Halloween Cookies

Halloween came and went in a very unexciting manner this year.  Living in a new city, in an apartment no less meant no trick or treaters and no party for us.  Our Halloween night included two things, possibly the greatest holiday movie ever made, Hocus Pocus, and cookies.  

Cookies? I know but just wait.  Since we didn’t have any trick or treaters and Brian had bought candy, I made some cookies fitting the holiday.  We used to do this at my old job.  Take your favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes BUT instead of putting in chocolate chips, chop up that excess candy and use it as the chocolate.  We had snickers, twix, m&ms, peanut m&ms, and reese’s peanut butter cups.  Since the candy is so yummy I put a little more than called for, but it was halloween so I decided that was ok! Also, to counteract the excess sweetness I added an extra tsp of salt. 

These cookies are SO good.  The caramel in the twix and snickers turn into a toffee when it’s on the outside, and the m&ms keep their shape until you bite into them and the chocolate goes all gooey. 

 

This recipe is in grams. I find that in baking grams are much more accurate in measuring.  

Halloween Candy “Chip” Cookies

yeild: 2 dozen, bake time 12-15 minutes

432 grams all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

228 grams butter

165 grams sugar

170 grams brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

360 grams candy, or more if desired, chopped to size of chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350*F

1. Cream room temperature butter with sugar and brown sugar. Make sure that there are no pockets of butter that have not been incorporated.

2. Add vanilla and eggs.  Mix until eggs are fully incorporated.

3. Mix flour, salt, baking soda together.  Add to sugar mixture. 

4. Add chopped candy. 

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto parchment paper lined sheet tray. Bake for 8 minutes, flatten cookies if desired, rotate tray and bake for another 4-6 minutes.

These cookies should be just browned at the edge, any farther and they will not be gooey in the center!

 

Aunt Lyn’s Enchiladas with a twist

Aunt Lyn’s Enchiladas….With a Denver Twist

October 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment

When Brian and I moved here, we immediately looked for a Farmer’s Market.  While living in Indy, I worked at a Farmer’s Market nearly every Saturday for 3 years.  I got very used to buying local…fruits, veggies, pasta, honey, baked goods (from myself), even bones for Olive!  

We found the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market, and it’s a true gem.  There are so many vendors offering everything that I could want or need.  Even some things that I don’t need.  Like a food truck names Tots Truck that served us an AMAZING mac ‘n cheese grilled cheese. A creamy cheddar mac ‘n cheese between two pieces of texas toast all glued together with…you guessed it, MORE CHEESE! 

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We also got some nacho tots, but they paled in comparison to the grilled cheese.

But back to the market. So many items that I am used to…apples, fall squash, local honey, flowers, breads, and so much more.  There was one thing that I had not seen before.  A booth that was fire roasting hatch green chilies ON SITE.  It was awesome.  One guy emptying burlap bags of chilies into a giant mesh sphere…almost like what bingo balls circle in but huge.  Then they turned on a propane tank and started it spinning as a fire roared underneath.  My one thought: I must try these.

They had different sized bags ranging from mild, medium, to hot.  We chose Medium.  I’ve realized that all flavors out here are just a little bit spicier than the midwest. 

I was too enthralled to remember to take pictures…maybe next season since it was the last market of the season this past Saturday.

 

When I got home with my bag of fire roasted chilies I knew just what to make, my Aunt Lyn’s Enchiladas. They are mainly onion and chicken, so I decided to replace half the onions with the green chilies that I brought home.  I didn’t save any of the tops of the chilies for my stock bag because I didn’t want it to get too spicy.  While slicing the chilies I took out some of the seeds to reduce the level of heat, but you are welcome to leave all or none, depending on your tolerance of spice.

 

Aunt Lyn’s Enchiladas

Serves-6

Oven preheated to 350*

1 yellow onion, cut in half and sliced

1/2 lb fire roasted hatch green chilies, sliced

3 Skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, cooked and sliced

3 cups fresh spinach

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

12 corn tortillas

1 can enchilada sauce

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

 

Begin by sautéing sliced onions on med-low heat until transparent and they start to caramelize.  You want to bring out all the delicious onion flavor. 

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Add your spinach and allow to wilt.

Next add your sliced green chilies.  You do not have to sauté these for very long since they have already been roasted. 

Then you will add your chicken, cream cheese, and spices. 

