Tuesday, February 19, 2013

For the Love of Cookie Dough

How often do you open a book and immediately read something that speaks to you?

If you feel the same way that I do about this picture, then The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis might be something you want to check out.   

(and when I googled Lindsay, I realized she blogs at Love and Olive Oil, one of the blogs that hosted the Food Blogger Cookie Exchange at Christmas.  Even more awesome!)

I love chocolate chip cookie dough.   Especially right out of the bowl, or with just a quick hit in the microwave to get everything hot and melty.   It's really the best part of the chocolate chip cookie experience.  

I also have a life-long inability to make the perfect, fluffy, thick chocolate chip cookie.   Here in Denver I can blame it on the altitude, but it was an issue back when sea level and I were close partners in Indiana and Illinois. 

This cookbook highlights all the great things you can do with the basic egg-free raw chocolate chip cookie dough recipe...and all the other flavors of cookie dough and their many manifestations.  

If you search online for "egg free cookie dough", you'll find lots of options.  Many of them look very similar.  Since you're only eating it and not baking with it, the ingredients look a lot like a half-batch of chocolate chip cookies, without the eggs and the leavening agents (baking soda or baking powder).   In fact, you'll be forced to eat it, since it won't bake into a standard cookie.

Rough life, right?

After I made the cookie dough (with mini M&M's instead of chocolate chips), I knew I needed to do something more than just shove it in my mouth with a spoon.   So I stuffed pretzels and dipped them.   Why not?

What You Need
Cookie dough, of course.  Pretzels.  Wilton's candy melts.  Sprinkles.
What You Do
Make the eggless raw cookie dough of your choice.   I used the recipe in the book.  
Trying to stuff a small pretzel is not as easy as it sounds.   I rolled the dough into small balls and then pressed it into one section of the pretzel.   I melted a small amount of the candy melts and then dipped the cookie doughed section of the pretzel.   Let the excess candy coating drip off, then lay on wax paper.   If you're going to use sprinkles, you've gotta do it quick, before the coating hardens.
Enjoy the sweet and salty combination.  
Don't worry if there is extra dough left over.
You know what to do.  
Open mouth.
Insert spoon.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cherry M&M Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Woot!   This is my 100th post here on Traveler in the Kitchen.   Last spring, I decided that my love of food needed its own outlet and here we are.  Yay Food!

There was a meme going around about February 15th being half off candy day.  

It's true.   Just by the virtue of being in a bag with hearts on it, I found cherry M&M's at half off.   But what to do with them?    During the same grocery store visit, I found a jumbo, slightly damaged, Hershey bar that was on clearance.    Chocolate chunk cookies?   Must be a sign.

What You Need

1 box (16.5oz) dark chocolate fudge cake mix
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter/margarine, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (4.4 oz) jumbo Hershey bar, chopped
3/4 cup cherry M&Ms

*if you live at altitude, like I do, add 2T flour to your cookie batter so they don't look flat and sad

What You Do

Preheat oven to 350.    Line your baking sheets with silicone baking mats for easy baking and cleanup.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir until combined.   Drop by the spoonful (the bigger the spoon, the bigger the cookie...I used my standard kitchen spoons the kind that you stir your coffee with).    Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two and then allow to cool on a cooling rack.

These are especially delicious hot and gooey right out of the oven - you might need a spoon.

Happy 50% Candy Day!

Two Brothers Deli - Idaho Springs

I love Epic Mix Photos!

After a great morning of skiing, it's important that you stop for the proper nutrition on your way back down the mountain.   The birthday girl (the one in the blue jacket), picked one of her favorite places in Idaho Springs:   Two Brothers Deli & Yoga Room

Yes, you read that right.  Deli and Yoga Room.   If you walk back through the restaurant, past the soda machine and the rest rooms you'll see a sign letting you know you're in a shoe free zone and you can step back in to the yoga room. 

I didn't partake in any yoga, but I did partake in a breakfast wrap.  I'm not sure if I would have been able to bend into any yoga shape after eating this wrap.   This is the Smokey Wrap smothered in green chile.  Even after stuffing my face, there was enough to take home for a nighttime snack.  Definitely going to add this restaurant to my mountain travel rotation!  

For those who get to have a three day weekend, enjoy.   As for myself, I'll be back at it tomorrow!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Almond Macaroon Brownies

Ski trips bring out the urge to snack.   You spent time out in cold, snowy nature.   You deserve a cocktail.  Chips.  Dip.   Pizza.  Bacon.   Bagels.   Dessert.
You absolutely deserve dessert.    As the east coast was preparing for a major winter storm, here in Colorado we just hoped for a powder day.    We had a beautiful weekend staying up in Keystone.
I brought two treats up the hill:  Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies and these brownies.   
Brownies are simple - especially using a box mix as a base.   If you love coconut, almonds and chocolate, this is the way to go!
What You Need
1 box brownie mix (for a 13x9 pan..."family size" if you will) and the eggs, oil and water the box mix calls requires - follow the directions for cake like brownies
3 cups of shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk, I used fat-free
What You Do
For easy cleanup, line your 13x9 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.   Preheat oven to 350 (for high altitude and/or dark non-stick pans).     Make brownie batter as directed, pour in pan, and baked for 24-26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of the pan comes out almost clean.
While brownies are baking, make the macaroon topping.   Combine coconut, almonds, almond extract and sweetened condensed milk.     Take brownies out of the oven.  Gently spoon and spread coconut topping evenly over brownies.    Bake for 15 minutes.   Cool completely (I even put mine in the fridge for a little bit for easier cutting).
Pull brownies out of pan using foil.     Get out your big knife and go to town, slicing brownies into your favorite size.   Store in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge (they aren't going to last long enough for you to worry).   
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chickpea Curry

I really like chickpeas / garbanzo beans.   Liking hummus is usually where it starts.  You dip your chips, pretzel, and veggies into the smooth delicious spread.   You have no idea what hummus is or how it's made.     
You would never know by looking at a bowl of hummus that it came from a bean. 
And that bean can be your stand alone protein in a tasty, well-seasoned, low calorie, meatless entree.
Let's do this!
What You Need
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (I probably didn't chop it as finely as I could have - that's ok)
3 teaspoons minced, jarred garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder - I used Penzeys hot curry powder 
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of ground cloves
2 cans (15oz) chickpeas, rinsed/drained
3 tablespoons ketchup
(sidenote:  I personally don't like ketchup as a condiment.  I don't put it on eggs or fries or any of the other usual suspects.   I use it strictly in recipes.   The end)
2 cups water
coarse salt and ground pepper
What You Do
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions start to brown around the edges, around 6 minutes.   Add the garlic, curry, cinnamon stick and cloves.   Cook, stirring spices until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add chickpeas, ketchup and the water.   Season with salt and pepper.   Bring to a boil then reduce simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.     After 20 minutes, uncover and return to medium high heat until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.  
You can season / garnish the dish with a little Lowry's seasoning salt, sea salt, cracked pepper,  lemon juice or lemon wedges.  
Serve over rice (or the grain of your choice - or none at all - it's your curry).
If you like chickpeas - here are a couple other tasty recipes you can try:
Recipe Source: Everyday Food Light (courtesy of my local library)

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