In case you haven’t heard about her before, Pioneer Woman is definitely the best blogger out there. Mother, cook, photographer, ranch hand– she does it all. But what I enjoy most is the cooking part of her blog. This week, I tried out two recipes from her blog on my coworkers and boy, were they super happy.
New recipe today– chocolate hazelnut thumbprints from Cooking Light. Check it out– delicious! (And it doubles well)
Yield: 28 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)
- 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted (I used chopped pecans because I’m cheap)
- 1/3 cup Nutella
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.
3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.
Few foods inspire me so much that I must recommend them to the whole world. This salad is the exception to the rule. Follow my simple instructions and you will be in salad heaven.
Serving size: one plate-sized dinner salad
- Romaine lettuce, chopped
- Cherry tomatoes (about 6-8), chopped
- Cooked chicken, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 hard boiled egg- whites separated from the yolk, each chopped finely
- Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- Chopped walnuts
- Salt and pepper
- Oil and Vinegar
- Dinner roll
Gorgonzola is the make or break ingredient in this salad– do not leave it out.
Layer in the following order:
- Egg whites
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and oil and vinegar. Serve with a roll.
If you want the real deal– go to Il Vicino in Denver. My salad is pretty close, but nothing can compare.
In honor of everyone’s New Years resolutions, let me tempt you with a genuine resolution-breaker: Chocolate Baklava. I originally found the recipe in CookingLight (December 2009 issue), but adapted it a bit. Here is my version. Try it– tedious, but absolutely delicious!
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon OR one 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 cup Nutella (about one 13-oz jar)
- 1 and 2/3 cups chopped nuts (I used a combination of walnuts, pecans and almonds)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Cooking spray
- 24 sheets of frozen phyllo dough, thawed (I used Athens brand)
- 3/4 cup butter, melted (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup but that was not nearly enough)
1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230° (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; keep warm. (If used, discard cinnamon stick).
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Combine hazelnuts and next 5 ingredients (through salt). Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing ends of sheet to extend over edges of dish; lightly brush with butter. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup melted hazelnut -chocolate spread over phyllo. Sprinkle evenly with one-third of nut mixture (about 1/2 cup). Repeat procedure twice with phyllo, butter, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and nut mixture. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter. Press gently into pan.
4. Make 3 lengthwise cuts and 5 crosswise cuts to form 24 portions using a sharp knife. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle honey mixture over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover; store at room temperature.