Makers 46 & Snickerdoodles

TYSnickerdoodlesWhen I was young it seemed that there wasn’t a cookie that I didn’t love.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat 😉   Snickerdoodles were a particular favorite of mine!  I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong, but somehow I’ve never managed to bake one that I absolutely loved.

Some were too crisp, some too soft, some too sweet and some have been strangely tasteless.  I was ready to throw in the towel and commit to buying my Snickerdoodles only from the bakery, when finally I found a recipe that satisfies my picky Snickerdoodle palate.

On Season 2, Episode 9 of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on The Food Network, Trisha was doing holiday cookie baking.  One of the things I like about Trisha’s Southern Kitchen is that she cooks the same foods that everyday moms and wives have been cooking forever.  It’s salt of the earth fare that doesn’t involve a lot of fancy cookware or ingredients that are expensive and hard to find.  She makes the same mistakes in the kitchen that everyday cooks make and she laughs and has workarounds like we all do.

Trisha’s Snickerdoodle recipe was straightforward and was different than the others I had tried, so I decided to give it one more try.  The recipe was a hit with the family and not a single cookie lasted the weekend!  The ultimate sign of success in my kitchen!  To get Trisha’s insights and see her method, click on the episode link above to watch the video (about 2 minutes).

Trisha Yearwood’s Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1+1/2 Cups +2 TBLS Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (Trisha uses medium)
  • 2+3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and stir into the shortening mixture.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.

Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar.

Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake two sheets at a time until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.

Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooling.

Store in an airtight container.   Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008

I just broke the red wax seal on a new bottle of Makers 46.  The warm vanilla undertones of the smooth bourbon should go perfectly with the cinnamon sweetness of the snickerdoodles!  Looks like my evening is set!

If you are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Oatmeal Cookies With A Sweet Surprise

oatmealcookiesI was feeling a little down today so I headed to the kitchen to change my attitude.

What better way to do that than bake some cookies?

Not content to make the usual “off the lid of the oatmeal container” recipe, I decided to tweak it a bit and came out with a cookie that smelled fantastic while it was baking, let me sneak in an ingredient my husband says he doesn’t like but I love (coconut), and went great with an ice cold bottle of Guinness while I settled in to watch USC Basketball play Providence #BeatTheFriars.

Oatmeal Cookies With A Sweet Surprise

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1+1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 (12 oz) package milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup packed shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer (or a medium bowl if using a hand mixer) cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla. Mix on low speed for about a minute, then on medium for an additional minute until light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs mixing on low between each addition. Mix on high for about a minute. The mixture should be pale yellow and very fluffy.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing on low until the flour disappears. Add the oats and mix on low again, just until blended.
  6. Add the coconut and chocolate chips mixing on low just until blended.
  7. Use a medium-sized cookie scoop (overflowing the scoop a bit) and place the dough on ungreased non-stick baking sheets about 2″ a part.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until the tops and edges start to turn a light golden brown.
  9. Remove the cookies sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to cool about 5 minutes on the pan before removing to a plate to finish cooling.
  10. When cookies are completely cool, store any you haven’t eaten in a tightly sealed container on the counter.

If it matters, the cookies even got my labs’ seal of approval.  After I spilled half a bag of coconut on the kitchen floor, which my labs were more than happy to help clean up, they were hounding around when they came out of the oven.  I gave them their own “cookies” but my black lab wasn’t satisfied with that and, even though she was SO BUSTED, I caught her standing up at the IMG_1743counter, as quietly as she could, eating as many cookies as she could (1 big one) before I got to her to get the plate out of her reach!

Before I get #HateMail, I know chocolate is bad for my babies, and she only got 1 cookie before I got her away from the plate, so don’t call the ASPCA on me.  It wasn’t dark chocolate so it was “less” bad, she’s a 90 pound dog so plenty big to handle digesting the minimal bit of theobromine in the maybe 5 chocolate chips in the cookie she managed to eat.  I love my dogs much more than I love cookies.  If you want to make them puppy safe just leave the chocolate chips out of a few.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

 

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Another Twitter video find when I was hungry…best part?  It’s from www.health.com!

buffalocauliflower

My sister Wendi and I fell in love with these when we went to San Diego and found a sports bar to watch USC football at before going to a Blake Shelton concert last year. I’ve finally found a recipe that comes close to what we had there!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Wash a Large head of fresh cauliflower (About 1 lb).
  • Remove the outer leaves and stem and then cut to separate the individual florets.
  • Dry the florets and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  • Sprinkle florets lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Put sheet in oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes stirring once.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 1 TBLS Butter melted
  • 3 TBLS Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or any kind you like)
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • Put roasted cauliflower florets into the bowl and stir with rubber spatula until all florets are coated with sauce.
  • Return coated florets to the cookie sheet.
  • Roast at 400° F for 5-10 minutes more or until cauliflower starts to brown.

Make the dipping sauce:

  • In a small pan over medium-low heat put 2 tsp Olive Oil and 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • Heat until garlic starts to brown.
  • Transfer garlic and olive oil into the mixing container of a blender or Vitamix.
  • Add 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt.
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 TBLS Parsley
  • 1 TBLS Chives
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1/4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Honey
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Blend until well combined.  Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with the dip and ranch dressing on the side.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Giant Oatmeal-Vanilla Buttercream Pies

oatmealcreampierecipeOne look at this video and all I could think was, “Yum!”  I was able to eyeball the measurements of the ingredients pretty accurately from the video but, just to be safe, a quick Google hunt led me to the recipe at www.mybakingaddiction.com.  I love the internet!

