Chocolate-Chai Pistachio Tea Cookies – Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap 2015 – Holiday Gift Giving Idea

December 2nd! Cookies baked….cookies boxed…tags made… decorations added to  boxes…post office! (Thanks Brad) Once again it is time to join all the 1000’s of other bloggers participating in the 2015 Great Food Bloggers Cookies for Kid’s Cancer fundraiser. Just another reason to celebrate this time of year…having fun and helping.

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A big hi y’all from downtown Nashville, Tennessee to my 3 new food blogger friends who will receive a tin of cookies from Food on Fifth. Please go over and check out their blogs, see what they are up to and give them a shout.

Lisa Lotts at http://www.garlicandzest.com

Aimee Broussard at http://aimeebroussard.com

Allison Day at http://blog.fridgg.com

This year my cookie is a simple, easy slice and bake “Chocolate-Chai Pistachio Tea Cookie”.

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I get all my ingredients measured and ready before I start baking. Quickly assembled and chilled this dough is easy to slice. I love the green of the pistachios  against the chocolate.

Before…..

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….after baking.

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This little not-too-sweet cookie is great with a cup of hot tea, which I had while packing up cookies to mail. Notice the sanding sugar…adds just a bit of crunch.

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 I like creative packaging that has a homemade, yet stylish look. This year I added my small collage “art cards” inside each tin and tied my business card with twine around the outside. Yes, those little squares with a hole punched into the corner are my business cards!

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These incredibly fun cards with my name and info on back & a different instagram photos on the front…each one a different food photo… I have printed at Social Print Studio, a fabulous online site.DSC_0013

Thanks to Lindsay http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/ and Julie http://www.thelittlekitchen.net/ for organizing this yearly fundraiser and for inviting all of us to participate in this good, “sweet” cause.

Chocolate-Chai Pistachio Tea Cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp instant chai
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • sanding/decorating sugar

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar and salt until well mixed.
  2. Add egg and blend well, scraping down side of bowl when need be.
  3. Add cocoa powder & chai to mixture blending until well incorporated.
  4. Add flour, a few tablespoons at a time, with mixer on low until blended. Dough will be stiff.
  5. With mixer on low add pistachios. Scrape cookie dough out onto a work surface and knead together. Divide dough in thirds and form into  3 cylinders, each about 8 to 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before slicing.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Cut chilled dough into 1/4″ slices and bake on sheet pans lined with parchment paper.spacing  1″ apart for 12-15 minutes. Immediately out of the oven sprinkle cookies generously with sanding/decorating sugar. Cool cookie completely on wire racks.
  7. To gift: place in tins or boxes with parchment paper sheets between layers.
  8. These cookies will keep for days in a sealed container and are just delicious with a cup of hot tea or milky coffee.  A not-too-sweet cookie with lots of chocolate-chai flavor!

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com

“My G7 Chocolate-Black Peppercorn-Orange Madeleine”

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In my little kitchen here on 5th Avenue I do not have “Night Watch” as a background, nor do I look out over a restful, flowing canal. I am not meeting with heads of state, but I did to manage to have my very own culinary “G7” meeting this week.

 A French Madeleine tin, Chocolate from Ghana given to me as a gift from dear friends (see photo below) of Wouter’s who live in Amsterdam, marketed as “Tony’s Chocolonely”…..

Case & Annemieke
Kees & Annemieke…good friends…good company…good people. Annemieke is a fantastic illustrator…take a look.

….Kerrygold Butter from Ireland, Madagascar Vanilla Extract,  Black Peppercorns from India and eggs hatched right here in Tennessee..a Food on Fifth G7!

Since finding a Madeleine Tin (made in France stamped underneath) at a Thrift store last year I have intended to try it out. I adore Madeleines…whenever I go to a bakery that sells them I will choose these little seashell shaped tea cakes every time. The crispy edges…the slight aroma of vanilla…not overly sweet…delicate in all ways is the Madeleine. They always remind me of the teacakes my Mother would make for us as children in West Tennessee, but way better…and French.  Why not add some really good chocolate? No?….oui!

Ingredients for “G7 Madeleines”

1/2 cup melted butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 ounces good quality 70% pure chocolate melted, 3 eggs room temp, 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns, 1 tbsp fresh orange zest + extra butter to grease the Madeleine tin

Chocolate from GhanaTony's...Chocolate Bar

Madeleine Ingredients

Directions: 2 hours before baking make the batter

1. Cream butter & sugar together until light & fluffy using a stand or hand mixer. Add in vanilla extract & melted chocolate while mixer is running. Turn mixer to low.

2. Add in eggs one at a time until well blended.  Mixture should be light in color and very fluffy.

3.  Fold the flour mixture, the ground black pepper & the orange zest into the butter-chocolate mixture very gently. Cover batter with plastic & chill 1 to 2 hours.

DSC_6786Batter for Madeleines with Freshly ground black pepper from IndiaOrange Zest

4. When ready to bake preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter the Madeleine tin well using softened butter. Remove batter from the refrigerator.

Batter and Madeleine pan

5. Use a spoon to fill each “shell” with batter. When batter is baking it will melt and fill in the shape of the tin. (Another method is to put the batter in a piping bag and pipe batter into the shells.)

