Thursday, October 25, 2012

Slow Cooked Balsamic Chicken with Swiss Chard and Polenta

I am always looking for a slow cooker recipe that is different from the usual stew or soup recipe. Sometimes you just need an easy recipe to throw together during the week. No fuss, no mess, just let the slow cooker do the work and come back at dinner time.

What I really like about this recipe is that you do not have to brown the chicken ahead of time. There is very little cooking involved for this meal. All you have to prepare is the sauce, which really only consists of sauteing some onions and adding in the rest of the ingredients.

As in most slow cooked meals, the left overs are just as good the next day, if not better. I am already looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch.

I served this with polenta. I have never made it before and I wanted to give it a try. I loved it! It is a great side dish to this meal to soak up all the delicious sauce. My daughter Layla loved the polenta too. She ate her entire serving with no hesitation. I will definitely be making polenta as a side dish more often. A major plus, it's gluten free and it reminds me of pastina, which I am no longer able to eat.

Definitely give this meal a try the next time you feel like making your slow cooker do all the work.

***If you make this dish with bone-in chicken as recommended, be careful of bones while eating. 

Slow Cooked Balsamic Chicken with Swiss Chard and Polenta
Serves 4-6  Adapted from: America's Test Kichen Slow Cooker Revolution

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp all-purpose flour (I used all purpose GF flour)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
10-12 (6 oz.) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed (I used bone in-skinless chicken breasts and thighs)
1 bunch (6 oz.) Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves sliced 1/2 in. thick
Garnish with basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

1.  Heat oil in medium size skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5-8 minutes. Add in thyme, tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook additional 5-8 minutes until onions are very soft and lightly brown. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more.

2.  Slowly whisk in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps.  Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker.

3.  To the slow cooker, stir in diced tomatoes, broth, wine, and bay leaves.

4.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into sauce in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

5.  30 minutes before serving, gently stir in Swiss chard leaves, cover, and cook on high until tender, 20-30 minutes.

6.  Transfer chicken to platter and tent loosely with foil.  Let braising liquid settle 5 minutes, then skim fat from surface using large spoon.  Discard bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with sauce spooned over each chicken piece.

To make polenta: (Makes 4 servings)
Place 3 cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt or low-sodium chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add in 3/4 cup polenta in an even stream. Continue to whisk until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and pulls away from side of the pan; about 7-10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. (If the mixture becomes too thick, add a little more water or stock to loosen)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

I knew the second I read this recipe in Cooking Light magazine that I wanted to make it for Tom's breakfast. It just sounds sooo good...chocolate hazelnut banana bread..yummm. How bad could anything with Nutella be?

I called Tom at work and asked him how it came out. He said it was "sooo goood" and that I should make this a regular for breakfast. Next mission is making a gluten free version for myself to eat :)

This recipe is a "lighter" version of banana bread but I think you could apply the chocolate hazelnut part to any banana bread recipe. I like to keep things "lighter" for breakfast but maybe if I made this for a crowd I would use my favorite banana bread recipe (full fat version :) This recipe is definitely worth picking up a jar of Nutella and giving a try. Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread
Makes one 9" x 5" loaf


5 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole buttermilk
Cooking Spray or Crisco to grease pan
1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (Optional)
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan and dust with flour (I like to line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Combine chocolate-hazelnut spread and 1 teaspoon oil in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Stir and set aside.

3. Combine 3 tablespoons oil, butter, brown sugar, and banana in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beating at low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until combined.

4. Scrape half of batter into a 9 x 5-inch and top with chocolate-hazelnut spread mixture. Spread remaining batter over chocolate mixture. Using a wooden pick, swirl batter. Sprinkle batter with hazelnuts.

4. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread; cool on wire rack.

5. Place bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at high for 30 seconds. Drizzle bread with chocolate; let stand until set.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Teri-Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Here is a great healthy recipe for a party appetizer. My husband, who usually won't touch anything with ground turkey likes these meatballs and ate 10 or more of them the other night. I lost count. These turkey meatballs are very moist and have a great balance of salty from the soy sauce and sweet from the honey.

You can either make these as regular meatballs or turn them into yakitori by shaping them into football shapes and inserting a 6" bamboo skewer to each mealball. This is a nice idea for serving a crowd.

