Pecan & Almond Shortbread Cookies — 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Creative Crops Almond Pecan Shortbread, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

It is officially that time of year – time for the great food blogger cookie swap! Our house looks forward to this time of year like nothing else. We stalk our mailbox for our 3 delicious boxes of cookies, homemade by a genius food blogger. I will detail the cookies we were fortunate enough to receive as well as the bloggers they came from in another post but know that they were super delicious! For our batch of cookies we decided to make Pecan and Almond Shortbread cookies. Shortbread cookies are some of our favorite and we thought we would go a little nutty and throw in both pecans and almonds to see how the combo went, and it was a winner! These were great cookies, year-round, and were quite a hit with our visitors, and hopefully our cookies swap partners liked them too!

Want to learn more about the swap? Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/qCABj for updates!!

This recipe is based off of http://m.foodnetwork.com/recipes/122690 .

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Directions: 

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. I started by roasting my pecans and then chopped them up instead of purchasing them pre-chopped or roasted. Pecans were roasted at 350 F for 5- 6 minutes.

Mix the butter and sugar until they are combined and then add the vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and salt,and add them to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the pecans and mix (on low speed if you are using a mixer) until the dough starts to come together. Move dough to a floured surface and roll into a long cylinder or log about 2″ thick. Wrap in saran-wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into hockey-puck or small discs. The thicker the discs the thinker your cookie. We found that they did not rise much. Bake the cookies on a parchment paper lined sheet and pop them into the oven!

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Once they have cooled off feel free to devour them!

Creative Crops Almond Pecan Shortbread, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Cajun Kick – Remoulade & Shrimp Po Boys

It’s winter and here in the Mid-Atlantic it can get a bit cold and dreary. I decided that the best way to warm myself up this winter was to cook some good ‘ole cajun food. What better, easy weeknight meal than homemade remoulade sauce and shrimp po boys?! It was a really fun meal because it was easy and quick and both recipes were great!

Remoulade Sauce

Adapted from: http://m.foodnetwork.com/recipes/22725

Ingredients:Creative Crops Po Boy1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process for 30 seconds. We used ours the same night but the leftovers did keep for a few days. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Shrimp Po Boy

Adapted from: http://www.closetcooking.com/2010/02/shrimp-po-boy.html

Creative Crops Shrimp Po Boy

Ingredients: 
1 pound shrimp (shelled and deviened)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon creole seasoning (below)
1 baguette (cut into 4 sandwich sized lengths)
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 large tomatoes diced
1/4 cup remoulade sauce

Directions:

Coat the shrimp in creole seasoning and oil. Skewer and grill the shrimp. Load up your sandwich with shrimp, lettuce, tomato and remoulade sauce.

Creole Seasoning

Adapted from: http://www.closetcooking.com/2010/02/shrimp-po-boy.html

Ingredients:
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme

Directions:
Mix everything :)

Creative Crops Creole Seasoning

Crazy-Delicious Coffee Cake

Where I grew up there was a bakery down the road with amazing coffee cake. There’s is still the best I have ever had but since I live over 400 miles away this recipe helped me bring a bit of my local bakery into my kitchen. One thing I would suggest is less salt on the topping. I definitely tasted the salt and I think the cake would be better with less salt there, otherwise it was very tasty! Perfect way to warm up a winter Sunday morning.

This recipe was adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/deluxe-coffee-cake-recipe/index.html?ic1=obinsite

Ingredients:

Topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cake:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing the pan, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

Directions:

Topping: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Stir to blend and then stir in butter. The topping should form sandy clumps. Break it into smaller clumps when you sprinkle it on the baking sheet. Refrigerate while you start cake recipe.

Cake:  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with butter. 

Cream the butter and granulated sugar together until light yellow and smooth, 5 to 8 minutes either with a whisk or with your mixer (I was excited because I got to use my kitchenaid stand mixer again!!).  Add the eggs, one at a time, while still beating until they are thoroughly mixed in.

Remove the topping from the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature prior to baking.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and yogurt together until smooth. Add some sour cream mixture, then flour mixture and continue alternating this while mixing until both mixtures are fully mixed together. Spread the batter evenly in the greased baking pan. Sprinkle the topping over the cake. Once the topping has been fully sprinkled over the cake bake it for 40 – 50 minutes. Allow it to cool and then dig in! Don’t forget to make your favorite cup of coffee to complement the delicious cake you just made.

 

Beer Pretzels

I’ve been pinning pretzel recipes on pinterest for a while now but never got around to trying them, then a friend passed me Taste of Home magazine and there was another pretzel recipe staring me down. I decided that the end of fall called for some homemade soft pretzels (and beer) so we could celebrate raking our final leaves in true fall fashion. The pretzels turned out very tasty, and they were EVEN more delicious on the second day when the soft pretzels were reheated. The recipe seems a bit daunting since it is long but the end result was tasty, so I’d say it’s worth the work!

