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Flourless Fudge Cookies

November 23, 2017

I needed to send a cookie thank you to a gluten free person.  I had never baked gluten free.  It was interesting, not entirely successful but I’m happy to say that these cookies came out of my experimentation and they are delicious!

I tried Pillsbury BEST Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend on my standard chocolate chip cookies.  Grainy, the batter was weird, they baked up weird, terrible and I threw them out.

Next I sent away for King Arthur Flour Measure For Measure Gluten Free Flour.  Made my standard chocolate chip cookies.  I must say they looked almost exactly like my cookies with regular flour: the dough and even how they baked up.  Tasted better.  KAF definitely knows what they are doing in the GF department, so that would be my go to choice if I was GF.  I did include those in my cookie thank you.

But my daughter, Sarah, suggested an entirely flourless cookie and this is the recipe she sent me.  They are amazing and from King Arthur Flour who not only has great recipes but a BLOG Flourish, that helps you get through the tricky part of a recipe.   Read the recipe twice, read the blog twice and you are good to go 🙂

Things that you must have for this recipe:  a scale, borrow one if you must.  But to tell you the truth if you don’t have one this is a perfect opportunity to get one.  More and more recipes include weight measurements because they are more accurate.  And I use mine for more than just baking.  It has proven very useful for weighing vegetables, meat, etc.

Also, really good cocoa powder.  Valrhona is my favorite, which you can get on Amazon or Whole Foods.  Also King Arthur Flour sells excellent cocoa powder as well.

If you go to the King Arthur flour recipe they will give you volume measurements as well.

Flourless Fudge Cookies from King Arthur Flour and Flourish

9 ounces confectioners sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon espresso powder

3 ounces cocoa powder, the best you can afford, natural or Dutch process

3-3/4 to 4 ounces of egg whites (from 4 eggs)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet mini chips (the original recipe also suggests nuts or chopped dried fruit but I haven’t tried that yet)

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with canola oil spray.

Whisk together the egg whites (start with 3-3/4 ounces first) and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, confectioners sugar through cocoa powder.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.  Keep on stirring until fully incorporated.  I have made this recipe twice and both times I needed the extra 1/4 ounce of egg white to finish.

The batter will be very thick.

Add the chips and stir until completely incorporated.

Using a tablespoon cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet, keeping them at least 3 inches apart.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and let the cookies sit for 30 minutes.  This is VERY important.  You can clean up while the cookies are sitting, plan dinner, call a friend to chat.  Something.  But let them sit for 30 minutes 🙂

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes.  They will be ever so slightly crackly on top. Let them sit on the baking sheets until completely cool.  Then remove from the baking sheets.

Please READ the recipe and the blog.  Your size cookies might be different and thus the baking times might be different.

I made 22 cookies with the cookie scoop I had.

prepare baking sheets:

measure egg whites:

mise en place:

dry ingredients whisked:

add wet ingredients:

stir together thoroughly and add chips:

complete batter:

scoop onto baking sheets and let rest for 30 minutes:

preheat oven:

when cookies are done, let rest until completely cool:

yum!

 

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Ice Water Pickles

November 14, 2017

This recipe has been a long time coming.

I had watched my mother make these several times over the years at our our childhood home, taking copious notes and asking lots of questions but the process never stuck.  Finally I really needed to know how to make them (I had, for the first time, an abundance of cucumbers I had grown myself) so my sister, Barb, suggested we do it together at my house with our mother there for guidance.  Perfect and it worked!  We did it one more time without our mother and then finally I did it by myself.

The recipe actually has 2 parts.  The making of the pickles and preserving.  It’s hard to explain preserving without actually watching and participating in the process. Making the pickles is the easy part.

This is also my Mom’s recipe.  Even though she has been gone for a long time, it’s quite difficult for me to write a recipe that is hers.  I miss her all the time.

Anyway, before I start crying on the keyboard, I will make the best attempt I can to explain how to do this.  Once you have accomplished the canning part, you will not be afraid to do other canning, like jam.  Which I have also done.

This is quite a unique recipe.  I really have no idea where my mother got it.  It’s like no other pickles I have ever had.  When I was very young, like 5,  and  I went out to dinner with my family, my mother would bring the pickles to the restaurant.  I would eat pickles and crackers for my meal because I refused to eat anything on the menu.  Ah, well, times have changed.  Obviously I no long survive on pickles alone these days.

