Mexican Wedding Cookies

Memories of Mexican Wedding Cookies begin with my Mother baking these small, round balls of butter and flour (I’m sure Mom used margarine).  Hot out of the oven, Mom would toss the cookies in a small brown paper sack filled with powdered sugar.  I don’t remember her tossing the cookies in powdered sugar after they cooled.  I do remember eating her cookies and dribbling powdered sugar over my hands and clothes and the floor.  In a family of five, perhaps the cookies were eaten before Mom had the opportunity to toss the cooled cookies a second time in white dusty sugar.

Mexican Wedding Cookie recipes are somewhat standard, incorporating butter, sugar, and flour.  However, these are the BEST Mexican Wedding Cookies I have ever tasted.
This recipe contains an extra ingredient that elevates the melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cookie to greatness.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
(recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour blog and website)
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces Lurpak slightly salted (very soft room temperature) butter
  • 2 ounces powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons (yes, I used this much) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 ounces almond flour/meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 9 1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose flour
  • 6 ounces powdered sugar for coating cookies
Mixing

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In stand mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt; mix well
  3. Add the almond flour/meal to the butter mixture
  4. Stir in the all purpose flour
  5. I used a #50 scoop to evenly portion the cookies onto a parchment lined half sheet tray (32 cookies)
  6. Hand shape the cookie dough rounds into smooth balls
  7. Bake for 18 minutes (your oven may vary)
  8. Cool MexicanWedding Cookies 2 minutes on baking tray and then coat with powdered sugar (I swirled cookies and powdered sugar in a small bowl)
  9. Place on wire rack to cool completely
  10. After cooled, toss in powdered sugar again.
Freezing
Follow Mixing instructions through step #6.  Place sheet tray in freezer.  After cookies are frozen, place in freezer safe container.  I thawed cookies prior to baking, though I don’t know that it was necessary.

Perfect in taste, texture, and eye appeal, Mexican Wedding Cookies are simple yet delicious.
…simply…delicious…
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oven roasted strawberry jam

These strawberries have been in the freezer since last summer. The cold storage did not diminish the taste value of the red beauties.

 slow oven roasting turned the frozen strawberries into oven roasted strawberry jam

notice the thick, red – juice-truned-jam
Oven Roasted Strawberry Jam
(recipe adapted from  http://familystylefood.com/2011/04/roasted-strawberry-refrigerator-jam/)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 quart bags frozen strawberries, drained of juice after thawing
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 T chamboard liquor
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
Mixing
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients into large bowl
  3. Stir well to distribute sugar
  4. Let sit for 15 minutes
  5. Pour mixture into half sheet pan 
  6. Bake in slow oven (250 degrees) for two hours
  7. I stirred berries and juice a couple of time during baking time.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool
  9. Store in refrigerator if you plan to consume within a couple of weeks; otherwise, store in freezer.
Oven roasted strawberry jam would be delicious over ice cream or cheesecake or pound cake, ….
or off the end of a spoon.
enjoy!

Olive Oil Brownies

I tried to tell myself that I did not like these brownies.  They seemed to be missing the ‘richness’ one tastes when eating a brownie baked with butter.

…but the more I sampled a bite now and again, and the longer the brownie bites aged (overnight)…

…I decided that these very moist brownies are chocolate goodness, gooey, and satisfying. Yes, consuming the last brownie, I decided that the olive oil brownies are very, very good.

Cacao nibs top the olive oil brownies rather than nuts.  The nibs add a pure chocolate crunch that compliments the soft, smooth olive oil brownie base.

Olive Oil Brownies
(thank you, http://familystylefood.com/2011/04/olive-oil-cocoa-brownies/
for sharing the recipe)


Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c raw sugar
  • 1/2 c. EVOO (olive oil)
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder (  I use an Italian cocoa powder; it is sooo rich)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c cacao nibs

Mixing

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; I preheat my oven an hour before most baking.
  2. Line 8″ square pan with parchment for easy removal of the baked brownies.
  3. Beat eggs in mixer for one minute
  4. Gradually add sugar; continue beating until eggs/sugar mixture is thick
  5. (note-raw sugar did not completely dissolve)
  6. Decrease mixer speed and s l o w l y add olive oil
  7. Add vanilla
  8. Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into bowl.  Stir into egg mixture.
  9. Pour into prepared pan.
  10. Bake 25 minutes
  11. Let cool completely in pan; remove and cut into small pieces

These olive oil brownies freeze well.
I think I’ll add espresso powder when I bake these again.

