I can’t remember a Christmas where there wasn’t some type of cut-out cookie. And I wondered, where did this strange tradition ever begin?
It seems that the modern day cookie cutter - the one we know - can’t be credited to one individual but evolved over time. Gingerbread men gained popularity back in the 16th century. As Europeans migrated to the United States, so too did some of their trends and customs including gingerbread men. It wasn’t long before tinsmiths started making cutters and making them available to the general public. By 1800 you could find them at your local merchant. Fast forward to today and you can find them in almost any shape and size - heck! there’s even a national cookie cutter week (first week of December) which includes national cooke day (December 4th)
I ran across this recipe for cut out cookies in a church cookbook. I loved it because the nutmeg and cinnamon created an extra boost and contrasted nicely with all that sweet sugary frosting. A friend of mine goes one step further to add a bit of orange peel to hers.
Spiced Butter Rum Cut-Out Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract and rum extract.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and shape into two disks. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4-inch thickness, and use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the dough.
Place the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet (or lined with parchment, if you prefer) and bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden.
Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Then, cool completely on a wire rack. Frost or decorate as desired.
Royal Icing ingredients:
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
(food coloring, optional)
Royal Icing Directions:
In large bowl combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy.
Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired.
For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Much as I have always loved really good peppermint bark - there’s been a few versions that have come along at the holidays that are… shall we say… a little on the ‘hard and crunchy side’
This is a nice take on the idea by pairing shortbread and lots of deep rich chocolate with Hershy’s special edition holiday candy cane kisses
Bakers tip: If you have little munchkins (or if you are a little munchkin yourself!) this cookie goes great with a cup of hot cocoa!
Candy Cane Cookie Bark
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1 cup chopped Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 ounces white chocolate chips
Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 13X9X2-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on both sides of the pan.
1. Combine flour and salt and sift.
2. In a medium bowl beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and continue to beat until your dough is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Then gradually add flour mixture, stirring just enough to blend.
3. Drop dough by spoon into the prepped baking pan, spacing apart. Using moistened fingertips, press the dough to form an even layer over the bottom of the pan and run a wet spatula across the top to even out fingerprint marks. Pierce dough all over with the fork.
4. Bake the cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffy. About 30 minutes.
5. Place on a rack and immediately sprinkle the chopped chocolate chips over the cookies. Let chocolate stand until it softens (about 3 minutes) then using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the top of the cookie in an even, thin layer. Immediately sprinkle the chopped candy cane kisses over the chocolate layer.
6. Continue to cool until all chocolate and candy is set.
7. Melt white chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power, stirring after about 1 minute. Continue cooking & stirring in 30 second increments until melted, being careful not to cook too long. Using fork or tip of a spoon, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
8. Use the paper overhang to lift the cookie from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Using a large knife, cut cookie into triangular shapes.
Are you drooling yet? Yeah. Me too!
Adams Extract, a Texas-based company is credited for bringing the red velvet cake to kitchens across America during the Great Depression. While red velvet cake was once widely known across the US as a southern recipe, recent food trends (aka: the red velvet cupcake) has increased it popularity across the globe. A friend of mine even shot a picture of a red velvet cupcake in a Paris bakery window last year.
I say, however old or new a family tradition or food trend, I just can’t get enough of that deep chocolate flavor and cream cheese frosting. So imagine my delight when I ran across a recipe on the blog Two Peas in a Pod for red velvet cheesecake cookies!
I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly to make the dough from scratch vs. a boxed cake mix and also, wanted to make smaller cookies (you know. to share. maybe. one.)
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Red Velvet Cookies
For the cookies:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp red food coloring
1 1/3 cup flour
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
For the cheesecake filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the white chocolate drizzle:
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
Makes about 22-24 cookies
Preheat oven: 375 degrees, prep two baking sheets by greasing or lining with parchment paper
1. To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Scoop out teaspoons of the filling onto a plate lined with wax paper and put it in the freezer for one hour.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine butter and sugar till creamy. Add in egg and beat well. Add vanilla and red food coloring and continue to mix.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir.
4. Take a large piece of dough - about the size of a large walnut - and flatten in the palm of your hand. Place one of the cream cheese balls in the middle, then fold the cookie dough around it making sure the cream cheese is completely covered (you don’t want that goodness to leak out!)
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until centers appear set. Slightly cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
When completely cool, melt white chocolate chips to drizzle over cookies. (Baker’s tip: to get that perfect drizzle, put melted chocolate in a heavy plastic freezer bag and snip the tip)
Note: if you are going to store the cookies for more than a day, that is, if you don’t eat them all first, you may want to keep them in the refrigerator.