Allow the cream cheese to melt, add chicken broth as needed if mixture becomes too loose.

Now it’s time to get messy!

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Take a generous scoop of filling and place it in the center of a tortilla. Wrap the tortilla and place seam side down in a greased 9×13 pan. Continue until all 12 tortillas have been filled, or you run out of filling.

Pour your enchilada sauce on top making sure to saturate all rolled enchiladas. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Place in preheated oven. It will take about 15-20 minutes for the cheese to melt and the sauce to bubble.

Let it cool for about 5 minutes before digging in!!

Wedding Bourbon Pecan Pie

Once again.  Roll out dough as described in Strawberry Rhubarb recipe.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup light corn syrup

3 TBL bourbon

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

3-4 cups pecans

Fill pie shell with pecans.  You want the shell full, but not overflowing.  

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.

Pour over pecans. Shake the pie so that the liquid settles and add more, if needed. 

Bake at 375* for 30-40 minutes.  Once the pecans and dough begin to brown, the pie is done.

To add a little pizzaz to this pie, I cut leaves out of extra dough and placed them around the edge of the pie. 

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Wedding Blackberry Pie

Place the dough into the pie plate in the same manner as for the strawberry rhubarb.

Blackberry Pie

5 cups blackberries

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 TBL lemon juice

2 TBL butter, pieced

Mix together blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Let sit for about 15 minutes so the flavors can meld and start to macerate.

If using frozen berries, add 1/4 cup extra cornstarch to counteract the excess juice released as they thaw. 

Pour the berries into the prepared pie crust including all of the juice.  

Place the butter around the berry mixture and cover with top dough.  For this pie, I cut out hearts and put them around the edge then cut out a larger heart for the center.

Bake at 375* F for about 35-50 minutes.  Once the juices start to bubble and the crust is a nice golden color, the pie is done.

Let cool before serving.

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Wedding Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Roll out dough so that it will be about 2 inches too long on either side.  Take rolling pin and roll dough around the pin, place over pie plate and unroll.  This way the dough does not tear when you are transferring it.

3.5 cups Rhubarb

3.5 cups Strawberry

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 TBL lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup corn starch

2 TBL butter

Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon juice, and corn starch together.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes so that flavors meld and berries start to macerate.

When using frozen berries use 1/8-1/4 cup extra corn starch.  The berries will release more juice as they thaw, and the corn starch will keep the pie from being too runny and help it set up after baking.

Pour the berries into your prepared pie shell including all the yummy juice!

Place the butter around the top of the pie.  Cover as desired.

For this pie I covered the top and slit steam holes.  I then braided the extra dough and placed it around the edge.

Bake at 375* F for about 35-50 minutes.  Once the juices start to bubble and the crust is a nice golden color, the pie is done.

Let cool before serving.

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Wedding Pie

Last weekend a friend of my sisters got married.  I have known Laura since I was 8 and was so excited that she asked me to make the pies for her wedding. She asked for strawberry rhubarb, blackberry, and pecan.  

Over the summer, I collected all the berries when they were in season. I managed to get some beautiful strawberries, rhubarb, and blackberries from my local farmer’s market.  I cleaned all the berries and froze them in gallon bags.  

I was making 5 of each pie, so that was A LOT of berries!

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I made all of my pie dough on Thursday and let it chill overnight in the fridge before making all of the pies on Friday.  Using my mom’s kitchen to make the many pies was quite a challenge. But it was so worth it!  Once all of the pies were made, and cooled, we delivered them to Laura’s home where they were all displayed in an old wardrobe.

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Pie Dough

2.5 cups flour

1 TBL sugar

7 TBL butter

7 TBL Crisco

1/2 cup iced water

In a food processor blend flour and sugar.  Add pieced Crisco and COLD cubed butter. Pulse until butter and Crisco are about the size of peas.

With food processor on pour in iced water.  It is very important that the water is cold so that the dough doesn’t get too warm and start to melt the butter.

Pulse until dough just comes together.  Turn out onto counter and kneed in any loose flour.

Wrap in plastic wrap in a disc.  Place in fridge for 3-12 hours.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, A hiking we will go….

