Monday, December 27, 2010

Banana-Oat-Chocolate-Chip-Walnut Cookies

Whenever I have overly ripe bananas, I make banana bread. However, I had just made a double batch of bread and still had left over, much too ripe, bananas to use up.

The search began for a recipe. And, hooray! Enter "Cooking Light" magazine.

These things kick. They are chewy, but not too cake like. Crisp, but soft. Lots of flavors and chunks, and subtle banana flavor throughout the entire confection.

I am a HUGE fan of natural banana flavors. The artificial kind, such as laffy taffy or popsicles, makes me want to throw up. Luckily, comprised of mashed bananas, this bread is the good kind of fruit flavor.

Make these instead of banana bread next time. I pinky promise, you'll be glad you did.

Cooking Light's Banana-Oat-Chip-Walnut Cookies

  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Cooking spray

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until golden. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

*UPDATE* I don't know why this thing insists on writing parts of this post in all caps. If you know why and can help me change it, let me know! Otherwise, it just looks like I am yelling about these cookies. No matter how many times I try to reformat. I assure you, while they are delicious. I am not yelling. I am merely stating delicious facts.

Yay CAPS! Happy New Year, all :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Moylan Christmas Cookies

My mother is one of five sisters and, every year, as far back as I can remember, we have Christmas cookies that they each make in bulk (1 cookie type, 5 batches- one per family) and then trade.

It's a fun tradition, and a delicious one, that everyone looks forward to reaping the benefits of once all the sisters swap cookies. I was considering doing one post per cookie but, then I realized, I'd have to wait 7 weeks for all my holiday goodies to be posted! I mean, really, that is MUCH too much time. So, here we have listed below all 6 holiday cookie recipes and then the infamous recipe for Moylan family fudge. Which means a short blog post but a HUGE collection of holiday recipes. All of which are extremely worthwhile.

Make and enjoy :)

Resess Cup Cookies:
-1/2 c butter
-1/2 c brown sugar
-1/2 c sugar
-1/2 cup peanut butter
Mix and add
-1 egg
-½ tsp vanilla
-¾ tsp baking soda
-½ tsp salt
Put into mini muffin tins sprayed with Pam. Bake 8-10 mins at 350. Press peanut butter cup into cookie and let sit at least 10 min.

Toffee Squares:
-1 c brown sugar
-1 c margarine
-1 egg yolk
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 c flour
-6 hershey bars

Cream butter, sugar, add eggs, flour, and vanilla. Spread on a greased sheet, bake at 350 for 20 mins. Spread hershey bars on hot toffee, smear. Tops with nuts while warm and cut (usually we just use a pizza cutter) while warm.

Basic spritz cookies:

for 6-7 dozen.

1/2 cup butter softened
1/4 cup crisco shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
green food dye for tree shape

Mix butter and shortening in large bowl. Cream together on medium high speed.

Add the sugar gradually. Beat till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla, mix well using medium speed.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, THEN add to green butter/sugar mixture in 3 additions,
mixing well after each addition. Dough will be stiff.

Fill your cookie press. Press cookies on ungreased uncoated baking sheet (I never use uncoated, but may try this, would help them
not to stick to the cookie press)

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until LIGHTLY browned around the edges. Do not overbake (The recipe said that, not me)

Did I mention you need to add the green dye before the flour? Yeah, you will make the mistake once, and then try to add it after the flour, and it will take you about an hour to try to get the color consistent, and by the time you are done you will have green fingers because you got so frustrated trying to mix it, you started using your hands......
Hopefully this will only happen to you once. I was not so lucky, but it was not written in the recipe, so I was supposed to remember,
yeah, right.....

Almond Butter Cookies (Crescents or Snowballs):
2 cups butter
¾ c sugar
1 ½ c finely chopped almonds
3 ½ tsp vanilla
3 ½ c flour
Mix, bake at 350 9-10 min. Roll into balls (as shown above) or crescent shapes. Ungreased pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Pecan Tassies:
-1/2 c butter
-1/2 c margarine
-6 oz cream cheese
-2 cups flour
Mix and chill for 1 hour. Form into approx 48 balls, press into mini-muffin tins.
For filling:
-2 eggs
-1 1/2 c brown sugar
-2 tbls melted butter
-1 1/2 c chopped pecans
-1 tsp vanilla
-Dash of salt
Bake 25-30 min @ 350. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies:
-3 c soft butter (6 sticks)
1 ½ c brown sugar
6 egg yolks – save the whites
3 tsp vanilla
6 c flour, ½ tsp salt
Mix all except flour/salt. Combine flour/salt together and blend into dough. Roll into balls. Dip in slightly beaten egg whites. Roll in chopped nuts. Bake 5 min, remove and press centers. Bake 8 mins more. Let cool, place jelly in middle.