Photo credit: I forgot to take a picture of the cookie’s ‘inside goodness’ so full credit is given to the image above to the Two Peas in a Pod’s blog (the picture that inspired me to make this cookie actually!) Consider it a place holder til I make them again this year!
The year was 1977. I was a seven year-old, toe-headed, shy little girl in way too much baby blue polyester. After Sunday school each week there would be Kool-aid and Chips Ahoy for us kids to have before we’d break outside into a game of freeze tag. But I was an old soul and I knew where the good cookies were.
As soon as we were ‘dismissed’ I’d run down the hall to the far room with the fireplace and comfortable chairs and weave my way through the adults smelling of too much perfume and cigarettes to the folding table with the plastic tablecloth on it.
And there, in all their glory were the leftover Archer Spiced Windmill Cookies for the taking. Mom would pour a little bit of hot tea, put lots of milk in it and nod her head, the sign that yes, I could have one of those delicious, crunchy cookies.
I’ve been on the hunt for them ever since.
I can’t say I replicated the cookie of my childhood. But these cookies are a mix of ginger, molasses and just the right amount of spice. And while they’re not shaped like those windmills, they go perfectly well with a cup of good tea!
Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 large egg
• 2 cups flour
• 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
Sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a big bowl, mix sugar, shortening, molasses, vanilla and egg together until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and sift. Before you slowly add to sugar and molasses mixture, don’t forget to dip your finger in the wet mix and savor those sweet spices! Mix until dough is fully combined and then chill for an hour.
In your hands roll dough into walnut-sized balls, then generously coat each ball with sugar.
Place balls on a baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allowing to bake for about a minute after cookies begin to crack.
Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool…though these are delicious while still warm.
Okay. Technically this isn’t a cookie. But these truffles are usually the first thing that gets requested and the first thing to get picked out of the holiday cookie tin.
Foods that purportedly increase sexual desire or aphrodisiacs have been part of cultural lore for thousands of years. Chocolate has long been valued for its physiological effects – creating a type of euphoria that folks say mimic the flush of being in love.
Maybe it’s the chocolate. Maybe it’s the rum. Maybe nothing says ‘I love you’ than those two ingredients put together. And oh! how folks seem to love these!
Chocolate Rum Truffles
3 (6 oz.) pkgs. semi sweet chocolate bits
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp. dark rum (the real stuff! not the artificial flavored stuff!)
In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips, slowly stir in sweetened condensed milk and then rum. Remove from heat inhale that rich dark sent deeply (!) and place in refrigerator for at least two hours or until chocolate is firm.
Using a teaspoon shape into 1” balls.
Roll in powered cocoa. (Note: chocolate will easily melt so try to do in a cool location out of direct sunlight)
Chill one hour or until firm.
If the chocolate is too warm, it will sometimes absorb the first layer of cocoa so you may need to give the truffles a second coat.
(Room temperature is best as it helps to release the smell and flavor of the rum.)
Okay. Who likes apple pie?
Raise your hand.
I must of been a teenager when I first made this cookie - I think - from a Taste of Home magazine. Then it was simply a “Apple & Spice Cookie” Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe and added more apple to turn a simple “cookie” into a ‘little bit of apple pie goodness’ in a cookie form.
Apple ‘N Spice Cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ground cloves*
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg*
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups diced fresh apples
* = you can also substitute 1 tsp apple pie spice
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and applesauce. With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend in the flour mixture. Once all flour has been incorporated, stir in apples. Drop by tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cookies are browned around the edges.
Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
PS: I’ve also served these cookies stuck into a scoop of ice cream with a drizzle of caramel for a nice, easy dessert!
This cookie came about because I was standing in line at Dean and Deluca in SoHo New York city staring at a fresh stack of black and white cookies at their coffee counter. Although you see them all over New York City and Sienfeld even featured a whole episode about them (‘Look to the cookie!’) I’ve never been a fan. So I stood there and thought to myself, ‘how could I create a modern update on these things?’
That very same day someone referenced the old 1980’s TV commercials for Reese’s ‘You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!’ and it clicked!
“Two great tastes that taste great together!” and a new take on an old favorite was born.
Yin & Yang Cookies: Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter Dough
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10-12 oz of small Reese peanut butter cups, chopped into quarters
Preheat oven to 350°F.
For the peanut butter dough, cream together the butter, sugar, and egg until dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips.
For the chocolate dough, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Slowly beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the butter mixture until well combined. Gently fold in chopped peanut butter cups.
