Brownie Cookies

Brownie Cookies

We went to Cashiers, North Carolina at the last-minute for Father’s Day week-end.  I literally booked our rooms at 8:00 PM before we left the next day.  It was a really good trip.  Sometimes those are the best kind of getaways.  You know last minute with no planning.  Just throw some shorts and a pair of jeans in the car and head out.  We really felt like a  king and queen at the B&B.  It was an amazing place  just check out Innisfree Bed and Breakfast.   We loved it.

Awaiting on a beautiful china tray when we checked in were Brownie Cookies.  We are talking intensely chocolate with toasted pecans.  Evidently I was not the first person to eat them with gusto and want the recipe to recreate the chocolate experience at home because Claire the owner when asked for the recipe just opened a drawer and whipped out a typed copy .  She cheerfully gave it to me with a big smile and said, “Enjoy!”   And that is exactly what I’m doing.

These really are some of the best cookies I have put in my mouth and I hope that you will enjoy them, too!   Have a Happy 4th!

 

Brownie Cookies by way of Sandi Eichorn and Claire

Yield:  about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate squares
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Toast pecans in pan for about 10 minutes.  Watch carefully.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Melt 1 stick butter, 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate squares, and 1 1/2 cups of the semisweet chocolate morsels oven medium low heat until melted.  Stirring constantly.  I remove from heat right before all the chocolate has melted.  Continue stirring until smooth.  Cool slightly so you won’t fry your eggs.
  4. Beat 4 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of sugar for a couple of minutes in a medium large bowl.  Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  5. Stir  melted chocolate and butter mixture  into eggs and sugar until well blended.
  6. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder.
  7. By hand mix in remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate morsels and toasted pecans.
  8. Drop by tablespoon on to parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  ( if you want smaller cookies make them a heaping teaspoon)
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

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Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo

 

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and this is perfect for your fiesta!   A couple of years ago one of the chefs from a culinary school here in Atlanta came to pitch the school to my students.  As always the visit was  a treat for me as well as my students. It included  a short video about the school as well as a short demo.  The highlight  was the food demo and on this particular trip to my class it was one I’m sure they will always remember.  He made migas.  Some of my students knew what they were , but most did not.  Scrambled eggs with peppers and add fried tortilla strips are migas in a nutshell.  What was the best to most including me was the Pico de Gallo that he put on top.  This fresh and simple recipe opened up my student’s eyes to just how easy it is to make this wonderful topping for tacos, migas, or just about anything.  In fact this is so good you just might want to puree it and drink it with a straw.

I like it packed with some heat.  Some jalapenos are hot and others are just bland.  I will cut and taste until I find one that has just the right amount of heat.  I want it with a big kick.  I know that some don’t like the heat and that means leave out  the seeds because they are the heater!   Try to make it about 30 minutes before serving to let the flavor develop.  The leftovers will be good for about 2 days, but I doubt they will last that long.  I serve as a side for all my Mexican dishes but I especially like to dump a huge amount on this salad.  Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have for about the last four years.  Have fun at your fiesta!

Pico de Gallo  put together from several recipes

Yield about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3  small tomatoes diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 jalapeno diced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 lime freshly squeezed ( about tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon of fine salt

Directions:

  1. Dice tomatoes.  I like to use the tomato juice.  You may want to drain and save the juice.  You could add it as needed.
  2. Add chopped jalapeno, onion and cilantro.
  3. Squeeze 1/2 a lime into vegetables.  Again you may need all the juice and you may not depending on the size of the lime.  Taste and adjust as needed.  You may even need more.
  4. Add salt.  I usually start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste.
  5. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Enjoy.

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Luscious Lemon Bars

luscious lemon bars

You need these lemon bars in your life.  Yes, you do!  Make them and share with all your family and friends.   They are the best ever!  Aren’t they just gorgeous on this platter?  I’ve been drooling over this recipe since I first saw it in Southern Living.  When Spring peeked out a little a couple of months ago I felt the need for something lemony and served these to my book club.  They flew off the platter!  But, who could resist when I put the platter on the table right in front of everyone.  You just want one more bite.

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Layered Taco Salad

layered taco salad

I love Mexican food and there is no other words to describe this salad but fantastic!  The salad part is just like any other salad with lettuce, tomato, olives, cheese, and avocado.  The stars of this main dish are the meat and the dressing so don’t change a thing when you make this because they are perfect as they are.  This is an easy to prepare so you will win all around.  The most time-consuming is chopping the onions, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and cilantro.   It does make a lot.  I mean that I served 10 people and had 2 servings as leftovers.  The leftovers are still good the next day if you don’t add the dressing to the top.  I do like it with some heat so I put really  hot jalapeno peppers with seeds and all in there.  You adjust the heat to your taste.  I love serving this with some crunchy tortilla chips and homemade Pico de gallo.  Yummy!   Make this for your next get together,  serve it on your deck or patio or take it to  your friends to enjoy.  They will thank you!

