Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Christmas is upon us! Quick- what cookies are you leaving out for Santa?

Sugar? Bleh.

Chocolate Chip? As if.

Oatmeal Raisin? Evaluate what you're doing with your life.

What Santa (or the person who gets to host Christmas this year and has thus decided to dub herself Miss Santa 2015 - sorry, Miss Columbia) really wants this year is something chewy, crunchy, spiced and sweet.

Santa wants these yummies:

Look at that crackly top! The crunchy sugar crystals! The gooey soft center!

I won't lie- this recipe is a little time consuming. Not because there are a ton of steps, but because the dough has to - HAS TO - be thoroughly chilled in order to be workable. This step is crucial, otherwise you'll end up with a cookies sheet shaped mega-cookie.

Santa would still eat a mega-cookie. But not oatmeal raisin.

Okay- maybe oatmeal raisin if that was the last cookie on earth. But only then.

On a personal accomplishment note, this recipe achieved two things for yours truly:

1. I overcame my fear of cooking/baking with molasses- a fear that was brought on many years ago by a botched gingerbread cake recipe in which I used blackstrap molasses and had to throw the entire thing away. (Seriously guys- it was one of the worst things I've ever tasted.)

2. I completed the full 2015 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge - woo! 52 weeks of coming up with a recipe to incorporate the weekly theme/ingredient, no matter what was going on! Want to get in on the action for 2016? Click here!

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature (I used 2 sticks salted, 1 unsalted)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (I used mild flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4-1 tsp salt, depending on choice of salted/unsalted butter
  • Sugar, for rolling
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside. 

In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar for about a minute on medium speed- until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, then add in molasses and eggs. Beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. 

Add the dry ingredients slowly- being sure to scrape down and check the bottom of the bowl as you go- the dough is sticky! 

Cover the dough and chill for several hours, until the dough is firm all the way through. 

Preheat the oven to 375.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheets. Chill dough balls for 10-15 minutes (20-30 if the dough was still soft in spots).

Bake for 8-10 minutes- remembering that the general rule for chewy/soft cookies is to bake for the lowest amount of time, allow to rest on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a rack to cool. 

Enjoy- and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Moroccan Shaved Carrot Salad

The holidays aren't even over and I'm already suffering from that gross feeling of 'over-indulgence'. I've basically been on the glutton wagon since Halloween: my birthday, Thanksgiving, our wedding, comfort food season, and now I'm looking at two more weeks of the same with Christmas, New Years, and our honeymoon (!) all on the horizon.

Time for a bit of freshness.

The beautiful thing about this salad (aside from the gorgeous colors) is that it's so quick and easy to make there's really no excuse not to make it!

And once you're a good boy or girl and finish your salad, you can go back to eating cookies guilt-free.


Moroccan Shaved Carrot Salad

  • 3 to 4 carrots, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 1 TB vinegar 
  • 1/2 TB dried mint
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Pomegranate seeds
Mix all ingredients (except pomegranate) together in a small bowl. Be sure to thoroughly coat carrots in liquid. 

Cover and 'marinate' in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until the carrots have begun to soften slightly. 

Garnish with pomegranate seeds (seriously- don't skip that!) and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Return of the Sprout

I know I've been away for a while, but gimme a break- I just got married!

And what do newlyweds do on a Tuesday night? They drink beer, play MarioKart, and eat Brussels Sprouts, of course.

But not just any sprouts.



Brussels Sprouts.

I've shared a recipe for roasted sprouts before, and while I do still love the simplicity of that recipe, these sprouts are really a step up in flavor. The balsamic vinegar lends a touch of sweetness and acidity to counter the richness of the bacon- truly a winning combination!

Serve these alongside steak, roast, or chicken for a side dish that's sure to steal the show.

And if you wanted to have some crusty bread available to sop up some of the fabulous bacony/balsamic blend left behind? No judgement here.

Bacon Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1.5 - 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 5 slices uncooked bacon, diced into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt, Pepper and garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (to avoid clean up)

Trim the ends off the sprouts, and split any particularly large sprouts in half to ensure even roasting time for the pan.

In a large bowl, combine the sprouts with the bacon, olive oil, and a good dash of salt and pepper. Sprinkle in garlic powder, if desired.

Pour sprouts out onto the baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, until the insides of the sprouts are soft and 'creamy'. Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar, stirring to coat evenly. Serve and enjoy!