Tag Archives: cinnamon

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite cookie, hands down. I made these this weekend, but was too lazy to write it out and then when I looked today, there were only five left, so I snapped a photo of a couple before they were gone.

They are not my husband’s favorite cookie, but that doesn’t stop him from eating them. It’s just that he would prefer chocolate chip cookies, but I don’t really care for chocolate unless it is buried deep in other flavors. Someday, I will make them again.

For a twist, I decided to make these cookies with some garam masala, in addition to cinnamon, and 100% whole wheat flour. They came out as a broad, flat cookie, but very chewy, even three days later. If you don’t like a cookie dough that spreads this much, experiment with the amount of flour and butter. I would suggest using less than the two sticks of butter, maybe even doing a half butter, half solid shortening mix. A little more flour or maybe a small addition of white flour might also help. Still, these are delicious as is, and they stay chewy, which is more important to me than that they stay rounded.

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • Servings: about 30 3.5-inch cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper

Beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar-egg mixture and blend until incorporated.

1 1/4 cups King Arthur® 100% whole wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir in walnuts, oats, and raisins until well distributed in the dough.

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

2 cups old-fashioned oats, such as Old Wessex Ltd.™ Scottish-Style Porridge Oats

1 cup raisins

Scoop the dough with a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, placing the balls about 2 inches apart to allow room for spreading. I only put nine scoops on each cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on rack for about 10 minutes, as the dough is quite pliable when hot and will be hard to lift off. When cool enough to move, place on rack to completely cool.

If you use a smaller scoop for cookies or change the amounts of flour or butter, check the cookies after 10 minutes in the oven. Whole wheat cookies are darker than those made with white flour, but you don’t want to burn them.

Link: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

My first choice for the slow-roasted flavor of a pork shoulder or boneless butt is roasting it in the oven, and I told you about that in July, but this is my second favorite way to cook it, not least because it frees up the whole day to do other things and then just eat. I looked at a lot of web recipes for slow-cooker pork before I found this gem at CHOW: Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

slow-cooker-cuisinart-csc650uFollow their directions, especially including the terrific rub with brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder. And they even have a short three minute instructional video. The only change I make is in step 3, where instead of using either the meat juices or barbecue sauce, I use both. My Cuisinart® slow cooker has a timer that switches over to a warming stage, so I set it for 6 or 8 hours, depending on the size of the roast. Eight hours for a whole shoulder, bone-in; 6 for a boneless butt, 3-5 pounds.

Slow in the oven or slow in the slow cooker—it’s all good.

Apple Crisp

I saw a few leaves trying to change color the other day, so it seemed like a good time to turn those ginger gold apples into a crisp to match the feeling of fall in the air. This recipe is adapted from another favorite cookbook, Fields of Greens, “Apple-Rhubarb Crisp,” but without the rhubarb.

Somerville, Annie. “Apple-Rhubarb Crisp.” Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant. New York: Bantam, 1993. 372.

Apple Crisp

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°; butter an 8″ or 9″ square baking dish

Prepare crisp topping/streusel:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour—whole wheat flour would make for an interesting taste
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar—use all brown sugar for a richer flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 stick cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Rough crumble
Rough crumble

Into the dry ingredients, cut the butter with a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers. I used my fingers, smashing the cubes of butter between thumbs and forefingers until the whole mixture was roughly blended. You’re not looking to create a fine meal, but to have some larger pieces of butter that begin to melt immediately in the oven.

Add the walnuts and stir in. Set aside or refrigerate for another time.

Prepare the apples and assemble the crisp:

6-7 cups peeled, sliced apples of your choice—any apple that would be good in a pie works. I had 7 ginger gold apples on hand, an early-season variety of apple, and one Fuji apple.

1/8-1/4 cup white sugar

Peel and core your apples. I do have a good apple corer and a good peeler, but I usually use the cheap flexible knife in the photo to quarter the apples, core, and peel—it works very quickly. The thin, flexible blade makes it easy to cut out just the core and not waste any flesh (of the apple; you’re on your own with your fingers).

