5/19/15

Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies



Hey there. Did you already run out of your stash of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies?? You've come to the right place. I'm about to make you forget your worries and satisfy your craving with this recipe for  homemade Thin Mints!




Once upon a time, I said I didn't like anything mint. Gradually, over the years, I have found I do like a few mint treats. The moon has to be in just the right position, with all the planets aligned, and in that moment,  for some unknown reason, BAM, I'm in the mood for mint. I think I was one of the last people on the earth to develop a love for Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. 
Whyyyyyyy? Who knows.




The bad news is, they are only available a few weeks of the year. 
The good news is, they are only available a few weeks of the year. 





I love baking, which makes entertaining my often irrational sweet cravings fairly simple to satisfy!  I pinned this recipe for Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies at The View From Great Island. These cookies are about as close to the real deal as I have tasted... except they don't have the slightly waxy chocolate coating. Again, good news, bad news. Hard to say? 
They are truly a little bite of Girl Scout cookie inspired goodness in a home made treat. 





Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies
adapted slightly from The View From Great Island

cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened Dutch Process cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour*

chocolate coating:
20 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, or dark dipping chocolate
2 teaspoons peppermint extract or oil

Set oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter resembles a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is combined, making sure to not over mix.
Form dough into a ball.
Using about 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll it thin on a lightly floured surface, about 1/8-inch. Cut cookies using 2-inch cutter. Gather the scraps and press together lightly and cut remaining cookies. Place up to 20 cookies on a jelly roll pan, lined with parchment paper or lightly grease a cookie sheet. The cookies will not spread much while baking.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely before removing from baking sheet. 
While the cookies bake, make the peppermint coating. Chop the baking chocolate into very small, thin pieces. Place in a glass bowl or similar container and microwave for about 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon or a whisk. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract.
Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and tap the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off. Place on a parchment baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set for a few minutes.
Yield about 50-2 inch cookies.

Tips:
-Fluff the flour and lightly scoop with a spoon into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife to insure you don't get too much flour in the cookie dough.
-The dough is a little stiff and tends to crack while rolling out. No problem, just press it back together with hands. 
-Melt the chocolate just before you are ready to dip, and make sure to whisk in the extract well. 

5/15/15

Nathalie Dupree's Fudgy Brownies and Cooking Classes at Harmons!




THE Guide to Southern cooking. 

If you were able to sit down with one of the most popular cookbook authors in the US, what would you want to know (insert emoji with wide eyes and hand over mouth)?  Nathalie Dupree is coming to SLC to teach cooking classes at Harmons, and they asked me to do an interview with Nathalie to promote her upcoming visit and classes. We had a lovely conversation about everything from Julia Child and the influence she had on Nathalie's career path to her preferred fat in biscuits and pie crust. Some people want to know how to achieve world peace, I just want to talk crust, dough and chocolate. Nathalie is a gracious Southern Lady, so of course, she obliged and gave me all kinds of insider tips about one of her areas of expertise, biscuit making. Nathalie is the Queen of Biscuit Making. She's written a whole book about the subject.

One of Nathalie's 14 cookbooks...

Here's a bit of our conversation:
First, we discussed how her name is properly pronounced.  Since we have that in common ( you have no idea how many variations I have heard of my name- Sayuri (Si).  Her name is pronounced Natalie, not Na-THalie. Apparently her mother wanted Natalie, and her father wanted NaTHalie, and dad got his way in spelling. She was raised in Virginia and in her early years and had an opportunity to cook for her college dormitory one summer. Her mom didn't want her to be a cook, it wasn't "suitable work for a lady" back in the day. Her mother knew it would require working at night with men (yikes!) and lifting heavy equipment. It was not typical work for a woman in 1959.
But Nathalie loved cooking.
After she was married, she moved to London and while looking for a job, she "stumbled into" the Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School. She took a class, then went home and tried to duplicate what she had learned.  Everything she made flopped!  Nathalie said she considered herself a good cook and decided at that point she didn't want to be a "lady" and instead wanted to go to cooking school. A year later, she earned her advanced certificate.  At graduation, Nathalie talked to Julia Child about her future.  "Julia was very generous and available to people, I asked her - what I should do now and Julia told me I should teach cooking."