And last but not least!!!

Moylan Family Fudge:
-2 qt saucepan
-1 stick butter/15 lg marshmallows
(melt together)
-add 2/3 c evaporated milk (5 oz can)
-2 cups sugar
-A sprinkle of salt
Cook on med heat until at a boil. When it bubbles, stir for 5 min. Remove immediately.
Add 1 cup semi sweet chips, 1 tsp vanilla, & 1 cup walnuts.
8X8 greased, let it cool

Monday, December 13, 2010

S'more Brownies = S'mownies

Okay, to be honest, I didn't make these brownies myself.

I've been traveling a lot for work lately. A lot. I was at my place in DC last weekend and won't be back there again until shortly before New Years. For the 2 days I was home, my roomie and I decided to have our pals over so I could see them all before the holidays. We ate a lot, watched Christmas movies.

So, anyway. I didn't make these. I tossed the ingredients on the kitchen counter and set my roommate up with a bowl and asked her to, (pretty please with sugar on top), make these festive brownies for our friends.

Luckily, my roommate is a good sport so, even though the flavor combination and concept seemed flawed, she did as I asked and made these lovely brownies.

Yummmm- look at the toasted marshmallow top. Fabulous.

The basic premise of these treats is creating a basic spin on the s'more. Chocolate, marshmallow, graham crackers. I bought the red and green marshmallows for our holiday party but, next time I think I'll go with the ordinary confections.

For those who are curious, I wasn't baking them myself because I was cleaning and tweaking like a crazy person. Plus I was unpacking, repacking, and trying to scrub every surface within reach at the same time. My roommate was being extremely patient, watching all this and also allowing me to be OCD and arrange, rearrange, and replace to it's original place again without saying a word. While she was baking for me in the kitchen, I was arranging the rest of the food made and gathered on our big Christmas trays.

See? Arranged. I love those napkins, by the by.

Anyway! So, most of those cookies are all store bought. I'll make/post my family's traditional cookies soon- once I have time again and am not being a crazy person.

However, just a small note: the pretzel rods shown are dipped in White Chocolate and rolled in crushed candy canes. Simple and delicious.

Hope you guys have more time then I do. And are having your own fabulous holiday soirees :)

-1 box brownie mix & all the ingredients the box requires
-1 bag miniature marshmallows
-1 box graham crackers.

Make the boxed brownies according to the directions. Grease 9 by 13 pan, line with graham crackers. Pour brownie mix over the top, bake according to box directions or until a tooth pick comes out clean when tested, (approx 25 mins @ 350). Remove from oven, top with marshmallows, spread evenly across the top. Turn oven up to "broil" setting, and "toast" the marshmallow topped treats until golden. It won't take longer then 2 mins so, really, do not walk/look away.

Enjoy & Merry Christmas :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

PW's Lemony Pasta

So, in case this hasn't been made clear by my track record here, I am relatively obsessed with the blog Pioneer Woman Cooks. This is yet another recipe provided by her web site, one among the many I plan on making and have been working through slowly but surely.

SO! Lemon pasta. It looks just as fresh and delicious in the pics as it does in person. And the taste is phenomenal.

It's zesty and also savory. I am a big fan of cheesy lemon pastas, usually with chicken in them as well. I would love to try this recipe with some chicken added into the mix. Or perhaps served next to some fish.

Oooh, yum. That actually sounds like a winning combination. White fish or shrimp with lemon pasta? Can't miss.

If you feel like you are being called to make this then, you should bite the bullet and just go make this. If you like, I could suffer through having some more. Especially if we are trying it with a protein. And if I don't have to do the dishes.

But, in simpler terms. This recipe is delicious, a snap, and reheats well. A fantastic weeknight meal, served with some kind of meat and perhaps a salad, you'll flip. Promise.