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roasted blackberry ice cream

 Roasted blackberry sauce creates the beautiful lavender color.

 spring is here; the wild evening primrose are in bloom and….they are almost the color of the ice cream

 Creamy, smooth, and c o l d enough to freeze your brain and your back.

Though you will want to savor each bite, don’t linger too long because this ice cream melts somewhat quickly.

 absolutely delicious!!!
After your first bite, you will know that you have tasted something out of the ordinary.  The rich blackberry sauce escalates the vanilla ice cream base to a spectacular culinary experience.

As I posted on facebook….sorry you missed it…

Roasted Blackberry Ice Cream
(adapted from userealbutter here)

Pour into large bowl and sit aside:
1 1/2 c cold heavy cream

In separate bowl, whisk together
4 large egg yolks

Warm in a saucepan:
1 1/2 c half and half
1 cup granulated sugar

Warm the milk/sugar mixture until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan.   Pour a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly (you don’t want the eggs to cook).  After the yolks are warm, pour the yolk/milk mixture back into the pan and continue to heat.

Cook and stir until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Immediately remove from heat and strain this mixture into the bowl of cool heavy cream.

Stir into the ice cream base:
1 1/2 c roasted blackberry sauce (recipe here)

Place in refrigerator for about 4 hours to cool completely.  Afterwards, freeze as per your ice cream maker directions.  If your ice cream freezer is this one, it may not hold all the ice cream mixture.

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roasted blackberry ice cream base

 This is not exactly the ‘swirl’ that you will find in your Starbucks cup; this is my version, swirled with cream and the juice of roasted blackberries.

Roasted Blackberry Puree
1 gallon bag of frozen blackberries (these have been in freezer since last summer)
2/3 c granulated sugar
2 T brandy
Stir together and let sit until berries have thawed.

Stir in the seeds from one vanilla bean, then toss the bean in with the blackberries.
Pour into baking dish or baking tray and place in preheated 250 degree oven.

I roasted the berries slowly for 3 hours, stirring once each hour.

Remove berries from oven and cool slightly.  Place in strainer for food mill and process to extract the juice and pulp that will flow easily through the holes.

This recipe yields approximately 1 1/2 c puree.

The blackberry puree would be delicious over pancakes, or pound cake, or mixed into a blackberry vinaigrette for your summer salad.  It’s also good enough to eat with a spoon as you consume hot fudge sauce!

* * * * * *
The ice cream is freezing.  Pictures and recipe to follow soon.

a BITE of ginger

My Mom made gingersnaps ‘just for me’ …..ah, the memories.  Cookies I bake from her recipe just are not the same.  So, I often try new recipes searching for a new memory.

These are very good!  They are crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside.  And they burst with ginger flavor.  So, these are not for the ‘ginger faint of heart.’

A batch of these ginger cookies received Two Thumbs Up from the workplace food critics.

Ginger Cookies
(recipe adapted from here)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix:
2 c all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t ground ginger Penzey’s!
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon Penzey’s
1/2 t ground allspice
1/4 t salt
2/3 c crystalized ginger Pinzey’s

In separate bowl
Melt 1 stick butter

To the melted butter, Add
1/4 c mild molasses
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

Stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

I used #50 scoop to form the cookies; yield about 36 cookies

Here’s the best part:
Roll each cookie dough ball in a mixture of granulated sugar and raw sugar.  Start with 2T of each type sugar in a small bowl.  Drop in the cookie dough and s w i r l l l  until the dough is generously covered with sugar.
Place cookie dough balls onto parchment lined baking sheet, allowing room for the cookies to spread.  I bake 13 cookies on my half sheet pan.