Chocolate Madeleine batter

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove tin from oven and turn Madeleines out onto a kitchen towel to cool. If you have extra batter (I did) then let tin cool, re-butter and repeat baking process. This recipe made about 16 Madeleines.

baked Madeleines

Chocolate Madeleines

Soft and pillowy with crispy thin edges…chocolate with just a hint of orange & black pepper..international & local…a culinary G7!

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“Night Watch” (The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq) by Rembrandt van Rijn 1642

Bon Appetit Y’all

“E.A.T. #2 Spicy Mexican-style Cocoa Mix”


#2 E.A.T. Spicy Mexican-style Cocoa Mix

This is #2 in my E.A.T (Easy as That) series on how to make lots of delectables at home that are much tastier, less expensive & better quality that buying pre-packaged from high-end groceries & specialty  markets.

Hot, spicy cocoa mixes…..You might know the ones I am talking about…they are packaged in beautifully printed boxes that reflect fabrics from whatever country’s spice profile is represented? Mexico, Peru,  India….I really love these very peppery hot cocoa mixes & their beautiful little decorative boxes that unfortunately contain just a few tablespoons inside for over $8.00! I received a box as a gift last year & was hooked, but quickly realized that my palate, my pocketbook  & my psyche were miles apart.

 I am one of those coffee drinkers who love a cup of strong black coffee laced with a generous dollop of hot milk and a tablespoonful of a spicy hot cocoa mix. To the coffee purists among you this is probably just too much gilding the lily, but it is the most comforting of hot drinks on still chilly early Spring mornings. The aroma is both earthy & ethereal.

Ingredients:

8 ounces good quality cocoa

1-2 cups raw sugar

1/4 cup espresso powder

5-6 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate (I used 2 Olive & Sinclair Mexican Style Stone Ground bars)chopped into small pieces

1 generous tsp each freshly ground black pepper & sea salt

1 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cardamom pod

2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used almost 2, but I like it hot)

Instructions:

1. Place all  ingredients in a food processor. Process until chocolate pieces are ground finely with other ingredients. Remove lid, taste, adjust to your taste. Add more sugar or cayenne, espresso powder? Whatever you like.

2. Store “Spicy Mexican-style Cocoa Mix” in jars with air-tight lids. This makes a fine gift for a fellow hot cocoa lover.

3. To make a hot cup of “Spicy Mexican -style Cocoa Mix” I heat 1 to 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk in a pan over medium heat. When milk just begins to bubble around the edges of the pan I stir in 1 generous tablespoon of the mix. Stir until dissolved in the hot milk. Serve in your favorite cup or mug.

“It’s as easy as that!”

“Music City Mocha Chip Cookies”

“Music City Mocha Chip Cookies”

(developed for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011)

This chewy cookie is subtly bold with a hint of heat… it is familiarly cozy in its chocolatey-ness, but is that coffee I smell? Hmmm….molasses?

As my cookies were to be mailed out to three fellow food bloggers scattered around the country it was important to me to use  as many local ingredients as possible to share a taste of Music City.   Chewy, chocolatey (Olive & Sinclair) with a hint of coffee (Bongo Java) and a little unexpected “bite” via hot pepper was what I settled on as the flavor profile.  I made about 3 recipes before I got to the one you see here. They were all tasty, but I was just dancing around until I came up with my “Music City Mocha Chip Cookie”, a cozy little cookie that is great with a glass of milk for Santa….

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (White Lily or Martha White) mixed with 1/2 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp sea or kosher salt

8 ounces unsalted butter, room temp (Farmer’s Market)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1 generous Tbsp Sorghum Molasses (Tennessee)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temp (Farmer’s Market)

3 Tbsp finely ground coffee (Bongo Java “Mystic’)

 2 cups chopped semi sweet chocolate (Olive & Sinclair chocolate)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper + more to garnish if desired

1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream butter, brown sugar & granulated sugars together until fluffy using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

3. Add in eggs one at a time.  Scrape down sides of bowl often. With mixer on low add in ground coffee & vanilla extract.

4. Add the flour mixture until well blended. Sprinkle in cayenne pepper & cocoa & mix well.

5. Stir in chopped chocolate until fully incorporated. Chill dough for 1 hour before baking.

6. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart after dipping tops of  dough balls in decorative sugar crystals.

7. Bake until cookies are puffy & the surface starts to “crack”. About 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle on more decorative sugar & extra cayenne if desired,  cool on wire racks. Cookies will keep for up to one week stored in airtight containers with waxed paper between layers.

The dozens of cookies were baked, cooled and readied for mailing. I wanted my cookies to arrive at their destinations in good shape, in fun packaging, something a bit special and Holiday-like. I found great sturdy tins & mailing boxes at The Container Store. My tags I made using imagery from my many Christmas catalogs.  I used a Christmas tree rubber stamp I made last year to decorate the outside of the mailing box. I inserted more catalog imagery into the top of the tins and constructed ingredients list envelopes using art paper scraps & cardboard…I really had to make myself stop…those boxes had to get in the mail!

Bon Voyage “Music City Mocha Chip Cookies”, Bon Voyage.

Thanks to Julie (http://thelittlekitchen.net) and Lindsay (http://loveandoliveoil.com) for organizing this fun event.

Here are the cookies I received:

From Megan at http://www.mlbailey.blogspot.com
From Nancy at rivertreekitchen.com
From Steph at willrun4treats.com

….bake, share & have a very, very sweet holiday….