Friday, March 9, 2012

Strawberry Oreos

I saw a picture of cookies like these around Valentine's Day and thought, "Hey!  I can make those by tweaking my homemade Oreo recipe."  So that is what I did.  Doug took some to work and one co-worker said that they are the best cookies ever.  Not sure about the ever part, but they sure are good.

2 boxes Strawberry Cake Mix
1 1/2 cups shortening
4 eggs
1 lb powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cake mix with shortening and eggs.  Should be pretty thick.  Form into small balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8min at 350*.  I use my small scoop from Pampered Chef to form the balls; about 1 1/2 tsp or so worth of dough.  Cool completely.
When cooled combine remaining ingredients together and spread between cooled cookies and sandwich together.  Store in fridge if they last that long.


Gluten Free Thin Mint Cookies

So, we've just been told that we are allergic to wheat.  Crap!  What am I going to do?  I'm a baker.  How do I bake without wheat?!?!?  Let's just say life is not fair and I'm not happy about it.  On the other hand now I get the chance to turn all my favorites into gluten free versions and see how they match up.  One favorite of mine are Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.  Really, I can and will, if given the chance, eat a whole container by myself.  So after learning about this horrible joke of nature and seeing a recipe on pinterest, I made these tonight and also for added bonus made them sugar free as well.  I know.  I'm an over achiever.  What can I say?

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup sugar or Xylitol
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 egg
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vanilla
Favorite Dipping Chocolate
Peppermint oil or extract - see below

In bowl mix the oils and sugar or sugar substitute.  Stir in the brown rice flour.  Scrape down the sides.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  When you look at the mixture you are going to think there is no way that these are going to hold together but trust me they will.  Take about 1/2 of the dough and press it into a slightly flattened ball.  For the next part I used a silpat sheet, but waxed paper or lightly floured work surface should be fine. 
Place dough on work area and start pressing it flat.  You are going to have to press it and push the crumbs in and squeeze the breaks together.  After you have it pressed out to about 1/8" you can use a rolling pin to even out the surface.  Just don't push too hard or you will crack the dough.  Now use a 1 1/2" cookie cutter and cut out your cookies.  As you can see I didn't have a circle but the heart one was perfect.  Plus my kids thought I put my love in the cookies because of the shape.  Place cut out cookies on greased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 350*F for 8-9 min.  You want to make sure they are done all the way without burning.  Mine were a little under done and therefore not as crisp.
Cool completely and then prepare to dip them in chocolate.
For this part just melt your favorite dipping chocolate and flavor with mint oil or extract to taste.  If you use almond bark you can use extract, however if you use chocolate then you need oil otherwise you run the risk of having the chocolate seize up.  For the milk chocolate I just used almond bark because that is what I had.  However, the dark chocolate is a sugar free bar from  They use chicory root to sweeten the chocolate so that you get no sugar and the sweetness that you taste is full of fiber.  One bar has 14 grams of prebiotic fiber!

So my dark chocolate cookies are 100% sugar and gluten free while the milk chocolate has sugar in the coating.  The taste is phenomenal and I had to hide them in the cookie jar so I would stop eating them.
Post note:  The second batch I made was wetter and I was able to roll them out with a rolling pin without issue.  It was raining all day so the humidity level could play a role in what your dough looks like.

Pizza Hummus

Hummus?  Gross!  Sick!  I'm not eating that!
Those are the words I expected to hear when I introduced my children to hummus months ago.  Instead I got: "Can I have more?"  and "This is good."  If you know my children then you can understand why I had to pick myself up off the floor and if you don't, well... let's just say that anything other than a PB&J or Mac n' Cheese and I get mutiny.  Now they prefer hummus sandwiches over the PB&J.  Go figure!
So I set out to make my own.  I mean why not?  It's got to be cheaper than buying the stuff at $3+/container when chickpeas only cost 60 cents a can or so.  Plus I can control what is in it and it will be guaranteed to be fresh.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2-3 cloves garlic
2 cans chickpeas, drained reserving 1/2 cup of liquid
1/4 cup tahini, recipe below
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in small pan over med-high heat.  Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and seasoning; cook about 2 min or until slightly toasted.  Transfer the mix to a food processor and add rest of ingredients.  Process until smooth.  Taste and season with salt if needed.  The taste really develops after sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours so you may want to wait to adjust seasonings.

Tahini Recipe
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water

Process sesame seeds in a food processor until smooth.  Pour into bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.
This will make enough for two batches of pizza hummus and lasts for several months in the fridge.

The hummus recipe is adapted from Food Network Magazine and the tahini is from a childrens' cookbook.