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].

 


Vegan BBQ Sliders

   

It’s summer time, which means picnics and barbecues are in full swing. These vegan sliders are perfect for all of the warm weather festivities, or even just a weekend at home when you’re craving something different. They are simple to make, portable, and will satisfy any hungry monster’s hankering for smoky goodness. 

Vegan BBQ Sliders

It looks pretty dang meaty doesn’t it? Well it’s not! And it’s not soy beef or seitan or tofu or anything else you may expect. It’s an ingredient many people have never even heard of – jackfruit! Well informed vegans may already be aware that there is a number of pulled pork style jackfruit recipes out there, but I find that type of BBQ to be too sweet. As an alternative, I made this recipe to simulate more of a brisket style of sandwich that my dad used to make when I was growing up. You can eat it on soft slider buns, stuff it into a hoagie, or even make tasty tacos out of it. The base recipe is simple and open to many delicious adaptations. So… where do you get this mysterious jackfruit? You can buy cans at your local Asian grocer, or order it from Amazon if you don’t have an Asian market available. Stock up because you’ll probably want to make these again!

Vegan BBQ Sliders

Vegan BBQ Sliders
Serves 5
Smoky, salty brisket-style vegan sliders made from jackfruit.
Print
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. 2 cans of young jackfruit (packed in brine or water, not syrup - very important)
  2. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (also available at the Asian market)
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice (I prefer a pickle with a saltier, more acidic brine - I use Vlasic)
  6. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (sometimes I put in another 1/2 teaspoon for extra smokiness - but start low because this stuff is potent)
  7. 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  9. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  11. Additional olive oil for drizzling
  12. Soft slider rolls
  13. Preferred toppings (BBQ sauce, Vegenaise, relish - whatever floats your boat!)
Instructions
  1. Drain the jackfruit and using your fingers shred the pieces into a medium sized bowl. There might be a few chunkier pieces and that's ok.
  2. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the jackfruit and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
  3. In a medium to medium-high heat skillet throw in the jackfruit. You're going to let this cook for a while to evaporate most of the liquid. You want to "dry" it out a bit. Limit stirring because a big part of the flavor comes from the sear you get from cooking on high heat. The sugars in the marinade will caramelize and create sort of a "bark" that I feel makes it taste more like authentic BBQ.
  4. Once it's cooked put a drizzle of more oil over the top just to make it a bit more rich and fatty like a nice raunchy southern sandwich should be. :) You've just cooked out a fair amount of moisture so this gives it a little more life again.
  5. Pile high on rolls and combine with whatever toppings you love.
Notes
  1. Make sure to purchase only YOUNG jackfruit in a can, unless you're lucky enough to have a market that serves pre-cut young jackfruit. Fresh and frozen jackfruit tends to be ripe - and therefore sweet, so it won't work well in this recipe.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Vegan BBQ Sliders


Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

   

 H.B. Reese, the creator of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (originally named “Penny Cups” for their price of one cent), arrived at this ingenious combination of ingredients while trying to support his wife and 16 children. He was almost as good at making sweets as he was at making kids. Little did he know that his successful basement experiment would go on to become one of the most popular candies in the U.S.  And little did you know that you can make an indulgent chocolate peanut butter treat of your own in about 12 minutes prep time. You don’t even need a truck load of kids to help you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

 

 There are plenty of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup knock-off recipes out there, but that’s not what this is. Oh no no. I consider this to be a more grown up version of the famous novelty, made with higher quality ingredients. The best part though? No fussy molds to deal with. If you can operate a microwave (and a spoon) then you can make these delicious bars.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

 

