Land of Sweets

I don’t make as many sweets and candies the whole year as I make the week or two before Christmas. It’s so nice to give homemade gifts to family, friends and neighbors during the holidays. Of course, it’s even better to get some sweet treats in return.

I hope you will enjoy trying the recipes below and we’d love for you to share your favorite candy recipes or ideas with us. Just drop us a line on Facebook at City Social Food. I hope your holiday season is filled with sweet treats and small gestures from big hearts. Happy holidays!

Read the full article in the December issue of City Social for some candy-making basics. Pick up an issue around town or read it online at www.citysocial.com.

tigerbarkTiger Bark
20 ounces (1 package) vanilla almond bark
1/2 cup cashew butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Break vanilla almond bark into pieces and melt over low heat in a heavy saucepan.  Stir bark constantly until it is melted and smooth, being careful not to let it brown on the bottom. Stir in cashew butter until smooth.

Pour bark onto a rimmed cookie sheet (1/2 jellyroll pan) or baking dish and smooth out into a thin layer. Melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan, stirring until melted and smooth as well. Spoon chocolate over bark and cashew butter mixture in lines about 1/2 inch apart.  Swirl with a spatula, toothpick or knife to create a marble effect.

Place in refrigerator 10 minutes or until set.  Break the bark into pieces and store in an air-tight container in refrigerator or at room temperature. Allow the back to come to room temperature before serving.

Peppermint LollipopsPeppermintLollipops
2/3 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint or spearmint extract
1/8 teaspoon red food coloring.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay lollipop sticks down several inches apart on the baking sheet. Prepare an ice bath in your sink.

Heat sugar, corn syrup, and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan (one with a spout is helpful, but not necessary) over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring. Put a candy thermometer into syrup and continue to boil until it registers 300 degrees Fahrenheit (hard-crack stage), then stir in peppermint extract and food coloring. Immediately dip bottom of pan in ice bath to stop cooking and remove quickly.

Pour a 2-inch pool of syrup onto the baking sheet over each lollipop stick or fill in lollipop molds. If syrup becomes too thick to pour, heat to thin it, then continue to pour. Let lollipops cool and harden, about 10 to 15 minutes, then gently loosen from the paper. If desired, individually wrap lollipops in cellophane wrappers and tie them closed with a festive ribbon.

FudgeChocolate Orange Fudge
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons Triple Sec or orange liqueur
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons orange zest

Butter or line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Cook sugar, milk, half and half, corn syrup and liqueur in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Add butter and orange zest.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to 150 degrees Fahrenheit without stirring. Then stir mixture until it is thick and no longer shiny. Spread in pan and smooth out evenly with the back of a spatula or place wax paper over the fudge and smooth it with your hands.  Allow the fudge to cool completely, then cut it into squares. Sprinkle a little more zest before serving. Store in an air-tight container.

Black Friday Breakfast

I have to admit, I’ve only braved Black Friday as a shopper once and that was enough. I know a lot of you are ready to tackle your lists while the sales are hot. Remember, to keep up your stamina and to keep you from getting just a bit too testy with the masses, it’s important to have a good breakfast before you go.

Once you’ve conquered the crowds and checked off your Christmas shopping list, you can come home to a hardy recovery breakfast. Warm turnovers and savory muffins will replenish some of your lost sleep and repair your frazzled nerves. This and a good cup of coffee may even restore a crowd-worn holiday spirit.

From the comfort of my sofa, at a time much later than o’ dark-thirty, I’ll be wishing my best to all you brave bargain hunters.

For the full article and more, read our November issue at www.citysocial.com or pick up one of our pretty issues around town.

Energy Barsbars
2 eggs
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted pepitas
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Ovaltine chocolate milk powder
1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dried, mixed fruit
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/3 cup light maple syrup
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Beat the eggs and banana together in a medium bowl. Add oats, pepitas, cinnamon, milk powder, dates, raisins, pecans, fruit, wheat germ, maple syrup and whole-wheat flour together in a large food processor. Pulse one or twice until thoroughly combined. Add the banana mixture and pulse once or twice more to mix evenly. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 20 to25 minutes; set the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into bars with a pizza cutter. Wrap the bars with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Bacon, Herb and Cheese Savory Muffinsmuffins
6 slices cooked bacon
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or paper a muffin tin. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons bacon fat. Crumble bacon. Wisk the bacon fat and butter together in a small dish or bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cheese, herbs and bacon. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg. Make sure the bacon fat and butter mixture is room temperature before incorporating with the eggs. Whisk the butter and bacon fat mixture into the milk and egg until blended. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined (do not over mix).

