February 20, 2014

Anise Butter Cookies

I love anise, but haven't run across many recipes that call for aniseed. These butter cookies were delightful, but with just a hint of anise.

Anise Butter Cookies
from Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons aniseeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy and pale, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters. Add the egg, lemon zest, vanilla and aniseeds, and beat together.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, beat into the butter mixture, just until combined. Gather the dough into a ball, then press down to a 1-inch thickness. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days, or place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. Alternatively (if you don’t want to roll out the dough), remove spoonfuls of half of the dough and plop them down the middle of a piece of parchment paper to create a log about 2 inches in diameter. Fold the parchment up around the log to and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 F with the rack adjusted to the lowest setting. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Cut the dough into 2 or 4 pieces, and roll out one piece at a time on a lightly floured work surface, to about ¼-inch thick. Cut into circles or shapes, dipping the cutter into flour between each cut, and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Keep the remaining pieces of dough in the refrigerator or freezer.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the baking sheets front to back halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Honey Peanut Butter Bars

I bought puffed rice for a recipe, but it really called for crisp rice cereal. I searched for a recipe using puffed rice and found this one. Since I made it I've been craving more and will make some soon.

Honey Peanut Butter Bars
adapted from She Bakes Here

1 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup melted honey
3 - 3 1/2 cups puffed wheat or rice cereal
1/4 cup chocolate, melted

Line a 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, maple syrup and honey with a wooden spoon.

Stir in puffed wheat or rice cereal and mix until the cereal is lightly coated. Using the back of the spoon, press the mixture evenly into the square pan.

Put the pan in the freezer for 25 minutes until the bars have hardened.

Grab hold of the parchment paper and gently lift the bars out of the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the bars into even rectangles. Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge.

Big Yummy Bowl

This salad is absolutely delicious. My toddler loved it too - she cleaned her plate in record time. This photo is after her second plateful. Doesn't she look happy? The original recipe was called Big Vegan Bowl, but the fact that it is vegan is irrelevant. It's a big YUMMY bowl!

Big Yummy Bowl
from Oh She Glows

1 large sweet potato, chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
olive oil
spices: garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
purple cabbage or vegetable of choice, shredded
couple handfuls of greens for the base (optional)
lots of hummus
sliced avocado
hulled hemp seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Spread out the chopped sweet potato on one sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of oil or so and toss the potatoes until coated. Sprinkle with fine grain sea salt.

For the roasted chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then place on a large tea towel and pat until completely dry. Discard any skins that fall off. Transfer the chickpeas to the baking sheet and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Rub them around with your hands until lightly coated. Generously sprinkle with fine grain sea salt and your favorite spices, like garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Toss gently to combine.

Place both the sweet potato and chickpeas into the preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes at 400F and then remove both. Flip the sweet potatoes and gently roll around the chickpeas. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, watching closely during the last 5 minutes. When the chickpeas are golden and the sweet potatoes are lightly browned on the bottom and fork tender, they are ready to come out.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa while the roasting is going on. In a fine mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa and then place in a medium pot. Add in 1.5 cups of water and stir. Bring the mixture to a low boil and then reduce the heat to low/medium and cover with lid. Simmer, covered, for about 14-17 minutes (you can check after 13 minutes), until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and leave the lid on to steam for another 5-10 minutes or longer if needed. Fluff with fork.

Assemble the bowl: Add a couple handfuls of greens into a large shallow bowl. When the roasted veggies and chickpeas are done, allow the chickpeas to cool for 5 minutes and then add them on the salad followed by the sliced avocado, hummus, shredded veggies, and hemp seeds. Serve immediately.