Add the apples to the baking dish. I used an 8″ square dish and it was completely filled, although the crisp will settle as it cools. Sprinkle the second amount of sugar over the apples (skip this if trying to cut down on sugar). As I note at the beginning, I buttered the baking dish, which is not in the original recipe. Additionally, you could dot the apples with butter, as you do before putting a second crust on a pie.

Cover the top with the streusel, but don’t pat it down. You’re not making a crust. I put the whole amount in the center and push it out to the sides with my fingers. It seems like a lot of topping, but that’s fine.

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp

Bake for about 40 minutes at 375° or until brown. If using a glass dish, you will be able to see the filling bubble; it may bubble up to the top of the crisp at the sides or not. Serve warm. Whipped cream or ice cream is optional, or maybe essential in your house.

Chicken Coconut Curry

I haven’t made a curry in a long while, but when I picked up coconut milk for the 4th of July coconut cream pie, I accidentally picked up one can of the lite version with one can of the regular—who would use light coconut milk? Ended up going to a different store for the Goya® brand I wanted, so I bought two, which left me with two cans, one regular and one light. Hence, the curry.

My Chicken Coconut Curry is a version of this recipe—http://allrecipes.com/recipe/indian-chicken-curry-ii/—but I’m iffy on the yogurt and lemon as being too tangy, and I would like more vegetables in the curry, maybe snow peas. Let’s see what looks good at the grocery store.

Snow peas it is! I made a number of other changes to the recipe including adding garam masala, instead of the called-for cinnamon, along with the regular curry powder and cooking the dish in layers. Cooking in layers instead of throwing everything together at once, is probably a change I am most likely to make to recipes that I adapt. I like building flavors separately before combining them in the final step.

Other than my changes to the ingredients list, the browning of the chicken makes the biggest change. The recipe calls for dumping everything, raw chicken and all, into the sauce, and I don’t really like the image of the gray chicken that would result. Maybe I’m not a curry purist, but browned chicken adds much more flavor, including from the browned bits in the bottom of the pan, in which the onions are cooked. This step, plus the addition of chicken stock instead of yogurt, might make the sauce lean toward being more of a gravy, but we loved it.

Chicken Coconut Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 small onions, small dice

3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1.5 tablespoons regular curry (hotter if you like that)

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon paprika (mine was smoked)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 13 oz. can coconut milk, unsweetened

1-3 cups chicken broth or bouillon—I used Better Than Bouillon® chicken base, using two cups for the rice and one for the curry

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half-inch cubes

1.5-2 cups whole snow peas, cleaned with any strings removed

Rice—I had arborio and made it in a rice cooker

It looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices and aromatics. The dish goes together more quickly than you might think. These initial preparation steps might take 15 minutes:

  1. Begin the rice—mine cooked in less than 30 minutes, but you should plan for your type of rice and method of cooking
  2. Dice and grate the aromatics
  3. Mix the spices and seasonings together
  4. Clean the snow peas and set aside
  5. Brown the chicken in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside—do not overcook, as the chicken will be added to the sauce for another 10-15 minutes

In the pan where you browned the chicken, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, bay leaf, and spices. Stir over heat for a minute or two to release spice oils and distribute the tomato paste. Add coconut milk and 1 cup of chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the browned chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Confession: I thickened the sauce after adding the chicken with a little cornstarch/water mixture. This is probably not a traditional curry step (I don’t know), but I liked the result.

Sprinkle the snow peas over all, cover and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until snow peas are crisp tender. I add these last to avoid overcooking the snow peas.

Serve over rice. *The recipe would serve four if my husband is not one of them and allowed to fill his own plate.

Update 2/6/14: I made this again yesterday with a few changes:

  1. For the chicken broth, I substituted 1 cup of sour cream. That meant I did not have to thicken the sauce, and it added a nice creaminess.
  2. I added one thinly sliced carrot to the onion-garlic step. The carrot adds both color and sweetness. I omitted the snow peas.
  3. I substituted one thinly sliced leek for one of the onions, mainly because I bought too many leeks the other day, but it was a good addition.