Scoop the batter evenly among muffin tins and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and a tester comes out clean. Makes 10 to 12 muffins.

turnoversEasy Apple Turnovers
1/2 package frozen puff pastry sheets
2 Granny Smith apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple jelly
1 egg, beaten
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the pastry sheets out to thaw to room temperature. Peel and cut the apples into thin wedges. Place them in a medium sauce pan with cinnamon, brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook until the apples begin to get tender and the sugar has melted. Stir in the jelly.

Beat the egg in a small bowl. Roll out the pastry and cut it into 5-inch squares. Place three or four slices of the apple mixture in the center. Fold the pastry in half at the corners, making it a triangle. Brush the inside edges with the egg and seal it down with a fork. Poke a few holes in the top of the turnover so steam can escape. Brush the top of the turnover with egg and place on the pan. Repeat with the others.

Once you’ve filled all the turnovers, bake them for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Whisk the powdered sugar into the juices left from cooking the apples. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the glaze is think, but pourable. Drizzle the glaze over slightly warm turnovers and serve.

The Scoop on Jambalaya

The first jambalaya recipes were made by the Spanish attempting to make something close to paella with what they could find in the “New World.” Because Spanish settlers could not find saffron here and it was too expensive to import, they used tomatoes instead. As time passed and the recipe began to travel throughout the state, jambalaya took on new seasonings and flavors influenced by French settlers. Today, we have two basic versions of jambalaya referred to by some as Creole and Cajun. Creole, or red, jambalaya is made with tomatoes; and Cajun, is made without tomatoes.

First, choose the right equipment, like a cast iron pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Next, prepare your vegetables by using equal parts of onion, peppers and celery and cut them uniformly so they are evenly balanced throughout your jambalaya. Brown your meat until it is safely done, but be careful not to over cook it because it will cook more once mixed in with the rice. Finally, choose good quality rice. There are many rice farms in South Louisiana providing local-grown varieties that may be found in our neighborhood grocery stores. You can do everything right in your jambalaya, but if the rice is poor quality, sticky from being over cooked, or hard and crunchy from being under cooked, it can ruin your whole dish.

Jambalaya2Oven Red Jambalaya
2 or 3 chicken breasts, cut into one-inch pieces
1 pound pork sausage, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1/2 small can tomato paste (optional)
2 cups uncooked rice
Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown sausage, set aside to drain on a platter lined with paper towels. Then brown chicken in sausage drippings. Combine cooked chicken with sausage and set aside. Saute bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic in butter until tender then remove from heat. Stir in meat mixture. Pour uncooked rice into a Dutch oven with a secure lid or other oven-safe covered dish. For a more Creole version, whisk together tomato paste and broth or use broth alone. Pour broth mixture over rice. Add seasonings and hot sauce. Stir in meat and vegetables. Cover tightly and bake for one hour or until rice is tender.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

It’s Pumpkin Season! Here’s one recipe I made this morning. (Fingers crossed the kids actually ate theirs on the way to school.) Hope your pumpkin season is off to a great start! Find more pumpkin recipes here.

pumpkinPumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Icing
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup milk

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed pumpkin. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition; stir in chopped walnuts or pecans. Spoon batter into well-greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pan cups. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, or leave plain. Makes about 24 cup cakes

Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, butter and maple syrup. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth. Ice cooled cupcakes with a butter knife or piping bag and tip.

Slow Cookin’

The days of homework, afterschool activities and harried evenings short on daylight are upon us. This is the time of year when I crank up the crock pot, or slow cooker, the most. It’s so nice to come home after a busy school or work day and have dinner either already done or at least well on its way.

Let your slow cooker or crock pot give back some of the time you spend scrambling to get dinner cooked on busy school nights or even lazy weekends. Try these recipes, get immersed in the billions of recipes
online, or tweak your own favorites like pot roast or even gumbo. An added bonus is that you’ll come home to heavenly aromas wafting from your kitchen on slow cooker days.

To get tips and tricks about slow cooking, read the full article in the September issue of City Social or pick up a copy around town.

PotatoSoupSmoked Cheddar Potato Soup Courtesy of Tammy Pearl, neighbor and crock pot queen.
1 30-ounce bag of frozen hash browns
3, 14-ounce cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 onion, chopped
Pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, not fat-free
5 strips cooked bacon, chopped
3 bunches green onions, chopped
1 block Applewood smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Mix everything together except the cream cheese. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Add the cream cheese about 30 to 45 minutes before serving. Stir in the shredded cheese, if you decide to add it, and bacon just before serving. Reserve some for topping along with sour cream and green onions.

Cook’s Note: I added the smoked cheddar to Tammy’s recipe, but it is perfectly delicious with or without it.