Recipe was adapted from “Soft Beer Pretzels” page 71, Taste of Home Magazine September/October 2013.

Ingredients

1 bottle amber beer, or nonalcoholic beer
1/2 oz active dry yeast (1 packet if you buy them in packet form)
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 – 4 1/2 cups Flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
Coarse salt

Directions:

Heat bear to 110 – 115 in a small pan and then remove from heat. Stir in yeast until dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, 1 – 1/2 tsp of salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Beat (medium speed) until smooth and then stir in flour until the mixture becomes a soft dough (it will be sticky!).

Turn dough down on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl (turn the dough over once to grease the top), cover with saran-wrap and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled – about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Punch dough down and turn on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 balls and roll each ball into a 14″ rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape.

In a dutch oven bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels in two at a time and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the pretzels on a paper towel. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet (either use grease or parchment paper to “line” the sheet). Whisk egg and water in a small bowl and then brush that over each pretzel on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven.

Bake pretzels 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!! Again, reheated on day 2 (for about 15 seconds in the microwave) will also yield very delicious pretzels!

Copycat Alert – Red Lobstah Cheddar Biscuits

I’m personally not a biscuit kinda gal BUT my family on the other hand definitely knows how to put biscuits away. When we go to Red Lobster it’s not surprising to go through multiple baskets of biscuits, and a fresh one to head home with the leftovers. It was about time we figured out their secrets. This copycat recipe was great though we did modify it very slightly to better fit our tastes. If we closed our eyes it almost seemed like we were at Red Lobster, my scampi is still better :)

Ingredients:

Creative Crops Cheddar Biscuits2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together the bisquick, water and cheese. Roll out the dough to 3/4 inch thick and cut the biscuits with a cutter. Cut biscuits should go onto a baking sheet, I always bake on parchment paper to keep my pans (and oven) cleaner. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

While those are baking, melt the butter and combine with parsley and garlic powder in a small saucepan. After the biscuits are done cooking, brush the tops with the butter. Serve these immediately but be prepared for them not to last long!

Creative Crops Biscuits

Perfect Pita Chips

I find that chips in generally are one of the easier types of food to put together, but also one of those sneaky recipes that can go really wrong, really quickly. It takes a good eye to make a good chip, but with some practice and patience chip-making is actually very simple. The pita chips below are the perfect complement to hummus. Here at our Homestead we make homemade hummus and now make these pita chips at the same time so we have a great, easy, homemade side-dish that really impresses all of our guests. They are stunned when we reveal that both the chips and hummus are homemade. Impress your friends at your next picnic or BBQ with these easy chips below:

The recipe below is modified from: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/146022/perfect-pita-chips

Ingredients:

1 pckg Pita Pockets
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Garlic Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush one side of each pita pocket with olive oil and then sprinkle the salt, cumin, and garlic salt over the pockets. Each pocket needs to be sliced into 4 triangles. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until they are light brown.

Again, these are best with hummus as an appetizer. Make extra, because I can promise you will be nibbling on them while waiting for the rest of your food to finish cooking!

So-Tasty Tortilla Soup

Well fall has finally arrived here in Virginia so let’s celebrate with some soup! I’d argue that tortilla soup is the perfect soup on rainy or early fall days. There is something so warming about the nice light broth, veggies and SW flare that tortilla soup brings. We are big fans of spanish style cooking and especially of tortilla soup. This is a great side-dish on taco night, or as the main course when you are looking for a lighter meal.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp Corn Oil
4 small Corn Tortillas – coarsely chopped
4 cloves Garlic
handful of Cilantro – chopped
1 Yellow Onion
1 tbsp Cumin
2 tsp Chili Powder
2 Bay Leaves
1.5 quarts Chicken Broth
2 tsp Salt
pinch of Cayenne Pepper
28 oz. Tomato Puree
2 Chicken Breasts – Cooked and Shredded
Cheddar Cheese – just a pinch for garnish before serving

Directions: 

In a large soup heat oil over medium heat. Add tortillas, garlic and cilantro and cook for about 5 minutes until tortillas are soft. While those are cooking puree the onion (we LOVE using our Magic Bullet for this). Add onion and tomato purees into the soup pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in: cumin, bay leaves, chicken broth and chili powder. Once this is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  After about 15 minutes add the chicken and then continue simmering for another 15 minutes (30 minutes of simmering, total). Stir-in salt and cayenne pepper to taste, remove bay leaves. Garnish with cheese and dig-in!

Tortilla Soup photo 1 (4) photo 2 (1) photo 4

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