When Brian said that we would be moving to Denver, I decided I wanted to be outdoorsy.  Well the opportunity presented itself a little over a week ago when we decided to go hiking.  It was amazing

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We drove up to Boulder after dropping Olive off to get her hair cut.  It was about a 45 minute drive.  It was the first time that I saw how far the metro area of Denver goes.  We planned on hiking George Canyon, but due to the recent flooding the paths weren’t safe.  We ended up going up Blue Belle trail towards the Flat Irons. The elevation got to me almost right away!  

Walking through the meadows was glorious.  Everything is starting to change color so there were reds and golds mixed in with the greens and browns. We chose to climb up the 2nd Flat Iron.  It was a lot more strenuous that I had planned. But it was worth it.  At one point the side of the mountain was all rocks and you had to carefully find the natural path.

As we got farther up, the path began to switch back and forth.  

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Once we finally got to the top..after a hefty climb…the view was stunning.  I could not believe that I had actually traveled on my own to feet to the top of the world! There were a few groups of people at the top enjoying their triumph.  After climbing through a cleft in some rocks I looked out over an amazing view that extended all the way to Denver. 

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The climb down was not nearly as exciting.  Although telling people that they were almost to the top was great fun.  They all looked so relived! It took longer to get down that I thought but once we were down and looked back, we went a long way.  

I was so sore after the drive home, but surprisingly could move to next day. I can’t wait to go again!

 

HOCKEEEEYYY

It really is the best time of year. Post season baseball (Go Cards), Football is in full swing (Da Bears), and Hockey is just beginning (Hawks repeat?).  On Wednesday night B and I got to go to the opening game for the Avalanche.  Due to the realignment within the NHL, the Hawks are no longer in the same division as their longtime rivals the Detroit Red Wings.  Now we are in the same division as the Avalanche.  The Pepsi Center underwent a huge upgrade over the summer by way of a GIANT new jumbotron.  Being in a suite full of engineers that have been parts of teams that have built many arenas, well, let’s just say I learned more about erecting and buying, and raising a new jumbotron than I ever needed to know!! The Avalanche started the season with a W, a fight, and a $10,000 fine to their new coach! What a night.  It wasn’t quite as exciting as the previous night when the Blackhawks raised their Stanley Cup Banner, but you know……

Brian and I proudly represented our teams even though neither was playing!

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I was so excited to attend my second Denver sports team game.  B and I went to a Rockies-Cards game 3 days after moving here!  If only Broncos tickets weren’t 1 million dollars! 

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana and Oatmeal Cookies

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MMMMM COOOOOKIES!!

This was my first attempt at trying to bake at a high altitude, and it worked! Being a professional pastry cook, I was very nervous that I would fail, and therefor no longer have a career. But NO, I followed a few simple calculations and voila! Fluffy moist cookies!  

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Here is the recipe with the high altitude corrections listed.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda                                                           1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar                                                                -1 tbl. sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana (1 small/medium banana)             1 1/2 bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup or more of you favorite chocolate chips

Directions:

-Preheat over to 350 degrees. 375 degrees above 5,000 ft.

- Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in peanut butter and banana. 

- Add the dry flour mix to the wet mix until combined.  Add in  the oats and chocolate chips.

- Bake for about 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets

 

Letting the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes is essential because they are a moist cookie, and therefor need to firm up as they cool.

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Thanks to my friend Anna for providing the original recipe via her blog    http://cookingannabaking.tumblr.com

 

Homemade Stock

Nothing tastes better than soup, rice, chili, or noodles made with homemade stock.  But who wants to spend the time and money to buy a chicken and vegetable just to make the stock? Not me! I have developed a system.  Any time I use a vegetable, any unused part that would normally go into the garbage goes into a ziplock baggie that lives in the freezer.  Same goes for meat trimmings.  Once the bag is full time to make some stock!  Simply empty the bag into a pot big enough to cover your stock parts with water.

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 Then let it simmer away until it has the flavor you’re looking for.  If you are a vegetarian you can simply just use vegetable parts.  If you want a more pronounced chicken flavor simply add a chicken breast to the pot while you’re simmering.  I’ve found this way, I almost always have fresh stock in the freezer, or can make it if I have a few hours to spare before dinner needs to be ready.

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Homemade Stock

  • 1 gallon bag veggie parts and meat trimmings
  • enough water to cover

Pour bag of frozen veggie parts and trimmings into pot.

Cover with water

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer.

Simmer for 2-4 hours, or until desired taste is achieved.

Strain out vegetables and use right away or freeze.

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