Chipotle Pulled Pork SlidersPorkSliders
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1, 6-pound pork shoulder or Boston butt, trimmed of fat
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
4 chipotle chiles
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotle chiles
1 cup barbeque sauce
20 to 32 split dinner rolls

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. In small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, salt, mustard, pepper and cumin with a fork. Rub seasoning mixture over pork. Place pork in cooker. Sprinkle sliced onion over top of pork in cooker. Cover; cook on low heat setting 7 to 8 hours.

Remove pork from cooker; place on cutting board. Skim fat from liquid and reserve liquid from the slow cooker. Shred pork by pulling two forks in opposite directions. Return to cooker. Mince garlic cloves with chipotle chilies and adobo in a food processor. Whisk together barbeque sauce, garlic and chipotle mixture, then pour shredded pork. Stir in some of the reserved cooking liquid for desired moistness.

Increase heat setting to high. Cover and cook 15 to 30 minutes longer or until pork is hot. Spoon pork mixture onto each roll and serve. Pork mixture can be kept warm in the slow cooker on low up to 2 hours.

AppleCrispSlow Cooker Apple Crisp
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch salt
1 stick butter, cut into cubes

Put lemon juice in the bottom of a slow cooker. Peel, core and slice apples and put in the slow cooker with the lemon juice and toss to coat. Mix together sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour over the apples and toss to coat.

For topping: In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form.

Sprinkle crumb topping on top. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, until apples are tender. For the last hour, cover the slow cooker with a paper towels capture the moisture and set the cover slightly askew to allow the steam to escape for the topping will crisp.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are generally more delicate than high volume varieties, but are full of flavor and come in a bounty of colors and sizes. Every heirloom variety is genetically unique, because it has evolved to resist pests and diseases and adapted to specific growing conditions and climates. Heirloom tomatoes don’t fit well into the commercial process, so choosing an organic heirloom tomato, will give you more flavor and less harmful ingredients.

You can find heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers markets and at specialty grocery stores. Shop now, because tomatoes are best during June through September. I encourage you to grow or purchase heirloom variety tomatoes. You’ll be surprised at the color and flavor they will add to your dishes. And don’t forget to save the seeds – you’ll be ensuring the survival of the fruit for years to come.

Read the entire August issue of City Social magazine at www.citysocial.com and read the full article in the Stirring It Up column! Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of City Social on stands all over town.

Couscous1

Roasted Tomato and Vegetables over Pesto Couscous
1 package couscous
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Steen’s Cane vinegar
2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash
1 box sliced mushrooms
1 red or yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
Sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
1 cup fresh feta cheese crumbles
1 pound large boiled shrimp, if desired

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, salt, cumin, pepper and vinegar. Slice tomatoes, onion and squash into 1/4-inch rounds. Wash sliced mushrooms. Seed and cut bell peppers into strips. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables over a greased jelly roll or half sheet pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare couscous according to package directions, replacing half the water with chicken or vegetable broth. After it’s done, stir in the prepared pesto. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl, top with roasted vegetables and feta and sprinkle with basil and serve warm.

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Pepper Jelly ReductionMozzarella1
1 red heirloom tomato
1 yellow or other colored tomato
1 6 or 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pepper jelly (any kind)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Slice tomatoes into thin slices. Slice mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices. Heat balsamic vinegar and pepper jelly until well blended, about 5 minutes. Arrange the tomato and cheese slices alternating them on a platter. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with strips of basil. Serve room temperature.

Polenta1Tomato, Onion and Goat Cheese Polenta
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups polenta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of goat cheese crumbles, divided
1 tablespoon of bacon fat
1 garlic clove
1 large red onion
2 or 3 heirloom tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farhenheit. In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a rapid boil. Slowly stir in polenta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in the olive oil and 1 cup goat cheese. Pour the polenta into a greased 10-inch pie plate or tart pan and press down evenly. Let the polenta cool on a wire rack.

Slice the tomatoes and onion into thin slices. Melt the bacon fat in a skillet and sauté onion and garlic until slightly tender. Arrange the slices of onion with tomato slices covering the top of the polenta. Top with the second cup of goat cheese.

Bake the polenta for 15 minutes, then brown 3 minutes under the broiler until golden brown. Serve warm.

Fresh Peach Recipes!

Second to strawberries, peaches are my favorite Louisiana-grown fruit. Fresh peaches are best enjoyed from late June to early August. So, lucky for me, peach season comes in on the coat tails of strawberry season helping me transition away from strawberry season without too many withdrawals.

Fresh peaches aren’t just made into delicious pies, jams or sauces. They can be added to almost any course of the meal. Use them in salsas, marinades, salads and, of course, desserts. You can bake, poach, broil and grill them for any recipe you wish.

Read more about choosing, cooking and storing peaches at www.citysocial.com; or pick up an issue on stands this week!

