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

“Bow-Wow Peanut Butter Dog Treats”

Hubbard

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We all need to just have fun sometimes…doing something a bit silly. Today was my day! Or maybe, to be honest, one of many days, but that is another story.

I have been holding onto this little recipe for some time now. It was given to me by my friend and baker extraordinaire Gina Olds. Although she makes a mean baguette and the flakiest of croissants what used to be a hit at our house was her homemade dog treats! Not for me, nor Wouter, but for our dog Ella. When Gina closed her neighborhood bakery it was a rather sad day. Suddenly, like Old Mother Hubbard, our cupboard was a bit bare!

Gina gave all the pups in Historic Germantown a treat when they stopped by her bakery to visit…which they did every day because she gave them a treat! It was kinda like which came first the dog visit or the dog treat if you know what I am getting at. To see some of the many reasons why I like Gina so much check out her blog Heart Written Words.

Her dog treats were so good, natural with no chemicals or sugars, that some of the babies in our neighborhood used them for teething biscuits! I am not kidding! True story.

Peanut butter is the “hook” flavor..who doesn’t like peanut butter? I know some of you cannot eat it, but it is for the dog…right? Use Almond butter if peanut butter cannot enter your home. Your dog will love them, and you, just as well.

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Sources for Dog Bone Treat cookie cutters:

http://www.joann.com/wilton-metal-cookie-cutter-3in-blue-dog-bone/8218257.html

http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Bone-Piece-Cookie-Cutter/dp/B0027CU0GS

https://www.etsy.com/listing/161298099/dog-bone-cookie-cutter-custom-treat

Other ingredients you will probably have on hand are flour, baking powder, egg, milk.

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Baked for almost an hour…dry and crunchy, peanut butter dog treats. So easy. What great holiday (yes I just said that word) gifts for your dog friends.

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I must get every crumb!

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Is this all there is?

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Bow-Wow Peanut Butter Dog Treats

  • Servings: 24-30
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 3/4 cup “0” fat milk (Ella is on a diet!) you can use whole fat
  • Special tool: Dog Bone cookie cutter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or dough hook mix together the flour, baking powder. Mix on low to blend.
  3. Add egg and peanut butter. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Turn mixer to low and drizzle in milk until a dough forms.
  4. Divide dough in half and roll out on a lightly floured board to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into bones using shaped cookie cutter. Place bones on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour or until treats are hard and crunchy. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

As you can see from the photos of Ella above she ate every crumb and longing looked for more as she licked her lips!

These can be made with large or small bone shaped cookie cutters…I used a larger size but next time I will use a smaller size and make twice as many.

These treats make wonderful gifts for your dog friends!

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

Sources:

Dog Bone Cookie cutters – Michaels or online

French rolling-pin/Marble slab for rolling pastry – Williams Sonoma

 

“Meyer Lemon & Dried Cranberry Marmalade” Holiday Gift / E.A.T. #13

lemon tree

This year, Spring, I brought a Meyer Lemon Tree (NPR story on Meyer Lemons) home from the Nashville Farmer’s Market. We planted it in a large pot, keeping it on the back porch where it would be easy to water & watch. Soon a few buds, then a few flowers, then very, very small green nibs appeared…could these be actual lemons? Yes, oh yes! Throughout the summer and into the fall the small nibs grew into gorgeous yellow smooth skinned Meyer Lemons…right on our back porch in downtown Nashville, Tennessee! Photographed more than a runway model, my little tree thrived. Frequently I would go out and just visit with my exotic lemon tree…waiting & watching.

Green Meyer Lemon

I am sure, if you live in California, Florida, Arizona or other far away places where growing citrus in your backyard is as common as mud, that you would not see what all the fuss is about. But for me to have a real lemon tree outside on my Middle Tennessee back porch with real, live lemons, Meyer Lemons at that, hanging heavy and ripe to add to recipes or make into marmalade is something that was unimaginable a few years ago. Now, fortunately, there are many hybrid types of citrus trees that can be grown in our zone (Nashville is in Zone 7) and I, for one, am happy about that.

Meyer Lemons

Af few weeks ago I harvested all 18 plump, smooth skinned Meyer Lemons from my little tree. It was somewhat bittersweet as I was at the same time worried about how to keep the tree alive through the winter months and I wanting my “first crop” to be preserved in a way that would make the lemons last longer and could be shared. Limoncello? Preserved in salt? Marmalade? Yes to marmalade.

Jars of Lemon Cranberry MarmaladeI like a marmalades that use all the fruit, less the seeds…a  chunkier, less sweet marmalade that has some body & character that store-bought versions just don’t have. It was fortuitous that I happened to have my own lemons, but use whatever citrus you like. My friend Candace Floyd makes a fabulous marmalade using Cara-Cara Oranges. I made “Buddha Hand” citrus marmalade a few years ago and it was very fine.

Citrus season is upon us and the offerings are plentiful and varied. It just takes a few hours  to make & preserve this little recipe.  You still have plenty of time before the holidays. Tuck a jar of this marmalade into a basket along with some crusty bread and a stick of Kerry Gold Butter and you will make someone very happy indeed: It is really as “Easy as This”.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs Meyer Lemons (or other citrus), washed & dried

5 cups water

8 ozs dried cranberries

4-5 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. Pomegranate Molasses

Equipment:    Enamel or stainless steel cooking pan, a square of cheesecloth & length of twine, clean half pint or pint jars with sealable lids (I get mine here in bulk & they have a very easy 1 part sealable lid)

How to do it:

1. Cut lemons in half  & remove the seeds, placing them on a square of cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth & seeds up with twine to make a little bag.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade making

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2. Cut each lemon half into quarters and slice thinly. Place slices in a nonreactive pot, stainless steel or enamel and add seed bag & water.

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Sliced Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

3. Stir, making sure all the lemon slices & seed bag are submerged. If not then add just a bit more water. Cover pan & let sit at room temperature overnight, or up to 24 hours.

4. The next day place the pan over medium high heat and bring to a low boil.  Add sugar stirring often until sugar dissolves. Turn heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until mixture is reduced to about 5 cups. Skim off foam as it forms. Remove mixture from the heat. Discard the seed bag. Test the marmalade by dripping a bit of the onto a cold plate…wait a few minutes to make sure the mixture gels. If not return to the heat and retest.

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5. Stir in the Pomegranate Molasses which is found at most International Markets or online. I love the tart-sweet quality & just a little will really perk up the flavor of your marmalade.

Pomegranate MolassesDrizzle of Pomegranate Molasses

6. Add the dried cranberries. I found these Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries at Trader Joe’s, but any dried cranberries will do. Talk about seasonal! Blend well.

Lemon Marmalade with Dried Cranberries

7. Spoon hot marmalade into clean jars filling to within 1/4 inch from the top edge. Wipe rims of jars clean & seal with lids. I buy my jars online from SKS. They have a wide variety of canning jars with one piece lids that make the canning process so much easier (sorry my old friend “Ball”) & the prices are great.

jars of hot marmalade

8. Put jars in a hot water-bath canner with a wire rack, or set on any rack in a pot deep enough to cover jars with water by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil, pan  covered & cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off, leaving jars in hot water until it cools. Remove jars from water. Wipe dry & store in a cool dark place until you are ready to gift….Easy as That.

An alternate to actually canning, although it is really easy, is to just put jars in refrigerator until ready to give.

Our refrigerated jar of Meyer Lemon & Dried Cranberry Marmalade chilled and ready for toast.

Jar of chilled marmalade

Hot toasty bread smeared with Kerry Gold Butter & Marmalade. Life is good!

marmalade on toast with butter

Happy Thanks-Giving y’all.