Enjoy :)


-1 pound Thin Spaghetti

-4 Tablespoons Salted Butter

-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

-2 cloves Garlic, Minced

-1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested

-2 cups Sour Cream

-½ teaspoons Kosher Salt, Or More To Taste

-Plenty Of Grated Parmesan Cheese

-Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped

-Extra Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.

In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

I recently became extremely interested in making pies. . I was going to work on "fall" type pies but, I am traveling home and then on business so, making pie seemed a poor decision when I wouldn't be able to eat it in time or transport it.

Plus, my cousin was making all kinds of yummy pies for the holiday and there is no way I could top her treats.

I made this pie in the summer and had simply been holding onto the recipe and pics. I am not sure why I haven't posted it before this point because- this recipe is astoundingly delicious. Probably because it's a lot more intensive then my usual recipe. It is from the cookbook "Bubby's Homemade Pies" which has an endless amount of home-made pie recipes and crust recipes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.

This pie in particular is creamy, delicious, and extremely rich. It's a beautiful melding of chocolate and peanut butter- arguably the best flavor combination there is- if you have the time and energy to whip (literally) this sweet dessert up. You won't be disappointed :)


Bubby's Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

-1 Oreo Pie Crust (The cookbook uses Graham but, I wanted this chocolate-tastic)

Peanut Butter Mousse:
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-3 oz cream cheese (softened)
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream

-6 oz semi sweet chocolate (I used chips but, 1 bar would work out smashingly)
-1/4 cup heavy cream

To make the mousse: Beat together the sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until they are fluffy. In a separate bowl whip together the cream until it holds good, stiff, peaks.. Place a few spoonfuls of whipped cream in a peanut butter mixture and mix on medium to combine it all evenly. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the ganache: Melt the chocolate until smooth. Add the cream, stirring continuously, until completely combined. Spread a thick layer of ganache in the pie shell, covering the bottom and the sides of the crust as evenly as possible using the offset spatula, spreading from the center outward and up the sides. Layer the rest on the bottom of the pie crust.

Fill pie crust with remaining mousse- Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beer Bread. Bread with Beer Baked Into It.

Okay, so. We are taking a step back from the ultra geeky and ultra sweet desserts and moving on to something simple, savory, and oh my, so delicious.

I actually made this some time ago and simply haven't posted the recipe until now but! Here you go kids, share and enjoy :)

I had seen this recipe and had decided I wanted to make it but, had never really dealt with this kind of a bread before. Short of the random yeast bread, I usually stick to cake like doughs, going for the sweets like pumpkin and banana.

Yummmmmm, pumpkin bread. Hope that makes an appearance this Thursday!!!

In any case, this bread (as you can see) lacks yeast but, doesn't lack from it. I drizzled mine with butter and then topped it with herbs for good measure and then a big dash of salt.

Buttery flavors + salty flavors + distinct beer flavors + yummy delicious herbs...

I may stink at math but, that all adds up exceptionally well in my kitchen!!!

Enjoy :)

Beer Bread
-3 cups flour
-3 teaspoons baking powder
-1 1/2 teaspoon salt
-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
-One 12-oz can of beer

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease your bread pan- I used a lot of butter to give my bread that buttery outside. Combine all your ingredients, mix it as best you can! And then pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

Once I had poured mine into the pan, I added a bunch of herbs and some extra salt to the top of mine along with some melted butter. Basil, rosemary, garlic to name the biggies. Garlic is emphasized for a reason, yes. It was DELICIOUS with the beer. Go plain or add herbs of your choice- this recipe is simple enough either way and can hold its own.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Salted Storm Trooper Sugar Cookies

The force is very strong with this cooking blog as of late. Or at least the Dark Side. It's unlikely any of the drone-like Storm Troopers were in touch with the Force or their inner powers. Or emotions for that matter.

SO! Anyway. I made storm trooper sugar cookies. They tasted phenomenal and I got rave reviews- and not just because of the shape! The sugary/salty flavors worked in such lovely harmony, even though these cookies were rather large- everyone wanted one and would polish theirs off.

I think the cookies kind of spread too much (you can see freshly cut dough as the first image) but, that's how the recipe called for them to be made and I am unsure of a recipe that tastes better then this one. I rolled mine extremely thin- almost see thru by the last batch- to get them to stay in more clean lines but, still, they became more blended. Which kind of made them look like frogs to me... Anyone else see that?

