Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carrot Cookie Sanwiches with lemon cream cheese filling

I think everybody knows that cookie sandwiches are mostly just an excuse to eat double the amount of cookies ... but who cares! They're great that way!

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup roughly grated carrots (approximately 1-1/2 to 2 carrots)
1/2 cup raisins

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Measure the oats, and then grind the oats in a food processor to make a fine flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed until well combined. Add the egg and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients in two additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each one. Add the carrots and raisins, mixing just to combine. The dough will be very sticky.

Drop 1-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. (It'll take more than one batch to cook them all) Bake, until the cookies are golden brown and spring back when gently touched in the center, about 13-15 minutes. When cool enough to touch, pull the parchment paper with the cookies on it, on to a wire rack and cool the cookies there before filling

To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, lemon zest, sugar, and salt on medium speed until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. (The filling can be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using.)

Using a small spoon or spatula, spread 1 teaspoon of the filling over the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, flat sides together.

The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Adapted from the Craft Of Baking

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A little bit of my life - March 2011

This winter the dining room table was once again covered in plastic, and I dragged in my grow light from the greenhouse. Since some seeds need a warm environment, I've been able to start seeds successfully using this method.

These are Adenium seedlings that I started a couple weeks ago. This is their first day without the cover to their jiffy greenhouse. They're Royal Ruby and Phoenix seedlings.
The individually potted plants are Adenium that I started from seed last fall. They'll be going outside in just a couple of weeks.

The Nasturtium I sowed are already outside because they don't mind the cool nights. In fact, they thrive on cool nights ... unlike me, who still has the electric blanket going every night.

Today I planted a bunch of Cosmos seeds that I had given to me. Many of these could be planted in the greenhouse now, but I enjoy keeping a closer eye on them. I check them out when I turn on the grow light at 5 AM and when I turn it off at 9 PM. It's such a pleasant surprise to see them pop up from the moist growing medium.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Almost Healthy Muffins - AKA Flax Seed Muffins

Moist muffins with a taste reminiscent of old fashioned gingerbread. They're full of good things ... and just a smidgen of not-so-good. Give them a try for one of those days when you only want to feel a little bit guilty for indulging.

Flax Seed Muffins

1-1/4 cup of ground up flax seeds ( I used my VitaMix, but a coffee grinder would work too)
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
4 large Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Oil
1/2 cup Water
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1 medium Apple, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 muffin pan very well, or line with paper liners.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the rest of them and mix well.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes then put into the muffin pan.

Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit


16 large to extra large Baby Bella or White Mushrooms (your taste preference)
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 Pound sweet Italian Sausage, removed from casings (or you can buy the roll type)
1/2 Cup Chopped onion
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2/3 Cup Panko bread crumbs
8 Ounces Mascarpone cheese
1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside.
Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil in a medium skillet, over medium heat. Add the Sausage, crumbling it. Cook the sausage 8 mintes, stirring frequently. It should be completely browned. Add the chopped Mushroom Stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Add in the chopped Onion and minced Garlic and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly. Lastly, mix in the Mascarpone Cheese and continue to cook until the mascarpone has melted and makes the sausage mixture creamy.

Take off the heat and stir in the Parmesan, dried Parsley, and season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Fill each mushroom generously with the Sausage Mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake 45 minutes or until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

If you have extra stuffing cook it in a separate casserole dish. It makes a nice side dish for meat, such as pork chops.

Here's the Mushrooms before they were cooked