Monday, July 11, 2011

Avocado Cookies

Avocado what? Yup. Avocado Cookies. Half the fat as regular cookies, and soooooo incredibly soft. I see big things for this cookie’s future!

I must give full credit to my BFF (that’s pronounced BUFFFF) Elizabeth (Hi Elizabeth!) who called me and told me about this and I said WHAAAAAAAT?! and then proceeded to bake them. She’s a creative genius.

I just find great recipes. She creates them.

Let me first squash any fears, by saying NOOOOOOO these cookies don’t taste like avocado, or some strange chocolate guacomole concoction.

Ewww. Can you imgaine?

Although I know that’s what my husband was expecting.

For the record, my grandma never made avocado cookies, nor would you ever find such a recipe in a church cookbook.

But change is good, right?

I may just use this as my go-to cookie recipe from now on; it feels good to cut the fat.

Join me, say, “GET OUT FAT! GET OUT!”

Next time I’ll even try reducing the sugar. Ya’ll have any ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

I’ll start with applesauce, that can replace sugar, right?

I’m sorry in advance if anyone suggests splenda or equal. I know, I know, I just can’t get the taste out of my mouth.

Oh, while we’re taking care of business, the cookies have a green tint because I didn’t have any chocolate chips, and *me,* not wanting to drive 3 minutes to the store, made do with what she had (Grandma’s smiling down on me!).

So, what I had was Mint Crisp M&Ms. They came out GREAT.

Not only added some green color, heh, but refreshing in this sweltering heat.

 

So, half cup avocado (one small avocado, not Haas), half cup butter.

Evil butter.

I love you butter. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.

Again, my butter is always frozen so I cube it to help it soften faster.

Cream together butter, white and brown sugar.

DON’T JUDGE!

YES, I’m very aware of what this looks like.

I want you to do something.

Close your eyes, dip your finger in, and taste it.

You know how avocado is a fruit? (It is, it has a seed.) So imagine you mixed a fruit with sugar. It’s SO good. SO creamy. Almost tropical. Almost like mango.

You just have to try it. I can see now how Avocado Ice Cream would be EXCELLENT! I’m going to try it after our camping trip.

Add two farm fresh eggs.

If you’re uber healthy and want to add just a whole bunch of oats and nuts and flaxseed and tri-omega (huh?), you may need to add an extra egg.

I’ll stay with my “avocado instead of butter = healthy.”

Add your dry ingredients, one cup at a time.

Then chopped pecans, and chocolate chips. Or mint crisp M&Ms.

Whatever is in your freezer.

*IMPORTANT NOTE*:

The cookies stay whatever shape you leave them!!!!!

The first batch I just scooped out with a spoon and dropped them onto my beloved pizza stone.

They were ugly.

I’ll leave it at that.

For the rest of the dough, I rolled each spoonful into a ball, and then flattened it, slightly.

Gorgeous, right?

Bake at 350 degrees approximately 11 minutes or until golden and gorgeous.

Again, that green is from the M&Ms.

And they are even better the next day!

I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES OF THIS COOKIE DOUGH! ~ happy dance!

Let me know what ya’ll think!

Easy peasy! And delicious!

~Peace, Love, and Baking Ya’ll!

I’m making these for the upcoming BBQ cookoff in Taylor, TX and I’m thinking people are going to RUN to the store to make them. No? Just me? Oh. :)

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup avocado (1 small avocado)
3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
chocolate chips (I use about 2/3 of a 12 oz bag)

Directions:

Cream together avocado, butter, and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add flour, salt, baking powder and soda; add one cup at a time. Then add nuts, chocolate chips, oats, coconut, shoelaces, whatever you're feelin'!

Roll spoonfulls of dough into balls and flatten slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes until golden and gorgeous.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monkey Bread Muffins

 

Did ya’ll have a grandma that made you monkey bread?

I didn’t.

I always asked her to, but she made cinnamon rolls out of a can instead.

