Thin Crispy Salted Oatmeal Cookies 

Salted Thin Crispy Oatmeal Cookies Jar

Most people love big chewy oatmeal cookies, but I’m partial to this thin, crispy, buttery version from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Perfect Cookie -  They stay crisp for days in a sealed container, or you can freeze them and enjoy whenever you’re in the mood for one. I prefer them frozen, extra crunchy – they’re addictive!  

Download Thin Crispy Salted Oatmeal Cookies recipe

Makes 24 cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), softened but still cool, about 65 degrees

1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)

¼ cup packed light brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (see note)

½ teaspoon flaked sea salt

*BEFORE YOU BEGIN

To ensure that the cookies bake evenly and are crisp throughout, bake them 1 tray at a time. Place them on the baking sheet in 3 rows, with 3 cookies in the outer rows and 2 cookies in the center row. If you reuse a baking sheet, allow the cookies on it to cool at least 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack, then reline the sheet with fresh parchment before baking more cookies.

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl
  2. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again. With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth, 10 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated, 20 seconds. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain, and ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Divide dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons (or use #30 cookie scoop), then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2-1/2 inches apart, 8 dough balls per sheet. Using fingertips, gently press each dough ball to 3/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, edges are crisp, and centers yield to slight pressure when pressed, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack, cool cookies completely on sheet.

Salted Thin Crispy Oatmeal Cookies sheet
Salted Thin Crispy Oatmeal Cookies sheet


Easy Marinated Feta Cheese with Lemon Zest and Shallots

FETA 2 20220825_135706

This is an easy and delicious appetizer, especially when you can find the best authentic Greek feta. It's great with wedges of warm pita bread or slices of baguette. Even after the feta has been eaten, the remaining oil is great for dipping with bread.

Download Easy Marinated Feta Cheese with Lemon Zest and Shallots recipe

1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, sliced thin

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves (plus a sprig for garnish)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 ounces Greek feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook 1 cup of the oil, the shallot, oregano, lemon zest, and pepper flakes in a small saucepan over low heat until the shallot is softened, about 15-18 minutes.

2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and gently stir in the feta. Cover and let sit until the mixture reaches room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup oil and serve. (The mixture can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Before serving, let sit at room temperature until the oil liquefies about 1 hour.)


Quick Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas (Verdes)

Quick Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

QUICK EASY GREEN CHICKEN ENCHILADAS (VERDES)

This is a super-fast spicy, creamy, and cheesy short cut recipe that epitomizes comfort food. It can easily be doubled or even tripled depending on the number of people you are serving. This version generally serves 4 generous portions. Serve with rice and margaritas!

Download QUICK EASY GREEN CHICKEN ENCHILADAS (VERDES)

2 (10-ounce) cans green enchilada sauce (I used Hatch)

1 ¼ cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided

1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)

2 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (see note)

¼ cup sour cream (optional - makes the sauce creamier)

Salt and pepper

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Cooking spray

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Puree enchilada sauce and 1 cup of the cilantro in blender. Combine 1 cup enchilada sauce mixture, chicken, and 1½ cups Mexican cheese blend (and optional sour cream) in large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Wrap tortillas in damp clean kitchen towel and microwave until pliable, 30 to 90 seconds. Top each tortilla with ¼ cup chicken mixture and roll tightly. Arrange, seam-side down, in prepared baking dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray, then top with additional 1 cup enchilada sauce mixture and remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve, passing remaining sauce at table.

Reduced Sugar Chocolate Layer Cake and Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Reduced Sugar Dark Chocolate Layer Bittersweet Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This cake is so delicious, always a hit with friends and no one can tell that it’s a reduced sugar recipe. It’s one of the many fantastic recipes found in from America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks called Naturally Sweet. Sucanat is not found in many grocery stores and can be ordered online.

Download Reduced Sugar Chocolate Layer Cake and Creamy Chocolate Frosting recipe

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup plus ⅓ cup Sucanat (6 ounces)

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

⅔ cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1½ cups hot brewed coffee

1½ cups (8¼ ounces) bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 recipe Reduced-Sugar Creamy Chocolate Frosting (see below)

*BEFORE YOU BEGIN

If you use natural cocoa powder for this recipe, the cake will be lighter in appearance and have a milder chocolate flavor. This cake was made with Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Bar; other brands may contain different amounts of sugar. Do not skip grinding the Sucanat in step 1 or large air pockets will appear inside the cake and on the surface of the cake. If using dark colored cake pans, start checking the cakes for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier. You can learn more about Sucanat in this article. The flavor of Creamy Chocolate Frosting is terrific on this cake; however, a Vanilla Frosting will also work well.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pans. Working in 4 batches, grind Sucanat in spice grinder until fine and powdery, about 1 minute.

2. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl, add hot coffee, and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate mixture until completely cool, about 20 minutes. In separate bowl, whisk ground Sucanat, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together.

3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

4. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake until cakes are set and center is just firm to touch, 20 to 22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discard parchment, and let cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour. (Cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

5. Line edges of cake platter with 4 strips of parchment to keep platter clean and place dab of frosting in center to anchor cake. Place 1 cake layer on platter and spread 1 cup frosting evenly over top. Top with second cake layer, press lightly to adhere, then spread 1 cup frosting evenly over top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides of cake. To smooth frosting, run edge of offset spatula around cake sides and over top. Carefully remove parchment strips and serve.

