS!” barked a cranky looking judge. I raised my eyebrows and stated we had no idea, as the rules just came out today. I kept thinking, “Who the heck doesn’t bake with Pyrex?”

Anyway, I decided I could knock the old bat out cold and leave my pie behind with its wonderful crust as a memento. She complained of a bad back and I’m combat trained. So, this is the part where I tell you I kicked her teeth in right?

Well, no such thing happened. Instead we just stood at her table refusing to move until she accepted our pies. We might get last place, but at least we’re entered.

I guess I’ll have to learn to use a metal pie pan next year.

Good Pie Dough
Printer Version
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cubed
10 ounces (by weight) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cold full fat cream cheese, diced
2 tablespoons cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Place butter in a sandwich bag. Freeze until solid; about 30 minutes. Place flour, baking powder and salt in a gallon size bag and freeze as well.

Pulse together flour mixture in a food processor. Add the cream cheese and pulse to combine, about 15 seconds. Add the frozen butter and pulse until very small crumbles form. Pulse in the heavy whipping cream and vinegar.

Divide dough crumbs in half adding a little more to one batch for bottom dough. Place into gallon size plastic bags. Label bags “bottom” and “top” if needed. Refrigerate crumbs 6 to 12 hours.

Remove the dough to the counter for 20 to 30 minutes or until the dough warms up enough to roll but is still cool. Open bags and press dough together through the outside of the plastic. Shape dough into a flat disc using the bag to help form the shape kneading a couple times as you form.

Place the dough between a lightly floured pie size piece of wax paper, lightly sprinkle dough with flour and top with another piece of wax paper. Roll 1/8” thick and 12” in diameter. *Roll dough forward only, rotating the dough an eighth a turn per couple of rolls* Near the end of rolling, gently peel off wax paper and lightly sprinkle dough with flour. Place wax paper back over the dough, flip dough over, peel off wax paper and lightly flour the bottom side to prevent sticking.

Note: If pie dough is too soft after rolling, slide a cookie sheet under the wax paper and freeze for 10 minutes.

Yield: 1 double crust for 9” pie.

Recipe & photographs by Laura Flowers

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lazy Laura’s Cucumber Raita

The “Lazy Laura” would be me. Usually by the time I remember to make raita for an Indian meal the last thing I want to do is a bunch of chopping. So I don’t. I whirl everything together in the food processor.

If you have a better memory than me, raita should sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours. However, I usually just throw it together in a panic and serve it right way.

Lazy Laura’s Cucumber Raita
Printer Version
1 large cucumber or English cucumber
2 (6 ounce) containers plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh mint or cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Peel the cucumber with a carrot peeler. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon making a tunnel; discard seeds. Chop into big chunks and toss in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process to combine.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Buttery Grilled Naan

This is hands down the best homemade naan I’ve ever made and the recipe I’ll be using from now on. The only step I did differently was to briefly cook the naan on a parchment covered pizza stone until stiff so the dough was easier to place and flip on the grates. This step is optional of course.

I didn’t knead in the optional garlic, but left it in the recipe in case you wanted to give it a go.

Buttery Grilled Naan
Printer Version

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.

4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com. Pictures by Laura Flowers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala & Rice Pilaf

Friends came by for dinner Friday giving me an excuse to spend some extra time on the meal. Craving Indian food, I made a few dishes from online recipes and a favorite curry book.

I strictly followed the instructions, as I have no idea how to free myself of them to give this beautiful cuisine my own spin. A handicap I wish I could escape. Perhaps there’s an Indian cooking school somewhere I can attend. I’ll look into that when things slow down, but for now I’ll stick to the instructions.

Chicken Tikka Masala Printer Version
This dish is incredibly rich and flavorful with heavy cream and fragrant spices. For a vegetarian version, skip the chicken and add some diced paneer and a few handfuls of chopped fresh spinach into the sauce after it's reduced a bit.

Chicken Prep:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat a grill for high heat.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Sauce Prep:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

2. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Rice Pilaf
This basic pilaf can be used with other recipes and cuisines.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 an onion, diced small
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 cup jasmine rice
2 1/4 cups water

1. Add the olive oil and butter together in a large nonstick skillet. Cook over medium high heat until butter is melted. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook until softened.

2. Add the rice and cook stirring occasionally until some of the kernels start to turn golden.

3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Chicken Tikka Masala from Allrecipes.com. Basic rice pilaf and picture by Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The BAT with Chipotle Garlic Mayo on Nature’s Pride Country White Bread

Nature’s Pride is offering a chance at hotel and airfare for Foodbuzz’s fantastic festival. Well, so I hear it’s fantastic, as every one of my blogging buddies who went last year bragged about it for the next month.