As a kid, I just wanted to be one of those 99 monkeys jumping on a bed. And I read about monkey bread, or had it at a friend’s house, or saw it on tv…. I forget. But somehow, I learned about it, and wanted it.

I’ve seen lots and lots of recipes for monkey bread over the years. Although they look yummy in their glistening bundt pans, let’s be honest. I was too lazy.

And then.

And then?

And then I saw this recipe on Sweet Tooth.

It was really easy! I was feeling extra motivated one Saturday morning, and it didn’t take a whole lot of time. I also finally made use of my silicone muffin “tin,” and it worked great; they popped right out!

I highly recommend ya’ll go out and buy one.

The light texture of these is reminiscent of a biscuit or scone, and the fact that they’re drenched in butter and sugar only makes me feel slightly guilty while they emerge out of the oven with a crunchy topping and soft, pull-apart interior.

How’d you like THAT run-on sentence?

 

Ya’ll feelin’ monkey-y?

Start with a large bowl, add in your flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 T of white sugar.

Then we’re going to cut in our first stick of butter.

Ohhhhh, stop you’re whining. I know I’m always lecturing about cutting in your butter.

Now, I always freeze my butter because I’m a good thrifty girl who buys it in bulk when it’s on sale. And when I mean bulk, I mean my mother has a stand-up freezer with an entire shelf dedicated to butter and chocolate chips.

It’s how life should be.

Anyways, I always freeze it, so when I ready to bake, I cut it into cubes, so it softens quicker.

Nifty, eh?

You still want your butter cold. Just, usable. You know, to cut.

Then get your pastry cutter, or fork, or food processor. Girl, I’m tellin’ you, that food processor works great and it’s fast, but this is so much easier to wash.

So, get to cuttin’. When you cut in the butter, you’re essentially making little niblets of cold butter. When it bakes, the butter melts, and releases steam, and creates a “pocket.” Which is why we have nice, fluffy biscuits.

As long as you don’t overmix.

Science class is now dismissed. Papers due Thursday everyone.

Bueller?

Look, see how we broke up our butter?

Resembles coarse cornmeal.

I think above said statement will be on my tombstone.

Now pour in your buttermilk.

If you’re out of buttermilk, use regular milk with a tablespoon (per cup) of vinegar added. Let sit ten minutes, until it curdles. Yummy.

Aren’t I a wealth of information today?

Goodness.

Please ignore the scar on my wrist, and the fact that it looks like I have man arms in this picture.

~ The scar was from a “fender bender.” Another story for another day.

Now you’re going to stir quickly and gently, with a fork, until the mixture just comes together. You might need a smidge more of buttermilk. I don’t know why, but I always do.

I can still hear my mother now, “Hurry, you need to work quickly Katie!”

“I am Mom!”

I usually sorta clump it together with my hands at the end. And make sure there’s no flour hiding at the bottom of the bowl.

Alright! We’ve got our donut biscuit muffin dough ready, now it’s on to the sin-free dipping stations!

At our first station, you’ll see 4 tablespoons of butter, and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. Melt that glorious highly caloric concoction for roughly 40 seconds in the microwave.

~ It smells like French Toast ~

 

At our second station, you’ll notice white and brown sugar, and a wealth of cinnamon.

You over there in the green, mix that up.

Please keep your hands and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

Ready for the FUUUUNN????

This is where the kids can help.

As long as you don’t mind wiping melted butter off the walls and your feet sticking to the floor for weeks.
I’m a teacher, I’m used to it.

Take spoonfuls of dough, dip it in the butter….

Then into the sugar/cinnamon mixture….

It’s like a churro!

Then plop it in your new *smile*  red Wilton silicone muffin “tin.”

Continue this process. I ended up with about 4 dough balls in each tin.

Also take a moment to notice I was a little overambitious with my sugar mixture, and ran out at the end.

My last row of dough balls are bald.

Oh well. Still delicious.