 Given the simplicity of this recipe I feel like I should issue a warning to my readers. These are good. Damn good. You will eat more than one five of them. I cannot be held responsible for any self induced tummy aches that may occur as the result of gorging on these addictive confections. But… is that really a warning though? Maybe it’s more of a tease, gently beckoning you to enjoy these decadent bars with a glass of cold milk. I won’t notify anyone if you slice the pan in half and tell your friends you only ate “one”.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
Serves 30
Smooth, rich peanut butter fudge with dark chocolate ganache. Easy to make, easier to devour!
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 8 ounces unsalted butter
  3. 1 pound powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  7. 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang at the edges so you can easily lift the fudge out when it sets.
  2. Microwave peanut butter with unsalted butter for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir well and microwave 2 more minutes. Mixture will be molten hot so be careful with it.
  4. Add vanilla and salt, stirring to combine.
  5. Combine peanut butter mixture with powdered sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be incredibly thick.
  6. Spread mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan. I like to lay another sheet of parchment on top and use my hands to help level it out.
  7. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the ganache.
  8. Heat the cream to just below a simmer. If you have a thermometer and want to be more precise you're aiming for around 185F. You can do this in a saucepan on the stove, but a couple of minutes in the microwave should do the trick. Just watch it closely to make sure it doesn't boil.
  9. Pour the hot cream over the finely chopped chocolate and walk away for 10 minutes to give the chocolate time to melt. Gently fold the chocolate and cream together until smooth and glossy. If your chocolate wasn't chopped finely enough you may have a few stubborn pieces that refuse to melt. Pop the mixture in the microwave at 10 seconds intervals until the ganache is smooth.
  10. Spread over the peanut butter fudge. Sprinkle the top with sea salt if desired. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are quite salty, so I find this adds a pleasant finish that people love. Return to the refrigerator to finish setting up completely. The bars are not too thick and tend to be ready to eat in an hour or so.
  11. Run a sharp nice around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge if needed. Using the overhanging parchment, gently lift the bars out. Slice into squares and serve.
Calories
  1. 171
Notes
  1. Calories vary depending on the size of the bars. Cutting into 20 squares puts it at 256 calories each, cutting into 40 smaller sized pieces would put it at 128 calories each.
  2. As an optional step, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the peanut butter layer before you've added the ganache. Gently press them into the fudge to keep the bars flat and smooth on top. The texture of this ends up being akin to chocolate chip cookie dough and is so good!
Adapted from Alton Brown's Peanut Butter Fudge
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars


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


Homemade Limoncello

   

This blog post has been on the back burner for some time. I made it and photographed it at Christmas-time, but seeing as that was already past the point for giving away homemade goodies as holiday gifts I figured it was best to wait for the next best opportunity – summertime! 

Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is a lemon infused liqueur from Italy, often sipped during the summer after meals as a digestif. It’s sweet, strong, and quite easy to make. The most difficult part of the process would probably be removing all the zest from the lemons, but after that it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game – which I must admit is also difficult if you’re as impatient as I am. It is a pretty unique process that yields a unique result that you’ll love to share with your friends.

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello
A sweet, lemony liqueur popular in Italy.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 liter grain alcohol (if Everclear isn't available in your area, see notes about using vodka)
  2. 10 lemons
  3. 5 cups water
  4. 4 cups granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. First, wash and dry your lemons. Since you're going to be using the peel exclusively, you want to make sure they don't have any residue on them. Next, peel your lemons (a vegetable peeler works perfectly for this job) - you don't want to get too much of the white pith under the peel, so try to peel as thinly as possible. Put the peels into a large glass container. Add the alcohol, making sure that it completely covers the peels. Let the mixture steep for 10 days, or up to 3 weeks.
  2. Place a colander inside of a large bowl. Pour the alcohol mixture into the colander and drain, using a wooden spoon to press out any excess liquid from the peels. Discard the peels.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then add the simple syrup to the alcohol mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Place a wire mesh strainer over a large, clean bowl and place a coffee filter inside the mesh strainer. Slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter. Once the amount of liquid straining through slows down considerably or stops, replace the coffee filter with a new one and continue until all of the limoncello has been filtered, replacing coffee filters as needed.
  5. Next, filter again and fill the bottles as follows: Place a funnel into the mouth of the bottle you'll use for your finished limoncello. Place a coffee filter inside the funnel, and slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter to fill the bottle. Seal the bottle(s) and store in the freezer indefinitely.
Yields
  1. 2 Liters
Note
  1. If you can't obtain grain alcohol where you live, you can substitute 100-proof vodka. Most vodkas are sold in 750mL bottles (versus the 1 liter of grain alcohol called for in the recipe). If this is the size you purchase, adjust the rest of your ingredients as follows: 8 lemons, 4 cups water and 3 cups sugar.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Homemade Limoncello


Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

   

What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t give you a delicious, simple chocolate recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day? These chocolate hazelnut truffles can be finished in a few different ways depending on your tastes and the amount of time you have, but the ganache base in the center of each one is silky and divine.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

One of the most important things to know when it comes to making delicious truffles is that you need to start with high quality ingredients. Chocolate is center stage in this recipe so you want to get the best quality possible. If you want to save a little money you could always blend a more affordable chocolate with something on the luxurious side, but quality will definitely shine here.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

The easiest way to finish these truffles is definitely with a quick toss in some good cocoa powder. Quality matters here as well! The cocoa powder will be the first thing that touches your tongue after all. I used Penzeys high fat dutch process cocoa powder.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

If straight up cocoa powder is too bitter for you, there are plenty of other options at your disposal. You can blend the cocoa with a little powdered sugar to sweeten it, use straight powdered sugar, sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed peppermint, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, candy melts, or tempered chocolate. Let your creativity flow and use whatever is available to you.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Serves 20
Chocolate hazelnut truffles are simple, elegant, and delicious.
Print
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 8oz high quality chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark Valrhona chocolate)
  2. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
  6. Toppings of your choice for coating truffles (cocoa, nuts, sprinkles, melted tempered chocolate, etc)
Instructions
  1. Blend your chocolate in the food processor to break it down into fine pieces. I do this to help it melt more quickly. Place chocolate in a large glass bowl with the unsalted butter and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan heat your heavy cream until it just barely comes to a simmer, then pour over your chocolate. Let sit for about a minute.
  3. Whisk chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny. Add your vanilla and hazelnut flavorings and then stir to combine.
  4. Leave your bowl somewhere to cool until it can be formed into balls. This took about 45 minutes for me.
  5. For the easiest method of forming the truffles, simply scoop out a small ball of the ganache and then roll in cocoa powder (or whatever you choose).
  6. For a slightly more advanced method dust the inside of a silicone mold with a small amount of cocoa powder, fill with ganache, and let cool completely before releasing. Once you've removed the chocolate from the mold just coat as usual.
  7. If you would like to coat your truffles with a nice shell, you can either use candy melts (pretty foolproof and they comes in lots of fun colors) or properly tempered chocolate. I brushed the inside of my mold with chocolate, let it set until firm, added a small dollop of the ganache filling, and then topped with more chocolate. Once set and totally firm I released it from the mold and brushed it with a little pearl dust.
Calories
  1. 99
Notes
  1. You will have the best results if you don't refrigerate your chocolate, as it can affect the chocolate's texture and flavor. If you're in a pinch it can do the trick though!
  2. Calories are calculated based on using 1/4 cup of high fat dutch processed cocoa for rolling. Count will vary if using tempered chocolate, nuts, or sugar.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles


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.
Print
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

 


Whipped Feta with Herb Oil

   

While I generally prefer cows’ milk cheese to those made with goats’ or sheep’s milk, feta has always been one of my favorite cheeses. Whole Foods even makes a really nice (and lower priced) cows’ milk feta that I love. One of the things that’s so great about feta is that its pungent flavor means you only need a small amount to perk up a wrap or salad. Of course feta is also crumbly… a little bit messy even. Did you ever want to take that salty, tangy deliciousness and turn it into something more manageable? Something you can spread on toast or eat in a tortilla without it falling out of the ends? Well then – I have just the thing for you!

Whipped Feta with Herb Oil

When I first tasted a dollop of this right out of the food processor, a grin immediately spread across my face and I exclaimed, “YUM! This is GOOD!” It’s got all of the flavor that you love from feta cheese, but in a smooth, creamy consistency that is perfect for dipping and spreading. The drizzle of herb oil over the top adds a dimension of freshness that slightly counters the saltiness of the cheese. In my opinion it’s even better if you add something slightly sweet on top of it, like fresh diced tomatoes (my favorite), sun-dried tomatoes, a balsamic reduction, honey, or whatever else your creative mind can think of. I also absolutely loved the addition of toasted pine nuts for a little bit of texture.

