Thursday, November 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

These cookies are the best peanut butter cookies I've ever had. Whereas so many other peanut butter cookies tend to be dry, these are moist and delectable. I tend to make these to take to parties, and normally it's all I can do to keep my husband from eating all of them before we get to our destination. I think the original recipe is from a Hershey's cookbook, but I'm not certain. You're supposed to make a huge roll of dough and make can-sized cookies, but I just make regular-sized cookies and skip the log step. I use Skippy... not sure how they would turn out with natural peanut butter. Makes about 30 cookies.

J'adore: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups quartered mini peanut butter cups

Cream peanut butter and butter with a mixer or in a food processor. Add sugar, baking powder, and baking soda, and blend again. Add egg and vanilla, and blend again. Blend in flour slowly until just mixed. Stir in peanut butter cups, cover, and refrigerate for approx. 1 hour.

Form cookies into patties of desired size, and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. The trick with these cookies is not to cook them for a minute too long! They have to be just starting to lightly brown to be prefect. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the trays before transferring to a cookie rack.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Staple and Side

Mollie Katzen's Spinach Ricotta Cheese Pie has been a favorite in my family for as long as I can remember. I always requested it for my birthday, my cousin always requested it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my husband drops not-so-subtle hints every time it's been a while since I've made it, even a co-worker's mother demanded the recipe for days on end until I finally wrote it down for her. In short, it's one of the best savory pies I've ever had, and it has become a Thanksgiving tradition in our family. The recipe is from the original Moosewood Cookbook but was sadly omitted from the new edition. As usual, changes have been made over time. I'm also including a recipe for a side that I LOVE. The original recipe comes from a story I heard on NPR last year.

Je ne peux pas vivre sans: Spinach Ricotta Cheese Pie

1 pie shell (I use a store-bought deep-dish shell to save on time. Feel free to make your own!)

1.5 packages of chopped frozen spinach
1 small onion
1 pint ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh, frozen, or dried basil (fresh is always best)

sour cream

Steam spinach and drain thoroughly. Be sure to press out all excess water or you'll have a watery pie. Dice onion and saute in olive oil. Combine spinach, onion, ricotta, eggs, salt, cheddar, and basil in a mixing bowl. If you're afraid that the spinach is still too watery you can add a tablespoon of flour. Spread mixture evenly in pie shell. Spread sour cream over the top of the spinach mixture. You can use as much or as little sour cream as you want. I prefer to use a lot and spread it to the edges-- it's my favorite part of the pie. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

J'adore: Wild Rice Stuffing

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup wild rice*
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or other dried berry)
1/2 cup walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil and add the rice. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about 30 mins). Add cranberries, walnuts, salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Can be served inside a cooked acorn squash.

*I use half wild rice, half Brown Rice Medley from Trader Joe's, which has brown rice, black barley, and daikon radish seeds.