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Chocolate Mocha Torte

Chocolate Mocha Torte

This is one of the easiest desserts that I have made and it is definitely a show stopper.  I’m not sure which part of this I’m in love with most.  It could be the heavy whipping cream, or the Kahlua,  or maybe the crisp chocolate wafers that soften up from the Kahlua and espresso.  Maybe its the mascarpone cheese mixed with sugar and vanilla.  Really I’m sure it is a combination of all of these that make an outstanding dessert that will catch everyone’s attention at your next dinner party.  Your guests are going to think you spent hours making it, but trust me it is a cinch to make.   I saw Ina Garten make this on her cooking show and knew that I had to try it.  It is so worth every calorie.  Now after making Ina’s recipe as it stands I chose to change it.  She uses chocolate chip cookies.  I like it with homemade chocolate chip cookies, but I love it with the Chocolate wafers made by Nabisco.  Her recipe has you throwing everything in the mixer except the cookies.  I changed it up by creaming the cheese and sugar together first.  I threw two batches of the cream in the trash  when the cheese and whipping cream were very lumpy.   You can’t have lumpy in a cream torte so it works so much better when the cheese and sugar are creamed together first.

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Tomato Tarts from Paula’s Cookbook

Tomato Tarts

There is nothing better in the summer than a good sliced tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper.  But, that window of opportunity to have those mouth-watering slices is so short.  During the winter I crave those tomatoes as I’m sure you also do.  There are a couple of recipes that I pull out of my back pocket to satisfy the tomato craving and this is one of them.  I have gone through my cookbook collection marking recipes with post it notes that I want to try.  If I cooked something new everyday for the rest of my life I am pretty sure that I would not get to all of the ones on my list, but thank goodness I tried this one.  When I read Paula’s headline that a catering friend of hers used this recipe all the time  in Savannah, Georgia I knew it had to be a winner.    I was right!  It is easy, good, pretty on a platter and it makes a winter tomato taste as good as the summer!

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Cheesy Grits with Garlic

Garlic cheese Grits

I was raised on grits.  You know the kind that popped all over the range and stuck to the bottom of the pan.  I love them with butter and cheddar cheese.  Growing up my mother would make them with country ham and red eyed gravy.  I can remember on cold afternoons my Dad would come home with Butch our bird dog and he would have  Quail stashed in every pocket in his hunting vest. I knew then we would be having grits and gravy with  Quail fried to  a golden brown.  Gosh it was so good!

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, side dish

Divinity

Divinity

Those of you that regularly read my blog know that I cannot make candy.  I fail at candy making !  I have tried my entire life to make fudge and divinity.  Well I made this fudge a couple of months ago and it worked.   Yesterday it turns out was the perfect day to make divinity.  There was not a drop of humidity anywhere near my house and I was not a failure at making divinity AGAIN!  I’m so happy with myself.  So you ask what does it take to have perfection at Divinity?  First of all follow the recipe to a T.  I have to laugh at this because I pulled out my mother-in-law’s recipe and the directions are so vague.  I had to fill in the gaps which was quite scary because none of the previous recipes that I used were a success.  Second, choose a day that is dry and clear.  Absolutely no humidity is best.  Third,  be patient.

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Ina’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Ina's roasted buttrnut squash salad

A good salad make me happy… very happy!  This is a good one.  Butternut squash has not shown itself on our menus here at our house very often.  I do house  “somewhat” of a picky eater.  I do love this butternut squash soup. It’s good enough to drink with a straw.  And this Roasted butternut squash may not make it to your table.  You can’t help but nibble on it right out of the oven!  So when I was perusing my cookbooks looking for a salad for my upcoming book club I found this perfect salad to serve with this soup.

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Filed under Roasted Vegetables, Salad, salad dressing

Slice and Bake Oatmeal Cookies with Black Walnuts

 

oatmeal with black walnuts

As a child I loved spending days with my grandparents.  They lived on a huge farm and I pretty much got run of the place.  It was a child’s paradise!  I even got to take some of the animals home as pets.  I had a beautiful Bantam rooster that I brought home.  The rooster did not stay home long though.  He fell in love with a hen across the road from us.  When the weather was good I played under the China Berry tree in the front yard or walked to the creek to pick blackberries.  Out back was a big metal container where my grandfather crushed sugar cane for syrup.  Sometimes you could find me there or in the barn with all the hay.  It was the perfect place for kids and I have many fond memories.

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