Cranberry-Pistachio Cookie Bar

So last week I mentioned having some cookie bars cooling while I was writing. They are all gone, no I didn’t eat them all by myself I had some help. Actually it is kinda funny that my son who doesn’t live here anymore but works with my husband so is here most mornings does a drive-by of the stove and immediately looks to see what might be packaged up to snack on.
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My name is Donna and I am a snack-a-holic. (stop laughing KP) we have not one but two snack drawers and anything homemade goes on the shelf above the stove, mostly to keep my dog from counter surfing. Which he has done a few times.

IMG_3615Back to the cookie bars. I am going to blame the magazines I was going through to try to get rid of a few. Out of a half dozen or so I think I got rid of two. That is not how you clean out your magazines/catalogs. While going through them I came across one that they had me at the title Cranberry-Pistachio bars. One of my most favorite combination of sweet and salty is cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate. I have made cookies, biscotti’s and bark with these three magical ingredients and have NEVER been disappointed.
IMG_3622.JPGThese bars are thick, dense and chewy; not too sweet or salty just the right amount I think. Though they did not list white chocolate I had to add a drizzle of some of it melted on top.

Cranberry-Pistachios cookie bars
Preheat oven to 350’F – line a 9×13 pan with foil, spray non-stick spray

Ingredients
¾ cup butter, melted
1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup honey
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cup salted pistachios, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

In a stand mixer bowl, beat the melted butter, sugars and honey on medium until fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Scrape as needed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the vanilla.
IMG_3616IMG_3617In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Add them to the wet mixture, beating until combined. Add pistachios and cranberries till combined.
IMG_3618IMG_3620Press batter into pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out slightly sticky. Let cool completely in the pan. Optional drizzle of white chocolate. I took a handful of chips and in a Pyrex measuring cup; melted them in the microwave for about a minute. Then drizzled them on the cooled bars. Slice and enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from Southern Lady magazine

Apple Galette – Rustic Tart

I am in a bad way! I have not only been craving baked goods; containing flour, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla etc. I have been making way too many of them; which also means eating them.
IMG_3610.JPGLast weekend I made 2 different kinds of dessert, as I write there is a pan of cookie bars cooling on the stove. It is a little early to be packing on my winter weight. Yeah like that’s what it is; well that is what we call it when our pants get a little tighter and the baggy sweaters come out.
IMG_3612.JPGMy sister-law was up for the weekend and I had bought some apples the week before that were still in the bowl on the counter. So I decided we were going to make something with them. I can’t be certain but I do not recall ever making a galette and I have always wanted to. What I didn’t know was my sister-in-law had never made a homemade dough before. So many people; including me on occasion; buy pre-made dough from the store; making one from scratch can be well worth the extra 10-20  minutes. Plus it takes me longer to run to the store than to just make a simple crust.
IMG_3600So I held a little cooking class in my kitchen that was enjoyed by everyone. I enjoy showing/making, she enjoyed learning and everyone else enjoyed eating.
IMG_3601IMG_3602A galette is a simply a fancy word for a rustic tart. I mean if you were going to present or try to sell one. I mean you could probably get $3 for a slice of a rustic tart; but by calling it a galette you could probably get $5.

Tart dough
1½ cups (6¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
11 tablespoons (5½ ounces) cold, unsalted butter – grated or cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons milk

Fruit Filling
5-7 Granny Smith – 4 cups of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
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In a stand mixer add the flour, sugar and salt. Using the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients for a about 30 seconds. On low speed add the cold butter to the flour mixture until the flour is no longer white and it can hold together when you squeeze it together in your hand. Around 1-3 minutes. If there are any butter pieces larger than a pea squeeze them to break them up.
IMG_3604In a small bowl mix the egg yolk and milk and then add them to the flour mixture. On low speed mix until the dough just comes together, about 20 seconds. The dough will look crumbly and dry. Dump the dough onto a clean lightly floured surface. Working it with the heel of your hand, push and smear it away from you, gather it back up and repeat until the dough come together and is pliable.
IMG_3607Press it into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap; let it rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. The dough can last up to 4 days in the fridge or a couple of months in the freezer. Place it in the fridge overnight to defrost. Let the dough sit on the counter for 15 minutes before the next step. Preheat the oven to 350’F
IMG_3608While the dough is resting prepare the fruit. Peel, core and slice the apples, add the sugar and cinnamon and some flour. Taste an apple and if it needs more sugar now is the time to add it. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 13-14 inch circle. It does have to be a circle It doesn’t have to be perfect, remember it is called a rustic tart.
IMG_3609On a sheet pan covered with tin foil or a silpat mat. Place the round dough and add the apples to the center of the dough. If you want to make it pretty line up some of the apples that will be seen through the open part of the top. Fold the edges of the dough over some of the fruit to create a rim about 2 inches wide. Working your way around the dough pleating as you go.
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Make an egg wash by beating a whole egg in a small bowl with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the pleated dough evenly with some of the egg wash. Sprinkle with whatever sugar you have on hand. I used sugar in the raw.

