Friday, September 25, 2009

Have You Heard?

If you know anyone who is unexpectedly expecting, and is considering adoption, please let them know about us and our blog!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies are a very personal thing. Everybody has a favorite cookie. Is it thick or thin? Crispy or soft? Cakey or chewy? What kind of cookie is it? Sugar? Snickerdoodle? Chocolate Chip? I firmly believe that a person's favorite cookie is the one their momma made for them when they were little. I know mine is.

My mom made thin and chewy chocolate chip cookies. I've always loved them. I remember taking bites of them, with the chocolate chips gooing out onto my chin. I loved the slight crispness of the outside, and the tender inside. I loved the brown sugar taste, and the little bit of grit between my teeth that the small amount of white sugar provided. I can still remember the slight tang of baking soda, too.

Unfortunately, the cookies of my past are just that. In my past. I've tried to recreate them..."tried" being the operative word. I haven't found the perfect recipe yet. Every time I try, I end up with a thick, pillowy cookie. My husband loves them....and I hate them.

Enter Betty Crocker. Oh how I love that woman...whoever she is. Within the last few months, Betty Crocker (General Mills) has introduced a selection of gluten free goods. While I haven't yet tried all of the products, I have tried the chocolate chip cookie mix. I know what you are thinking. A mix? Really?....... Yup. It's true. I like it. A lot!

While they're not an exact replica of my momma's cookies, Betty's cookies come awfully close. They don't have the baking soda bite, and they are a bit thinner than the ones of my childhood, but they are beautifully chewy. I really like that.

So, to mix things up tonight, instead of making the cookies as suggested on the package, I decided to get a little crazy. I thought, "why not spice these puppies up?". So I did precisely that.

I have some really nice, organic chiles from Marx Foods. I have quite a few of them, and decided to make some homemade chile powder using the Organic Aji Amarillo Peruvian Chiles. Marx has a step by step instructional page on how to make your own chile powder HERE. These guys are spicy, so be super careful not to inhale the powder...that isn't so much fun! I also used some quality cinnamon in them, which made for a really nice, complex cookie.

Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 stick of softened Butter
1 large Egg
splash of gluten free Vanilla

a few shakes of good quality Cinnamon


Follow the instructions on the cookie mix box. Add in the chile powder and cinnamon to taste. Taste the dough before adding too much spice, and add slowly, mixing and tasting again after each addition to make sure you don't go overboard. I like to have an immediate taste of cinnamon, with the slight burn and flavor of chiles after the initial taste. Bake the cookies according to the instructions on the box, however I do like to take the cookies out a minute or two early, so they stay softer. Be aware that the chile flavor tends to get stronger after baking.

Make sure to allow the cookies to cool on a cooling rack to firm up.

Eat, eat, eat! You can share too, if you want :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beet Street Article

Be sure to stop by and check out my guest posting on Beet Street's Homegrown Harvest blog! They asked me to do an article on what the word harvest means to me. Check it out HERE, and find out a little more about them and what they are all about below!

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks. Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food. We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday. Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Graham Crackers

So my husband and I went camping a couple of weekends ago, and of course needed S'mores makins. We have a store nearby that sells delicious gluten free graham crackers, but they are darn expensive. Like almost a dollar per cracker. Since these crackers are not gold plated, I've decided I'd better make my own from now on.

The crackers I make are super tasty, and they look just like regular graham crackers! They are just a bit thicker (puffier) and I think have a softer, cakier texture than the glutenous store bought ones. I love them, and so does my husband! When you make these, you are welcome to sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top or whatever!

These s'mores have chocolate, marshmallows, ice cream and peanut butter!

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

2 1/4 C Flour Mix
3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 C packed Brown Sugar
Pinch Salt

7 Tbsp cubed Butter (must be butter-no margarine, and must be cold)

3 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp Vanilla
3-4 Tbsp cold Water

Mix together the dry ingredients, and using your fingers, work the butter in. The butter should end up being about pea sized or a bit smaller, just as if you were making pie dough. Add the liquid ingredients, and mix until you have a ball of dough. The dough will seem dry, but if you think it is too dry, then you can add a bit more water, 1 Tbsp at a time. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to a day. This will allow the butter to chill, and the dough to absorb more moisture.

Preheat your oven to 325*.

Roll out the dough by placing it on a silpat or parchment paper the size of the baking sheet pan you will use. Lay plastic wrap over the top of the dough and roll it out to about 1/8"to 1/4". The plastic wrap over the dough will allow you to roll out the dough without sticking to your rolling pin. Try to roll the dough into a rectangle to fit your sheet pan.

Place the dough, still on the silpat or parchment paper, onto your baking sheet. Score the dough into squares with a plastic knife, so as to not cut through your silpat. If you want to add cinnamon sugar, now is the time to do so.

Bake your crackers for about 12-15 minutes, until they start turning a golden color. Once out of the oven and cooled a bit, break the crackers apart following your scored lines. Once cool, if you notice that they are still too soft, and you want them crunchier, you can put them back in the oven to toast a bit, similar to making biscotti. Watch them closely, so you don't burn them!

Voila! Graham Crackers!
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