March 22, 2011

My Favorite Nut

Pecans are my favorite nut!  I wonder if it is because I'm from the South . . .  

I do know the flavor of pecans is so yummy!  Surprisingly, pecans can get better with the addition of sugar and spices.  I've made these spiced pecans numerous times.  I first made them last year for a little post-holiday party.  They were a huge hit with me (oh, and the guests, haha).  I recently made them again for a neighborhood get together.  I was so excited to have an excuse to make them again!  :-)  The leftovers didn't last long.  

Spiced Pecans

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
3 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, I'm not a huge fan).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

In a small bowl, beat the egg white with the water.  Stir in pecans, mixing until well moistened.  

In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Sprinkle over moistened nuts.  Spread nuts onto prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Be careful not to overcook and burn the nuts.  

Hat Tip -

March 19, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies

I came across this chewy sugar cookie recipe on one day.  The recipe sounded easy and I knew Sweetie was a big fan of sugar cookies.  :)  I don't usually make sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies are my usual "go-to" cookies.  I was also curious to see how sugar cookies would be with cream cheese in them.  The result was yummy!  They had a very sugary, vanilla flavor with crunchy sugar on the outside.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Place 1 1/2 cups sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl.  Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside.  Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out latter).  Whisk in oil until incorporated.  Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth.  Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.  

Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop).  Using hands, roll dough into balls.  Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet.  Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.

Bake, 1 tray at at time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes.  Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes.  Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Makes 24 cookies