Snickerdoodles

17 May

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These are the cookies of my childhood. And they make me so very happy — butter, cinnamon and sugar. What else could you want?

INGREDIENTS
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat.

2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the flour is blended. (I sometimes use my hands to help bring the dough together.) Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

5. While the dough is chilling, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

6. Form 1-inch balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard.

7. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Adapted from Allrecipes and Brown Eyed Baker

Chocolate Banana Bread

17 Apr

INGREDIENTS
3 large ripe bananas (easily mashable)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed, light or dark)
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 a teaspoon if using salted butter)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the middle. Butter or spray with cooking spray the inside of a 5×9-inch loaf pan.
  2. With a fork, mash the bananas until smooth (you can also use a blender or food processor to purée bananas). You should have 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of banana purée. Whisk to break up any clumps of brown sugar. Stir in the beaten egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and allspice.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Place in a 350°F (175°C) oven and bake for 1 hour. (Note that because of the chocolate chips that melt in the bread as it cooks, it’s hard to check for doneness using a tester that you insert. One way to test is to gently push the center top of the chocolate banana bread down with your finger. If it feels relatively firm and bounces back when you release your finger, that’s a good sign that it’s done.)

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

17 Mar

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Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt according directions on package.

While quinoa is cooking, prepare a combination of any of the following ingredients for the salad:

  • 1/3 cup diced red onion (soaked in 2 Tbsp lime juice)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted, or 1 cup of fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 5 ounces Queso fresco, fresh Mozzarella, or other mild farmer’s cheese, cut into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, including tender stems, packed
  • 1 red bell pepper, quarter inch chopped
  • 6 green onions, root removed, white and part of the greens chopped

When quinoa has cooled, toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix dressing of 3-4 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, and a pinch of cayenne in a small bowl. Add dressing to salad and mix thoroughly.

Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.

Maple and Pecan Oatmeal Scones

15 Mar

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INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) lower-protein unbleached all-purpose flour (like Gold Medal or Pillsbury)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

GLAZE
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the oats and pecans evenly on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they are fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. When the oats and pecans are cooled, measure out 2 tablespoons (for dusting the work surface) and set aside.
  2. Whisk the milk, cream, maple syrup and egg in a large measuring cup until incorporated; remove 1 tablespoon to a small bowl and reserve for glazing.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until combined, about four 1-second pulses. Scatter the cold butter evenly over the dry ingredients and process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, twelve to fourteen 1-second pulses.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; stir in the cooled oats and pecans. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the liquid ingredients until large clumps form. Using your hands, gently knead the mixture in the bowl until the dough forms a cohesive mass.
  5. Dust the work surface with half of the reserved oats, turn the dough out onto the work surface, and dust the top with the remaining oats. Gently pat the dough into a 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick.
  6. Using a bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges and set on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush the surfaces with the reserved milk-and-egg mixture.
  7. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes; cool scones on the baking sheet on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove scones to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  8. When the scones are cool, whisk 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl until combined; drizzle the glaze over the scones.

Recipe from Baking Illustrated

Peanut Butter Granola Balls

15 Mar

These are yummy snacks that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. And they are super easy and quick to make.

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INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup agave syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/4 cup dried fruit (cranberries & raisins)

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan over medium, heat agave syrup (or honey), peanut butter & butter. Stir until loosened and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cereal, oats and dried fruit.

Drop mixture by the tablespoon into cupcake wrappers (depending on size it should make 12-20 balls). Place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Recipe from Everyday Food