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Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘cookies

Cookies like Carrot Cake

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Simply in Season's Carrot Cookies

I finally connected with Cathleen Hockman-Wert, author of this pioneering Mennonite cookbook of seasonal, affordable, doing-more-with-less recipes. She lives in Corvallis and studied journalism at the University of Oregon. So we had lots to chat about over $10 special pork shoulder plates at Del Alma during Corvallis Culinary Week. I first encountered her Simply in Season cookbook through the cooking classes I participated in through Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Check out this related article I wrote on their food justice work through faith communities, on page 30 of the current issue of Edible Portland. And then make the cookbook’s recipe for carrot cookies! Splurge with the fresh orange juice-and-zest icing…they’re still pretty healthy, albeit buttery. I added raisins to the moist, cakey cookies; nutmeg/cinnamon-type spices and pineapple or shredded coconut would also change things up. Try whatever you might add to a carrot cake. I hear they turn out well when made with gluten-free flour. Reminds me of a carrot-oatmeal cookie recipe I made a while back from 101 Cookbooks. Heidi Swanson’s recipe is vegan, to boot, sweetened with only maple syrup and creamed with coconut oil instead of butter.

Written by baltimoregon

January 28, 2011 at 12:19 am

Gluten-Free Goodness

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Rebecka sinks her teeth into these chewy, sweet hazelnut and coconut (flourless) wafers.

I’ve fallen in love with a simple gluten-free cookie recipe just in time for a visit from my sister Elaine, who unsuccessfully tried to get me on the bandwagon when we visited her in Atlanta in January. My gluten-free friend George (the man behind Corvallis Local Foods) had a birthday party coming up, and I had bags of ground hazelnut and also almond flour to burn through. So I turned to this simple Piedmontese recipe for Italian Hazelnut Cookies from Eating Well magazine. I didn’t bother to skin the hazelnuts, because mine, from our local Hazelnut Hill farm, were already ground into a meal. Plus, I like the color, texture (fiber?) and flavor the thin skins provide anyway. All you do is beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and then mix that fluffiness in with the combined sugar and ground nuts and then bake. I added some coconut and cardamom to the mix to spice things up. The results are quite addictive. With no added oil or starchy carbs, one can almost be convinced these cookies are good for you.

This is a recipe to return to again and again, with endless possible variations. They’re really almost like roughed up tops of macaroons in a way. This weekend, I made the cookies with the almond flour I love from Trader Joe’s, coconut and chunks of chocolate in some. I was thrilled to finally have a use for the containers of long-forgotten egg whites I had frozen away. The key is to find a use for the whites and yolks at about the same time. Stay tuned for my mention of yolks in the aioli I made for a steamed version of stuffed artichokes last week.

Written by baltimoregon

May 10, 2010 at 1:19 am

Craving Cardamom: in My Cookies, Oatmeal, Applesauce, Quince Paste and of, course, Chai Tea

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Green vs. bigger black cardamom pods. Both are fragrant and yum! (by FootoosVanRobin/Flickr Creative Commons)

Candied Ginger (with Cardamom) Bars.

I seem to put spicy-sweet Indian cardamom, which most people associate with chai tea, in just about everything these days. The peppery spice (seeds contained in green or black pods) always appeals to me. I knew of green and black varieties but didn’t realize cardamom falls into the ginger family Zingiberaceae (makes sense since the two spices go so well together). I recommend buying your pods whole and then using a mortar and pestle to crack them and grind the inner seeds. Cardamom has a powerful aroma but it fades rather quickly after the spice is ground, I’ve learned. It’s shocking to buy some fresh and compare its pungency to that of the forgotten jar that’s sat on the shelf.

So where should you start in your cardamom adventure? It melds magically with butter and sugar in cookies. Try these Candied Ginger Bars I just made (the butter is worth it) with gobs of crystallized ginger. They reminded me of the also butter-rich Honey and Cardamom Cookies (with ground almonds as part of the flour) when I reviewed The Spice Bible cookbook for The Sun.

My cardamom-laced oatmeal.

The fresh apples still in season also beg to be dressed up with cardamom. This weekend, I mulled my local apple cider with whole cardamom pods, star anise, nutmeg, cloves and a cinnamon stick. I jazzed up steel-cut oatmeal with grated apples (thank you, S-I-L Julia!), freshly ground cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, crushed walnuts, flax seeds, maple syrup, and dried coconut. I’ve heard it takes some folks a while to warm up to potent cardamom. This is a good place to start. I also threw some into applesauce and the quince paste I concocted, although in the case of the later, it may mask some of the quince’s subtle flavor.

How have you been cooking with cardamom these days? In Indian dishes, to be sure. In your chai tea, though you might not even know it. I cheated and drank some from the boxed mix tonight. I keep meaning to get around to brew my own chai blend sometime. I used the stickier seeds from larger black pods earlier this fall for a Rajasthani eggplant recipe. Indian ethnic markets are great sources of big bags of cardamom pods for cheap. Now I just challenge you to use them quickly, before the spice loses its magical but fleeting verve.

Written by baltimoregon

December 14, 2009 at 12:12 am

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Melt the Butter First, For the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Visiting our D.I.Y. friend Dave inspired me to bake more. So I made my sister-in-law’s delicious chocolate chip cookies tonight. Her secret is to melt the butter before adding it to the dough. It makes quite a smooth confection. She also recommends using nuts if you aren’t allergic. I added Oregon hazlenuts.

Here’s the recipe (Thanks Julia!):

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and grease or put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 cups flour

2 cups chocolate chips

Nuts, optional

Melt butter and beat with sugar and eggs.

Add vanilla and salt.

Stir in baking soda, flour, then chips and nuts.

Scoop 1/4 cup of dough onto sheet for each cookie.

Bake at 325 for 15-17 minutes. Yum!

Written by baltimoregon

January 11, 2009 at 2:12 am

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