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Monday, January 6, 2014

Dark-Chocolate Rolled Cookies

Ice cream is optional ;)
Ok - who're we kidding? Ice cream is never optional. :)

One of the things we really like about this recipe is how easy they are to roll out. After chilling, if you let the dough come back to room temp they are so easy to roll out. Since you roll them between two pieces of parchment paper, you don't even need any flour so there's no mess to clean up!

They have a very dark chocolate taste, like the outside of an Oreo, so they really need milk or ice cream to balance them. If you're a dark chocolate lover, this is the cookie for you.

Ingredients:
  • 375 grams all purpose flour (or 3 cups properly measured)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300 grams white sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder (you won't taste the coffee, but it really intensifies the chocolate!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
Directions:
  1. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder then set aside.
  2. On medium speed, cream butter for 1 minute, then add sugar and coffee powder and cream for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla and cocoa, beating until completely mixed.
  5. Reduce speed to low and begin adding in flour mixture until incorporated. This should not take more than a minute. Don't overmix or the cookies will be tough.
  6. Scrape into a ball in the bowl, press plastic wrap on top and chill for at least one hour.
    
    Form into mound in center of bowl, cover with plastic wrap
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Roll to about 1/8" between two pieces of parchment paper.
  9. Cut your shapes with cookie cutters, pull away the extra dough and slide the entire peach of parchment paper right onto your baking tray. That way, you don't have to fool around with trying to keep their shapes perfect. (You can also just cut the dough into squares or triangles, but if you're planning to make ice cream sandwiches you'll want to make sure they're all the same size and shape.)
    
    Using the two sheets of parchment paper
    makes rolling these out a breeze!
  10. Bake on silpat or parchment for 8 to 11 minutes. If making ice cream sandwiches, you'll want them to be on the softer side so you may want to stop at 7 or 8 minutes. (When they're crispy, they taste just like Oreos... so um... some scraps could end up in your shake or whatever. Just sayin'!)
  11. Cool 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
    
    Waiting for them to cool is the hardest part!
    
    Delicious with or without ice cream!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rum Irish Cream

This is amazing on the rocks!

So let's just say you don't like egg nog... or perhaps homemade egg nog is out of your comfort zone because it contains raw eggs. Who doesn't like Irish cream? Nobody, that's who.

We call this "Rum Irish Cream" because it's the same recipe for making Irish Cream, but it uses rum instead of Irish whiskey. Technically it would be called "Rum Cream", but then people would be like - what the heck is that?

Note of warning though - it's delicious and it will make you drunk, so you may need to keep an eye on Nana! ;)


All this will come together to make magic!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup strong coffee (it really enhances the chocolate flavor and believe it or not, you won't taste the coffee in the end)
  • 1 tbsp dark cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups rum (or bourbon)
Directions:
  1. Put the coffee, cocoa, sugar and honey in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low and add the cream.
  3. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes until mixture begins to thicken, whisking frequently.
    
    When it begins to bubble up and you can't whisk it down,
    it's ready!
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in extracts and sweetened condensed milk.
  5. Once all are mixed well, whisk in the rum (or bourbon).
  6. Serve chilled. (We think it tastes best directly over ice)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Authentic Homemade Pasta (Kitchen Aid Pasta Press)

It took 15 minutes to make! (not including the resting periods)


It's alive!!!!


When we first got our Kitchen Aid pasta press, we whipped it out of the box in a frenzy and couldn't wait to produce beautiful, professional pasta... which as you know if you have one of these is not how it actually turned out. :)

We followed several recipes in the book to the letter and none of them turned out well. During the first several attempts, the pasta stuck together immediately upon exiting the pasta extruder. In subsequent attempts, some of them didn't come out of it at all. When qw finally got some pasta that came out and didn't stick together, it was gummy and chewy and tasted awful. Srsly?? What's the point if it's not going to taste amazing? Why waste all that time doing it?

We're not making pasta because it's novel. We're making pasta because I want something that tastes amazing. So after many failed attempts, we retired our Kitchen Aid pasta press to the pantry of misfit appliances where we fully expected it would eventually end up in a garage sale.

After staying with family in Italy and getting first hand exposure to a variety of pasta making, we finally have an easy authentic recipe you can use for the pasta press to quickly whip out pasta for a casual weeknight dinner without making a huge floury mess.