Bake until the pleats of the dough are golden brown, about an hour. Once done transfer to a rack to cool. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board or plate and slice. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you want to make a smaller tart you can quarter the dough into four separate disks and wrap each one in plastic wrap. When you roll out the dough into 7 inch circle. When you pleat the dough it should have a 1 inch rim.

When the tart’s ( we each made one) were in the oven I showed my sister-in-law the first dough I was shown how to make when I was a kid. Flour, water and oil. which I still make. I am glad I showed her the galette dough first the second is so easy though not as flaky and buttery but is the only dough I make when making curly cues. Dough rolled out covered with butter cinnamon and sugar rolled up and sliced into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.  

Zucchini chocolate chip muffins

I am writing this one last blog (Wednesday) before I leave for Greece – weeeeeee
I am hoping to be able to write the next one on one of the Greek Islands and share with you all what I have been eating.
IMG_3121We are leaving the house, dog and business in the kids hands, we are not worried at all. I am slightly concerned about my gardens. The kids have never really been interested in the process; other than eating everything. Hmmmmm I might have failed them – time will tell when they get their own home and yard I hope they will want to garden even if it is not to the extent that we do.
IMG_3112Thankfully the squash plants are starting to fade away. We had a crazy squash season; I think the best we have ever had to be perfectly honest. This will probably be my last zucchini recipe – OK you can stop smiling or rolling your eyes. It is a good one!!!!
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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins / preheat oven 350’F / makes 12 muffins plus a few smaller ones if you have leftover batter

Ingredients
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil – or substitute ½ cup applesauce
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded/drained zucchini
½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Grease 12 muffins cups or line with paper muffins liners.
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Combine in a large bowl the flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl mix egg, oil, milk, lemon and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into the dry till combined. Fold in zucchini, chips and walnuts.  Fill cups about ⅔ full.
IMG_3120Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Buttermilk Berry Muffins

This weekend and last I have been spending at least one of the weekend days in the kitchen. I wanted to; well actually had to make sure my gardening wasn’t for not.
IMG_3111Last week I had some blueberries and raspberries that needed to be either eaten or made into something else. Tomatoes that I needed to make into a sauce, green peppers washed, sliced and frozen and broccoli into soup and froze the rest. Plus cucumbers needed to turn into pickles and I had a ridiculous amount zucchinis that I wanted to give to someone else. I did bring seven or so to work and sent my daughter to the lake she works at with a basket full. Thankful people are still excited, or that might be a strong adjective, to see me coming with produce.
IMG_3105Last weekend I made some mixed-berry muffins that I hope you like. You can use whatever kind of berries you have on hand or one that you like the most. The berries can be fresh or frozen so these can basically be made whenever you want with what you have on hand
IMG_3107Buttermilk  Mixed Berry Muffins – makes 12 muffins – preheat oven 350’F

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup buttermilk
⅔ cup canola oil – or ⅔ cup applesauce
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, applesauce or oil and vanilla.
In another bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.

Gently fold in the berries into the dry ingredients.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry just till combined, do not over mix the batter
IMG_3106Either spray the muffin pan or line with paper cups liners.  Fill to 3/4 fill or slightly more.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let rest for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Healthier Banana Zucchini Bread

We have had some wacky weather here in NH – well all over the country but I can only speak to here in my minuscule part of it; pretty much all summer. Hot and humid and either a pop up shower or a thunderstorm. It has been hard trying to time when to harvest not only my garlic but everything out there.  I feel bad for my husband and his crew that generally work outside, how to plan a days worth of work when half of it or at least a portion of it you’re going to get soaked. When I got home from work on Friday I quickly harvested the rest of my garlic before the thunderstorms started up since the soil needs to be dry to harvest.
IMG_2988The problem with not doing a drive by of at least the squashes; they seem to grow overnight and go from cute to shit how did I not see that one! So this morning (Saturday) I had 3 way to overripe bananas, too many ginormous zucchini’s so I grated one up and made a couple of loaves of banana zucchini bread.
IMG_3006.JPGMy daughter thought I was making banana bread and zucchini bread – I’ll refrain from what she actually said but it was kind of like “wow running with scissors Mom” I actually found a healthy low fat recipe that I tweaked a bit to what I had on hand. I have mentioned before that just because someone dubs it healthy doesn’t mean its healthy for your diet. But if having to eat healthy means I can’t have any baked goods I don’t want to play. Which is probably why – oh never mind!
IMG_2994.JPGHealthier Banana Zucchini Bread – makes 2 loaves
Preheat oven to 350’ – get out 2 9×5 loaf pans and spray with non-stick

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ ground nutmeg
4 eggs – thinking of using egg beaters next time
1 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
3 overripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded and drained zucchini

Whisk the first 8 ingredients to the nutmeg in a small bowl.

