Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is an adaptation of yesterdays peanut butter cookie.
2 sticks nucoa
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 cups peanut butter (again I use a whole jar of 15-18oz peanut butter)
2 eggs
2 teas baking soda
1 teas vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1-2 cups chocolate chips
Cream nucoa, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mix thoroughly. Add baking soda and vanilla. I did all this in a mixer which made the batter really light.(if using remove bowl from mixer at this point and stir rest by hand). Mix in oatmeal. Add chocolate chips. I have made this with 1 cup chocolate chips and in thinking about it - it could really use more.
Drop by tablespoonful onto baking sheet (I always use a silpat). This is a really sticky dough so you may need to use the two spoon method (scoop dough with one spoon and push it onto baking sheet with other spoon). Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. These are really good cookies and have a more oatmeal feel to them than peanut butter. I am considering making them with dried cranberries and a little cinnamon next time to see how they come out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies plus variations

I found a cookbook at the library that was something like 50 cookies from the same cookie dough. It got me thinking - is there a way I could make 50 different cookies from my peanut butter cookie recipe since it's a family favorite and a super easy gluten free cookie. I have played with a few ideas and made them yesterday.
The basic recipe is what I call the 2 peanut butter cookie (this is not original to me but I have made it for so long I can't tell you who originally made the cookie).
This particular recipe I found when I had a hospice client tell me her last helper would make her peanut butter cookies but they weren't like anyone else's. I found this recipe in a cooking for kids cookbook (something like One Bite Won't Kill You). She didn't think they were the right cookies but my family really liked them. So when the time came to make cookies for a family reunion - I offered to make these. My aunt complained that I wasn't going to make the right cookies so I ended up making 2 batches - these and the traditional peanut butter cookies. The traditional cookies were left practically uneaten.

Peanut Butter Cookies
2 cups peanut butter (I use an entire 16-18 oz jar because it's just over 2 cups)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teas baking soda
1 teas vanilla
Cream peanut butter and sugar together. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Add baking soda and vanilla. Mix until everything is smooth and creamy. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Flatten on baking sheet - these spread so you want to keep a good inch or so all around them. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. I always bake my cookies on a silpat lined baking sheet. They will come out of the oven really soft so be careful to not over bake. Let cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing. If they absolutely fall apart while transferring then they need to be cooked a little longer (it's fine to put them back in the oven at this point so long as you didn't let them sit too long). They should be firm but crumbly.

This weekend I tried making them into thumbprint cookies. The cookies don't really hold their shape so they were not cute thumbprints but the raspberry jam was a great compliment to the peanut butter cookie. What I did was made an impression in each cookie prior to baking and filled it with about 1/2 teas jam. A full teaspoon might be fine since the cookies spread.
Another variation and one we use often is to mix in chocolate chips. This time I made the cookies as I would normally and pressed chocolate chips into the dough after laying it out on the cookie sheet.
This is the first 2 variations I made without changing the dough. I will post soon the oatmeal peanut butter cookies I created - so good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Peanut Chicken

One of our staple sauces is peanut sauce on chicken. For me, this is a simple and tasty recipe. I don't put a lot of fuss into peanut sauce and it always turns out well.
Normally, I brown the chicken in a deep skillet. Add a can of coconut milk and a couple of dollops of peanut butter. I use a basic, cheap peanut butter. Sometimes I add a little sweet chili sauce for a bit of a kick.
Last night I put the chicken (usually boneless, skinless chicken breast but any chicken will do) in a 9x13 baking dish with any juices from the bag. I drizzled on sweet chili sauce and then dolloped the peanut butter here and there. About half way through I flipped over the chicken and stirred the peanut butter into the chicken juices. I had envisioned the peanut butter melting into everything making a sauce but it didn't until I stirred everything together. My father said it was the best peanut sauce he has ever had which just goes to show that simplicity is always better.
I serve this chicken over rice with a gluten free soy sauce.

For another twist you can add crushed pineapple to the coconut milk for the skillet chicken (and then make the peanut butter optional - for an island kick add a little rum).

Xavier's Dutch Oven Contest

My son entered the annual dutch oven contest for the second year this year (it's also the second year of the contest). Last year he did the one pot competition but this year he strove for the 3 pot division.
I promised I would share his recipes - I have shared the cornbread recipe before and it didn't quite work in the dutch oven (sadly costing him a ribbon) but the other two recipes were well received.
Low Country Boil
6 quart Dutch oven
Serves 6
• 8 teaspoons Bay Seasoning (or to taste)
• 12 red new potatoes
• 6 (4-inch) smoked link sausage (good high quality sausages will add better flavor)
• 6 ears corn
• 3 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled (I prefer peeled shrimp but you can use unpeeled for more flavor)
• 4 quarts water
Add water to Dutch Oven. Add Bay Seasoning and bring to a boil over hot coals. Add potatoes and sausage. Boil for 20 minutes. Add corn and cook for 10 more minutes. Add Shrimp and let cook for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp is just done. Drain off water and serve.
*note – you can boil the sausages for 10 minutes prior to adding potatoes to give the water more flavor and then boil them 20 minutes.

*We used Andouille sausage which is slightly spicy but held up really well. Cheap sausages will lose their flavor so use a good quality sausage. Also be aware that shrimp shrinks so you want to use a larger size - we used Thai Shrimp which was a good size shrimp. We also ended up using only 2 pounds since it comes in 2 pound bags and it was plenty of shrimp.

Corn Bread
6 quart Dutch Oven
Serves 6
• ½ stick of butter
• 2 cups corn meal
• 2 teas baking powder
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups milk
Melt butter in Dutch Oven. In a bowl, combine corn meal and baking powder. Add eggs and milk. Mix together. Pour most of the melted butter into the batter, leaving a good film on the Dutch Oven. Pour batter into Dutch Oven. Cover with flat lid and top with coals (should have coals top and bottom, want to replicate a 350 – 400 degree oven). Bake 20 minutes or until Corn Bread is firm to the touch and browned.

Peach Caramel Cake
6 quart Dutch Oven
Serves 6
• 1 box White or Yellow Cake Mix
• 1 can of ginger ale
• 1 large can peaches with juice
• 1 cup brown sugar
• Oil
Lightly oil Dutch Oven. Sprinkle brown sugar around bottom of pot evenly. Top with peaches. Layer on cake mix but do not stir. Pour over ginger ale. You can press down on cake mix to moisten but do not stir. Cover with flat lid and coals. Set on additional coals (you want to replicate about a 400 degree oven). Bake 45 minutes or until cake is firm. Careful not to overcook the bottom.

*We experimented with this recipe in the oven with a regular cake mix and it worked fine. This past weekend I made a version of this with fresh apples instead of canned peaches and the Betty Crocker gluten-free white cake mix. It worked really well - I had to add a little more soda to compensate for the apples not being canned. It had good flavor and texture, even though the Betty Crocker mix is 1/2 a normal cake mix.