Bake for 12 minutes (your oven may vary).  I baked until the cookies puffed up, and then Fell before I removed them from the oven.

Allow to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

(today is day 4 and the cookies are still crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside)

chocolate nutella microwave molten cake

As food bloggers, we frequently strive to create beautiful images of food.  We attempt to tickle the reader’s sense of smell, taste, and anticipated satisfaction.

satisfaction!!!

However……….
As you can see, the last bit of chocolate nutella microwave molten cake cling to the inside and outside of the ramekin.
Let me say, this cake is DELICIOUS, and so easy and quick to stir together.
The original recipe states that the cake can be microwaved in one large coffee cup.  I used two ramekins; next time I’ll use three.
rich, creamy, tasty batter ready for one to two short minutes in the microwave:

 beginning to ‘puff’

 a small crack in the top, but beginning to look like a baked cake

 obviously….the ramekin is to small!!!!

 no turning back now; just let it f l o w  …………

 I just can’t post this image full size.  Though this does not appeal to the eye, if you give it a chance it will  definitely appeal to your senses of smell and taste.  (The cake isn’t burned; the cocoa is very dark.)

The cake resembles a lava cake, with chocolate/nutella cake on the top, and molten chocolate/nutella in the bottom of the ramekin.
I ate every bite!  

Chocolate Nutella Microwave Molten Cake
(recipe adapted from here)
Mix in bowl:
4 T White Lily self rising flour
4T granulated sugar
3T cocoa powder
In separate bowl, mix:
1 egg
3T whole milk
3T olive oil
3T Nutella
Add dry ingredient mixture to wet, and stir well.  Pour into THREE ramekins.
Microwave (mine is 900 watts; 100% power) 1 to 2 minutes, checking often for doneness.  My toothpick came out clean; however, I didn’t push the toothpick to the bottom of the ramekin.
ENJOY!!!!!

freshly baked crackers with hummus

 rustic cut/broken crackers

The crackers were pretty, and tasted great, BUT
they were not crisp.  They were soft and pliable, somewhat like toasted pita bread.

taking a step back, cracker dough ready for the oven

I have since tried two additional cracker recipes.  Neither this recipe nor the two additional cracker recipes yielded crisp crackers in my TN kitchen – humidity 60%+.  I don’t know if the high humidity affects crackers!!??
This is adapted from an Alton Brown recipe; usually I have success with his recipes. 
Mix dry ingredients together  in bowl:
2 1/2 oz whole wheat flour
2 1/4 oz all purpose flour
2 1/2 T poppy seeds
2 1/2 T sesame seeds
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking powder 
Add
1 1/2 T olive oil
Add 
3 1/4 oz water
Knead slightly to mix well; let rest under kitchen towel 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll to 1/8 ” thick for a dipping cracker.
Bake 6 minutes
Flip cracker over and bake an additional 6 minutes.
Remove from oven when crisp and brown around edges.
Cool on wire rack.  
Break into pieces to serve.
(If rolling to 1/16″, baking time is reduces to about 4 minutes on each side.)
hummus variations from this recipe
stir in additional smoked paprika

 stir in 3T pesto

 basic recipe

dessert granola featuring Olive and Sinclair chocolate

oats coated with a selection of Olive and Sinclair chocolate

mixing in the afternoon sunlight

look closely at all the rich goodness

Recipe adapted from Citrus and Candy here.
Chocolate Granola
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix well in large bowl:
250 g oats (approximately 2 3/4c)
50 g dried cranberries
25 g raisins
25 g pumpkin seeds
25 g unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 T cocoa powder
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch of salt
Chop and sit aside:
75 g chocolate
( I used a mixture of Olive and Sinclair cacao nib, 67%, coffee bean, and salt and pepper)
Heat in pan until sugar dissolves and butter melts:
63 g brown sugar
50 ml water
15 g butter
Remove from heat and add:
63 ml honey
1 t vanilla
Stir to mix wet ingredients well
Add the 75 g chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted
Pour the wet mixture over the oat mixture; stir until oats are well coated with chocolate mixture.
Spread granola mixture on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Allow to cool, and store in the freezer.
dessert granola!