In a stand mixer or not mix the eggs, sugar, yogurt, bananas and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till combined, add the zucchini and mix again till combined.

Additions if you choose – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. you do you!

Split batter between pans and cook for about 45-55 minutes or until cooked through, test by inserting a toothpick and it comes out clean.

The bread(s) came out very moist and I can taste all the spices and the banana’s; the oats add a little texture – plus it smells awesome!  it’s a keeper!

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My daughter tried it before I took pictures – oops!


Macros 1 piece
174 calories  9 g protein  4 g fat  29 g carbs

Texas Sheet Cake

I briefly looked into why this is called Texas sheet cake but there was no evidence to where or when this originally got it’s name that I could find. I did share this recipe a few years ago but I thought it needed to make another appearance. 
IMG_2673.JPGI honestly do not care what it is called or where it came from but thank you to whoever started it. It is very moist, tangy, chocolaty, easy to make and just plain delicious! I strongly suggest you make this cake at least once in your life, though if you do, you will be making it again!
IMG_2656.JPGThe only ingredient that I needed to grab from the store was buttermilk. I do wish I could find a pint of buttermilk but all I have ever seen is it by a quart. Since I don’t love wasting food I will find some other uses for it, like buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk fried chicken. I was actually thinking of trying to make an Irish Soda Bread since this weekend it St Patrick’s Day and I have never made it before.
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I usually make this cake in one sheet pan and add nuts but I was invited to friends for dinner and wasn’t sure how the nuts would go over and I wanted to make it a little festive so I added green and white sprinkles. I used two sheet pans just cuz no reasoning. I hope everyone likes it!

Preheat oven to 400’F

In a Saucepan add the next 4 ingredients and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes
1 Stick of Butter
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
4 TBS Cocoa
1 Cup Water

Sift together and pour the chocolate sauce over and mix well
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar

Add to the above
½ Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
Mix well and pour into greased jelly roll pan
IMG_2664Bake for 20 minutes
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While baking make the frosting as it needs to be poured onto the cake while it is still hot.
In a saucepan – you can use the same one just clean it while the cake is in the oven
1 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Buttermilk
4 TBS Cocoa

Bring to a boil for a minute or two
IMG_2665.JPGAdd the following
1 Box of Confectioner’s Sugar (roughly 2¾ Cup)
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
¾ Cup Chopped Walnuts or pecans or sprinkles be creative
IMG_2669.JPGOnce cooled – slice and store in airtight container

Honey Oatmeal Cookies – Healthy?

The recipe I found said Healthy Honey Oatmeal Cookies and while the recipe uses whole wheat flour and more oatmeal than anything else. I have become a bit of a skeptic and here is my reasoning. There are SO many diet trends out there, healthy in a recipe all depends on what you are counting. Calories, Carbs, Fat, Protein or whatever else you might be watching. img_5768.jpg

You can also tweak a recipe results just by the portion size. Say you make a recipe that tells you it make 30 cookies but when you go to make them your lucky to get 15 maybe 20 out of it and I am not saying you make yours gigantic just a regular 1 inch ball sized cookie. Is that too much to ask for a regular size cookie. I use the same small ice cream scoop for pretty much everything I make that needs to be in a ball.  I literally just used my scoop to make Arancini aka fried risotto balls.
IMG_5758The point I am trying to make is don’t get hung up on the title of a recipe, I feel confident if you are following a food blog, you already have an idea what works for you. So you do you and be happy!
IMG_5759I do have a little funny to share. I have made this recipe a few times now and I realized that the first time I made them I forgot to add 1 tablespoon of water. I totally understand that baking is based on science – I get it!  So I had to laugh at myself that the next time I made them I added 1 little ole tablespoon of water and my cookies ended up spreading out more on the flat side than the chunky ones I had before.  It didn’t change the taste just the look and I for a split second was baffled, well maybe that’s a strong word it was more like hmmm? Yes Donna the water will react with the butter and even the egg to make a flatter cookie.
IMG_5760I hope you try these or some form of them, use your own imagination add nuts, currants, dates, chocolate chips, raisins. Replace the sugar with another sweetener, use an egg beater instead. Replace the butter with apple sauce. 

Ingredients

3 tablespoon butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon water – or omit for a chunky cookie
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups rolled oats

Directions
By hand or a mixer, mix the butter, sugar, honey, egg and water thoroughly.
Sift flour, soda and salt then add the oatmeal. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. If you are adding anything else do that now.

Drop by scoop or teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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sorry for the blurry picture

 

Approx Macros = 2 Cookie – roughly 20 cookies
166 Calories – 5.56 g Fat – 31.54 g Carbs – 4.2 g Protein


Recipe adapted from geniuskitchen