This recipe freezes well, so it is a good make ahead appetizer. To freeze, shape the raw meatballs and place them into ziplock bags and freeze. When you are ready to cook them, defrost them in the refrigerator and proceed with cooking instructions.

You can easily make these gluten free by just using gluten free soy sauce in place of regular soy sauce and gluten free bread crumbs. I find the best bread crumbs come from using the ends of frozen gluten free sandwich bread (such as Udi's), just pulse in a food processor to create crumbs.

Teri-Glazed Turkey Meatballs (Recipe from Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai)
Makes 24 meatballs

1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 large egg
1 pound of lean ground turkey
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
16 scallions-finely chopped (I used closer to 10 scallions)
4 garlic cloves-finely minced (I did not add garlic)
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1. Make the glaze by whisking together honey, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside a few tablespoons of glaze to drizzle at the end.

2. If you are making yakitori: soak twenty four 6" bamboo skewers in warm water for 20 minutes.

3. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until fragrant and nutty; 1-2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small plate to cool and set aside.

4. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl. Add in turkey meat, bread crumbs, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, salt and pepper, mix together well.

5. Form mixture into 24 meatballs or for yakitori: football shaped torpedoes with skewers inserted into each ball.

6. Heat a large non-stick pan to medium-high and spray pan with cooking spray or coat with canola oil. Add the meatballs in batches making sure not to over crowd the pan. Cook on one side about 3-4 minutes, turn the meatballs and brush with glaze on the cooked side. Cook the second side 3-4 minutes and continue to brush each side with glaze until the meat is cooked through. Continue until all the meatballs are cooked. (I like to put my meatballs in a 350 degree oven to keep warm and finish cooking while you finish the batches of meatballs)

7. To serve, drizzle with reserved glaze.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bela's Puppy Peanut Butter Cupcakes

In honor of our dog Bela's 3rd birthday, here is a recipe for Puppy Peanut Butter Cupcakes. Bela loves anything with peanut butter flavor so I always make these for her birthday. Some may say I am crazy but she is as much a part of the family as anyone else!

These freeze well, just wrap them in plastic wrap or ziplock bags and place in the freezer and your pup can enjoy a treat at anytime.

Puppy Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Makes 10-12 cupcakes

1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots (3-4 medium carrots)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffins pan with 10-12 cupcake liners.

2.Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Scoop into liners and bake for 15-20 minutes until done.
You can frost these cupcakes with low fat cottage cheese and decorate with carrot pieces. Store in refrigerator. or freezer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

This must be the week for healthy side dishes. Here is another way to dress up quinoa for a quick side to accompany any meal. Anything with dried cranberries and almonds scores big points with me. In my opinion, if you add in balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, two of my other favorites and you have the makings of a great dish. I served this dish with peach and soy marinated chicken breasts and butternut squash and leek gratins. Overall, a great and super healthy dinner.

Quinoa Pilaf with dried cranberries and almonds (from cookbook: Pretty Delicious) 
Serves 6

12 oz quinoa (about 2 cups)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup sliced almonds -roasted on baking sheet in 350 degree oven 6-8 minutes until golden and fragrant

1. Place quinoa in a large bowl, cover with cold water and then drain though mesh strainer.

2. Place rinsed quinoa, chicken broth and 2 cups of water in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until quinoa is tender and has absorbed liquid;12-15 minutes. Scrape quinoa into a large bowl.

3. Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper and add to the quinoa. Toss to coat.

4. Add in the cranberries, almonds and basil leaves and serve warm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

I absolutely love this recipe for roasted root vegetables. It's easy to prepare, healthy and delicious. I see myself making this side dish the entire fall and winter season, over and over and over. The whole family devoured these vegetable and were looking for more when the bowl was empty. I am already craving another serving, maybe I will have to make them again this weekend.

The original recipe comes from the cookbook Cooking Light: Cooking through the seasons. The book is broken down into 4 chapters for each season. When I was looking for some recipes for the week I decided to look though the book under the autumn chapter and came across the recipe. My only wish is that I discovered this recipe before so I could have been eating this all along.

The recipe you will find below is my adaptation of the dish. I omitted the garlic but you could easily add in a few gloves of garlic with the other vegetables. I hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it this autumn when all the vegetables are in season.

