Category Archives: butter

Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

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Chocolate chip cookies are delicious but some days you just need a slightly different type of cookie. And there are so many variations to the traditional chocolate chip cookie that are equally as good and worth discovering. I am also a huge fan of buttery shortbread cookies so this recipe Savory Simple immediately struck chord with me.

These cookies combine three of my favorite cookies into a single bite of baked deliciousness. Chocolate chips, buttery shortbread and chewy oatmeal combine for a simply yet tasty treat that is sure to be a hit and disappear in no time. Go ahead and double the recipe so you can be sure to have enough.

CHOCOLATE CHIP & OATMEAL SHORTBREAD COOKIES

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the vanilla, followed by the flour mixture and then the oatmeal.
  • Once all of the ingredients are incorporated, tun the mixer to low speed ands slowly add the chocolate chips.
  • Use a wooden spoon to ensure that the chocolate chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, portion out the dough evenly onto the baking sheet. Using the bottom of a glass, slightly flatten the balls into discs.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature.

Yields 3 dozen cookies

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South African Chocolate Pepper Cookies

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Who doesn’t love chocolate? I know I do and since moving to Belgium my love of it has only increased. After all, there are so many delicious quality chocolates to be had. And quality is the key word here. I would rather have a single bite of a great piece of chocolate than unlimited amounts of a mediocre one. And the same rule applies for cooking with chocolate as it does for eating it straight up. If I wouldn’t eat it plain I certainly won’t use it in my cooking.

And as these cookies from Food 52 demonstrate, chocolate can be paired with surprising ingredients to create delicious treats. In this case freshly ground black pepper, yes black pepper, enhances the chocolate providing these cookies with a surprising pop of spice. The cookies are soft, slightly chewy and filled with flavor in every bite. And to increase the flavor quotient in them I use two types of chocolate, a bittersweet and a semi-sweet. These cookies are so good that you might want to make a double recipe.

SOUTH AFRICAN CHOCOLATE PEPPER COOKIES

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and divided
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped and divided

12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup brown sugar

large eggs

cups all-purpose flour

2/3 teaspoon baking soda

tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Melt 4 ounces of the bittersweet chocolate and 4 ounces of the semi-sweet chocolate and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter until light and airy.
  • Add the sugar and beat until completely incorporated into butter.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
  • With the mixer set on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to to butter mixture, beating until just incorporated.
  • Add the melted chocolate into the butter mixture and beat until just incorporated.
  • Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate and the ground pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate until dough is cool and firm.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drop the batter by the tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart on sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crisp on outside but still chewy inside.

Yields: 40 cookies

Browned Butter Flounder w/ Lemon Snap Peas

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This is a fast and fresh tasting dinner option adapted from Cooking Light that literally cooks in minutes (so be sure to prep all of your ingredients before beginning to cook). There are just a handful of ingredients and best of all, everything is cooked in a single pan meaning cleanup is a snap as well. I’ve used flounder in this recipe but use whatever firm white fish you prefer.

BROWNED BUTTER FLOUNDER w/ LEMON SNAP PEAS

4- 6 ounce flounder fillets

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

  • Combine the flour, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a shallow dish.
  • Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • Heat half of the oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Swirl the oil to coat then add the fish to the pan, cooking for 3 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan.
  • Cook for 1 minute or until the butter begins to brown.
  • Pour the butter into a small bowl, stir in half of the lemon juice and the parsley.
  • Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining oil.
  • Add the snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender crisp.
  • Stir in the remaining lemon juice and zest and serve alongside the fish topped with the brown butter.

Serves 4

Irish Soda Bread

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Nothing personifies Irish food and St. Patrick’s Day like Irish soda bread. Neither savory nor sweet this raisin studded bread is incredibly simple yet unforgettably good. I would describe both the taste and texture as being similar to a scone. And best of all it is incredibly easy to make.

There are many recipes out there for this classic bread but my favorite is this one from Simply Recipes. So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day go ahead and bake up a loaf, or two. Eat it as is or my preferred way, toasted until warm then slathered with butter. Yum!

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 to 4 1/2 cups flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 Tbsp butter

1 cup raisins

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  • Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the raisins.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
  • Dust your hands with a little flour and then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Be careful not over-knead the dough.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough).
  •  Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).
  • Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an “X” shape.
  • Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  • Remove the pan  from the oven and let the bread sit for 10 minutes before moving it to a rack to cool briefly.
  • Serve the bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.

