Archive for November 2009

Nov252009

Glazed Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkincookies

These have become my favorite autumn treat (shh, don’t tell Chocolate Zucchini Cake). They require a little bit of work but they’re worth it and, as a bonus, they make the house smell amazing.

Glazed Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)

Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. It’ll look a little funky but have faith.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for two minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

To Make Icing: Melt down butter, milk, and brown sugar until dissolved. Cool and add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Place a sheet of waxed paper under the cooling rack, take the cooled cookies and holding one at a time dip upside down into the icing, invert and place on cooling rack.

Nov232009

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pecan Cookies

whitechocolatecookies

These white chocolate chip cranberry pecan cookies are a good alternative to regular chocolate chip cookies, and they work especially well for the upcoming holiday gift-giving (if they last that long!). The white chocolate and red craisins also work well for a Valentine’s Day treat.

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pecan Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the cream mixture and stir until almost incorporated. Add the Craisins, white chocolate, and pecans. Mix until everything is just together.

Roll into heaping spoonfuls and bake at 350 degrees. Bake for 11-15 minutes.

whitechocolate2

Nov172009

Split Pea Soup

split_pea_soup

The poor kids — I’m on a soup kick lately. Well, a soup/stew/chili kick, anyway. Our fall here is so brief that I take advantage of it any way I can, and that includes dinners that take hours to cook and fill up the house with yummy smells. Thankfully, everyone humors me because they know that it also means a lot of baking, too — bread, cookies, you name it.

Anyway, Mike asked me a couple of weeks ago if I’d find a split pea soup recipe, and here it is. We had it last night with a nice homemade loaf of bread (and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert. See how that works out?).

Peas don’t need to soak like beans do, so after you’ve sorted and rinsed them they can go directly into the crock pot. Also, make sure you add everything into the crock pot in the order given, and don’t mix it up when you’re done. It’s important that the peas stay submerged for as long as possible to soften up.

Once it’s done I transfer about 3/4 of it (minus the ham, if I can help it) into a blender to puree, and then add back into the crockpot for another half hour or so. You don’t need to do this but we like it on the creamier side. An immersion blender would work perfectly for this, but I can’t find mine.

You can also make it vegetarian by omitting the ham and using vegetable stock. If you don’t add ham, up the broth to four cups and use only 1 cup of water.

Split Pea Soup

1 lb dry split peas, rinsed and sorted
1-1/2 cups cooked ham, cubed (or 1 ham hock)
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups water

After cooking:
salt to taste
1 cup heavy cream

Layer ingredients into the crock pot in the order given above. Do not mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
About half an hour before you’re ready to eat, add the salt as needed and heavy cream.