Take a half teaspoon of peanut butter dough and a half teaspoon of chocolate dough and press together. Gently roll into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until done. Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cooks tip: guard the kitchen as they cool, these don’t last long in my house!
As a little girl I grew up constantly browsing the recipes in my mom’s tattered 1963 edition of Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book. I loved the back pages that outlined the popularity of cookies during certain time periods.
The best cookie of 1935-1940 was the Chocolate Chip Cookie the same time when Gone With the Wind premiered and took the nation by storm.
The first chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts who ran the Toll House Restaurant. It is said that one day she was making “Butter Drop Do” cookies and without the needed baker’s chocolate dropped in a chopped up bar of semisweet chocolate expecting it to melt into the cookie dough. She called her new creation the Toll House Crunch Cookies and it they were a huge hit with the Inn’s guest. A visiting journalist asked if the recipe could be published in the Boston Globe newspaper. The rest as they say, is history.
The recipe below is an update on the classic with a bit more kick through the addition of espresso powder… also somehow, when it came time to set out the Christmas cookies in my house, the simple chocolate chip, seemed to be Santa’s favorite.
2 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) real butter, melted in microwave
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp of coffee espresso powder
2 large eggs (note if you use extra large or jumbo eggs you may want to add a TBL more flour otherwise you might end up with pancake thin cookies!)
1 TBL of milk
2 cups of chopped chocolate candy bar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt and sift into small bowl.
Beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and finally, melted butter together in large mixer bowl. (Secret #1: Warm melted butter will do a better job of dissolving the sugars and therefore, create a better textured cookie.)
Add espresso powder and milk. (Secret #2: The addition of milk will make a softer cookie.)
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chunks making sure they get well distributed. Nothing says “disappointment” like ending up with chocolate-less cookie dough at the bottom of your mixer bowl!
Drop tsp of dough onto cookie sheet.
(Before you do, here’s secret #3. Wrap cookie dough and let sit in the fridge for 1 hour. The colder the dough, the less risk you will have of crunchy/crisp cookies and burnt edges. Nobody likes burnt cookies…)
BAKE: 9-12 minutes or until golden brown.
The term “wedding soup” is actually a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata (“married soup”) a term the Italians often used to describe the fact that green vegetables and meat go well together.
There are a lot of variations of this soup out there. Some people use endive, escarole, cabbage, kale or spinach for the greens. The meatballs can be beef, pork, chicken or sausage. And depending on region of the country, pasta, noodles, lentils or cavatelli will be added.
This is my take - a slightly lighter and healthier take using chicken and spinach - on what has slowly become an American Classic.
For the meatballs:
3/4 ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3 Tbl milk
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp parsely
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
For the soup:
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
3-4 carrots sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 stalks celery chopped
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp dill
1 cup small pasta
12 oz of fresh baby spinach
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, pecorino, parmesan, milk, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.)
Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and dill to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.
If you’re like me – some Sunday mornings aren’t reserved for the Sunday paper at all but for surfing around on food blogs for inspiration. I’d like to say that the recipes I post are 120% completely my own – but the truth is, it is usually some other beautiful luscious food photograph that I run across that gets my mind spinning and saying “Okay. I can do that. But how would I do that? And can I do that better?”
This apple tart is no exception. Inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s 2009 recipe for a Quick & Easy (and Yummy) Apple Tart I often find myself reverting to this recipe when I need a desert in a hurry or like this past weekend, an easy to buy and easy to make, food offering during a holiday meal at the in-laws in Texas.
While it makes a light and delicious end-of-meal dessert. I’ve also found the left-overs make a no-excuse pairing with a cup of coffee the next day for breakfast.
As my mom would say; “it’s got to be good for you – it’s got fruit in it, right?”
1 whole sheet of puffed pastry, cut into half
3 whole apples, cored and thinly sliced (your call if the skin stays on or not!)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place puff pastry – slightly thawed onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or coated w/butter. (Tip: if it gets to room temperature, put it back into the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up the dough enough that it won’t stick to each other.)
Cut apples and put in mixing bowl, squeeze juice of lemon over them and then add sugar and salt. Toss with your hands to coat and then allow to sit for a few minutes so that the juices from the apple come out.
Arrange apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Then carefully fold sides of puff pastry over to form a crust.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry is puffed and golden brown (and apples can easily be pierced with tip of knife)
Remove to a wire rack or plate to cool for a few minutes then drizzle honey over entire tart while still warm.
Serve with whip cream or ice cream. Or nothing at all.