Before I get started with the recipe, you will need several things.  You will NOT need any special canning implements.  What you have on hand will serve you well.  I do not have anything special to can and I like to keep it that way.  There are plenty of other things I would like to get besides canning stuff.  And I only do this once a year.

You will need ALOT of ice.  If you can’t make your own then get a 5 lb. bag of ice from the store.  Canning jars with lids.  I like, these from Ball.  Cucumbers from a farmer’s market or similar.  You need 8 lbs.  So call ahead to your market if you can.  I get mine from Dykeman Farm in Pawling, New York.

The only thing you might need to buy is a 10 plus quart bowl.  You could easily borrow this as well if you know someone.  And if you really like the results you could buy one.  I have my Mom’s so it is ceramic, heavy and has a crack in it.  I take good care of it.  You can use a stainless steel bowl or buy a really nice ceramic one from here.

Give yourself a day to make these.  I can do it in 6 hours but only because I have made them many times and do alot of prep work.

Ice Water Pickles from Helen Girling

1 gallon (8 lbs.) sliced cucumbers

5 white onions, sliced

3 whole garlic cloves

1/3 cup salt

3 (1-1/2) cups white vinegar

5 (2-1/2) cups sugar

1 (1-1/2 teaspoons) tablespoon mustard seed

2 (1 teaspoon) teaspoons celery seed

Clean the canning jars in the dishwasher (this can be done the night before) and then place jars in a large heavy saucepan 8 quarts or more, cover with water by at least one inch.  Cover pan and place pan on stove and turn heat to medium.  I usually do 16 jars, so I use 2 large saucepans with lids.

Take the lids and bands and put them in a bowl with hot sudsy water.  Clean and rinse thoroughly.  Separate the lids and bands.  Put the lids in a small saucepan. Put the bands on paper towels close to where you will be canning.

Clean the cucumbers in warm water and dry.  Set aside.

If you do not have a food processor, borrow one.  This will become an extremely laborious endeavor if you do not have one.  I don’t know how my mother did it by hand.  When they first came out with the food processor she was the first to get one.  What a time saver.

You will also need long tongs to get the jars out of the hot water.  A smaller tong to get the cooked cucumbers into the jar.  And a small ladle to get the syrup into the jar.  Pot holder and plenty of paper towels.  Below are pictures for the whole set up.

You will also need 2 more very large heavy saucepans to make the cucumbers into pickles.  You can borrow these, too, if you don’t have them.  And anyone you have borrowed stuff from gets pickles!!  They should be happy 🙂

Cut the ends off of each cucumber.  Then cut them in half.  Put the halves into the Cuisinart, cut side down, and slice them using the #2 slicer.   You should have 1 gallon of sliced cucumbers.  Put them in the very large bowl.  Take the onions, peel and cut a little bit off if you have to, to fit completely whole, stem side down in the Cuisinart.  Slice the onions using the #2 slicer and place in the bowl with the cucumbers.  Take the bowl and put it into your clean dry sink (unless you are taller than me, 5 ft. 1 in., I cannot get enough leverage on the counter) and mix the cucumbers and onions with your very clean and dry hands.  Put in the salt and mix  again by hand.  Take the garlic and put them deep into the cucumber/onion mixture in 3 different places.  Take the bowl and place on a cookie sheet with sides, on the counter.  Cover the whole thing with ice.  And I mean cover.  Cover until the ice comes up to the top of the bowl.  Let sit for 3 hours.

While the cucumbers are icing, prep for the next stage.

If the jars have come to a nice simmer on the stove, turn the heat off and set them aside on cutting boards on the counter.

Take the 2 other large saucepans, and put one on each burner.  Place half the syrup ingredients in each pan (the 1/2 ingredients are in parenthesis).   Bring to a boil and then turn off heat.

Set yourself up with cutting boards and such next to the stove.  See picture below.  Eat something, like lunch.  Because once you start putting pickles in the jars you cannot stop.  And drink plenty of water.  Remember, you are doing this in July when cucumbers are ready.  If you don’t have air conditioning in your house you will be sweating.  Brings back memories of my own mother sweating:  yikes!  I have air conditioning though.  I’m a lucky girl 🙂

So the 3 hours are up and you are ready to can.

Add water to the small sauce pan with the lids, to cover, and bring to a simmer on the stove.

Bring the iced cucumbers over to the sink and take off the ice.  By this point the ice has become almost one sheet of ice, so it will be easy to dump it in the sink.  Remove any stray ice cubes.

Put a very large colander into your clean sink.  Drain the cucumbers into the colander.  Remove the 3 garlic cloves.

Place the sauce pans with the syrup back onto the stove.  Divide the cucumbers between the 2 pans and turn the heat up to medium/medium high.  Bring the cucumbers to a boil and cook until they look like pickles (exact quote from my mother 🙂 ).

Also, put the pan with the jars back on the stove and bring to a simmer

When the cucumbers look like pickles, remove from heat and place right next to your canning set up.

Carefully remove 1 jar from the hot water with tongs and drain.

Put pickles using the small tongs and syrup using the small ladle into jar, leaving a quarter inch space from the top of jar.

Clean the rim of the jar thoroughly with a hot wet paper towel.

Take the tongs and remove one lid, shaking it free of water.

Place on top of jar.

Then take one band and place it on the jar twisting to seal.  You will need a pot holder to hold the jar.  Remember you just took it out of HOT water.

Set aside on a cutting board.

Continue doing this with all the pickles.

When you are done, reseal the jars one more time by giving it one more twist.  Let them sit there overnight.  The next day, make sure the pickles have been canned properly.  Press down on the lid.  If there is any movement at all, it did not seal properly.  Just put the unsealed jar into the refrigerator, let it get nice and cold and enjoy!

The other jars that have been sealed, clean with a warm cloth to remove any sticky residue.  They are now ready to give away or to be stored so you can eat them over the winter.

cleaning the cucumbers:

cucumbers in the dry, clean sink, with onions, tossed together:

add salt and toss again:

place garlic cloves into the cucumber/onion mixture:

cover with ice and place on a cookie sheet with sides (I also have a towel underneath because there is a crack in the bowl) :

jars in pan covered with water:

syrup:

lids in water:

the set up with the bands dry and waiting:

after 3 hours:

drain the cucumbers and remove the garlic:

bring the syrup to a simmer/boil and add half the cucumbers/onion mixture:

progression of how the cucumbers transform to pickles:

drain the jar and start adding pickles and syrup:

jar filled, wipe rim of jar thoroughly with a hot paper towel:

top with lid and then band:

all done (with 1/2 anyway):

finished product, let sit overnight and then test for sealing the next day:

Raised Waffles

November 7, 2017

I love these waffles.  The perfect ratio of crispy and tender.

I have a Calphalon No Peek Round Waffle Maker which is a classic waffle maker. It’s a lot more expensive on Amazon now than when I paid for it 2 years ago.  I have no idea why.  There are plenty of others like it.  But if you already have a Belgian waffle maker use that first with this recipe and see how you like it.  It’s really a personal preference.

Using yeast  makes this an incredibly light waffle.  If you have never used yeast before do not fear.  It is super simple.  Just make sure you check the expiration date on the yeast package.

Because you have to make this the night before and usually it’s done over the weekend, it can be a little daunting even though the recipe is simple.   So I decided to try and make it easier.  Here’s how I did it:

Lay out all the ingredients early,  see picture below.  This means putting the flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.  Placing the butter in a microwave safe bowl, and placing the package of yeast and the 1/2 cup measure cup next to the empty large bowl.  Then right before you go to bed, place the butter in the microwave 30 seconds, place the warm water (between 90 and 110 degrees) in the large bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top, wait 5 minutes.  By then the butter has melted and slightly cooled.  Add the butter and flour mixture to the large bowl with the yeast/water mixture and stir together thoroughly.   Ha!  you did it 🙂

Raised Waffles from Marion Cunningham September 1998 The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

1/2 cup warm water (between 90 and *110 degrees)

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz. package)

2 cups warm milk (2% or whole)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups all purpose flour (preferably King Arthur Flour)

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Use a rather large mixing bowl – the batter will rise to double its original volume.  I have an almost straight sided bowl from my old mixer that I use for this and bread too.  It works perfectly.

Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended. (Using a hand rotary beater to get rid of the lumps is useful here.)

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda, and stir until well mixed.  The batter will be very thin.  Pour about 1/3 to 3/4 cup batter into a very hot waffle iron.  The bigger the waffle maker the more batter, the smaller the waffle maker the less batter you need. Bake the waffles until they are golden and crisp.  This batter will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.

I did just that and kept the batter that I used Sunday morning.  I made waffles Monday and Tuesday and have enough I think for Wednesday. They are still absolutely delicious!!

*Warm water for yeasted products is between 90 and 110 degrees.  If it’s hotter than 110 degrees you are killing the yeast.  No rising then.

so here is the set up for the waffles, that you do early:

then right before going to bed, sprinkle the yeast on the warm water:

add flour mixture and melted butter:

stir really well and/or use your hand mixer until smooth and no lumps:

cover with plastic:

all ready for the morning:

the next morning the batter looks like this, all bubbly and puffy:

plug in your waffle maker so it gets nice and hot:

add the eggs and baking soda and stir with a whisk until smooth:

pour some batter onto the hot waffle maker and cook:

first waffle:

my husbands breakfast:

my sons (yes, that’s 3 waffles there):

and mine, yum!:

 

 

Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce

October 23, 2017

This is an easy weeknight meal from Giada De Laurentiis.

Just a few tiny changes:  I cut the penne amount in half, probably used a bit more grated parmesan and used diced tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes.  Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.

If you use frozen shrimp, make sure it’s the wild caught.  Do not get the farmed fish from Taiwan or wherever.  I took a class from the CIA called Under the Sea and the professor talked about farmed fish.  Farmed fish is pretty disgusting.  To know absolutely sure you are getting wild caught shrimp, fresh or frozen, they should still have their ‘legs’ attached.  If they do not have them, then it means they were farmed where it is nearly impossible for them to swim and thus no need for ‘legs’  shrimp with legs

This is the first time I added the pasta to the sauce.  Usually I don’t do that and serve them separately but it worked this time, especially with half the amount of pasta.

Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce (from Food Network Giada De Laurentiis)

1/2 pound penne pasta

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, fresh or frozen

4 garlic cloves, minced or grated using a box grater

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1, 15 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, drained

1/2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup white wine

1/3 cup clam juice

3/4 cup heavy cream

1-1/2 ounces Parmesan Cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the fresh or frozen shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp onto a plate.

Add the diced tomatoes, basil, parsley and optional red pepper flakes.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the wine, clam juice, and heavy cream.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Add the Parmesan cheese, cooked shrimp and pasta.  Stir together until combined.  Serve immediately.

weigh out pasta and cook according to package directions:

the shrimp I used:

mise en place:

cooking shrimp and setting aside:

add tomatoes, basil, parsley and cook:

add wine, clam juice and heavy cream:

add Parmesan cheese, shrimp and pasta:

yum!

 

 

 

Easy BBQ Short Ribs

October 15, 2017

 

This is an excellent recipe from Sunny Anderson and so simple and delicious!

I usually find a recipe and then get the ingredients but I did just the opposite this time.  I had read an article in Cooks Illustrated about boneless beef short ribs awhile ago but really wasn’t interested in trying their recipe.  But the boneless beef short ribs stuck in my head.  So when I went to Hannford’s a few weeks later I got them and found a recipe when I got home.  So glad I did 🙂

The video and directions from Food Network are slightly different. The video with Sunny suggests 2-1/2 hours cooking with aluminum foil and 1/2 hour with aluminum foil off.  The recipe directions on Food Network says 3 hours cooking with the aluminum foil and 1/2 hour with aluminum foil off.  My directions are 3 hours aluminum foil on and that’s it, you are DONE!

Also, watching the video, I have no idea where Sunny got those boneless beef short ribs.  Mine do not look like that at ALL :/   I went with Cook’s Illustrated description.  “Boneless Beef Short Ribs aren’t actually cut from the rib section of the cow, as their name implies.  They are cut from the chuck or shoulder, of the animal.  …..are basically butchered and trimmed chuck roast.”

Easy BBQ Short Ribs  (from Sunny Anderson)

3-4 pounds boneless beef short ribs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2/3 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon mustard (yellow, Grey Poupon, smooth, grainy, it really doesn’t matter, whatever you have in your refrigerator)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Arrange the short ribs in a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish and season with the Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, vinegar, thyme, ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir with a whisk until completely combined.  Pour the sauce over the ribs and turn the ribs over in the sauce until all are coated.  Cover with aluminum foil.

Cook for 3 hours.  Remove from the oven and serve.

Couple of suggestion here:

If you are not serving right away, place the whole thing in the refrigerator.  After a few hours the fat from the beef will congeal and will be very easy to remove.  This saves a bit of calories.

