Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scotch Shortbread

wedge cuts of shortbread
If there's one thing that I LOVE, it's desserts. I love cakes, cookies, and pies. You name it, and I love it! One of my favorite cookies is shortbread, and this is one of my favorite shortbread recipes because it is so easy to make.

All you need is:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter. I use the low-fat butter.
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 cups of flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

You'll want to let the butter sit on the counter for around 1/2 hour so it comes to room temperature. This makes it easier to blend in the the sugars. 

You'll bake the shortbread in pie pan. Melt some butter in a sauce pan; then use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter around the bottom and sides of the pie pan.

In a bowl, mix the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla till it's light and fluffy. It will be very easy to stir and mix. Mix in the flour. Some folks will tell you to mix the flour in with your hands, but  I use a spoon because I'd rather not waste the dough on my fingers when I can make cookies from it.  

Spoon the dough into the pie pan, and spread it around the pan. I plop all the dough into the center of the pie pan, and carefully spread it out.

As an additional treat, you can chop a 1/4 cup of pecans and sprinkle them on top of the dough in the pan. I also added some mini chocolate chips. Lightly press the topping into the dough, just so it doesn't fall off later.

Put the shortbread into the oven for around 45 minutes. The shortbread will be brown around the edges, and when you press on the center with your finger, it will still give a smidge. You don't want it to give a lot, but you also don't want to over bake the cookies.

Take the shortbread out of the oven, and let it cool in the pie pan for around 15 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pie pan over onto a cutting board. Cut the pie into 8 pieces, and let it cool some more. Or if you are like me, you start eating as the shortbread is warm.

As you can see, shortbread is very easy to make. Use your imagination, and use some other toppings, like butterscotch or peanut butter chips or caramel. 

Remember that shortbread also makes a good side with a dish of ice cream. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Roasted Chickpeas

roasted chickpeas
One of my favorite snacks is roasted chickpeas. They are a good source of fiber, and boy, are they delicious! If you want to try some, here's what you have to do:
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Get a can of your favorite chickpeas. I usually buy the cheapest kind.
  • Open the can, and dump the contents into a colander. 
  • Rinse the chickpeas. This removes the oil that they were canned in.
  • Dry the chickpeas. You can do this by letting them sit in the colander for a bit, then dump the chickpeas into a paper towel to bloat dry.
  • Combine the following in a small mixing bowl:
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp of salt (or less if you don't like salty things)
  • Add the chickpeas to the mixing bowl, and give a good shake to coat the chickpeas.
  • Spray a small oven tray with Pam olive oil spray.
  • Spread the chickpeas evenly over the tray. They should be in a single layer.
  • Put the chickpeas in the oven for around 45 min. If you want them less crispy, bake them less time.

Be careful with the chickpeas when they first come out of the oven to make sure you don't burn your mouth. If you find that you really, really love the chickpeas, you can make more than one can at a time, as long as you have a big enough oven tray. 

Try some other seasonings too, like Italian, Southwest, or just plain salt and pepper. Experiment, and enjoy the outcome!