Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gingersnap Cookie Sandwiches

Ginger and lemon. A Classic pairing. Pretty much anything that has ginger and lemon together tastes great in my book. This was just my normal gingersnap recipe. I altered it a tiny bit, I put in chopped crystallized ginger to make up the ginger flavor a bit then made the cookies half the size I usually make them. Then I filled them with this easy lemon frosting recipe. THEN I moved them around the house before they set trying to find good light which caused them to slide all over the place. But, they still taste awesome.

Here's the filling recipe.

2 Tb butter
2 Tb lemon juice
powdered sugar

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, add the lemon juice and beat until totally incorporated. Add as much powdered sugar as is necessary to make it into a good frosting consistency. Let cookies set before serving, or photographing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweet Potato Hummus

Basic hummus is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. After that you can go crazy with it. Everyone you talk to has a different ratio of ingredients and everyone likes to add something different. Parsley, paprika, roasted garlic or cumin for those who like to play it safe. If you are adventurous you can add anything from artichokes, olives or red peppers to fresh fruit, sriracha sauce or wasabi. There are people out there who substitute black beans, white beans, lima beans or even lentils for the chickpeas, but since hummus litereally translates to chickpeas I wouldn't consider those dishes hummus. Although white bean hummus does sound better then white bean dip.

Hummus is relatively good for you (for those of you who might care). Chickpeas are full of protein and fiber, the tahini and olive oil add "good" fats and if you eat it as a dip with raw veggies it can be a filling lunch with nothing else added. I kept this recipe pretty basic and just added one sweet potato which I had peeled, cubed and steamed.

¼ c tahini
¼ c fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove chopped
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper
1 can chickpeas
1 lb sweet potatoes, steamed

Put the tahini and lemon juice into a blender and blend until it's frothy, white, and creamy. Add the garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and blend it into the cream.

Drain and rinse off the chickpeas in a strainer. Gradually add the chickpeas and sweet potato making sure each addition is well blended, until the cream has thickened, but isn't too thick. Add salt to taste.

Scoop the hummus onto a plate, drizzle good olive oil over it, and sprinkle some parsley and/or cumin on top if you like.

Monday, August 16, 2010


So a while ago Jeremy and I got a chance to go out for dinner just the two of us, no kiddos, and Jeremy decided to take me to Tin Angel. It was wonderful. We shared the local platter appetizer which included, among other things, cornbread crostini and sweet potato hummus. Ever since that night I have been craving it. So finally this past Friday, since it doesn't look like we will be visiting the Tin Angel any time soon, I decided I was going to make it myself. A quick look in the cupboards showed I had all the ingredients save one. Tahini.

Now, we live pretty close to Nashville but we do NOT live in one of the ethnically middle eastern areas. I know from experience that the grocery stores around here do not carry tahini nor have the people who work there even heard of it before. The last time I went looking for tahini the conversation went something like this:

me: "Excuse me do you know if you carry tahini?"

grocery worker: "ta what?"

me: "tahini"

grocery worker: "What?"

me: "ta - he - knee"

grocery worker: "What's that?"

me: "It's a paste made of sesame seeds."

grocery worker: blank stare

me: "Sesame seeds? It's paste made from them, you use it to make hummus..."

grocery worker: "What's hummus?"

me: "It's like a dip made from chickpeas."

grocery worker: blank stare...crickets chirp...paint dries

me: *sigh* "I miss Seattle."

grocery worker: "what did you miss?"

me: "Nothing, thanks for your help."

So my options are to drive 15 minutes north to a store that might have tahini, drive 30 minutes south to a store that probably does have tahini or google homemade tahini and take my chances. Taking into account the fact that it is about a bagillion degrees outside and my car's A/C isn't working I decided on the last option. I looked at 5 or 6 different homemade tahini recipes and they all had different ratios of sesame seeds to olive oil but the process was the same. So I decided to just dive in and wing it.

First you place the sesame seeds in a sauté pan over medium heat (here's what they start off looking like).

and toast them until they turn golden brown, pull off immediately and let cool. (here's how dark mine got).

I was just barely on this side of burnt so I would definitely not let them go as long next time.

Once they are toasted just put them in a food processor and begin to process them drizzling olive oil in a little at a time until a paste of medium thickness comes together. Scrape down the sides of the processor thoroughly to make sure everything is evenly blended. I used all mine up that night but I read you can keep it in the fridge tightly covered for up to a week.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

These cupcakes are crazy. First of all - they are a great chocolate cupcake with out any additions. The crumb stays light and moist even in the fridge overnight and they taste kind of like chocolate ice cream. The recipe was actually a sheet cake recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Then just to make them amazing. I added oreo cookies to them and frosted them with a vanilla cream cheese frosting. Just to make sure there would be enough oreo goodness to go around I even put half an oreo with the cream on it in the bottom of each cupcake.

24 oreo halves with cream
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
12 – 24 oreos cut in fourths
2 sticks butter
4 heaping Tb cocoa
1 cup boiling water
½ cup buttermilk.
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with liners and place a half an oreo in each liner.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and oreo fourths in a mixing bowl.
Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa and stir together, add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a bowl beat together buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into chocolate/flour mixture. Fill cupcake liners almost to the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until set.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese softened
6 Tb butter softened
4 ¼ c powdered sugar
2 Tb vanilla
2 Tb half and half

Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well mixed. Add vanilla and half and half. Mix slowly until incorporated and then beat on high to “whip” frosting to desired consistancy.

Go ahead, take a bite, I know you want to :)

Apparently there weren't very many oreo chunks in this one and the half an oreo floated to the top! Told you they were light.