Yields 12-16 slices

 

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake w/ Bailey’s Buttercream

 

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Dessert anyone?

This cake has been all over the Internet in recent weeks so I’m not really sure whose recipe it really is. I  first found it on Global Table Adventure so that is where I’m going to let the credit lie). But back to the cake….or cupcakes as I made them. Oh my goodness is this cake good–which probably explains why they have been everywhere.

The cake is rich and chocolately without being overly sweet. Best of all it is so easy to make, and unlike so many cakes, it isn’t fussy and cake be made in a matter of minutes. Top it all with rich butter cream frosting and you have an unforgettable treat that is perfect for St. Patty’s Day or any day of the year. Yum!

DARK CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE w/ BAILEY’S BUTTERCREAM

For the cake: 

1 1/2 sticks butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 cup Guinness Stout

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

For the buttercream:

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 lb powdered sugar, sifted

2-4 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream, as needed

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Line two 24 cup miniature muffin pans with baking papers or lightly grease and flour 2 8″ round cake pans. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter.
  • Whisk in the Guinness, vanilla extract and cocoa and immediately remove from the heat.
  • Whisk together the sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Add the Guinness mixture and then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Beat until the batter looks shiny.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 12 to 14 minutes or the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, make the buttercream by whipping together the softened butter and sugar in a standing mixer fitted with a wire whip.
  • Add the Bailey’s, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat the buttercream for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  • When the cakes are completely cool, pipe or smooth on the buttercream.
  • Eat!

Yields: 48 miniature cupcakes or 1 8″ 2-layer cake

Mexican Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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You can celebrate your valentines any day of the year and my favorite way to do that is with my heart shaped cookie cutter and these intensely chocolate sugar cookies adapted from sweetapolita.com.

On the surface these cookies appear to be simple sugar cookies but all it takes is one bite to realize that you are in for something special. The addition of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of fiery cayenne pepper adds a surprising burst of flavor in every bite. These spices pair so nicely with the dark chocolate. And while these cookies do contain a very generous amount of sugar they are anything but sweet. Rather they are complex and flavorful making them the perfect sugar cookie.

So go ahead and grab your rolling pin and your favorite cookie cutters and bake this treat today. You won’t be disappointed.

MEXICAN DARK CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1-1/4 cups dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups  unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • In large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside.
  • Fit your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. To the mixer’s bowl, add the butter and sugars and beat until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined.
  • Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  • Add vanilla and blend.
  • Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2″ thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone rolling mat and roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick.
  • Repeat with the remaining ball of dough.
  • Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 325° F.
  • Remove the dough from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  •  Place the sheet with the cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
  • Bake until cookie edges are just crisp, about 16 minutes.
  • Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.

Yields: 3 dozen cookies

Rustic Chocolate Chip Tea Bread

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Think of this as a giant chocolate chip studded scone. With its crispy crust and cake like interior this is a quick bread that is just as nice for dessert as it is for a snack. And it is easy; very easy. The recipe comes from the kitchens of the Washington Post and the first time I baked this recipe the bread got eaten so quickly that I now make two (baked on two separate baking sheets). It is that good. The loaf is free formed so you can experiment with its shape–make two or four smaller loaves, make it round or rectangular–whatever you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the baking time if your loaves are smaller.

And because I am a fan of chocolate I prefer to use miniature chocolate chips since I think they give you more chocolate for your buck. You can also switch out the chocolate chips for diced dried fruit or use a combination of chocolate and fruit (sour cherries are particularly good).

RUSTIC CHOCOLATE CHIP TEA BREAD

3 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt

1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks

1 large egg

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons, if needed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar.
  • Drop in the chunks of butter pulse until pea sized dough balls form. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, the 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of buttermilk and the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture, sprinkle with the chocolate chips. USe a wooden spoon or paddle to stir, forming a rough, cohesive, slightly sticky dough. If the dough seems a little dry, drizzle it with an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.
  • Gather the dough into a rough mass with your hands, then knead lightly until it comes together completely, using firm strokes to gather it all cohesively. Form the dough into a 5 1/2-to-6-inch ball.
  • Place the ball of dough at the center baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to score an 1/8-inch-deep cross in the top of the ball of dough, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaf is set, golden on top and baked through. It should sound hollow when you lightly tap the top or bottom with a wooden spoon.
  • Cool, on the baking sheet, on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  • Slip a metal spatula under the loaf and transfer it to a separate rack to cool completely.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut slices or wedges.

Serves 12

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