Reduced-Sugar Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Makes 4 cups (TIME 50 minutes)

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons Sucanat (4⅔ ounces)

4 large egg whites

⅛ teaspoon salt

24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Microwave chocolate in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and let cool, about 10 minutes.

2. Combine Sucanat, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer and set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees, about 8 minutes.

3. Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip warmed Sucanat mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and has consistency of shaving cream, about 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.)

4. Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate mixture, and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until light, fluffy, and well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down whisk and bowl as needed. (Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. To refresh, microwave until just slightly softened, about 15 seconds, then whip on medium-high speed in stand mixer until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.)

Reduced Sugar Dark Chocolate Layer Bittersweet Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Fresh Strawberry Galette (Free Form Tart)

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Galettes, also known as free form tarts, are less fussy that traditional fluted edge tarts. They can be sweet or savory, and the crust is crisp, butter, and rustic in appearance. I first saw this recipe in the April / May 2021 “Strawberry Celebration” issue of Cook’s Country and couldn’t wait to try it. You can prepare the dough in advance to save a little time, but otherwise it’s straightforward, just be careful not to overwork the pastry dough.

Download Fresh Strawberry Galette (Freeform tart)

 

Galette Dough

1 ½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon table salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes and chilled

6 tablespoons ice water

Strawberry Filling

1 ½ pounds strawberries, hulled, halved if small or quartered if large (about 5 cups)

¼ cup (1¾ ounces) plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

⅓ cup strawberry jam

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon table salt

NOTE:

Quarter any strawberries larger than 2 inches. Do not combine the macerated strawberries with the jam mixture until you're ready to form and bake the galette; they may release more juice and make it hard to shape the dough around the fruit. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

FOR THE DOUGH:

  1. Process flour and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand and butter pieces are size of small peas, about 10 pulses. Add ice water to flour mixture and pulse until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with your fingers, about 5 pulses.
  2. Transfer mixture to lightly floured counter. Using bench scraper, gather dough into rough rectangular mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Starting at farthest end, use heel of your hand to smear small amount of dough against counter, pushing firmly down and away from you, to create separate pile of dough (flattened pieces of dough should look shaggy). Continue process until all dough has been worked. Gather dough into rough 12 by 4-inch mound and repeat smearing process.
  3. Form dough into 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Wrapped dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.)

FOR THE FILLING:

  1. One hour before rolling out dough, toss strawberries with ¼ cup sugar in bowl. Set aside for 1 hour. Reserve 1 tablespoon strawberry juice. Drain strawberries in colander in sink. Leave strawberries in colander while rolling out dough.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter, then transfer to prepared sheet. Cover dough loosely with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk jam, cornstarch, and salt in large bowl until combined. Add strawberries and toss gently to coat. Mound fruit in center of dough, leaving 2-inch border. Carefully grasp 1 edge of dough and fold up 2 inches over fruit. Repeat around circumference of galette, overlapping dough every 2 inches; firmly pinch pleated dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit.
  4. Brush top of dough with reserved strawberry juice and sprinkle dough and filling with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  5. Bake until crust is deep golden brown, and fruit is bubbling, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Let galette cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using parchment, carefully slide galette onto wire rack. Remove parchment and let cool on rack until just warm, about 30 minutes. Serve.

Fresh Strawberry Galette (Free Form tart) slice

Fresh Strawberry Galette unbaked
Fresh Strawberry Galette unbaked


Decadent Low Sugar Lemon Cream Pie

Low Sugar Lemon Cream Pie

Decadent Low Sugar Lemon Cream Pie

I’m always hesitant to try recipes that claim to be healthier versions of classic desserts, but this one is a winner. Perfect balance of sweet and tart, with a crisp graham cracker crust. It is from the cookbook Naturally Sweet, which has over a hundred recipes for classic baked goods and desserts using 30% to 50% less sugar. Traditional lemon pie has 64 grams of sugar per slice, and this recipe has reduced it to 26 grams without any compromise to flavor or texture. 

Download Decadent Low Sugar Lemon Cream Pie

Lemon Pie

1 recipe Graham Cracker Pie Crust (Reduced Sugar, see below), baked and cooled

2 large eggs plus 7 large yolks

½ cup honey

¼ cup grated lemon zest plus ⅔ cup juice (about 4 lemons)

⅛ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Whipped Cream Topping

1½ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

⅛ teaspoon salt

Make the Graham Cracker Crust:

9 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces and softened

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process graham crackers in food processor to fine, even crumbs, 30 to 60 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse until mixture resemble coarse sand, 15 to 20 pulses.
  2. Sprinkle mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Using bottom of measuring cup, press crumbs firmly into even layer on bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake until crust is fragrant and set, 20 to 22 minutes, rotating plate halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely, about 30 minutes.

For the pie:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk eggs and yolks, honey, lemon zest and juice, and salt in medium saucepan until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until mixture thickens slightly and registers 165 degrees, 5 to 7 minutes.
  1. Off heat, whisk in butter and cream until incorporated. Strain filling through fine-mesh strainer into cooled pie crust. Bake until filling is shiny and opaque and center jiggles slightly when shaken, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let pie cool completely, about 2 hours.

For the topping:

  1. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, honey, vanilla, and salt on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread whipped cream over pie and serve.