Just me then? Okay. Here's one platted up with an attemped Death Star. Sadly, the Death Star looks more like a droid from the film- (remember the one with spidery legs and a red lazer that tries to kill them at the start? That one.)- but still! Everything tasted great :)

May the force be with you!

Butter Sugar Cookies:
-1 cup butter
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-2 1/2 cups flour
-2 tbls orange juice
-1 tbls vanilla
-1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine butter, sugar, and egg in a large bowl. Beat until creamy. Add flour, juice, vanilla, and baking powder. Beat until well mixed.

Divide dough into thirds: wrap in plastic food wrap, refrigerate until firm (2 hours or overnight).

Heat oven to 400, roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one third at a time, to desired thickness. Cut with cookie cutters, place onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 6-10 mins or until golden.

To Make them Storm Trooper Salted Awesomeness:

First cut into the shape of storm troopers! Very important. To make them slightly salty to balance out all that sweetness- you want to:

-Sprinkle Dough before baking with a mixture equal parts sugar and salt

IF icing them as I did, I wanted a SUPER sweet icing so, went canned:
-1 can vanilla Icing
-1 splash (1/2 teaspoon or more to taste) coconut flavor
-Sprinkle AGAIN once you apply the icing to make sure the ultra sugary icing is balanced with the saltiness :)


Monday, November 8, 2010

Dark Forces Chocolate Nut Torte

"You cannot resist the Dark Side". Nor can you resist this rich chocolate, nut, torte. This tart is flakey crust, caramel, and melty chocolate. Try and resist, I dare you. Yep. YEP!

And, oh yeah. You're seeing right. That, my friends, is Darth Vader.

Kind of. It's pastry cut with a William Sonoma pancake mold into the shape of Vader which was the all time perfect topping for my "Dark Forces" Chocolate Nut Torte.

Someday when I have more money then I have rent, I will get a really nice camera and take respectable photos and have a respectable blog. But in the meantime, that is a zoom out of the tart itself. The size of a large pizza and piles of dessert deliciousiocity.

Wish that was a real word so I could spell it correctly. ANYWAY!

This tart is really one my mom made time and time again when I was young, but never for us kids. This dessert is cemented in my mind as a "fancy" treat. She would prep this dessert for all the dinner parties that she and my dad would hold at our house for business partners, clients, and the like. Or just friends but, all their glamourous friends, the ones who needed meals comprised of several courses and used words like "poached" and "wellington".

Fancy times call for a fancy dessert. And while this may APPEAR fancy, it's really a cinch. And is best eaten cold, the day after, in my opinion. But this could also just be because I was raised on the left overs from said fancy dinner parties.

I don't know if it's me being a girl but, when my mom made this and her entire spread as well as got ready for a dinner party, tamed myself and my three siblings, and cleaned the entire house- she cemented herself in my mind as SuperWoman. But much much prettier. I remember watching her get ready for these guests in her big bathroom, fancy dress that I couldn't touch, but sharing her lipstick and makeup with me as long as I would behave myself. Then it was back to the kitchen to shift food around, share splinters of the chocolate, and then hurry me upstairs with my brothers and a sitter.

How hardcore was that?

Now- seeing how easy the torte is, I suppose she wasn't just making it look easy. Or at least the dessert part. In my opinion though- the woman is still a super hero.

Make this tart and enjoy my friends. With or without Darth Vader, it's a sure fire sensation. Eat chilled in slices or hot (like a chocolatey, nutty, caramel-y, sundae topping!) over ice cream. Yummmmmmm!

Ultimate Nut and Chocolate Chip Tart
-1 pkg. unbaked pie crust
-3 eggs
-1 cup light corn syrup
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/3 cup butter (melted/cooled)
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 cup coarsley chopped, salted, mixed nuts
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (dark or semi sweet)

Ease pie crust into an 11" tart pan with removable bottom, trimming the crust to fit. Or just do what I did and stretch it to cover an entire pizza pan... It KINDA worked.

Either way, do NOT prick the pastry.

For the filling, beat the eggs slightly with a fork. Stir in the corn syrup. Add in remaining ingredients- EXCLUDING the nuts/chocolate. Once well combined, stir nuts/chocolate into the caramel-ish coating. Pour filling into the crust.