Pop ‘em in the oven, and keep your monkeys busy while they bake!

If you’d like, you can also make a powdered sugar glaze to pour over the hot suckers, but I was feeling the sugar comatose already, so I skipped the glaze.

 

Look at how pretty!

No, I did *not* eat all three monkey bread muffins after taking this picture…

But my husband did!

Now get back to monkeyin’ around.

~Peace, Love, and Monkeys

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Monkey Bread Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup white sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix your flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or food processor, cut in 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons). Add buttermilk, and stir with a fork until just combined.

In a separate bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup.

In a third bowl, mix 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

Using a spoon, make rough balls from the biscuit dough. Roll it through the butter, then roll it through sugar mixture. Place dough balls into a greased muffin tin. After repeating this process with all the dough, lightly press down the balls into the muffin tin.

Place a tent of foil over the muffins, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. You may want to remove the tent for the last few minutes of baking. Also optional would be making a powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over the top of your monkey bread muffins.

Makes 12 monkey muffins.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Sangrito

Yup. You heard right. That’s Sangrito. You really gotta twang it when you say it. Half Sangria, half Mojito. You’ll never drink anything else again. I’m gonna get me a glass now.

I’ve seen many variations of this drink, but my Mama and I came up with this version together and I liked it so much it was the signature drink at my wedding! Be careful with the rum at the end, it can really knock you off your feet. ~winks.

*Please drink responsibly.

Okie Dokie Artichokies, super easy and fun:

First, we’re going to make a simple syrup. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a pot. JUST bring to a boil, then turn it off, and stir it around until all the sugar is dissolved. Then place it in the fridge to cool. It will yield about 1 1/2 cups of liquid.

Slice up one granny smith apple.

Slice up one orange! This reminds me of my mother cutting oranges for soccer practice – this is adult soccer practice now!

 

Take your simple syrup out the freezer or fridge after about 30-45 minutes.

Use one bunch of mint.

In a large pitcher, add simple syrup and mint. I sorta roll the mint leaves between my fingers and break them in half before I throw them in.

Break them up a little more with a wooden spoon. Don’t beat them to death like I did the first time because it will cause your Sangrito to be bitter.

No one likes bitter Sangrito.

No one likes bitter people.

Throw in your fruit. Now you can switch up the fruit to add in what you’d like.

Blackberries and raspberries would be DELICIOUS!

Sometimes I add a peach or nectarine.

Whatever cranks your tractor.

Pour in one bottle of red wine. Now I am NO wine aficionado, I still drink what my friends call “Soda Pop” wine. But it doesn’t fill me up, and makes me feel so warm and fuzzy!

Anyone else with me? Heh?

So, any red wine will do. Even white and it’d be a White Sangrito. Whatever is on sale.

I usually use what in Texas they call “Sweet Red” or “Texas Red.”

THEN!!!!

TA DA!

Pour one liter of Ginger Ale!

YUUUMMMMMMMMMMY!

And then the kicker. Some sort of rum.

This is my choice.

The amount is up to you, I usually pour a three second free pour.

The whole Sangrito recipe makes about 1 gallon of *spiked punch* – use your judgement.

And that’s it!!

DELICIOUS!

Throw it in a glass, garnish and serve!

It even keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days, just top off with a little more fizzy drink.

~Peace, Love, and ‘Gritos

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Summer Sangrito

Yield: 1 gallon

Prep Time: 45 minutes

A mojito and sangria mix!

Ingredients:

1 cup simple syrup
1 granny smith apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced
handful of blackberries, fruit of your choice
1 bunch of mint, leaves removed from stem
1 bottle sweet red wine
1 liter ginger ale
3 oz. white rum

Directions:

Prepare simple syrup by boiling one cup water and one cup sugar for 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a pitcher, pour cooled simple syrup and mint leaves; muddle with a wooden spoon. Add fruit, then red wine, ginger ale, and finally rum. Serve cold, garnish with fruit!