Monday, September 22, 2008

Cookies in a Jar

Kristen's Food September 2008 015

It's the first day of Fall and that means that the holidays are quickly approaching. I really hate saying that already but I know that I need to start getting prepared. Two of my kids have birthdays near the holidays not to mention 6 of their cousins too. I also host Thanksgiving for about 40 people. There is so much for me to get ready. With all of that gift giving, I am usually really strapped for cash but love to give a few gifts to neighbors and teachers. This is a way to give a thoughtful gift without the huge price tag.

Kristen's Food September 2008 021

There are a ton of recipes for cookies in a jar and this is just another one. I really like this recipe for several reasons. First off, I love oatmeal cookies, and second, it is very versatile, you can change up a few of the components to make different cookies. The results are a chewy chocolaty cookie that in my opinion is better once it has cooled off. ( I really hate hot, gooey chocolate. I know, I am weird!) I have been eating these for the past 3 days and have been rationalizing them as a good breakfast option because they have oatmeal and walnuts; and dark chocolate is full of antioxidants right?!

Kristen's Food September 2008 016

Cookies in a jar

1 1/3 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, M&M's or a combination of them

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1 1/3 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1. Layer the ingredients in the jar in the order listed, packing each layer down tightly.

2. Make a tag with the following instructions: Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and cool slightly. Lightly beat together the melted butter with 1 egg and 1tsp vanilla. Add the contents of the jar and mix to combine. The mixture will be really thick. Spoon by heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven while they look a little doughy as they will really firm up after they cool.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cream Cheese filled Rolls

Kristen's Food September 2008 001

Did you think I wasn't going to come back? I have been out of the kitchen for the last 3 weeks, completely and absolutely sick. I couldn't even eat for the first 2 weeks. I am FINALLY feeling better and have returned to the kitchen. For the last week all I have been able to eat are white starchy foods, like bread and potatoes. I am a huge whole wheat girl so this was totally against the grain for me (gotta love that pun). That's not to say that I don't enjoy the white stuff now and again, I just don't make it a habit. So, as my first time back into the kitchen last night, I decided to make some white bread.

Kristen's Food September 2008 004

When I finally started feeling better and could really only eat the white starchy stuff, I began to think about these rolls that I would buy when I was away at school in Mexico. I had to catch a "combi" (think VW bus turned into a small scale mass transit system) every morning to get to school and right across the street from where I would catch it was a very large panederia (bread store). They had shelves full of freshly made breads and pastries. I always bought these little breads that were filled with cream cheese. As I was getting my appetite back, this is what I was thinking about eating. Now these aren't replicas of that bread ,as I think that nothing could really match the nostalgia and ambiance that went along with those little breads, but they sure are tasty.

Kristen's Food September 2008 008

I used Ina Garten's Honey white bread recipe because it is rich, soft and delicious. It is slightly like a brioche dough only a little lighter. It makes a wonderful loaf of bread or soft light rolls. It worked perfectly with these rolls. You could really make these either sweet or savory. I add a little bit of powdered sugar to the cream cheese, not enough to make it too sweet, just enough to take the tangy edge off. You could always add more sugar if you wanted to make it a sweeter bread and then just brush the hot rolls with cinnamon-honey butter. I kept these a little more savory and just brushed them with butter when they came out.

Honey Rolls with Cream Cheese

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1/2 cup warm water

2 pkg. dry yeast

2 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 cups warm whole milk

6 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 TBS. honey

2 egg yolks

5 to 6 cups flour

1 TBS. kosher salt

1 egg white, lightly beaten

8 oz. cream cheese

3 Tbs. powdered sugar

1. Heat the milk, butter and honey in a small saucepan until warm and the butter melts. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Place the water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of mixer and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to foam and dissolve.

3. Add the milk, butter and honey to the yeast mixture and mix to combine. Add 3 cups of the flour, salt and egg yolks and mix for about 5 minutes to combine.

4. Slowly add more flour until the dough cleans the side of the mixer bowl. Knead or mix for about 10 minutes more.

5. Grease a large bowl. Place the dough into the greased bowl turning to coat all sides of the dough. Cover loosely and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

6. Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

7. Punch down the dough and divide into 20 rolls (about 60 grams each) or 10 rolls and 1 loaf of bread. Flatten each piece of dough place about 1 Tbs. of the cream cheese mixture into the middle. Fold the edges together and pinch to seal. Roll each ball on the counter pushing it between the palms of your hands to seal the dough and make the round roll shape. Place on a greased cookie sheet and cover lightly. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

8. Heat the oven to 350°. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg white. Bake the rolls for 13-15 minutes or until light brown. (Bake the loaf of bread for 35-45 minutes) Brush the tops with butter.