Category Archives: fast

Candy Bar Cookies

20130323_151053I know I just posted about cookies a few weeks ago, but what can I say? The world needs more cookies. I try to only grace my corner of the world with about a dozen cookies at a time because I feel the need to eat any cookies that come out of my oven as soon as possible…and well if I make more than a dozen, that’s just ludicrously unhealthy. I also tend to be really bad at planning ahead and having my pantry properly stocked, and so sometimes I have to get a little creative with my ingredients when the mood strikes to have something gooey, home baked and delicious in my hands in under an hour and without having to go to the store. The other day one of these adventures went insanely well. I wish I had a picture of the pure excitement on Evan’s face when he tried these cookies, but alas moments are fleeting, so I suppose you will have to try this recipe yourself and make some faces of your own.

It all started with an overwhelming craving for chocolate chip cookies brought on by a conversation with my friend Amber. She is currently teaching English on a 3 month job in Russia and blew my mind the other day by telling me that in Russia, chocolate chip cookies are “not a thing.” WHAT? I had a very strange moment of American pride followed by an intense desire to show the Russians just what they were missing (how exactly shoving a million cookies in my mouth thousands of miles away would prove anything to the Russians is now rather unclear to me, but it made sense in my frenzied state at the time). Off to the kitchen I charged, only to realize I had no eggs and no chocolate chips. Unfazed, I pulled up an egg-free chocolate chip recipe and dug out a chocolate candy bar that had been lurking around my snack shelf since Christmas (don’t ask me how it survived so long) and went to town. These cookies are simple, can be vegan if you don’t use animal milk or fat, and the dough can safely be eaten raw if that’s more your scene. If the dough does make it into the oven, the cookies that come out are light without being cakey, with moist centers and delightful craters of melted chocolate. I used a milk chocolate bar this time, but I see visions of toffee bar, crispy rice bar, and any other number of candy bar cookies in my future.

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Candy Bar Cookies 
recipe loosely adapted from Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies that Happen to be Vegan

1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
chocolate candy bar (about the same amount of chocolate as a standard Hershey bar), chopped
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil or melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk, soy milk, or almond milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, candy bar pieces, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix in the oil, milk, and vanilla extract to form a sticky dough. Spoon dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool on sheet for 3-5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack (or your mouth).

Crispy-Chewy Pomegranate Molasses Ginger Cookies

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I love taking requests. I adore embarking on a quest to satisfy someone’s cravings in the most delicious way possible. This weekend my partner, Evan, requested that I find a way to make those big, chewy molasses cookies. You know, the big, dark, spicy rounds that have slightly crisp outer edges and fantastically moist centers? I didn’t have to be told twice.

In the process of tracking down a recipe, one of us remembered that we had picked up some pomegranate molasses a while back (we got it at an Asian supermarket but it is becoming increasingly popular and you may be able to find it at a standard grocery store), and a beautiful idea was born. Now I doubt I am the first person to think of this, but it certainly was the first time I’ve ever made or eaten pomegranate molasses cookies–and let me warn you, they are crazy addictive. They resemble ordinary molasses cookies in texture and in the delightful gingery bite, but they also bring to the table a nice fruitiness with a subtle, tart edge. I learned in the process of making them that the tartness will be overpowering if you simply substitute pomegranate molasses in place of regular dark molasses, so I added some brown sugar (which incidentally, adds even more delicious molasses!). The only thing I wish I could have done differently is coated them in some pretty, large-crystal sugar before baking…because who doesn’t love sparkly cookies?

Anticipating an urge to devour all the cookies in one sitting and not wanting to become incredibly ill, I purposely made a small batch. This recipe makes 15 or 16 cookies, so if you would like to make more than that, feel free to double the recipe. I also used half of a “flax egg” as my binding agent, but you can certainly substitute half a beaten egg (or a whole egg if you are doubling the recipe).

 

Chewy Pomegranate Molasses Ginger Cookies

Recipe loosely adapted from A Thought for Food

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1/2 recipe flax egg 

7-10 cubes crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a cookie sheet or two. Combine butter, sugars, crystallized ginger,  flax egg and molasses in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and combine with wet ingredients to form a well incorporated dough. Form dough into balls about the size of walnuts or golf balls, roll in sugar, and flatten slightly with a fork or spatula. I flattened mine with a bottle opener in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to get crispy. Let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!

Crustless Mushroom and Onion Quiche

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It’s really been one of those weeks. I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping, half of my dinners have come out of a box in the freezer, and here I am on Friday night, exhausted and wanting to wind down but also really craving a warm and cozy home cooked meal. These are the times that I am so glad that cooking, though it is a science, is also an art and an adventure. I know that sitting at home I have a carton of eggs, some mushrooms on their last leg, a few cloves of garlic, and about half a red onion. I also know I have a sink full of dishes and that I want to add to that mountain as little as possible. Today’s adventure will be simple and brief, a kind of experiment in leftovers, really. But sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Quiche is a beautiful thing. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it can be as high or low maintenance as you desire. You can put any variety of odds and ends from your fridge into a quiche and more often than not, they come together into a satisfying, inexpensive and filling dish. The only thing that has hindered my love affair with quiche in the past is the need to make a crust. I am a crust enthusiast, and I will tell you in a post very soon how easy (and rewarding) it actually is to make a delicious, flaky, buttery pastry delight, but it does take more dishes and more time. And, well, sometimes I want to be lazy and still feel like I accomplished something. Today I discovered crustless quiche, and my overly tired and ravenously hungry self rejoiced.

I was impressed with how this recipe turned out. It had never occurred to me to just leave out the crust, and I really have to say, I hardly missed it. The recipe is adaptable- you can add a few handfuls of spinach, some bell peppers, some (cooked) chicken breast or sausage, whatever you have available. Recipes are starting points, a map of sorts. Where the adventure leads is entirely up to you.

Crustless Mushroom and Onion Quiche
Recipe adapted very loosely from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook and Ms Chow

1 clove garlic, minced
½ medium red onion, diced
5 or 6 button, cremini, or baby bella mushrooms, sliced thinly
4 eggs, beaten
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (or whatever you have lying around)
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Penzey’s Sunny Paris Seasoning or your favorite herb blend (optional)

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Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9-inch pie pan (or an 8-inch cake pan/baking dish, though you will have to let it bake for a while longer). Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute for about a minute. Add mushrooms, cook for about two minutes, then remove from heat. Combine salt, pepper, and eggs, cheese, veggies, and herbs, if using. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until outer edges are browned and the middle of the quiche is cooked through.