Jan. 19th, 2014

kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
I've been doing a lot of cooking and experimentation since around Thanksgiving, but with the holidays I haven't had as much chance to update this journal. Today, hopefully, that gets corrected.

I've been making a good number of different recipes gotten from Penzey's spices, and one that I tried out for the first time over the holidays was Holiday Cookie Balls. )

Reasonably easy to make, these confections are a little bit sweet and a little bit savory. I thought that the dough was maybe a little too crumbly, rather than chewy, but perhaps that's something I can work on if I tinker with it more in the future.
kitchenklutz: knife and onions (knife and onions)
I made this back towards the beginning of November when I threw a autumnal get-together. It's savory and multi-layered, with a good kick of spiciness. It takes a bit of effort to make, but as party casseroles/dips go it's worth it and can feed a LOT of people.

Easy Cheesy Baked Black Bean Dip )

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes plus 10 minutes resting time
Serves: 4 as a side dish, 6 - 8 as a dip
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
This was another recipe that I tried out for the autumnal get-together back in November. It was the first time I'd ever attempted to make a potato salad, and I feel that the end result was reasonably good.

The original recipe came from Penzey's. I was IM'ing with a friend of mine while making it, so there were a number of modifications and changes suggested and I improvised quite a bit.

Spicy Potato Salad )
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Back sometime last year I got inspired by a cup of hot chai tea. Soooo tasty... were there any recipes that could duplicate that particular taste in a cookie? I did a little searching and turned up no existing recipes out on the web.

So what goes in chai tea? A little more creative Googling and I'd turned up the various ingredients that most commonly go into chai tea mixes. From there I started experimenting on cookie doughs, and after half-a-dozen drafts I finally arrived at a final result I was satisfied with. Now, at last, I feel comfortable sharing it with the world. Try these out, and let me know how you like Chai Cookies. )

I always have a fun time handing these to people and asking them to tell me what they think it tastes like. Many of them can identify some of the ingredients, but rarely all of them... and when I tell them they're chai cookies, this look of dawning comprehension always comes over their faces and they immediately agree. Try it and see for yourself!
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Over Thanksgiving my mom and stepdad came out to Boston to visit, and we had many a culinary discussion. One of the things that came up was mention of a traditional Sicilian cookie that my stepdad has made, which (I believe) he inherited from a distant grandmother from the old country. Called "cuchidades", these are fig-stuffed cookies -- like fig newtons, after a fashion, but sooooo much better.

I managed to track down a recipe online and then modified it to my own satisfaction. The result has been wildly popular with pretty much everyone I've introduced it to.

Fig-Stuffed Sicilian Cookies (Cuchidades) )

The first time I made this, I made the icing with milk and vanilla; the second time I made it with orange juice and orange extract. Overall, I'm far more satisfied with my second batch, but your mileage may vary -- try both and see which one you prefer!
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
One of the things I've wanted to do more this winter is try my hand at baking bread. I've got a handful of cookbooks with many recipes to try, but one of the first ones I wanted to try was a recipe card I picked up at Penzey's back around Yule.

It looked intriguing, and I'm definitely more of a fan of bread recipes that don't require yeast and substantial rising periods. I didn't know how it was going to turn out, as I'm usually not an enormous fan of drinking beer, but the result was astonishingly good.

Beer Bread )

Alternatively, instead of placing all the dough in one 8x4 bread pan, you can split the dough into a six oversized cup muffin tin. If you do so, reduce baking time to 28 - 32 minutes -- the smaller volume of dough in each cup means it will bake notably faster.

I admit I had my doubts about this when I first set out to make it, largely because I'm not a huge fan of Newcastle Brown Ale. (I've used Brooklyn Ale for a particular spicy Cajun stew before to great effect, though.) To my delight the Newcastle turned out amazingly well with the Savory Beer Bread option, so I urge anyone else who tries this recipe to experiment with beers of their liking.

Towards that end, I'm intrigued to try out the Sweet Beer Bread option using Redd's Strawberry Ale. Its alcoholic content isn't particularly high (3.2%?) but without any yeast in the recipe I believe it's the carbonation that's important.

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