Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple-Oat Cookies

Another winner from the Betty Crocker Fall Baking cookbook! I knew this cookbook would serve me well. These cookies are very yummy, and I am excited to take them to my coworkers tomorrow. The only issue I had is that the drizzle was not thick enough and basically soaked right into the cookies. So, aesthetically, they may not be too pleasing, but they sure are yummy.

Apple-Oat Cookies (source: Betty Crocker Fall Baking cookbook)

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon abking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups old fashioned or quick cooking oats
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup shredded)
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons apple juice or milk (I used milk because we never have apple juice in the house)

Heat oven to 375. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, scraping sides occasionally, until blended.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture. Stir in oats and apple. Onto cookie sheets, drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart.

Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar and apple juice (or milk) until smooth, using wire whisk or fork. Drizzle over cooled cooking on cooling rack. Let stand about 1 hour or until glaze is set.

Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies.

Chicken Soup with Rice

So the pictures of this soup pretty much speak for themselves. There's not much more that I can say, except that this was one of the most comforting, delicious soups I have ever made. This was my first time making chicken soup with rice instead of noodles, and I definitely prefer the rice. Of course, Maura and Rob both said they prefer noodles, so there ya go. Anyway, I loved this soup and plan on making it this way from now on. So there! I decided to go ahead and cook the rice separately. I figured that way the rice would not soak up all the yummy broth.

I normally use boneless skinless chicken breasts in my soup, but I opted for chicken legs and thighs this time. My reason for this was that I was making my own stock, and I used chicken leg quarters to make it. So I just used the meat from making my stock in my soup. I definitely prefer the flavor of the dark meat over the white, and it is so much more affordable. I doubt that I'll ever use white meat in my soups again. It just dries out too quickly.

Chicken Soup with Rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade. You could definitely use store bought)
3 chicken thighs and 3 chicken legs, cooked and de-boned (You could definitely use pre-roasted chicken here. Or you could use boneless skinless breasts. I just find that the dark meat is juicier and more flavorful)
Thyme, basil, oregano, salt and pepper (I did not measure these at all. Sorry!)

1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until softened. Add carrots and celery and cook over medium heat for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Add stock, chicken, and herbs and spices. Cook over medium-low heat, testing the seasoning as it cooks, for approximately 45 minutes.

In a separate pot, add rice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed into the rice and the rice is light and fluffy. Fluff rice with fork and spoon into soup bowls. Ladle soup over rice and enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

So, apparently, the big pumpkin scare is over. I was worried there for a while that I wouldn't be able to find any canned pumpkin this season, and I have to admit that I was getting kind of anxious about it. I did end up finding a bunch of sugar pumpkins to roast, which kept my anxiety at bay. But now the shelves in the stores seem to have an ample supply of the canned stuff so everyone can stop panicking :-) I grabbed a few small cans at Target last week, and my Mom grabbed me 4 of the big guys. So now I should be set until next year :) I'd also like to thank my good friend Meredith for picking me up a can of pumpkin when she found some at the grocery store. Sorry I had to turn it away Mere, but I just don't know what I'd do with one more can! Thanks for thinking of me anyway!

Now, on to these cookies. I believe I started hearing about these last fall on a cooking message board I used to frequent a lot more often than I do these days. I'm pretty sure I recall these babies being pretty popular and I'm not sure why I never tried them. I guess I just had so many other things to try, they never made it close enough to the top of the list. Well, I am really glad that I decided to give these a whirl because they are really yummy! A note of caution though, the frosting is very rich. I mean, 3 cups of confectioner's sugar will hurt your teeth, and your tummy. The recipe says to frost the cookies generously, but I think just a thin spread would be sufficient. I went ahead and generously frosted mine, and they are very yummy, but maybe a bit too much frosting for me. I think spreading too much frosting on hides the real flavor of the cookies. And these cookies deserve to shine. They are light and cakey with a hint of spice from the cinnamon. I'd even venture to say you could go without the frosting, if you're the kind of person who prefers their cookies frosting-free. Either way, these are a winner, and I'm excited for Maura to test them out when she gets home from school today.

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting (source: Betty Crocker by way of Carrie's Sweet Life)

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin ( not pie mix)
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Browned Butter Frosting

3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup butter (do not use margarine or spread; it will burn)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Beat in pumpkin and eggs until well mixed. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. (I always mix my dry ingredients together with a whisk before adding them to my wet mixture. This way, I'm sure that everything is as evenly incorporated as possible.)

On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

In medium bowl, place confectioner's sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk. In 1 quart saucepan (I used my 9 inch nonstick skillet and it worked just fine) heat 1/3 cup butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until light brown,

Pour browned butter over powdered sugar mixture. Beat on low speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Gradually add just enough of the remaining tablespoon of milk to make frosting creamy and spreadable. Generously frost cookies. (I did not need to add any additional milk. Three tablespoons was perfect.)

I wanted to add that I think this frosting would pair well with other types of desserts. I'm thinking some kind of spice cake or apple spice cake. Maybe I'll experiment with it a bit...