Whipped Feta with Herb Oil

With this being the season for parties – and limited time to prepare for said parties – this appetizer is a quick and elegant option for guests. And hey, if you’re not the party going type (raises hand) then this is still awesome to spread on toast at breakfast, on a Mediterranean wrap at lunch, or to toss with a bit of cooked pasta and steamed veggies at dinner. As far as flavor is concerned, a little goes a long way.

Whipped Feta with Herb Oil

Whipped Feta with Herb Oil
Serves 16
The wonderful flavor of feta and fresh herbs in a simple, elegant spread.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh basil
  2. 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  3. 1 clove garlic
  4. 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  5. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  9. 8oz feta cheese
  10. 4oz mascarpone cheese
  11. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  12. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a food processor combine fresh herbs, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Blend well and transfer to another container – I used a liquid measuring cup so it would be easier to pour out over the cheese later.
  2. If you want your cheese spread to remain white, wipe out the residual oil and herbs from the food processor basin.
  3. Add both cheeses to the food processor and blend until smooth. Once smooth add the heavy whipping cream and black pepper. Pulse until mixture is creamy and light.
  4. In a serving bowl alternate adding the cheese and a drizzle of herb oil, ending with the herb oil on top. If desired top with toasted nuts (the addition of nuts isn’t factored into the calorie count below).
  5. Serve with crackers, crostini, chips, fresh veggies, or whatever else you like.
Calories
  1. 139
Notes
  1. This robust spread pairs well with something sweet. Having fresh tomato slices, sun-dried tomato, balsamic, or honey available to drizzle over the top is awesome.
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Whipped Feta with Herb Oil


Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

   

Inspiration struck me as I was pondering the sort of dessert I’d wanted to bring to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving. Given the simplicity of the recipe I was thinking I would make my semifreddo. Then I thought it might be fun to do a twist on a pumpkin pie and change the vanilla ice cream to pumpkin, then pour it into a pastry crust instead of the chocolate. The idea rolled around in my head for a few days when I finally decided I wanted to simplify it further. An easy no-churn pumpkin spice ice cream dotted with sugary praline frosted pecans. Heck yeah.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

Now that I’ve been introduced to the world of no churn ice cream, I find myself eager to experiment. The whole thing comes together in about ten minutes and is just a matter of whisking together a few wet ingredients and spices, then folding them into whipped cream. It doesn’t get much easier than this to make ice cream.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

I added a tablespoon of rum to the mix, because it imparts a small amount of flavor – but also because the alcohol helps keep the ice cream a little bit soft. You’re welcome to omit it, or to substitute another liquor of your choosing. I also managed to get my hands on some really tasty praline frosted pecans that were folded into the final mixture. You can use whatever candied nuts available to you, regular toasted nuts, or of course no nuts at all.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

If you can’t tell by now, this recipe is so simple that I don’t even have much I can say about it! What I can tell you is that if you want a twist on the comforting, autumnal flavors of pumpkin pie with very little hassle – this recipe is a lot of fun. I served scoops of ice cream with crumbled up shortbread cookies to mimic pie crust and to further play up the pumpkin pie feel. I think it would also pair nicely with a slice of warm pecan pie. Or try a scoop of it in a shot of espresso for a pumpkin spice affogato. Many pumpkin possibilities to be had – so enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

