Thursday, November 25, 2010

Autumn Hershey's Kiss Thumbprint Cookies

On a recent trip to the States I couldn't help but snatch up a bag each of the seasonal Hershey's kisses - candy corn, caramel apple and pumpkin spice. I tried them all and wasn't a huge fan of any of them. But I thought it would be fun to make thumbprint cookies with them and use the kisses as the center instead of jam! The cookie part is basically shortbread and the best way I can think to describe them is "homey" (and delicious of course). I would definitely make them again, though I would wouldn't buy those kisses again. It was fun though! These cookies would also be delicious made the way originally intended with jam, which I will be trying soon.

It's been snowing a bit on and off here. I'm reeeeeeally hoping for more snow today!!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Sugar Cookie Bars
Coconut Shortbread
Chocolate Dipped Cherry Shortbread
Earl Grey Tea Shortbread

Autumn Hershey's Kiss Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes about 48

24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
48 Hershey's kisses (about a bag?), unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, and beat until completely combined. With mixer on low, add flour and salt, and mix just until incorporated.

2. Shape dough into balls using about 1 tbsp dough. (If you want bigger cookies, use 2 tbsp and a longer baking time.) Place on baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart.

3. Moisten thumb with water, and gently press the center of each ball, making an indentation about 1/2 inch wide and inch deep. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 10-12 minutes. Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, place a Hershey's kiss in the indentation. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Wow so apparently I'm not really updating my blog anymore! The days pass so quickly and while I'm still trying out new recipes and making yummy things (though there have been some just okay things too), I seem to be falling very behind in blog land. I wonder how long food blogs will be around for anyway? Do you think people will always want to read food blogs and maintain them or will there be a new thing? Hm.

Anyway, today I'm sharing with you these amazing lemon bars. I've always loved lemon bars. My most prominent lemon bar memory was when I made a batch as a teenager and I think I ate most of the batch by myself in a weekend. Lemon bars are addictive! The thing that makes these ones a little different is the crust which has crushed lemon cookies, and then there's a layer of cream cheese on top. So you have lemon curd, cheesecake, and a crushed lemon cookie crust. I don't think you need more convincing than that!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Buttermilk Pie Bars
Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies
Chocolate Fudge Souffle Bars
Eggnog Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp icing sugar

Cheesecake layer
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg

30 lemon social tea cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper or grease; set aside.

Base: In food processor, whirl cookies to make 2 cups crumbs; pulse in butter until moistened. Press into prepared pan. Bake in centre of 325F oven until firm, about 12 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack.

Cheesecake layer: In bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth; beat in egg. Spread over base; set aside.

In bowl, beat eggs with sugar until thickened. Beat in lemon zest and juice, flour, and baking powder until smooth; pour over cheesecake layer. Bake in centre of 325F oven until edges are set and lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack. Cut into bars and refrigerate.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

If I were given the choice between beans and lentils, most of the time I'd pick lentils. And as a vegetarian I definitely need to be picking at least one of them! Sadly, I don't seem to come across many lentil recipes. At least not compared to bean recipes. (So please share your favourite lentil recipes with me!)

So one day I went searching for lentil recipes and came across this one on Epicurious. Looking at the ingredient list I was kind of skeptical (mint mixed with the arugula for the greens? no real added flavour except for salt, pepper, vinegar and garlic?) but it got really good reviews so I gave it a try. And I liked it. It's just a nice, fresh salad that's great to eat as a meal. The flavours are simple with salt, pepper, vinegar and garlic but it's good. And this salad can easily be made vegan by omitting the feta.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Greek Barley Salad
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill and Lemon
Broccoli Slaw
Portobello Salad with Mustard Dressing

Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad
Adapted from Gourmet | September 1995

1 cup brown lentils
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry, and chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 pound feta, crumbled or chopped (about 1 cup)

In a small saucepan simmer lentils in water to cover by 2 inches until tender but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes, and drain well. Transfer hot lentils to a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely, stirring occasionally.

In a saucepan bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove pan from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.

Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.