Sadly, I was not there. I felt happy for my friends, but completely green with envy at the same time. I badly want to go this year and am crossing my fingers and toes that I get picked for this opportunity.

Besides, I really want to share this sandwich with everyone I know. It’s swoon worthy. Or maybe that’s just the bacon talking. Either way, I love to share and would have a chance to do so at the festival if picked.

So here’s my entry. Nature’s Pride you make a darn good bread, and I’m hoping this little sandwich is tasty enough to make the cut.

I have a feeling there are going to be a ton of fantastic entries. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! And maybe your eyes, and your toes…

The BAT with Chipotle Garlic Mayo on Nature’s Pride Country White Bread

1 1/2 pounds applewood smoked thick cut bacon
Chipotle Garlic Mayo, below
1 to 2 tomatoes, sliced and squeezed of some of the juice
2 avocados, sliced
8 slices Nature’s Pride Country White Bread
Fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place half the bacon on the foil side by side and bake until the top starts to brown. Carefully flip the bacon and cook until the bacon is done to preference.

2. Carefully move bacon to a paper towel covered plate and blot off grease. Repeat with the rest of the bacon. Cut the bacon in half and set aside.

3. Make the Chipotle Garlic Mayo. Spoon sauce to taste onto one or both pieces of bread per sandwich. Layer the sandwiches with tomato, avocado, bacon and season with pepper. Top with bread slice and cut in half to serve.

Makes 4 sandwiches. Total time 25 minutes.

Chipotle Garlic Mayo
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from a 7 ounce can)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can)
Juice of ½ a lime
1 clove garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
½ tsp salt

Combine ingredients in a small or mini food processor. Pulse until smooth and well blended. Taste for spice. Add another chipotle if desired.

Recipe and photographs by Laura Flowers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lemon Frosted Black Raspberry Brownies

Have you had a busy week? Weekend? I sure have. Clara started school last week (Yay!) and I worked another weekend, so it feels like things have been nonstop for awhile. This is good though, I do busy much better than bored.

I didn’t have a lot of time to bake Jesse’s weekly work treats, but threw together a quick doctor job on a boxed brownie mix. Making cheater brownies is fun, almost limitless in possibilities and easy. The last part being the most important right now.

Lemon Frosted Black Raspberry Brownies Printer Version
These shortcut brownies remind me of the lemon chocolates I sneak out of Valentine’s Day chocolate boxes.

3 tablespoons Smucker’s Simply Fruit Seedless Black Raspberry Spreadable Fruit
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 package Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 tub lemon frosting
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Dark colored berries for garnish, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together spreadable fruit, water, oil, and egg. Add the brownie mix and stir until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until done. Cool brownies completely in the pan on a wire rack.

3. Mix lemon frosting and lemon zest together. Spread over cool brownies. Freeze brownies for 1 hour for easier cutting. Cut into strips and strips into rectangles. Garnish individual brownies with berries if desired.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weetabix Butterscotch Cookies

I don’t feel like myself this week. I feel more like a midwestern mom with four children and a pastor husband. Not my quirky rebellious northwestern self with an only child and a tech for a spouse.

I’m not entirely crazy. Really. Ok maybe I am. Though I bet it has to do with the food and less with my losing my mind. This week I’m living life through someone else’s victuals. Things I’ve never made and never really thought of. Meals with a very mid-west twang. Can I say twang for midwestern food? Probably not.

My assignment is to shoot a five day menu of a woman who lives and cooks many states away. It feels like acting. I can almost envision myself becoming a better person. Well, let’s not go that far, but I am having fun and this is a good reminder of how vast our country’s food roots are. Sometimes I forget when I don’t travel out of my northwest corner enough.

I haven’t spent much time in the midwest exploring their food culture, but it’s on my bucket list. For several years I’ve dreamed of eating my way through the Minnesota State Fair. If I ever get there I’ll be sure to buy pants three sizes too big and an extra large passenger ticket for the plane ride home.

Weetabix Butterscotch Cookies
These cookies are a variation on an old Weetabix Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I called the company, but the recipe is so ancient no one can remember the origin.

4 Weetabix cereal, crushed
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 egg
1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Mix together crushed Weetabix, flour, soda and salt

2. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in butterscotch chips.

3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for about 2 minutes, then transfer to cool completely.

Makes about 32 cookies.

Recipe adapted from the Weetabix recipe collection. Picture by Laura Flowers.

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