Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies

Halloween is just around the corner....really around the corner and Sabine and I are just now making cookies...but, better late than not at all.  Today we made Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies.  They were easy and had just enough steps so that a four year old could help and not get bored.

It was fun for me, too.  I have been in cookbook heaven of late.  Alison brought me three new cookbooks to read and Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan was one of them.  I have had so much fun dreaming about cooking my way through the book and then realizing that somebody had to eat all of those cookies, so I narrowed it down to one for now!

I selected the basic chocolate cookie dough which Dorie has named Do-Almost-Anything Chocolate Cookie Dough.  I was after a chocolate cookie that had a deep chocolate flavor with a bit of firmness to the touch but not crisp.  This was perfect!  Plan ahead if you decide to use this cookie dough.  I do need to mention that the cookies must be popped into the freezer for an hour or the refrigerator for three hours, prior to cutting and baking.

Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies
adapted from Dorie's Cookies

Yield:  40 cookies, 2-inch diameter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature
2/3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven:  350° F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Sift the flour and the cocoa powder together.

Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment or use your hand mixer to beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the egg white and vanilla.  The dough may curdle but it will smooth out when the flour mixture is added.

At low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 or 4 additions, beat only until the flour is incorporated each time before adding the next addition.  Scrape down the bowl once or twice and mix until all the dry mixture has been absorbed into the dough.

Divide the dough in half.  Flatten each half into a disk.  One at a time, place a disk between two pieces of parchment paper and roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness.  Slide the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet. The two may be stacked on the baking sheet.  Freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours.

Work with one disk at a time.  Peel the paper away on one side.  Flip the disk over and peel the paper from the other side.  Use a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as you can. Gather the scraps together.  Make a disk, roll between parchment and re-chill before cutting and baking.  (Note:  Sprinkle with sanding sugar at this point if desired.)

Bake the cookies 18 to 20 minutes or until firm to touch.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with the next disk.

Mix the powdered sugar and the milk together in a medium bowl.  Stir until smooth.  It will be stiff.
Spoon the mixture into a small zip lock bag and seal.  Snip a tiny whole in the corner of the bag. (It can always be made larger if needed!)

Working with one cookie at a time, pipe a dot into the center of the cookie.  Pipe two concentric circles around the dot.

Starting at the dot, pull a toothpick from the dot through the two circles to the edge of the cookie. This makes the web design.


Have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Spiced Pear Muffins

I am back in Seattle and enjoying the rain which I rarely see at home.  I am probably one of those odd people who absolutely loves the rain.  I love to listen to it and watch it....snuggle up in a chair with a good book and bake!  Guess that could be boring but, it is not to me!  I think the baking part goes back to when I was a child.  My mom always baked on the days that it rained.  It is something that I love to do, also.  Needless to say there has been a whole lot of baking going on this week.  There has not been a lack of rain!

My daughter gets a CSA fruit box each week.  There are lots of apples and pears in the fruit basket....lots....and lots!  So, when she sent me the link to this recipe, we agreed that these had to happen!

The muffins are not really sweet which is nice.  The sweetness and the moistness comes from the pears.  We liked them but Sabine preferred to eat the pears and leave the much for the opinion of a four year old!

Spiced Pear Muffins
adapted from The Kitchn

Yield 12 muffins

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2-2 1/2 cups pears, unpeeled, cored, and diced small
Optional ingredients:
1/4 cup candied ginger
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on top of the muffins

Preheat oven:  425° F.

Spray the muffin tin with baking spray or use muffin liners.

Place the sugars and the softened butter into the mixer bowl.  Cream on high speed until the mixture resembles a fluffy frosting.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.  Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder and salt.  On low speed, alternately mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the milk.  Continue until all of the flour and milk have been incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and gently stir.  Gently fold in the diced pears.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.  The batter will fill the cups and be slightly mounded. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar.

Place the muffin tin in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 400° F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

The muffins are done when the tester is inserted and comes out clean.  The tops of the muffins with appear cracked and toasted when they are done.

Let the muffins cool and when they can be handled, transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Note:  Leftover muffins can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.  They may also be frozen for up to 3 months.  Frozen muffins should be reheated in an oven at 300° F. or for a few minutes in the microwave.


These were a super breakfast treat...snack...or for no reason other than you want one!

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shrimp Burritos Con Queso!

You know how sometimes things just click.  That is I the way I felt when I received a weekly menu planning email from Lea Ann at Cooking on the Ranch.  I was immediately motivated to hit the kitchen.  That said I was also still trying to kick the bug that descended when we came home from Spain.  But, planning and list making I could do!  The cooking would come....

The first recipe I settled on was the Shrimp Burritos Con Queso.  Who doesn't love a burrito now and then?  And, these burritos were stuffed with shrimp in a bit of creamy cheese sauce packed with red pepper, onion, Hatch green chile, tomatillo....well, you get the idea....and then baked with a a bit more cheese sauce on top.  These were totally heaven!!  As Lea Ann says, "Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you away."  These are so worth it!!

If you have never taken time to visit Lea Ann, put it on your to do list!  Lea Ann has some amazing recipes...I love perusing her blog!

Shrimp Burritos Con Queso
adapted from Cooking on the Ranch

Yield:  6 - 8 servings

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup sweet onion, chopped
  • ½ cup Hatch green chile, roasted, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tomatillo diced
  • ½ cup unpeeled zucchini, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 sup Monterey Jack cheese, grated and divided
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • ¾ cup green onions, chopped and divided
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped and divided
  • 6  8-inch flour tortillas

Garnish:  Avocado slices, cilantro leaves

Preheat oven:  350° F.

Spray a 9 X 9 baking dish with PAM.

In a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the red bell pepper, onion, chile peppers, tomatillo, zucchini, and oregano.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the salt, pepper and cayenne.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and water whisking to blend.  Add this to the bell pepper mixture. Stir.  Stir in the milk until well blended.  Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the grated jack cheese and stir until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and 1/2 cup green onions.  Stir until the shrimp just turn pink, about 2 minutes.  

Add half of the cheesy bell pepper mixture and half of the tomatoes to the skillet.  Stir to mix. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Lay out the flour tortillas and fill with equally with the shrimp mixture.  Roll the burritos tightly and place them seam side down in the prepared baking dish.  Spoon the remaining cheesy bell pepper mixture over the top of the burritos.

Cover with foil.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from the oven and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of jack cheese, 1/4 cup green onions and the remaining tomatoes.
Serve immediately with fresh avocado slices and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves, if desired.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mudslide - SRC

Time!  Time!  Time!

I arrived home, after an eighteen day trip of Spain and Portugal, on Monday at 11:00 PM.  I got to bed about 12:30 AM.
Of course I woke up at 3:30 AM.  Oh how I hate jet lag!

Tuesday afternoon the bug that we brought home with us appeared.  Terry at least was able to get out of bed.  I am not certain if I hit the bed because of the cold or jet lag.  Along came the fever.  I was anchored to the bed until Friday.  I was still getting up at least three times during the night...erratic sleep patterns are the pits.  The wee small hours of the morning are for sleeping not being wide awake!

Today I was able to pull myself out of bed.  When I read my emails I found the note that there was a post due for The Secret Recipe Club.  This is a fun group where each blogger is randomly assigned a blog belonging to another group member.  Our challenge is to find a recipe that we will enjoy, prepare it, and share the recipe as well as info about the blog.

I wanted to make a recipe that would soothe my throat so I went to my assigned blog, 2 Cookin' Mamas, and searched through smoothies and beverages........and cocktails, why not?  I considered the Chocolate Almond Smoothie and the Hawaiian Hazelnut Mocha Smoothie but would have had to go to the store....nope, can't happen.   Then, I looked at the cocktails.  I did have a stocked liquor cabinet.

I settled on the Frozen Mudslide!  We did enjoy this thick, frozen treat.  It certainly cooled the throat and maybe froze it a time or two also!  I did have to make a change...I only had half and half so I substituted it for the cream and I topped it with a drizzle of chocolate and chocolate covered coffee beans!  Perfect!

slightly adapted from 2 Cookin' Mamas

Yield:  2 servings

2 ounces Irish Cream liqueur
2 ounces coffee liqueur
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces cream or half and half
2 cups ice

Garnish:  Chocolate Syrup and Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

Pour all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, into the blender.  Blend until smooth and thick.

Prepare two glasses by drizzling chocolate syrup around the inside top portion of the glass.  Divide the frozen mixture between the glasses.

Add the garnishes as desired.

Note:  If you prefer to serve the drink over, add ice cubes to the glasses, drizzle each with syrup and divide the liquid between the two glasses.


I had fully intended to make the Crockpot Cuban Pork with Cilantro-Lime Rice before leaving on vacation but time slipped away too quickly and I became busy trying to use up most everything in the refrigerator so I wouldn't have to toss it!  I do plan to try the Cuban Pork dish as it sounds really great.

We are very fortunate to have a lovely next door neighbors who brought us homemade chicken soup for dinner one evening and lamb kabob sandwiches on another.  Bless them.  It was much appreciated!!

2 Cookin' Mamas is a mother-daughter team who love to cook and use the blog to share their culinary expertise and knowledge of nutrition.  Their blog has quite a variety of healthy and easy recipes and is well worth perusing thoroughly!