Honey Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 4

1 small butternut squash, peel and diced (or 1/2 a large squash)
1 small fennel bulb-sliced
2 medium sized parsnips-diced
2 medium sized carrots-diced
1 large red skin potato-diced
3 large shallots-peeled and quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Cooking spray
1-2 tbsp honey
2 tsp cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine all the diced vegetables (try to keep around the same size to ensure even cooking). Add in the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat evenly.

3. Arrange the vegetable mixture in a single layer on baking sheet.

4. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender.

5. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add honey and cider vinegar to vegetables, and toss well. You can add more honey or vinegar to taste.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

I am always looking for new pumpkin recipes because it's a favorite in my household. Here is a recipe I came across, from King Arthur's Flour, for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones. I hope you enjoy these just as much as my husband will this week for breakfast.

You can store leftover pumpkin puree in the freezer and use it for the next batch anytime. I like to wrap the pumpkin in plastic wrap and place it in ziplock bag, labeled pumpkin puree and the amount.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones 
Makes 8 large scones or 12 regular size scones

2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup to 2 cups chocolate chips, minced crystallized ginger, or cinnamon chips
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.

2) Cut the butter into 1/2" pieces and work in to flour mixture just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. (You can use a pastry blender for this step or your hands)

3) Stir in the chocolate chips and/or crystallized ginger, if you're using them.

4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.

5) Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle (if you haven't incorporated any add-ins); or a 6" circle (if you've added 2 cups of fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.

8) Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.

11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

12) Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy.

13) Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave, if desired.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Potato Basil Puree

This is a great recipe to use up the last of the basil in the garden. What I enjoyed most about this recipe was how the basil gave the potatoes a freshness that you usually don't get with regular mashed potatoes. This recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook How Easy Is That?. I am posting the original recipe below, but I decided to lighten it up using a mix of whole milk and skim milk instead of half and half. If I were making this for a crowd of people or a holiday I would definitely follow the recipe how it was intended.

Potato Basil Puree
4-5 servings

2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 pounds large Yukon Gold, red or white boiling potatoes
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill another bowl with ice water. Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color. Drain and set aside.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them in pieces. Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain and return to the saucepan, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates.

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese until the cream simmers. Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the hot cream mixture and process until smooth.

4. With a handheld mixer with the beater attachment or in stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the hot potatoes until they are broken up. Slowly add the hot basil cream, the salt, and pepper and beat until smooth. If the potatoes need to be reheated, cover and cook gently over low heat for a few minutes. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, season to taste, and serve hot.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

I love this soup. I make a big batch for dinner and eat the rest for lunch the next few days. This soup is very healthy and filling at only had 156 calories per serving. You can adjust the amount of spice according to your taste. I used 1/2 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and it comes out pretty spicy. If you do not like spicy food, I would suggest only adding 1/2 to 1 of the chipotle peppers, you can always add more later on.

The original recipe calls for 7 cups of store bought chicken or vegetable broth. I sometimes find it easier and cheaper to make the stock myself, especially if you have some vegetables you need to use up in the refrigerator. See a recipe for vegetable stock below.

I made this soup kid friendly by adding the spice later on. In step 2, I left out the chipotle peppers and continued to boil the potatoes until tender. I scooped out a serving for Layla and pureed it in the food processor and set it aside. I then added in the peppers and continued with the recipe. To make it even easier you can find cans of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce already pureed.

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 8 servings (adapted from Martha Stewart: Everyday Food Light)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion-chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
4 medium sweet potatoes (2 pounds) peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1/2-1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce- chopped (add more or less to taste)
7 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (low-sodium)
Sour cream, scallions or chives for garnish (optional)

1. In a large dutch oven or other large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper; cook until soft about 7-8 minutes.

2. Add in cumin and stir. Add in sweet potatoes, chipotle pepper, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes; until the potatoes are very tender.

3. Let the soup cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Do not fill blender more than 1/2 way each batch. Return the pureed soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream, scallions or chives.

Homemade Vegetable Stock
Makes 8 cups

Fill a large pot with 8-10 cups of water. Add in chopped vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, fennel, herbs) You can you any combination of vegetables you have on hand. The most important ones are carrot, onion, celery. Add in salt and pepper. You can also add in 2-3 bouillon cubes to flavor the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; cook partially covered; about 30-40 minutes. Strain stock into a large bowl and discard vegetables.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

These nuts are so addictive I never wait for them to cool off before I get my fix, resulting in a burnt tongue. They are sweet from the sugar and spicy from the cayenne pepper. I usually use these nuts in salads but they are great on their own, or even on an ice cream sundae ..yum. They also make great gifts.

