Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Superbowl Brownies

My mom loved chocolate and that included brownies, one of her favorite desserts.  Lucky for me, I inherited Mom's cookbooks and I've tweaked her favorite brownies with a local flavors.

The flour is from Nash's; the walnuts from Grouse Mountain Farm, and I might have used eggs from River Farm, but Liz had her baby and they weren't at the market last week, so I used flax seed egg replacer.

So disappointed brownies aren't for dogs.  I vote for carob next time.

This recipe actually came from and old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but brownies are timeless. It's hard to improve on the old school recipes, unless you add more nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips.

Superbowl Brownies
(Makes 12 brownies)

1/2 cup vegan shortening or local butter
2 one-ounce squaares of baking chocolate
3/4 cup Northwest flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Flax seed egg replacer for 2 eggs (2 tbs. ground flax seeds blended with 6 tablespoons water)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Northwest lightly toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil an 8-inch baking pan. Melt shortening and chocolate together in a double boiler over hot water.  Cool.

Sift flour and baking powder together.   In another bowl mix egg-replacer and sugar.  Blend with shortening and chocolate, then stir into flour mixture with walnuts and chocolate chips.  Stir just until blended.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  When a toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and cool on cooling rack.  Serve with coconut sorbet.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Meyer Lemon Biscotti

Some people think black eyed peas will bring good luck in the new year.  I've always been a dessert first kind of person, so I thought why not start the year off with biscotti?  It could start a new trend.

This time it's my mother's recipe altered with Meyer lemon standing in for the orange and anise and local flour and walnuts replacing the store bought varieties.  It's not the first biscotti recipe I've posted and it definitely won't be the last.

When I was perusing photos for this post, I found this one taken when my book first came out.  This was at the Edmonds Bookshop, where owner Mary Kaye made carrot hummus and set up this table for my book.

The thing about biscotti is they are easy to make, they freeze well and also make great gifts, if they last that long.

Local whole wheat pastry flour is the way to go with these, but you can use unbleached white flour and they'll turn out just fine.

Walnuts are best and local walnuts even better, but it's a splurge and local walnuts could be scarce this time of year.  I've done hazelnut biscotti in the past, and you could substitute pecans if you want.

No one can resist these twice baked wonders.  In case you're interested here's a bit of biscotti history.  Seems these dry cookies were made for traveling. 

Here's to everything sweet in 2015!

Meyer Lemon Biscotti
(Makes 36 to 45 cookies)

4 cups flour (add enough for a stiff dough)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs, beaten, or flax seed egg replacer for 3 eggs, whipped
1 cup Florida Crystals, or sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest and juice from 1 Meyer lemon
1 cup toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flour with baking powder and soda.  In another bowl mix eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla extract and lemon zest and juice. Combine the flour and liquid ingredients, adding enough flour for a very stiff dough.  

Form 2 or 3 long rolls about 14-inches long.  If you make 3 rolls, the cookies will be much smaller and you'll get more cookies.   

Place rolls on baking sheet.  Flatten with the tops slightly with your hand. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Slice cookies carefully on the slant, about 1/2-inch thick.

I was promised biscotti.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ranger Cookies

One of my resolutions this year was to cut back on sweets and only eat treats if I make them at home.That means setting aside time, getting ingredients and since I like to eat as locally as possible I already had Nash's flour, Grouse Mountain walnuts and dried cherries from Ayers Creek Farm.  I probably could have found oats, too but three ingredients seemed enough and cookies seem the perfect way to start the new year.

Local flour is gaining popularity and the variety that grows best west of the Cascades is soft wheat, which is perfect for quick breads and cookies.  Nash's flour seems to have even less gluten than the store brought variety.  I usually add a bit more flour to the baked goods.

This was my walnut supply last fall.

The supply is dwindling.

This is my begging Cooking Assistant.  He's a pro, and a good counter surfer, so he's not usually allowed in the kitchen when we're cooking.

I found the perfect cookie recipe in an old Betty Crocker cookbook that my dad once owned. I was surprised to see a cookbook on a shelf at house after he passed away.  Dad was a great cook but he rarely used recipes. The was a mystery until  I spotted the sticker on the front that said the book was a complimentary copy from Glendale Federal Savings.  

Another thing dad liked was deals and freebies.  He actually had two cookbooks from banks, making me wonder if banks today offer free cookbooks as incentives to investors. 

Perhaps it's an idea that needs reviving.

Here's the recipe:

Ranger Cookies
(Makes about 3 dozen cookies )

1/2 cup Earth Balance (butter sticks) or butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flax seed egg replacer (1 tbs ground flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons water, whipped together until frothy) or use 1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut or toasted walnuts
1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)

Heat oven to 375F. Mix thoroughly Earth Balance and sugar.  Blend in egg replacer and vanilla.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonson an ungreased baking sheet.  Each cookie should 2 inches apart to allow for expansion.