No Churn Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream
Serves 12
This no churn pumpkin pecan ice cream is a fun dessert that’s quick to assemble.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  2. 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (wondering what to do with the rest of the can? how about pumpkin scones!)
  3. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  11. 1 cup praline frosted pecans (regular pecans are fine if you don’t have them)
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together all ingredients except for the whipping cream and pecans.
  2. In a food processor or stand mixer, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream and then fold in the pecans.
  4. Transfer to a loaf pan and put in the freezer. Carefully cover the top of the pan with a sheet of plastic wrap, making sure to push it right up against the mixture to get out excess air. This helps prevent the formation of ice crystals. I find this step can look neater if you do it after the pan has been in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and the top has solidified slightly.
  5. Freeze at least 6-8 hours, but preferably overnight.
Calories
  1. 337
Variations
  1. Bake a traditional graham cracker crust into the bottom of a spring form pan and allow to cool before pouring the ice cream mixture over the top. Freeze as usual, release the ice cream from the spring form pan, and slice into wedges. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
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Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream


Savory Vegan Gravy

   

Gravy is one of my favorite types of sauces; I smother just about everything on my plate with the stuff when I can get away with it. Even my favorite breakfast is fresh buttermilk biscuits under a blanket of piping hot cream gravy. That’s why it’s so confusing that I so rarely cook my own gravy on Thanksgiving day. I guess it’s just because I already have so much on my to-do list that I figure I will save myself a little bit of time by picking up a tub of vegetarian gravy from the grocery store. You know what though? It almost always disappoints. The quality of the other food at the table tends to outshine the hint of bitterness I feel for not having made the gravy from scratch… but not this year!

Savory Vegan Gravy

Whenever I was writing up this recipe I had some serious internal conflict as to whether or not I wanted to put “vegan” in the title. On one hand I’m excited to let vegans know that they can have gravy so good they’ll want to pour a bowl of it and eat it like soup. On the other hand… well, I want the non-vegans to know that they will want to do the same thing. The word vegan can be a little intimidating to some folks, especially when dealing with traditional meat centric recipes – but it shouldn’t be! This gravy is good. It’s damn good – and I think that anyone at your table (vegetarian or not) will absolutely love it.

Savory Vegan Gravy

First can I just tell you that this gravy is made with two heads of garlic? You heard right. Not two cloves… two heads of garlic. That alone should assure you that this recipe is not messing around when it comes to flavor. I know that plenty of people don’t want to put their pan drippings to waste, so if you aren’t a vegetarian you can certainly substitute them in place of the oil while making your roux. Vegetarians could also use butter instead of oil if that’s what they like. In either case I wouldn’t recommend removing the nutritional yeast from the recipe. It’s an unfamiliar ingredient to some, but don’t let the off-putting name deter you from giving it a try. It’s generally fortified with B12, is a good source of protein, is naturally fat and sodium free – but none of that stuff would really matter if it didn’t taste good, would it? Don’t worry – it does! Most people liken the flavor to that of a mild, nutty parmesan cheese. It has a lot of uses, but in this recipe it slightly thickens the sauce while enhancing its savory flavors. If you decide to go without, I would probably double the roux and allow your gravy to reduce for longer. I’ve never done this myself though, so if you try it be sure to let me know how it goes!

Savory Vegan Gravy

Savory Vegan Gravy
Serves 8
An intensely flavorful garlic-based gravy that vegans and non-vegans alike will love.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups good quality vegetable stock
  2. 2 garlic heads, whole and unpeeled
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, cut into chunks
  4. 1 carrot, quartered
  5. 1 celery stalk, quartered
  6. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh sage
  8. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  11. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  12. 2 tablespoons flour
  13. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan add vegetable stock, whole garlic heads, onion, carrot, celery, pepper, sage, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  2. Strain the stock, reserving only the garlic heads. Set the garlic aside to cool and place the stock back on the stove to stay warm.
  3. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out into the warm stock. I like to mash them with my fingers as I do this so they are broken up in the gravy. Whisk in the nutritional yeast and additional fresh thyme.
  4. In a high sided skillet heat olive oil. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the paste is lightly browned.
  5. Slowly pour the stock into your flour paste, whisking until well combined. Allow to simmer over medium low heat for 12-15 minutes or until gravy reaches the desired thickness (I would usually make mine a little thicker than shown in the photos, but I was too excited to eat and I couldn’t wait!) Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Makes about 2 cups.
Calories
  1. 70
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian
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Savory Vegan Gravy

 


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.
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Dad's Cornbread Dressing