Makes about 6-8 servings
PS: If you’ve ever found yourself at the grocery store panicked because all they have is puffed pastry shells (not sheets) don’t worry! Buy them. Roll them out with a rolling pin to reduce the amount of air between the layers. Make them big enough to lay out 5-6 apples slices in each. Reduce cook time to about 18-20 minutes and voila! You got yourself a bunch of bon-a-fide individual tarts just right for serving to guests. Cheers!
Slow-Cooker Tikka Masala
I’m in love. I never thought making good Indian food could be quite this easy. Mind you this dish was actually conceived by a Pakistani chef named Ali Ahmed Aslam in Glasgow, and eagerly adopted by the British, but no matter. It’s near and dear to everyone’s heart and let’s face it. It’s just darn comforting to have on a cold winter’s day.
While this recipe calls for chicken I used actually used lamb* the first time I made this and it was just as delicious!
First the INGREDIENTS:
1 ½ lbs of boneless, skinless chicken (or lamb)
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
3 tsp gram masala
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 cup greek style plain yogurt
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tbl corn starch
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 inches peeled and grated
4 tsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cilantro leaves
*If using lamb, use about 3 pounds cubed and be sure to trim off the extra fat as it will liquefy in the slow cooker and create too much liquid.
To prepare the meat, put in a large bowl and sprinkle with cumin, coriander, salt and greek yogurt. Turn to coat the meat well with mixture and let sit for 20 minutes so that the meat can absorb some of the flavors and spices.
After 20 minutes melt 2 tsp of the butter in a heavy skillet and cook the chicken on higher heat to help seal in the juices. (Note I found that the yogurt liquefied and so I poured a bit of it off so my Tikka wouldn’t be too runny in the end) Once cooked, put into the slow cooker.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter. Add garlic, onion, salt and pepper and cook until translucent. Add graham masala and fresh ginger. (Inhale it smells heavenly!) cook for a minute longer then dump can of tomatoes into skillet and stir just til warm.
Put the tomato mixture on top of your meat (covering as much of it as possible) - -
Here recipes tend to be of two school of thoughts. Either cook 6-7 hours on low heat or 4-5 on high heat. (I cooked the lamb at 2 hours on high and 3 hours on low and it came out perfectly).
Half way through you’ll lift the lid, take a big inhale and love the way your kitchen smells!
About 15-20 minutes before you’re ready to serve, you’ll need to make the creamy goodness.
Use a fork or whisk to stir the cornstarch into the heavy cream until smooth.
Pour into the slow-cooker - slowly - and stir gently until the color is even. Replace the lid and let cook for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
Serve over hot basmati rice and add chopped cilantro to your tasting!
PS: The leftovers make for a wonderful lunch the next day which will make your co-workers mighty jealous!
While the earliest dumplings date back to China and are more than a thousand years old, the concept of using noodles and dumplings in soup came with early settlers to America.
Chicken and dumplings long thought of as a southern dish also had great popularity in New England and the Midwest – especially during the Great Depression when people wanted to stretch limited resources further.
Today there are as many recipes for dumplings as there are cooks. Some people prefer to form dumplings into rounds, others cut out flat dumplings also known as “sliders.” Dumplings may be plain or seasoned with herbs – and there are about 50 ways to make them using a variety of milk, buttermilk, scalded milk, biscuit mixes or just plain flour and water.The following recipe I used to make the soup borrows from my midwest, Amish country upbringing by incorporating eggs into the dough.
But enough about dumplings. Let’s make soup!
5 cups of cold water
3-4 pound chicken, cut up
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 large carrots
1 large onion
1 stalk celery
10 oz box of frozen peas
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt / pepper
*can of chicken broth, chicken bullion (optional)
First things first. We need chicken stock!
I always find stock incredibly easy to make and so frown when people tell me it’s too much work. There’s also the added bonus of that hearty deep smell that fills your whole house while it’s cooking.
5 cups cold water
3-4lb chicken, cut up
1 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
Remove any excess fat from the chicken. Add chipped carrots, celery and onion reserving 1/4 cup of onions for final broth.
Add remaining ingredients. As mixture begins to heat, skim fat from broth and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30-45 minutes or until juices of chicken run clear.
Oooooo, can you smell that?
In the meantime, while broth is cooking…
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup ice water
Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Beat egg and stir into mixture. Then slowly add in your ice water. Keep adding it in until you have enough to form a nice dough ball.
Knead your dough for about 5 minutes and then let it rest for another 5.
Now grab up your dough and roll it out about 1/4” thick with your rolling pin.
Cut it into small squares (I usually aim for pretty big squares – 1 inch in diameter)
The Finishing Touches
Your broth should be almost done now!
Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside to let it cool down.
I like to run my broth through a fine sieve or piece of cheese cloth to get out all the extra “additives” and make the broth clearer. Also, those veggies? Not only are they mush, they have had all the nutrients and flavor cooked out of em! Out they go!
Pour the cleaned broth back into the pot and bring back to a simmer.
Add carrots, onion, peas and parsley. (At this point for flavor I might sneak in an extra can of chicken broth and/or chicken bullion.)
1 carrots, chopped
¼ cup reserved onion, chopped
10 oz box of frozen peas (or fresh if you got em!)
1 tsp of parsley
salt and pepper to flavor
* can of chicken broth, chicken bullion (optional)
Once that is nice and steaming hot, your ready to cook the dumplings!
Carefully drop them in the broth to cook. Usually they’ve cooked through after 10-12 minutes.
Also note they will float to the top of the post while they’re cooking and while they’re doing that…
remove skin and bones from chicken. Shred and drop chicken into pot. Finally, add the can of cream of chicken (or if you are a purist, add half and half) and stir all those heavenly ingredients together.
How can you not love a bowl of hot warming soup on a cool fall day? Yum!
Although many types of gourds were found in the tombs of ancient Egyptians, Butternut Squash is the new kid on the block having first made its appearance in 1944. In no time it became a staple across the globe and crept into recipes for stews, gratins, pasta dishes, risottos, soups and curries.
With the temperatures dropping and the call for a freak snowstorm in October, the need for a warm, hearty soup beckoned. I like this recipe because the apple adds a nice tart balance to the sweetness of the squash and cooking it along with the onions in the bacon grease gives the soup an added extra depth in flavor. It’s also incredibly easy to make – and well, what’s not to like about easy?
• 1 2-3 lb butternut squash
• 1 granny smith apple
• 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 lb. chopped raw bacon
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 3-4 cups chicken broth
• 1 tbsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
1. Cub butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds, brush front and back with olive oil, put on cookie sheet flesh side up and bake 45-50 minutes in 350 degree oven. (or until flesh is soft)
2. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
3. Meanwhile, in large soup pot, cook bacon until crisp; once crisp remove bacon with slotted spoon and reserve for soup garnish.
4. Add onions and chopped apple (sans skin!) to pot and sauté in bacon drippings over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
5. With squash cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh from skin and add to pot
6. Then add 3 cups of chicken broth to soup pot and bring to a boil; remove from heat
7. Working in several small batches, blend soup with immersion blender (food processors or blenders work fine too!) until smooth.
8. Return to soup pot.
9. Slowly stir in an additional cup of chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Bring to simmer.
11. Serve soup in large bowls and garnish with crisp crumbled bacon.
Bacon? Oh yum!
For Easter this year we wanted to stick with the traditional lamb dish but do a slight variation on it for modern times. The resulting roasted lamb ragu ontop of pappardelle screamed for bread so I decided to try my hand at making focaccia.
Popular in Italy as a snack - it is said that school children will often purchase a slice from a baker on the way to school to enjoy at their break time. I liked the simplicity of that idea - and wanted to find an equally simple recipe that popped with flavor.
Hacked together from three or four recipes on the web, I’m happy to say, this did not disappoint. Enjoy!
1 packet (2 teaspoons) rapid-rising dry yeast
1-cup warm water
2 Tbl sugar
3 ½ - 4 cups flour
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbl olive oil
1 med onion, diced
2 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup shredded Parmesan
1-2 Tbl coarse sea salt
2 Tbl fresh rosemary, chopped
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3-4 minutes until foam appears.
Add salt, oregano, and basil to the flour (I usually hand sift it once).
Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl. Pour in the 1/4-cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. (Don’t forget to periodically scrape the dough off the hook!)
When dough has come together, dump out onto lightly floured surface and continue to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes adding flour as necessary. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn’t dry out or form a skin during the raising process.
Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. About 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil. Once the dough is doubled turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough into an oblong shape that is about ½ inch think. Lay the dough on the pan (I use a jelly roll pan) and stretch it to the corners if necessary. (You can actually dig into it with your fingers, as the fingerprints will help to leave the characteristic indents!)
Cover with plastic wrap – sit in warm place and let rest/raise for 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, coat a small sauté pan with olive oil and add the chopped onion. Cook low and slow over the heat for 15 minutes to caramelize the onions.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Uncover the dough and further dimple with your fingertips if you need to. Brush the surface with more olive oil, then the caramelized onions, garlic, sea salt, rosemary and cheese.
Back on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.