Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homemade Oreo Cookies

A couple of weeks ago I was very bored and really wanted something sweet, so I googled "best cookie recipes." After a few minutes of searching I found this great recipe for homemade Oreos on smittenkitchen.com. This recipe is really simple, but very delicious. The cookies are a bit softer and chewier than the Oreos you get at the store, which I liked. If you're looking for a change from making your standard chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, these are worth a try.

Ingredients
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass. (I don't have a food processor or an electric mixer, so I just stirred it with a spoon and then mixed it by hand.)
3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

I've recently gone on a bit of a pumpkin kick, making a couple of pumpkin pies and this pumpkin chili recipe. The recipe comes from verybestbaking.com. I was happy with how this recipe turned out, though it was not quite perfect. I initially stuck directly to recipe and found that that chili had a nice pumpkin flavor, but lacked spice. To kick it up a bit I added about a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. This definitely added some spiciness, but drowned out the pumpkin flavor. Either way it still tasted good and the pureed pumpkin added a nice creaminess you don't usually find in chili. Anyone have any tips for adding heat to a dish without drowning out the underlying flavors?

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cans (14.5 oz each) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (15.25 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
1/2 cup loose-pack frozen whole-kernel corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
1. Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
3. Add turkey; cook until browned. Drain.
4. Add tomatoes with juice, pumpkin, tomato sauce, beans, chiles, corn, chili powder, cumin and black pepper.
5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

The Results