Oatmeal Cream Pies

  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • Line Cookie Sheet with Parchment Paper
  • In large bowl combine:  2 Sticks (1 Cup) Softened Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar

Cream together with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add in:

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Blend together until eggs are well incorporated.  Add in:

  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

Blend together until all ingredients are combined.

  • Drop dough by rounded large dough scoop into parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake 13-15 minutes
  • Cool cookies on sheet for 1 minute then remove to wire racks to cool completely

To make Vanilla Buttercream filling, in a medium bowl combine:

  • 3/4 Cup Softened Butter (1 +1/2 sticks)
  • 2+1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 TBLS Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Blend with mixer until fluffy.  If too thick or stiff add a little more milk to thin.

Spread or pipe buttercream filling between two cookies sandwich style and enjoy!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

A Lemon Bar That Won’t Derail Your Diet

6021601_SYYOL12299Most people who put themselves on diets at the beginning of each year wrongly assume that they have to deprive themselves of anything sweet and especially anything that falls under the category of dessert.  Thankfully they are wrong on both counts.

This week my main focus is finding low fat & calorie conscious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth whether you are dieting or not.

This recipe from Cooking Light Magazine cuts the sugar from a standard lemon bar recipe down from an estimated 36 g of sugar to 6 g of sugar and only 129 calories.

Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Crust:

  • 4 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cooking spray

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, almonds, powdered sugar, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse until almonds are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pat mixture down into an even layer, patting firmly without compacting too tightly (which will make crust tough). Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool completely.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.

4. To prepare filling, rinse processor, and wipe dry. Place yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through cream cheese) in processor; process until smooth. Add eggs; process until smooth. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until set.

5. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or until chilled.

Nutritional Information

Calories 129     Fat 7.7 g       Sat fat 3.5 g      Mono fat 2.6 g
Poly fat 0.8 g   Protein 4 g  Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 1 g     Cholesterol 37 mg    Sodium 130 mg    Calcium 34 mg

Sugars 6 g     Est. Added Sugars 5

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake

There is just something amazing about chocolate cake that’s made with beer!

This recipe from the archives of Bon Appétit (October 2009) looks like something I can throw together for a day of Super Bowl munching without investing too much time hunting down out of the ordinary ingredients.


Bon Appétit says, instead of cold milk, to serve this cake with glasses of the same beer you used in the cake batter. They even suggest making the stout into a float by dropping a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream to the beer for a grown-up float.  Yum!

Unless we just want to skip the cake and drink stout floats, we’d probably better get to work making the cake. 😉

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup chocolate stout, regular stout, or porter
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

Bittersweet – Espresso Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Preparation

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper round; butter and flour parchment. Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 11/4 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee. Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in 2 additions just until incorporated.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide batter between prepared cake pans (about 3 cups for each); smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper and cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.

For frosting:

Place chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Combine whipping cream and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Bring cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Pour cream mixture over chopped chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Chill chocolate frosting until slightly thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (or for quick chilling, place frosting in freezer until thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes).

Using a serrated knife, trim rounded tops from both cake layers so that tops are flat. Place 1 cake layer, trimmed side up, on 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round, then place on rack set over baking sheet. Drop 1 1/4 cups frosting by large spoonfuls over top of cake layer; spread frosting evenly to edges with offset spatula or butter knife. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours before serving.

Ingredient tip:

If you can find it (try Total Wine they have a great selection), use a chocolate stout (Brooklyn Brewery and Oregon’s Rogue Brewery for example) in the cake batter. The chocolaty flavors in the beer come from dark-roasting the malts. Some brewers even add a little chocolate to the beer as well. If you can’’t find chocolate stout, use another stout, such as Guinness. Sierra Nevada Porter and Samuel Adams Honey Porter would also work well in this recipe.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Food Network’s Can O’ Beer Cake


The named the recipe didn’t entice me, but the picture sure did!  The tiny air pockets in the cake, the luscious glaze and the dark cherry compote look too good to pass up, so this is definitely gracing my next dinner party table!

Can O’ Beer Cake

Ingredients

  • Nonstick baking spray, for preparing the pan
  • One 15-ounce box yellow cake mix (I am substituting a chocolate cake mix)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • One 12-ounce can lager, such as Budweiser or Sam Adams
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • One 12-ounce bag frozen cherries, thawed
  • Whipped cream for serving, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 10-cup plain Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

Whisk the cake mix, oil, eggs and 1 cup beer in a large bowl until smooth and well-combined, at least 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula, then bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons beer in a heatproof glass bowl and microwave until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until dissolved.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Using a toothpick, poke several holes over the cake, then drizzle the beer syrup evenly over the cake until it soaks in. Let the cake cool completely.

Stir the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons beer together in a bowl until smooth. Add more beer, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed to form a thick glaze. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake and let stand until set, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining beer and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with the cherries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the cherries are warmed through and the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cherries to a bowl and let cool completely.

Serve cake slices with the cherries on the side and a dollop of whipped cream, if using.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood