Now Selling Cookies!

   

This post is going to be a little bit different than previous posts as I’m trying something new lately. A couple of months ago I started selling my homemade cookies locally to friends and family members.  So far I have received nothing but positive feedback, so I figured it’s time to get my website updated to potentially expand my circle of clientele. 

The first month the cookie I listed for sale was my Witchcraft Cookie – so named because one of Jah’s coworkers said they were so delicious they must have been created by way of witchcraft. The jumbo sized cookies fit 6 to a box for $12 and were packed full of imported dark chocolate, toasted almonds, and marshmallow.

Witchcraft Cookies

This month were my coveted Snarkydoodles – made with browned butter and a touch of ginger. These smaller sized cookies fit 12 to a box for $10. I will be presenting a new treat for sale every month to any LOCAL people that are able to pick up their cookies from me, as I currently have no means to deliver. Unfortunately shipping is not available yet either, but hopefully I will get there eventually!

Snarkydoodles

Once I’ve completed my move into the new house (yay!) I will begin taking orders for June’s “Milford Cookies”, which contain semisweet chocolate chips, pretzel bits, and a gooey caramel interior.

All of my cookies are always baked without eggs, and unless otherwise noted will also have a vegan version available for the same price. If you find yourself in need of cookies and would like to place an order you can email me at [email protected].

 


Chewy Coconut Cookies

   

Greetings, humans. This is your friendly neighborhood Gouda Monster. You may remember me from such cookie recipes as Eyeball Butter Cookies and Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies. I have been out of the public eye for a time, lurking in the shadows and sharpening my teeth, but now I have returned to you with a gift of sweetness and simplicity.  For all you coconut fans – chewy coconut cookies! Chomp chomp!

coconutcookie1

As is often the case in my kitchen, I find myself throwing things into a bowl with the hopes that the resulting concoction won’t be a total disaster. One afternoon I was craving cookies but I didn’t have many ingredients on hand to work with. In the back of my pantry I eyed a hermetic glass jar packed full of sweetened coconut and figured I’d roll with it. I’d never made coconut cookies before so it was going to be a fun experiment. Imagine my surprise when I had perfectly sweet, chewy cookies with a slightly crispy edge on my first attempt!

coconutcookie2

The following day I made them again, doubling the recipe so that I could hand them out to friends. The reviews I received were overwhelmingly positive, someone even going so far as to say they could see the endorphins being released from their brain as they ate them. That’s the kind of response I like to hear! Several people asked me for the recipe so I knew these would have to make their way onto my blog, pulling me out of my lengthy hiatus.  Given how quickly this recipe comes together I think it will be a hit for parties or functions where you want to impress a group with a small amount of effort. 

coconutcookie3

Chewy Coconut Cookies
Serves 36
A simple to make coconut cookie with a chewy center and slightly crispy edges.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 sticks room temperature butter, unsalted
  4. 2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 tablespoons water (or 1 large egg)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but nice for a little more coconut oomph)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 2 cups coconut (I used a mix of shredded and shaved coconut for the textural interest)
  8. 2 cups flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  11. Fleur de sel for finishing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars until lighter in color.
  3. Add extracts and egg replacer (or egg) and beat for about 30 seconds. Stir in coconut.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and kosher salt. Add to the coconut mixtures in thirds, combining well after each addition.
  5. Using a melon baller or small cookie scoop, scoop out rounded balls of dough and place about 2 inches apart on parchment lined sheet.
  6. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with fleur de sel if desired. Allow cookies to sit for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Calories
  1. 210
Variations
  1. For an extra decadent treat, drizzle or dip each cookie with tempered dark chocolate.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

coconutcookie4


Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad

   

It’s been over a month since my last post, which means I have all kinds of things I can talk about this time around. A little while back Jah presented me with 3 seats to a local cheese-making class with The Dallas Mozzarella Co.  Jah and I brought my friend Leanna and we had a great time making fresh ricotta, mozzarella, oaxaca, and a fresh olive stuffed mozzarella roll. Of course with all of that unbelievably fresh cheese in my fridge, how could I resist making something like this beautiful tomato asparagus panzanella salad?

 Before I delve too much into the details of salad making (not that this salad has many – it’s so simple), I thought I’d talk a little about springtime in Texas. The telltale sign of spring is when the bluebonnets carpet the landscape. Not wanting to miss one of the prime spots for this surreal display of color, I drove out to Ennis, TX with my friend Chris to be able to photograph the fields at sunrise. Needless to say it was a worthwhile adventure!

Ennis Bluebonnets

After enjoying the brisk air (ok I was freezing ) we hopped back in the car and roamed the country side looking for more lovely photo ops. Along the way we stopped and snacked on the moist double chocolate zucchini muffins I packed for the trip (a recipe I’ll definitely have to share later). We saw deer, rabbits, horses, longhorn cattle, and even a grumpy minidonk! After a brief detour into a local winery we found a gorgeous field blanketed with bright red Indian paintbrush and had to get a shot.

Ennis Indian Paintbrush

Texas has a bit of a reputation for being a large expanse of dessert… essentially the prototype for every old western ever made. Believe it or not there is green stuff here too! 

But enough about all of that. You’re here for juicy, ripe tomatoes, aren’t cha? Me too, man… me too.

Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad

Panzanella is an Italian salad made with bits of bread, often as a means to use that day old loaf you’ve got sitting around. With such simple ingredients quality is really going to make a difference, so make sure to get the best tomatoes you can find. I love to mix varieties for a more colorful presentation, plus it adds a little complexity to the overall flavor. I make this style of salad fairly often whenever I’m preparing food for a large group of people, because it is so easy to multiply out to serve more. 

Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad

Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad
Serves 6
A simple Itaian salad tossed with cubes of toasted day old bread.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 small Italian baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. 1 1/2 pounds of mixed tomatoes, chopped (or about 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved)
  3. 1 bundle fresh asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into bite sized pieces
  4. 6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  5. 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  6. 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Toss bread cubes with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. Bake at 425 for about 8 minutes until nice and toasty. Keep an eye on them as oven temps may vary. I give them a shake in the pan about halfway through.
  2. Combine olive oil, tomatoes, asparagus, fresh basil, and mozzarella in a large bowl and toss well to coat. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. A few minutes prior to serving combine the tomato mixture with the toasted bread crumbs.
Calories
  1. Calorie count for this dish will vary a bit since the measurements are thrown together rather loosely. I find it often falls between 320-370 per serving whenever I make it.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Tomato Asparagus Panzanella Salad


Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

   

I’m pretty new to the cookie butter craze, having only just eaten my first bite maybe a month or so ago.  Woe is me for not jumping on this bandwagon sooner. Cookie butter makes the most intensely rich, flavorful frosting and it pairs beautifully with this moist brown butter banana cake.

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

I picked up my first jar of cookie butter with the thought that I would make whoopie pies with it. I’d never made whoopie pies before so I went in search of a recipe to help get me started. While they were baking I whipped up a fluffy cookie butter filling… and it was DELICIOUS. I read once that food bloggers shouldn’t throw the word delicious around, but in this case I don’t even care. It was DELICIOUS IN ALL CAPS. Unfortunately the whoopie pie recipe I followed didn’t wow me, so I tossed the cakes out and we took to eating the frosting on its own straight from the bowl with a spoon. We call that shameless around here.

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

I’ve tried both Biscoff Spread as well as Speculoos Spread from Trader Joes. Both are excellent but I think I slightly favor the smooth, creamy consistency of Biscoff Spread. The Speculoos is very dense but it’s also a little more flavorful and spicy, which I love. I’ve made this frosting with both and they each yield great results. 

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream
Serves 14
Moist brown butter banana cake topped with creamy cookie butter frosting.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. For the cake:
  2. 1 1/2 cups mashed banana
  3. 2 tsp lemon juice
  4. 2 tsp vanilla
  5. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  6. 3 cups cake flour
  7. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1 stick butter, browned
  11. 1 stick butter, softened
  12. 1 cup white sugar
  13. 1 cup brown sugar
  14. 4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer combined with 6 tablespoons warm water (or three eggs)

  15. For the frosting:
  16. 3/4 cup creamy Biscoff spread
  17. 1 stick unsalted butter
  18. 3 tablespoons milk
  19. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used double strength vanilla)
  20. 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 275F. Prep 2 8-inch cake pans by spritzing them with a little cooking spray and lining with a round of parchment paper trimmed to fit the bottom. Spritz the parchment paper with a little cooking spray as well.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the mashed banana, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and buttermilk.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together cake flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In stand mixer cream together white and brown sugars with the cooled browned butter and softened unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Whip in the egg replacer.
  5. Add banana mixture to the sugar and butter, mix until smooth and well combined.
  6. Add the dry mixture to the wet in thirds, mixing lightly until just combined. For the last third fold the dry ingredients in gently with a spatula to avoid over-mixing. This will help keep the cake nice and fluffy.
  7. Divide batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Everyone's oven is a little different; my cake was done at 1 hour and 17 minutes.
  8. Remove cakes from oven and transfer immediately to the freezer to chill for 45 minutes.
  9. While the cakes are chilling, whip together the Biscoff spread, unsalted butter, milk, and vanilla. When well combined add in the powdered sugar and mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
  10. Remove cake from freezer and apply frosting.
Calories
  1. 571
Notes
  1. We felt like this cake would be amazing as a four layer cake. If you want to do this simply slice each 8-inch cake in half horizontally and double the Biscoff frosting portion of the recipe.
  2. Crushed up ginger snap cookies make an excellent garnish for the cake as well - a nice bit of extra texture and the spiciness goes well with the frosting.
Adapted from Food.com
Adapted from Food.com
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream


Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

   

 This is a recipe I actually made way back before Christmas. I felt like I wanted to make them again before I presented these little tasties to the world, so I did. These cookies are sweet and chewy, packed with vanilla soaked dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. If you and the classic CCC are ready to take your relationship to the next level, this is just the thing for you.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

So one of the reasons I remade these cookies was because I forgot to write the recipe down. I knew it was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, so it wasn’t going to be difficult to recreate – but I did just a few things differently and wanted to make sure I had it all correct before making this post. You can imagine my horror when I took the cookies from the oven and they were flattened paper thin discs studded with pieces of chocolate and fruit. Where were those thick, chewy, decadent cookies I had made before Christmas? Where were the cookies that looked like this?

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

I forgot to put the oatmeal in them. Yup. I’m a doofus. Believe it or not, when making oatmeal cookies you really oughtta include the oats. Makes a HUGE difference. I remade the cookies again (WITH the oats) and voila – beautiful, chubby, nutty cookies with bites of tart sweetened cherries and gooey chocolate. Hooray!

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

 

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Serves 36
Chewy, sweet oatmeal cookies packed with vanilla soaked cherries and gooey dark chocolate.
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
42 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
42 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  2. 1 tablespoon hot water
  3. 1/2 cup dried cherries
  4. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  6. 1/3 white sugar
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water (or 1 egg)
  8. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  11. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  12. 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the vanilla extract, hot water, and dried cherries. Leave to soak for at least 20 minutes. Strain the cherries and save the liquid.
  2. In a stand mixer combine softened butter, sugars, egg replacer mixture (or egg), and the strained vanilla liquid from the cherries. Cream until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the cherries, chocolate chips, and oats.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, melon baller, or heaping tablespoon scoop the cookies onto a parchment lined sheet, leaving two inches between each cookie. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. They should be lightly browned at the edges and slightly underdone looking on top. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. I got about 3 dozen cookies from the batch.
Calories
  1. 91
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies


Heirloom Tomato Burrata Baguette

   

I’ve wanted to make something like this for a while, and whenever I saw the pile of vibrant heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store I knew the time had come. The beautiful variegation is simple to do, but any color of tomato will taste amazing. Only good things happen when you combine fresh tomato, basil, and burrata cheese.

Heirloom Tomato Burrata Baguette

The first time I made this we basically stood over the counter eating it slice by slice until it was gone, accidentally spoiling our dinner. I wasn’t super happy about the photos I took the first time around, so I made this recipe again the following night. We told ourselves that we couldn’t inhale the entire loaf like we did before. Our intentions were good, but so is this bread. The baguette won us over and we ate the whole loaf again. Fans of bruschetta will undoubtedly love it as much as we did. Or just fans of tomato.

Heirloom Tomato Burrata Baguette

If you’re unfamiliar with burrata, it’s basically a pouch of soft stretched mozzarella stuffed with even softer mozzarella and fresh cream. Its flavor is subtle, milky, and awesome. If you can’t find burrata you could always use buffalo mozzarella or even something like ricotta if you prefer to have a spreadable consistency.

Heirloom Tomato Burrata Baguette

Heirloom Tomato Burrata Baguette
Serves 8
A beautiful appetizer made with colorful heirloom tomatoes, burrata, and fresh basil.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 loaf french bread, cut in half length-wise
  2. 8oz burrata cheese
  3. 4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  4. 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Brush the tops of each half of the french bread with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place in oven for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted. If you prefer your bread more toasty just leave it in a little longer.
  3. Spread burrata over each half of the toasted bread. I use my fingers to break up the outer pouch of stretched mozzarella into little pieces. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle lightly with a little salt and fresh black pepper.
  4. Scatter chopped basil over the top of the cheese and then arrange sliced tomatoes on top of that. I used four tomatoes (I got about 4 slices out of each, two for each half) in a purple eggplant color, deep red, orange, and yellow. You could also alternate two colors or just use one color across the whole thing.
  5. Season with a little extra salt and pepper, slice, and enjoy!
Calories
  1. 243
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Heirloom Tomato Burrata Baguette


Spicy Avocado Pizza

   

Sometimes when you’re running low on ingredients, you’re forced to improvise. To make unusual decisions resulting in things you might not ordinarily try if you had say… some tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese around. The results of this culinary ad-libbing has a name… and that name is spicy avocado pizza.  

Spicy Avocado Pizza

Don’t let the spicy part frighten you. While this pizza definitely packs some warmth, the avocado is surprisingly effective at mellowing the heat out once it hits your tongue. The first time I made this pizza I made it with a whole avocado, pepper jack cheese, and no jalapeños. After revisions the pepper jack cheese was upgraded to habanero jack cheese (oh yes), the avocado was cut in half, and sliced jalapeños were scattered across the top.  Cranking up the pepper dial to 11 and halving the avocado resulted in just the balance I was looking for.  So if you have a pizza crust lying around but only have ingredients on hand for guacamole – fear not! This pizza will save you.

Spicy Avocado Pizza

Spicy Avocado Pizza
Serves 3
A perfect balance of peppery kick and cool, creamy avocado - on a pizza!
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 prepared pizza crust (I like thin crust)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 avocado
  4. Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  5. Salt, to taste
  6. 3 ounces habanero jack cheese (pepper jack will work as well)
  7. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  8. 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
  9. 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven according to package instructions for your prepared pizza crust.
  2. Blend avocado with the olive oil, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Spread evenly over the crust.
  3. Sprinkle half of the cilantro atop the avocado, then top with shredded cheese.
  4. Scattered sliced jalapeño and quartered tomato over the pizza. Transfer to oven and bake according to package instructions.
  5. Remove pizza from oven and top with remaining fresh cilantro. Slice and serve.
Calories
  1. 301
Note
  1. Calorie information is based on using the prepared pizza crusts by Pizza Romana.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Spicy Avocado Pizza


Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

   

I’m going to blunt when I start off this post today – I love this soup. It contains caramelized roasted cauliflower, potato, sharp white cheddar, sour cream, and fresh parsley. If you know anyone that is on the fence about cauliflower, throw a bowl of this soup at them and knock them down. Onto the cauliflower loving side of course.

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

You can break the steps of this recipe into two parts if you prefer. The cauliflower can definitely be roasted ahead of time so you only need to worry about the soup itself when dinner rolls around. I find that the entire process overlaps pretty well though, and that if I get the cauliflower in the oven first everything else is ready by the time it’s done cooking. I believe it would also be pretty simple to cut the calories in the recipe by using skim milk, a reduced fat cheese, and reduced fat sour cream.  I personally find this soup is hearty enough to eat as a meal with a chunk of good bread, and at less than 350 calories per bowl I don’t feel too bad about going full fat for really good cheesy flavor. I don’t call myself the Gouda Monster for nothing!

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  2. 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  8. 5 cups stock
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  11. 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  12. 1 cup milk
  13. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  14. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  15. 4 ounces sour cream (creme fraiche works well too)
  16. 5 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss cauliflower florets with the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown on the edges.
  2. Heat the other teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan and lightly cook your onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, before adding in the diced potato. Cook the potato for 2-3 minutes, pour in the stock, add the bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and allow to cook until the potatoes are fork tender. This happens more quickly if your potatoes are finely diced.
  3. When the cauliflower is roasted, add it to the soup pot with the potatoes. I recommend reserving a few pieces for garnish because they are just so tasty on their own. Keep soup covered while you make your roux.
  4. In a small sauce pan melt your butter down. Once hot sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk until smooth. Cook for about a minute and then add your milk. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. Continue whisking the mixture until it thickens slightly - about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove soup from heat. Using an immersion blender puree your soup to desired consistency (I like to leave it a little bit chunky). If you don't have an immersion blender you could transfer the soup to a regular blender to puree in batches.
  6. Stir in the thickened milk sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese and fresh parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Calories
  1. 339
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

This giveaway has ended – Thanks to everyone that participated!

And now of course for the contest information! I’m really excited to finally be able to have my first giveaway on Gouda Monster. For Christmas I got two immersion blenders – what a lucky break for my readers, right? My hand blender is probably one of my most coveted kitchen gadgets. After mine broke I felt lost without it – there is definitely no easier way to quickly puree a soup or whip up small batches of sauces, dressing, or salsas. I also use mine to create smoothies in the morning because I find cleanup to be far simpler than a full sized blender. The particular model up for grabs is the Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender in Brushed Chrome, which holds a glowing 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  There are several ways to enter and entries will be open for two weeks, however due to shipping costs I will only be able to ship to people that live within the United States & Canada. The winner will be announced by the end of the month – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Immersion Blender Giveaway


Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

   

Next in line for my series of Christmas cookie posts is the ever adored snickerdoodle. For the longest time I had no idea what a snickerdoodle was, and when I learned they were cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar I was a bit confused. Where were the peanuts and nougat and caramel? This ain’t no Snickers! Then the realization slowly settled in that snickerdoodle cookies had absolutely nothing to do with Snickers candy bars. I’m pretty sure I can’t be the first person to make that mistake, so I don’t feel too bad about it. What I DO feel bad about is the fact that it took so long for them to find their way into my life.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

A funny thing about this particular batch of cookies (as well as the ones in my next post) is that I baked them up to barter with. Yes, my youngest niece’s Christmas gift was paid for in cookies. I’m finding it very difficult not to talk about what it was that I received in exchange for these sweet treats, but I’m opting to keep my lips sealed until after Christmas as I prefer to keep the gifts to the girls a secret from my brother and his girlfriend as well.  [Post Christmas edit: I wanted to pimp out Leanne’s beautiful work, as the gift I cookie swapped for was a pair of her lovely fairy wings. J’adore! You can visit her Etsy page here: Fairy Spirit Studios]

For this recipe I’ve given it a few small tweaks to enhance an already good thing. I brown half of the butter and I use just a touch of ground ginger in the cinnamon sugar mixture. The final thing that contributes to making this cookie a little different from your standard snickerdoodle recipe is the use of bread flour for its higher protein content. The end result is a soft, chewy snickerdoodle with the rich underlying flavor of brown butter that plays nicely with the sugar spice blend.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
Serves 36
Soft, chewy snickerdoodles with brown butter and a hint of ginger.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
26 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
26 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer mixed in 1/4 cup of water or 2 large eggs
  6. 2 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1/2 cup bread flour
  8. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  9. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 2 tablespoons white sugar
  13. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  14. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam and eventually subside. Whisk regularly until the butter turns a rich amber color and releases a nutty aroma. Transfer to another container and allow to cool.
  3. In a stand mixer combine cooled brown butter, softened butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla and egg replacer (or eggs) and mix until well incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together both flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  6. Working in batches, add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time to the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated before adding the next third. Repeat with remaining flour. The dough should hold together if you squeeze it between your fingers. If it seems too crumbly, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water.
  7. In a small bowl mix the 2 tablespoons of white sugar with the ground cinnamon and ginger. Using a small scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop out a ball of dough. Roll it together in your hands to round it out, then coat it in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Transfer to parchment lined sheet allowing about 2 inches between each cookies.
  8. Bake for 11 minutes. The cookies might seem just slightly underdone but they will continue to cook as they sit on the counter. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
 

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles


Chocolate Chip Cookies

   

I have had my blog running long enough now that it’s finally time to do this. Yessiree – it is time for the good ol’ classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. The characteristics of the ideal CCC vary from person to person, so there is no real way to determine the best recipe in the cookiverse. What I can tell you is that this is MY favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve done the New York Times’ version and although they were fantastic, the 24 hour wait time is too much for my impatient taste buds. Once I smell butter and sugar creaming together in the bowl I gotta have the cookies in my belly yesterday. This enhanced version of the original CCC recipe from Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House cookbook was dreamed up by Laura aka The Cooking Photographer. Almost 4 years ago I left a comment on her blog revering her as the ultimate CCC goddess, and I stand by that statement. I. LOVE. THESE. COOKIES.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A couple of things set this recipe apart. A few extra steps that take just a little more effort but have a huge payoff in the end. First off there is the browned butter, which as any sane person will tell you makes just about anything 10x better. Laura also uses ground up oatmeal in place of some of the flour, which makes these cookies extra chewy and flavorful. The tiniest amount of vinegar helps keep them tender, and you’ll never know it was in there if someone didn’t tell you. She uses walnuts in her recipe but I’m partial to pecans, so that’s what I’ve used in mine. All of these things work together to create an absolutely heavenly chocolate chip cookie, and I’m excited to finally share it here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves 36
My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, made with brown butter and toasted pecans.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  2. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  3. 3/4 cup fresh light brown sugar, packed
  4. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  8. 1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer mixed in 1/4 cup of water or 2 large eggs
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  10. 2 cups all purpose flour
  11. 1 cup pecans
  12. 3/4 of a 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, melt 1 stick of the butter over medium heat until foamy and lightly golden brown. Pour into a bowl and wipe out the skillet. Place butter in the refrigerator and cool to about room temperature.
  3. In the skillet over medium heat, toast the oatmeal stirring often until fragrant and some of the oatmeal is light golden in color. About 3 minutes. Transfer the oatmeal to a food processer and grind until fine and powdery. Set aside.
  4. Toast the pecans in the same skillet that you toasted the oatmeal in. Let cool slightly and chop to desired size.
  5. Mix in a stand mixer the softened butter, browned butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on slow to combine, and then on high speed until fluffy and lighter in color.
  6. Add the egg replacer (or eggs) and mix until combined. Add the oatmeal and baking soda and beat for another minute. Next, add the flour half at a time and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  7. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and toasted pecans.
  8. With a size 50 cookie scoop or a generous tablespoon, drop the dough onto parchment paper 3 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let set on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
Notes
  1. If omitting nuts, add 1/3 cup more flour to the batter and the whole bag of chocolate chips. These cookies freeze extremely well after they’re baked. You can take a few out at a time and microwave them. Or just let them thaw on the counter.
Adapted from The Cooking Photographer
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 


Roasted Root Vegetables

   

Many people are susceptible to impulse purchasing – myself included. If I walk past a sassy pair of high heels I will make a mental note of their appeal and move on. If I’m in the electronics department and I see an immersion blender that I’ve been needing since mine broke, I will pass by and wait to do some review comparisons and price checking online. If a game on my Steam wishlist goes on sale then I… ok well I might buy that. The one thing I can’t resist though? Well, apparently it’s a bundle of beautiful, vibrant, purple  baby carrots (and all of the additional veggies to accompany them into the oven).

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

I just don’t know if there is a better way to prepare vegetables than roasting them. The caramelization of those natural sugars and the ease of preparation? It’s hard not to love it. For this meal I used baby purple carrots, parsnips, yellow and purple baby potatoes, parsley root, garlic, onion, and fresh rosemary. You can use whatever root veggies you can get your hands on, whether it’s layer of simple russet potatoes or a spectrum of multicolored carrots arranged in a heart on your roasting pan. I can’t resist going the colorful route myself. I swear that pretty food tastes better.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 4
An easy, rustic side dish that works for a weeknight dinner or holiday table.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
34 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
34 min
Ingredients
  1. 9-10 young purple carrots
  2. 12-15 fingerling potatoes (I used yellow and purple)
  3. 2 parsley root
  4. 1 parsnip
  5. 1 red onion
  6. 3 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare your veggies for roasting by chopping them all at a roughly uniform size. It’s important to have them similar in size so that they finish cooking through around the same time. I left my carrots and most of my fingerling potatoes whole. The larger potatoes I split in half. I quartered the parsley root lengthwise and sliced the parsnip into thick disks so that they could be differentiated from one another on the plate. The onion I simply cut into large chunks and split apart the segments with my fingers. The garlic cloves were cut into quarters. I also cut my rosemary sprigs in half.
  3. Toss everything in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. I find that using my hands works best for this and I also do it right on the pan on a sheet of parchment paper.
  4. Layer the veggies evenly on the parchment lining baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then test for doneness with a fork. If they need a little more time, just pop them in for another 10 minutes or so. The smaller your veggies are chopped, the less total time they will take to roast.
Calories
  1. 159
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Roasted Root Vegetables


Dad’s Cornbread Dressing

   

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I didn’t like dressing as a kid. I’m not sure why it took me so long to evolve into a rational human being with properly functioning taste buds, but fortunately I wasn’t crazy forever and now I’m an honest to goodness dressing fiend. Like most families, our Thanksgiving table is steeped in familiarity and tradition. The spread rarely changes – roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, token green veggie casserole of some sort, dinner rolls, and of course good ol’ cornbread dressing. Dressing – or stuffing if that’s what you prefer to call it – seems to be a very personal thing and the idea of what makes it good varies from family to family. But if someone were to ask me about the dressing I crave (I’m going to pretend you just did), then I would tell them it would definitely be this adaptation of the recipe my dad makes every year.

 

Dad's Cornbread Dressing

My changes from the original are probably a little bit obvious if you are aware of the fact I ate meat until I was 18 – so naturally the main adjustment was making it vegetarian friendly. Dad also prepares his with chopped up hard-boiled eggs, something that’s never been my cup of tea but a lot of people really enjoy eggs in their dressing. If you’re a vegan and looking to adapt this to your lifestyle, substitute the butter with olive oil or margarine and omit the parmesan cheese. Adding a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast would be awesome in its place. You’ll also want to make sure that the breakfast sausage you use is vegan friendly. On the other hand, if you’re a meat-eater you can use regular sausage – but make sure it is cooked before adding it to the recipe.

cornbreadstuffing2

One of the great things about recipes like these is that they are so easy to change to suit your personal tastes. Someone that likes a more dry and crumbly dressing (no doubt for its optimal gravy absorption qualities) can use less stock, whereas the people that want their dressing thick enough to slice can use more. I would say that anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 cups is the range you want to stay in. The force with which you pack it into the casserole dish before baking will also have an effect on the end texture. Personally I like a bit of balance between the two extremes and I’ve written up the recipe to reflect that preference. You can substitute other nuts for the pecans, toss some sauteed button mushrooms into the mix, use a different combination of fresh herbs, bake individual servings in muffin tins, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Hell, try using jalapeno cornbread and chorizo for a southwestern twist. Once you’re acquainted with the basic ingredients, it’s pretty simple to take this recipe and make it your own. Ahh, the beauty of cooking…

Dad's Cornbread Dressing

Dad's Cornbread Dressing
Serves 12
A vegetarian friendly cornbread dressing with fresh herbs, sausage, and pecans.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 8″ skillet (or 8×8″ pan) of cornbread
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced (this was about 12 medium sized sage leaves for me)
  7. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 4 vegetarian breakfast sausage patties, cooked and chopped (this ends up being about 1 cup of sausage)
  11. 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  12. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  13. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  14. 2 cups prepared stock (give or take depending on how crumbly or moist your prefer your dressing to be)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter your casserole dish (I used an 8″x11″ oval dish) and set aside.
  2. In a nonstick skillet heat butter, sage, and rosemary on medium heat until the butter just starts to bubble.
  3. Add onion, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper then cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig and transfer the contents of the skillet to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Wipe the skillet clean and toss in your chopped pecans. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and then add them to the mixing bowl.
  5. Crumble the cornbread into the bowl with the sausage, parsley, and cheese. Toss everything until well combined. Taste and add a little more salt if needed (I find the individual ingredients usually have enough sodium on their own that it doesn’t need it).
  6. Transfer the cornbread mixture to your prepared baking dish and lightly pack it down. Pour stock evenly over the top.
  7. Place dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. If you prefer the top to be a little more crisp, pop it under the broiler for a minute or two.
Calories
  1. 255
Notes
  1. You can easily get this recipe under 200 calories by using half of the pecans and cutting the butter back to 1 tablespoon. Add a touch more stock to compensate for the reduced amount of butter.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
 

Dad's Cornbread Dressing