I ate them the way they were and served with other stuff on the side.  But I think the ribs could be easily shredded, put back in the sauce, stirred and served over rice, noodles, polenta or on buns. Yum!!

arranged ribs:

what to look for in the supermarket:

sauce ingredients:

pour over ribs and cover ribs completely:

cover with aluminum foil:

after 3 hours:

served with Sweet Potato Puree with Smoked Paprika and little corn muffins:

 

Blueberry Muffin II

September 16, 2017

Another muffin 🙂

This is a combination of two recipes.  One from The New York Times Cooking which includes smashing some of the blueberries (which intrigued me) and a very old recipe from my mother in law that included sour cream and that I knew was really good.   I did add a bit of lemon zest because lemon and blueberries are such a lovely combination.

The blueberry muffin recipe is a hand written affair that I wrote down with instructions from my mother in law.  The recipe was received in the infancy of our marriage, so we are talking about 40 years ago.  Wow, is all I can say about that!

Blueberry Muffin II (Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins (now, you have to have a subscription to The New York Times Cooking to access all their recipes 😦 ) and Blueberry Hill Muffins)

1/2 cup butter, softened

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sour cream

1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries, stems removed if any

1 -2 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 15 muffins cups, from 2, 12-cup muffin pans, with baking spray with flour (like Pam Baking Spray, my favorite).

Combine eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, place the flour, salt and baking powder.  Stir together with a whisk.

Smash/crush with a fork or whatever, 1/2 cup of the blueberries and set aside.

Place softened butter in mixing bowl.  Add sugar, and beat until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat thoroughly until smooth.

Gradually add flour mixture alternately with sour cream.  Add lemon zest and beat until almost combined.

Add smashed/crushed blueberries.  Stir by hand using a rubber spatula until almost combined then add whole blueberries and stir until just combined.

Measure batter evenly among the 15 muffins cups.

Sprinkle each muffin with sugar and place in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool muffins on wire rack and when completely cooled remove from muffins pan.

hand written recipe from my mother-in-law:

mise en place:

preparing pans:

mixing in crushed blueberries:

adding whole blueberries:

batter complete, a little blue but you do not really see that when baked:

dividing among muffins cups ( I only sprinkled sugar on some of them but I recommend all ):

out of the oven:

yum!

 

 

 

Lemon Zucchini Muffins

September 3, 2017

I have just recently started following Two Peas and Their Pod.  A great site with reliable, delicious recipes.  This is one of them.

I just love the addition of lemon.  I think it gives the muffins a vibrant taste.

Instead of the bread shape, I made these into muffins and added chopped walnuts (my husband’s favorite).  Make sure you get LARGE lemons.  All that zest is just lovely.  And instead of olive oil, I used canola vegetable oil.  I did not use the glaze on the muffins but it sounds wonderful, enhancing that delicious lemony flavor 🙂

And this right now is my favorite  Grater.  It makes beautifully grated zucchini. I love it for Parmesan cheese, too.   It is super sharp and the grated food is light and fluffy, it’s just amazing.  Sometimes the right tool makes baking/cooking joyful:  this one does it for me 🙂

Lemon Zucchini Bread from Two Peas and Their Pod

3 cups flour (make sure to fluff up your flour with a large metal spatula or spoon before measuring to insure that your measuring is accurate)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup chopped walnut

2 cups sugar

zest of 2 LARGE lemons

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups finely grated zucchini (from 3 small)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Canola oil spray 1, 12 cup muffin pan and 4 cups on another 12 cup muffin pan.  You will have sprayed 16 muffins cups.

In a very large bowl add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Whisk together.  Add the chopped walnuts, stirring to disperse evenly.

In a medium bowl add the sugar and then add the lemon zest.  Stirring with a rubber spatula and then finally rubbing the sugar together with the zest with your fingers until combined and fragrant (what a delightful smell!).

In another large bowl, place the eggs, oil, lemon juice and vanilla.  Add the sugar/zest mixture and stir together with a whisk until combined.   Add this mixture to the flour/nut mixture and stir together until almost combined.  Then add the zucchini and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the 16 muffin cups.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the center, when tested with a toothpick, comes out clean.  Let cool completely in the pan and then remove onto a cooling rack.

grating the zucchini with my awesome grater:

zesting the lemon:

adding zest to sugar:

chopped walnuts:

adding walnuts to flour mixture;

eggs, vegetable oil, lemon juice and vanilla:

stir the sugar mixture into the egg mixture (almost looks like lemon curd, mmmm):

mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients:

add the zucchini:

divide among muffin cups:

out of the oven:

delicious: flakes of zucchini and small chunks of walnut with a lemony zing!