This recipe makes a large batch but you can easily cut it in half. Sometimes I like to replace the white sugar with maple syrup. You can experiment with whatever combination you like, the measurements do not have to be exact.

Sweet and Spice Nuts: Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp pinch of cayenne pepper (depending on much heat you prefer)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut, pecan halves, or almonds (or combination)
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix brown sugar and granulated sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps and set aside.

3. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated.

4. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.

5.Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Cookie Recipe made Gluten Free

There are certain baking recipes that are easily transferred to a gluten free version. I find that cookies work really well with a gluten free all purpose flour substitution. Here are a few recipes I have posted previously that work well with GF all purpose flour.

I am not yet an expert on all the different gluten free flours available but I would to share one thing I have discovered recently. I purchased the Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix and my results have been very salty. I looked at the nutrition fact and realized that the sodium content is 650mg in 1/4 cup serving!!!! That is a ton of sodium compared to most brands of 40mg to 60mg per serving. I will definitely not be buying this flour in the future.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies: Replace 1/2 cups of flour with GF all purpose flour and 3 cups of Oats with GF oats

Mexican Chocolate Cookies: Replace 3/4 cup flour with GF all purpose flour

Coconut Macaroons: Replace 2 tbsp cake flour with 2 tbsp GF all purpose flour

Coconut Squares Use 1 box of GF white or yellow cake mix

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This recipe comes from the book Great Cookies by Carol Walter. I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves baking all different kinds of cookies. It includes 200 recipes, accompanied by color photos. It offers a lot of helpful tips and is broken down into 12 chapters ranging from drop cookies to bar cookies to cookies around the world. 

I bought this book last year and used it for all my baking during the holidays. I found some great recipes that I will continue to bake throughout the years to come. I really like this Snickerdoodle recipe because it results in a chewier cookie, which I happen to love and it's simple but delicious. 

I also love the homemade Mallomars recipe in this book, as well as, the lemon bars. I am looking forward to trying many more recipes from this book.  Check out recipe for Homemade Mallomars 

Makes 4 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups flour-spooned and leveled
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 sup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-11/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Make the dough: by sifting together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the butter and vegetable shortening on medium until lightened in color; about 2 minutes. Add in 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a steady stream and mix another 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer to low and add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl as needed. Stir in vanilla extract.

3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until blended after each addition. Scrape dough into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 6-8 hours or overnight.

 4. Bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Lightly butter cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

5. Divide dough into quarters. With lightly floured hands, shape each quarter into a log. Slice each log into 12 equal pieces and roll into walnut sizes balls.

6. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl. Working with one piece at a time, place each ball into the sugar/cinnamon mixture and rotate to coat all sides.

7. Place each ball 3" apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Toward the end of baking time rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back. ( A shorter baking time with make cookies chewier and a longer baking time with make them crispier.) Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Storage: Store in airtight container between layers of wax paper for up to 3 weeks. These cookies may be frozen.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

I finally found a chocolate muffin recipe that is worth making. I tried this recipe before I knew I had Celiac Disease, so I know just how good these muffins taste. I have tested different recipes and they either come out to dry or not chocolaty enough. These muffins are very moist, a deep chocolate color with melted chocolate chips throughout. They are "chocolaty" without being to rich. I am adding this to my regular muffins recipes for my husband Tom and my daughter Layla to enjoy :)
A plus..they are SO easy to make.

I love making Layla a few mini muffins as a special treat. I use to break them into little pieces for her but now that she is getting good at taking bites she likes to hold the entire muffin and gobble it up :) Don't be fooled by the title chocolate chocolate muffins. In comparison to most muffin recipes, this recipe has very little added fat and only 1/2 cup sugar for the entire recipe. If you would like decrease the sugar content more, you can always skip the extra chocolate chips on top.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 standard muffins, 6 large or 24 mini muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips-divided in 1/4 cups

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Mix until distributed evenly.

3. In another bowl (I like to use a large measuring cup) whisk together warm water, canola oil, red wine vinegar, vanilla and egg.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combine. Do not over mix.

5. Prepare muffin pan with paper liners and fill each liner with batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.

6. Bake for 15 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

(If you are making mini muffins, check them after 8-10 minutes)