lime cooler cookies

We all know that I am not much of a baker – BUT I’m working on improving and that is the important part!  I was actually at the mall, ready to get a mixer, just so I could make these cookies – and many other baked goods to come –  and the taster told me that I shouldn’t do that, why did I need it today… aka I was getting one for Christmas. So in the Christmas spirit, I put on my apron and got to baking. The old fashioned way – with a whisk and a bowl. (can that count as my workout for the day?)

While I love my chocolate, so many cookies seem overly sweet and overly chocolate-y during this time of year so when I came across this recipe, it caught my eye immediately. It sounded easy enough so I gave it a try. The result? A crisp, sugar-like cookie with a hint of lime and refreshing lime glaze.

Lime Coolers recipe from Star Tribune – Stacy McNabb

Makes about 2 dozen.

Cookies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature, plus extra for press
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • granulated sugar for press

Lime Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 4 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice

To prepare cookies: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour, cornstarch, lime zest and vanilla extract and mix until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. *This step can also be done by hand pretty easily


When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Grease bottom of a large flat glass with butter, press into granulated sugar and gently press glass on dough until dough is about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat, pressing glass into sugar each time, until all cookies are flattened. Bake until edges are light golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


To prepare lime glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lime zest and lime juice until a light glaze forms. Using a knife, spread glaze across cookies.


Don’t forget about my Le Creuset give-away!

le creuset give-away!!

In the spirit of the Holidays, I have a very exciting give-away for all of you…

A set of two Le Creuset 6-ounce Petite Au Gratin Dishes from Cookware.com!

Cookware.com has about every kitchen item you could ever need (or want for that matter). They have many popular lines such as:

I have always wanted some Le Creuset dishware – so functional yet beautiful at the same time! So here is your chance – I love the size of these dishes – perfect for individual mac & cheese, baked fennel, etc.

To Win:

  • Tell me below what you would make in these dishes.
  • For additional entries put a link on your blog and let me know!
  • Contest will end Tuesday night at 8 pm (CST)
  • Good Luck!!

haiti: the food

Missed Haiti: The People? Here it is.

Now onto the food! I loved the food in Haiti, I really had no idea what to expect but was very impressed. It was delicious and the women who prepared it would spend all day getting it ready and presenting it beautifully. Starch is definitely the staple…think pasta, bread and rice at every meal, supplemented with beans, sauces and very small portions of meat.

Did you know that this is what coffee looks like off the tree?  (I had no idea) The coffee in Haiti was very good – everyone roasts their own coffee so it is about as fresh as it can be.


Pasta for breakfast? In Haiti, yes! It usually had some sauteed onions and sometimes a little ham.


Hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce – delicious over the breakfast pasta :)


There is a lot of cabbage grown near Thiotté and so we had pikliz frequently, which I loved. It is basically pickled cabbage with  carrots, onions and sometimes jalapeño.


Fried accra (mix of malanga and black eyed peas) and fried plantains were also meal staples. The plantains really grew on me and I loved them with a little pikliz!


Goat Meat Balls – I had these the first night and they were pretty good but I refrained from the meat the rest of the week. We had fish for lunch one day and would have chicken or goat at dinner – very small portions (by US standards).


A spicy onion sauce for rice – delicious!


Beans to go over rice.


A salad of sorts – beautiful presentation.


The outdoor kitchen.


The kitchen out in back. (They are often separate from the house because they are too hot)


No idea how this picture snuck in… ;)

I thought a lot about body image in Haiti vs America and realized how ridiculous it is to spend so much time, energy and money on being “skinny” and “perfect.” In Haiti, just as in other countries where hunger is a big problem, it is usually a good thing to be “average” or even a little more than average. This means you have food. Something that really hit home with me and made me think about things a bit!  Has anyone else had a similar experience? (Just to add to the list of things Haiti made me think about/realize) – Have I convinced you all that you need to go yet?!?!

baked fennel

Fennel is a very under-used vegetable in my kitchen. Its existence has been limited to rare appearances in salads until now. Creamy, a touch of spice and crisp fennel all in one dish? I had seen a recipe in the Rachael Ray Magazine and had been dying to make it for some time. I believe it was part of a thanksgiving meal, but I don’t need turkey to eat this :)

Recipe:

4 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (reserve leaves for garnish)

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 1/2 Tbsp cream cheese

2 Tbsp half & half

salt & pepper, cayenne pepper

parmesan cheese, freshly grated

roasted garlic chips* (if desired)

whole wheat panko (if desired)

Sauté fennel slices in a pan with broth until softened and broth has evaporated. Mix together cream cheese, half & half and cayenne. Add to warm fennel mixture and stir until combined. Pour fennel into ramekins and top with parmesan, roasted garlic chips and panko. Broil until cheese has melted and formed a crust. Sprinkle with fennel leaves and serve! This made 2-3 servings.

*Note on the garlic chips: This was a culinary mistake turned delicious. I love when that happens! I was roasting garlic to add to the fennel mixture and before I knew it, the garlic was hard and dark brown. Instead of tossing it I chopped it into pieces and added it to the fennel at the end.