Bake at 350 in oven for 40 minutes. Or until a knife inserted into the middle of the treat comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Serve hot/cold as you prefer.

My mom used to make a fancy sauce for her fancy parties- (melt 1tbs shortening & 1/2 cup choc chips)- and drizzled it over in a lovely pattern, serving the ice cream on the side. If you choose to be as fancy and lovely as my mother, that is also an extremely viable option

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Love My Lizzo & Birthday Pizza!!

Yesterday was my birthday and for my birthday dinner, a group of friends took me out for some birthday pizza. We went to this AMAZING pizzeria called 2 Amys and I had their specialty pizza of the day which was sausage & artichoke, made in their famous Neapolitan style.

It was truly delicious, truly authentic, Italian fare.

And then I began to miss my best friend, Lizzo. And Chicago deep dish pizza. And Home.

Because, frankly, even with delicious delicious Italian pizza, my taste buds knew the pizza that was being consumed was great on the one hand. However, on the other hand, the hand of "best pizza to ever be eaten/made/enjoyed on the entire face of the ENTIRE earth", we have Deep Dish Chicago Pizza.

Look at that glorious glorious pizza pie!

These shots/recipes were found by my previously mentioned BF- Lizzo. One afternoon this summer (when I was being a slacker and didn't post anything), we made our own Chicago deep dish pizza, taking the time to make the dough and sauce from scratch.

It went by extremely quickly due to the fun and friendly chatter between us. And no injuries or accidents were caused by me! Shocking considering my usual clutzy cooking mantra. But with Liz, she always makes me feel proud and actually able to cook. We both did well at pretending we were able to do so with ease- no burns, cuts, or "oops" moments to speak of!

I know, guys. Very proud. We'll make an award later.

ANYWAY! So, if you have never had Chicago Pizza, you are missing out. As you can see, contrary to what one normally expects from a pizza, the sauce is on top, the cheese is melded to the crust, and wow! That crust is gynormous!

Yep. Gynormous. We make up words here in the clutzy kitchen.

While Chicago deep dish doesn't necessarily fit the image one has for a pizza, it is a triumphant change on the norm. In my opinion, it is the crust that makes a deep dish go from okay to "ooooooooooooooooooooh, wow. kay, what a first bite!". If you have a legitimate deep dish pizza, it will have cornmeal in the crust. This creates crunch, and almost a buttery/flaky quality to the crust. This crust has to be as huge and sturdy as it is in order to support whatever bad-ass toppings you're going to add. This pizza is a beast, it doesn't mess around, you want to load it UP with toppings! If you are just going to do cheese, make it a proper
layer of cheese. This pizza isn't topped with cheese, you need to layer it, in large LARGE quantities to the crust. It'll melt and adhere to the crust and then, when you top it with sauce, it'll seem as though your dish was stuffed with cheese and toppings.

Doesn't that just sound amazing? I promise, it's amazing. I hope you all have been to the Chicago area and have had top notch pizza such as
Giordano's or Lou's at least once in your life. It's quite an experience. If you check out the web pages- you can see for yourself: drool worthy pizza.

Okay! That is quite enough rambling. I am merely sincerely missing home and, when missing home, you miss the comfort foods of home. This is all of Chicago's comfort food. I hope you too will find a feast within this recipe. Make and enjoy :)

Homemade Pizza Sauce
-2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
-5 minced garlic cloves
-1 (28oz) can San Marzano Tomatoes
-1/2 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
Heat oil in medium size sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, crush tomatoes then add all ingredients to pan. bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Deep Dish Crust
-1 c. water
-1/4 c. shortening
-1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
-1 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 pkg. active dry yeast
-1/2 c. lukewarm water
-3/4 c. yellow cornmeal
-3 or 3 1/2 c. flour
-yellow cornmeal

Heat 1 cup water, shortening, sugar and salt until shortening melts. Cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Combine yeast and shortening mixtures in large bowl. Add cornmeal and flour to shortening mix and knead until smooth and workable. Oil pizza pans with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cornmeal makes it nice and crunchy, don't be afraid to add more to the bottom/sides. Press dough into pans (deep dish pans required, press crust up sides) and pierce with a fork several times. Bake in 425 degree preheated oven for 7 minutes. Remove and add your favorite pizza toppings and bake for additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Don't forget the layering order: