Thursday, December 24, 2015

Chocolate Caramel Chip Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Chip Cookies

It's Christmas time, time to make cookies! (Unless you are reading this recipe at a later date, in which case, disregard my previous statement.) My mom loves chocolate covered toffee, so I decided to make her some cookies. These turned out crispy yet with a bit of chew, just how I like them. Be sure to leave some out for Santa!


Ingredients:

2 ¼ C of AP flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
½ C of butter, softened
½ C of shortening
1 C of dark brown sugar
½ C of sugar
1 t of vanilla
1 C of toffee chips
1 C of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Place the butter, shortening, and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream on medium speed until lightened in texture and color. Turn the speed down  and add each egg, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Once the liquid ingredients are fully incorporated slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 instalments, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next portion. You might need to scrape down the bowl down between each addition.

Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hr*, then preheat your oven for 375. On a parchment covered baking sheet dish the dough out in heaped tablespoon portions. Make sure that each cookie is approximately the same size to ensure even baking. Make sure to put the dough you don't immediately bake back into the fridge to keep cool. Bake for 11 -15 minutes or until the edges are browning and the middle starts to set. Let the cookies cool entirely on a cooling sheet. This recipe makes about 4 dozen.

*Keeping the dough cool allows the outside to set and bake before the middle so it doesn't spread out as much. If you want a thinner, crispier cookie, feel free to skip this step.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Classic Pesto with Cashews


While I am on a pesto kick, I decided to share my recipe for my everyday pesto. I still don't use pine nuts in this one, since cashews create a similar texture and are way more affordable.

Ingredients:

2 C of fresh basil
¼ C of raw unsalted cashews
1 clove of garlic
½ C of extra virgin olive oil (EEVO)
½ C of parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In the bowl of your food processor or blender, combine the basil, cashews, and garlic. Blend or process until you get rough chunks. Add the EEVO and cheese and process until smooth. Add the salt and pepper to taste, mix, and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pistachio Lemon Pesto

Pistachio Lemon Pesto

Pesto is an extremely versatile sauce; it can go on pretty much any type of meat or pasta; it can be a condiment, or even added to other sauces. Given it extra virgin olive oil base, it's actually not bad for you, in moderation. The only problem with traditional pesto, with pine nuts, is that it is really expensive to make. In light of that, I decided to make a pesto out of pistachios (green nut for a green sauce). I also added a special lemon olive oil for an extra flavor dimension.

Ingredients:

2 C of basil
1/4 C of unsalted pistachios*
1 clove of garlic
1/2 C of lemon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 C of reggiano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In the bowl of your favorite blender or food processor, combine the basil, pistachios, and garlic. Grind until coarse chunks have been achieved. Once you have coarse chunks, add the EVOO and cheese and process until smooth. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Now you have some great pesto, time to put it on stuff!

*Harvesting these pistachios can be a bit of a pain, especially trying to get the skin off after you have removed them from the shells. If you want to purchase them already shelled, go ahead, but I could only find them lightly salted, if you want to use these, go right ahead but be careful to not over-salt your pesto.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sausage Rolls


When I was traveling in the UK with my family, I noticed that in every convince store, instead of the usual fruit danishes, they had these sausage rolls in pastry instead. I missed those once we got back in the States, and I decided to make them myself. These ones are a very simple and easy recipe that can be easily augmented.


Ingredients:


17.3 oz package of pastry dough
1 lb of Italian style sausage links*
1 egg, beaten

Directions:

Defrost the pastry dough according to the package instructions and preheat your oven to 350.

Once the dough has been defrosted, roll it out so that the long side is the length of 2 sausage links, as pictured. When the dough is the proper size, place your sausage links together at the top and gently roll them up. Right before the dough is about to overlap, brush a bit of the egg wash on the two pieces that are about to touch. Overlap the dough a little and then cut off that roll. Brush the top of that roll with some egg wash to enhance browning.

Repeat with the remaining sausage links and sheets of pastry dough. if you get to the end of  a sheet and find that you don't have quite enough to overlap, just roll the dough a bit or stretch it out by hand, yes that will make the pastry a bit thinner, but it will still work.

Once your rolls have been assembled, cut them into 1 inch pieces and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and the top is golden. Enjoy these warm with ketchup or mustard.

*When I make this I leave the sausage casings on because they don't bother me in the final product. They do, however, bother my wife, and if they would bother you, feel free to strip them out of there casings or use a 1 lb package of sausage meat and roll it into thumb size strips.