Scallops&SalsaSea Scallops with Cilantro Peach Salsa
1 cup diced peeled peaches
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 chipotle pepper, seeded and minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoons fresh lime juice (one lime)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon chipotle flavored Tobasco
2 teaspoons coconut oil
8 large sea scallops
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Mix peaches, red bell pepper, green onions, chipotle pepper, garlic, lime juice, cilantro and brown sugar in small bowl to blend. Season to taste Chipotle Tobasco, salt and pepper. Salsa can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy saucepan. Pat scallops dry and remove any of the rectangular muscles on the sides. Sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper. Sautee scallops in the hot oil until slightly brown on the outside and just opaque in centers, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Drain the scallops. Place three or four scallops onto a plate and spoon peach salsa over the top and serve. Garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Peach Mango SmoothiesSmoothie
1 cup fresh peaches, chopped
1 cup mangoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups crushed ice
5 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup soy or almond milk
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Divide among two large glasses, or four small, and serve immediately.

IceCreamPie
Peach Ice Cream Pie with Almond Cookie Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 package Anna’s brand almond cookies, finely ground
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups ripe peaches, diced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix cookie crumbs, salt and melted butter with a fork. Press the crumbs into a greased 8-inch spring form pan or deep dish pie plate. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.

Place peaches, brown sugar, ginger and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the peaches are just tender and the sugar has melted. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

Allow the ice ceam to soften, but not melt. Fold the cooled peach mixture into the ice cream. Spoon the ice cream mixture into the crust. Cover with plastic wrap touching the ice cream, and freeze until firm. When you’re ready to serve, allow the ice cream pie to soften for about 15 minutes on the counter. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or fresh peach slices.

Garding the Garden

Iyellow guess it’s about time for a garden update! I am pleased to announce my “hastily planted” tomato bushes survived all the cold snaps and are doing well. So far, I’ve had a few too many BLTs with their delicious red fruits. The yellow tomatoes are also doing well. I can’t wait to take a few more pictures of these little guys. They’re so pretty!

The cucumbers are behaving as if they’ve been fertilized (I keep forgetting to 136buy it at the store) or mutated (we live kinda close to a plant and the Mississippi River). We left for a four-day trip with tiny little baby veggies on the vine. This nearly 1 and 1/2 foot monster is what we found when we got home:

Today, I attacked the grass problem we have this year. I’m not sure how to get rid of it without harming the plants, so I’ll just have to be more vigilant about pulling it out before it gets out of hand.

Wedding Cookie Buffets

One of the newest trends at wedding receptions is a cookie buffet. Similar to the candy version, cookie buffets offer your guests the option to choose which treats they want to enjoy at your reception or take home as a favor.

Cookies in jars, on vintage plates or in crystal biscuit keepers are whimsical deserts perfect for any party. They are especially fun to make and a great treat for guests to nibble on no matter what the occasion.

Read the full article about cookie buffets at www.citysocial.com for some tricks to creating one of your own.

WeddingCookie2Zesty Wedding Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dried dates
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and orange zest in large bowl. Stir in flour, salt and dates. Stir in milk one tablespoon at a time until you can roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Do not brown. Cool the cookies slightly on wire rack, then roll them in powdered sugar. Once they are completely cooled, roll them in powdered sugar again. Yields three dozen.

ChcoChip1Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In large bowl, cream brown sugar and butter. Beat in vanilla and egg until fluffy. Add in oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Finally, stir in chocolate chips. Use a cookie scooper or rounded tablespoon, scoop cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cook completely.

WhispsChocolate Whisps
3 egg whites, cold
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sift together cocoa and sugar and set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar and cocoa mixture one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until glossy and stiff peaks form. Scoop out batter a drop onto a cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 20 minutes; a little longer if you’d like them crisp and less chewy. Let the cookies cool on racks. Serve cookies dusted with powdered sugar.

Happy Derby Day!

Happy Kentucky Derby Day everyone! I hope you’re all wearing fancy hats and watching the run for the roses. It’s not that big of a deal in South Louisiana, but we still like to eat some of the Derby’s traditional fare. Here are a couple of recipes from my box that have a Louisiana twist for the day. Have a beautiful weekend!

TableChocolate Pecan Pie
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/4 cups pecan halves
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell, homemade or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler melt chocolate and butter. Let cool slightly. Beat eggs lightly in a medium bowl. Add sugar, corn syrup, chocolate mixture, vanilla, and bourbon; stir until well blended. Fold in pecans. Place pie shell a baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until knife inserted midway between center and rim comes out clean. Cool pie on wire rack to room temperature before cutting.

Frozen Cucumber Mint Mojito Mojito2
3 medium or 2 large cucumbers, chopped
3 ounces white rum
4 ounces Sprite
2 teaspoons sugar
Juice of one lime Five or 6 mint leaves 2 cups ice

Blend all ingredients until slushy. Garnish with fresh mint sprig and serve cold in highball or any tall, narrow glass.