Nathalie instructing at Rich's Cooking School in Atlanta

The rest is history.  Nathalie has owned multiple restaurants, opened and enrolled more than 10,000 students at Rich's cooking school in Atlanta during her almost 10 years there. She has hosted more than 300 television shows on PBS, TLC, The Food Network and countless other appearances on national television shows. Nathalie has been the recipient of the prestigious James Beard award three times and was recently inducted to the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. Whew. And she's still going strong in her 75th year. With a reputation like that, I knew I had to honor Nathalie by making one of her recipes. We were in the mood for chocolate, so I made some of her Fudgy Brownies.
Oh my. They did not disappoint!




Ani could not wait to get her hands on a homemade brownie...


kid approved!

They lived up to Nathalie's amazing reputation.
If you want to learn from Nathalie, and live in the SLC area, she will be teaching  Southern Desserts, Cool Summer Eats, Southern Breakfast, and Southern Menus for Two at Harmons Cooking School, City Creek on May 22 & 23. I highly recommend taking a class. This would make such a fun girls night out or mother-daughter date.  Hurry and sign up the slots are filling fast...Hope to see you there!
Oh and the biscuit making tips? We'll have to talk about that on another post.

 


Nathalie Dupree's Fudgy Brownies









5/7/15

Breakfast Croissant Quiche Cups






These little Breakfast Quiche Cups are made with croissants and easy to whip up in just a few minutes. They are perfect for the Mother's Day brunch you're planning.
You've got that covered, right??
If not, here are a few suggestions to help you out...


One-Bowl Berry Coffee Cake, super simple and can be made a day ahead! 




If Mum loves pancakes, try this recipe for Sour Cream Pancakes. Absolutely melt in your mouth delicious. It's my copycat recipe for Penny Ann's Sour Cream Pancakes. Don't forget the home made syrup. 




 For a meal in a salad, try this recipe for Cobb Salad with Creamy French Dressing. Crunchy, salty, creamy all in one bite. 




Does your mom love Panera? You'll be her favorite when you make this copycat version of the Panera Strawberry Poppy seed Chicken Salad.  And who doesn't want to be mom's favorite??




You say you can't cook? Here's a no fail recipe for Fruit-Filled Virgin Sangria. Buy a glass pitcher and a few glasses and give all to mom for her special day, filled with this colorful delicious drink!




Every mom I know LOVES this dish.  If you can't take her to Italy, the least you can do is bring Italy to her.  Magherita Pasta. Takes just a few minutes to make.  Serve it with some bread and a green salad.
Best dinner.
Ever.





Don't forget dessert! Nan's Coconut Cake  is mom's favorite. Made with a cake mix and add-ins, it's simple and can be made a day or two ahead. Store in fridge. Top with fruit just before serving.
If this doesn't make mom love you, nothing will.




If mom is a Swig Cookie fan, make these. The original (Almost) Swig Cookie.
Gift plan: Give her a bottle of coconut flavoring (don't forget the squirt spout) a big glass, some fresh limes and some Diet Coke.
The family inheritance will be all yours.




Past Mother's Day Menus and recipes: 










Breakfast Croissant Quiche Cups
A Bountiful Kitchen

3 large croissants, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
10 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons prepared pesto
1-1 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
3 green onions, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped
2 cups grated cheese any type (cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss)

Generously grease muffin cups. 
Place croissant slice into greased muffin cup. You may need to press down a bit, or tear it in half to fit the slice in the muffin cup. Beat eggs and half and half together (I like to use a blender), add salt and pepper, mix again. Set aside.
Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon pesto over each croissant piece in cup. 
Top with chopped spinach, green onions, bacon and grated cheese. 
Pour the eggs over the croissants in the cups*. Fill the cups about 3/4 full of the egg mixture, or until all of the egg is used up.  
Let sit overnight in refrigerator (see tips below), covered with plastic wrap or bake in 350 oven for about 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden. 
Let sit for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the muffin cup and remove to a platter. Serve immediately or at room temperature. 

Tips:
-Make sure to generously grease the cups both sides and bottom or the egg will stick. 
-*The amount of quiche cups will depend on the size of the muffin cup, this recipe generally makes about 15-18 medium size cups. 
-It is best, but not necessary, to let the prepared quiche cups sit in the fridge for at least an hour before baking. This allows the egg mixture to completely soak into the croissant and creates a yummy bread pudding type texture. If preparing the quiche cups the day before serving, remove from fridge and let sit on counter for 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered. 
-The baked cups freeze well. After baking, place any leftovers in a Ziploc bag after completely cooled. Freeze. When ready to use, place on a paper towel and heat in microwave for about 1 minute. 
-We love this dish served with Chili Sauce or Sheri's Simple Salsa