Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crackly Sugar Cookies

The simple sugar cookie: so simple, so basic, and so delicious.  Whether thin and crispy, thick, and chewy, or soft and tender, all are delicious in their own way. While I do love pretty much every sugar cookie there is, I am partial to the thick and chewy sort, but for whatever reason I have found it difficult to find the perfect recipe for this style sugar cookie. Every recipe I try seems to turn out more of a thin crispy cookie, still buttery and delicious, but missing that substantial chew that I am looking for. 

Thankfully, I recently stumbled across this recipe which has produced the best cookie yet! They are pretty thick (maybe not yet quite as thick as I'd like, but I can work on fixing that) and nice and chewy. With a nice crackly top that is covered in sugar they are a winner. I made them pretty big to ensure a nice soft and chewy center and a slightly crisp edge which was wonderful, but I'm sure a little smaller cookie would be just as delicious. With a base of butter, sugar and flour there is no way they couldn't be!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Homemade Ranch Party Pretzels

If you are in the mood for some good snack food I have just the thing for you. Homemade Ranch Party Pretzels are addicting and delicious, and as snack foods go, not too unhealthy. I made this recipe up because I was craving something salty and snacky, but I wasn't going to waste my money on a bag of some snack mix at the store when I can make something better and cheaper at home. 

I'm always a sucker for Chex Mix, but just can't justify buying something full of ingredients such as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil," "hydrolyzed soy protein," and "distilled monoglycerides" with "color added," especially when it's so easy to make yourself at home. It was time to make my own snack mix but I decided to switch it up a little and use ranch flavors instead of the traditional Chex Mix seasoning. I also didn't feel like going out and buying all the different components that make up normal Chex Mix so I grabbed a bag of pretzels and decided that was good enough, and I love these little alphabet pretzels, they are so cute! 

It was all worth it, this snack mix is amazing! Covered in delicious homemade ranch seasoning, these pretzels satisfied my craving for some addictive snack. It's a dangerous thing but I'll risk it!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sourdough Sandwich Loaf

I've had my sourdough starter for a while now and love how versatile and easy it is to use. I only need to make sure that at least every few I use it in a recipe, or if for whatever reason that just doesn't happen, I only need to feed it to make sure it continues to do well. Since I love making bread and trying out new recipes it usually isn't much of a problem to find something to do with it. 

I discovered this sandwich loaf a little while back when I was looking for a quick and easy way to use my sourdough starter. Since I was in the mood for a few sandwiches I searched around for a simple sourdough sandwich loaf. This recipe, adapted from King Arthur Flour, fit the bill perfectly. A nice, pretty basic yeasted bread recipe with the addition of sourdough starter as well as a combination of seeds and grains for some chew and nuttiness. I changed up the recipe just a little bit to suit my needs without any real problem, and ended up with a perfectly delicious sourdough sandwich loaf, just what I needed for a few really fantastic sandwiches. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cranberry Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins

It may be January, but I have one last Christmas-y recipe to share. I am a big gingerbread fan (as you could probably already tell from the Gingerbread Bundt Cake I made for my big family Christmas party) but it seems to be something that is only eaten at Christmas, so I have to try and fit in as many different recipes during December as I can. Since I'm such a huge muffin fan I couldn't resist a gingerbread muffin of course. I decided to fill it with dark chocolate and fresh cranberries, one of my favorite combinations. Along with some molasses, spices and a little butter, this blend of flavors packs the perfect punch of flavor that can be enjoyed all winter long. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Morning Breakfast Wreath

Today I'm excited to share one of the most beautiful and delicious recipes I've ever made. Last week I went to one of my favorite bakeries because I had to get a loaf of their stollen before Christmas was over. I'd never actually tried stollen, but I knew I would love this dense, heavy fruitcake filled with boozy dried fruit and almond paste, covered in butter and sugar. I was right, it is one of the most delicious breads I have ever eaten. Inspired by this bread, I decided to make something along the same lines for my Christmas morning breakfast. This recipe that I found from The Kitchn was the reminiscent of a traditional stollen, but with a twist, perfect for a festive breakfast to celebrate Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Cookies 2014

Merry Christmas! Once again this year Lara and I had way too much fun in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies and lots of other goodies to share with friends and family members. It has been a blast, and I am sad that it is now over for another year. But that's okay, I can always look back on my photos and remember the good times. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, however you celebrate, and a blessed New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread

We had our Christmas party for my mom's side of the family yesterday. It was a wonderful time of food, conversation and festivities! I had such a fun time seeing everyone and catching up on what is going on in everyone's lives. Of course I offered to supply a few dishes to the lunch menu along with a few other family members. Everything turned out deliciously from the roasted beef tenderloin provided by my grandma to the salads and desserts brought by everyone else. My contribution to the dessert table this year was a rich and dark gingerbread cake that I had spotted on Smitten Kitchen some time ago. It had intrigued me, but until now I had never had the opportunity to make it. Gingerbread is not really something you can make year round so I was excited to have the opportunity to try it out. 

I ended up loving the cake. It really does pack a punch of flavor thanks to the oatmeal stout, the dark molasses, and the 2 tablespoons of ground ginger. It is an intense cake, definitely not for the faint at heart. A scoop of ice cream or a dollop of freshly whipped cream are the perfect accompaniment. I think a simple lemon glaze or some lemon curd would also be wonderful options. If you're looking for something different from the typical sugar cookies or chocolate cake this Christmas, give this cake a try, it will be difficult to forget.