Ms. Corbitt’s Pecan Cake Fingers

This is quite an unassuming cookie if you saw it out on a platter, but both in taste and required effort…it is more than it appears.

This cookie comes to us from Ms. Corbitt, an author and chef…her recipe from 1957. It is a brown sugar and chopped pecan cookie that starts with whipped egg whites turned to marshmallowy goodness with brown sugar…lots of brown sugar! The trick is to not deflate your nice whipped mixture as you gently fold the flour…in 3 additions and then the cup and a half of chopped pecans…also in 3 additions. That is a lot of gentle folding. The cookies are baked in a 9×13 for about an hour at a low temp.

The icing is made from browned butter and confectioners sugar…I use the term “icing” loosely as this is more of a dry, crumbling molding clay. We are told to cut the cookies into 3×1 fingers and then place some “icing” on top and mold it around…that as we work with it we can move it a bit and then smooth it with an offset spatula. 😳. Thankfully I had only cut 1/4 of the cake into fingers because that was very tedious and difficult to get nice and smooth on the small cookies….not to mention how to know how much to use on each one. I changed tactics and placed the icing on the three remaining sections of the cake and molded it on those. Then I cut the cookies and had a much better go of it.

These cookies were fussy…and did have quite a bit of sugar and butter but I think Ms. Corbitt was on to something. These were really different…crunchy but chewy…sweet but nutty….and that “icing” was the perfect topping haha. They make you want to have another and isn’t that the sign of a good cookie?

We all really enjoyed these…quite an unexpected delight.

Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea and Noodle Soup

We might not be allowed to travel due to this pandemic we are living through, but I truly just took a trip to Morocco! What an experience it was making this soup/stew…and boy did I learn a lot. I was also reminded to always taste something before you decide if you will like something based only on the ingredients! 😂

“This recipe is a take on Harira, a traditional Moroccan dish closely associated with Ramadan…it is often served to break the day’s fast. It is simple and basic but it is the deeply fragrant spices, both comforting and exotic, that draw you in.”

This was a “wowza” kind of eating experience. I couldn’t get over the amount of spices used in this recipe and it made its point when my husband kept saying that flavors were just zinging in his mouth. This was unlike anything we have ever eaten and it surprised the three of us immensely.

This is a recipe that takes time to make and has quite a list of ingredients…a few I had never used before…and I kid you not, there are tablespoons of spices in this stew…ginger alone was 3 1/2 T!

  • The turkey meatballs were optional but I included them and I will continue to do so when I make this again. You make them first and brown and set aside.
  • You then sauté the two onions and celery and then add the list of spices: garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper and saffron! Like I said, what a wild mixture of spices going on. The diced tomatoes and meatballs are added and simmered for 10 min.
  • Next, the chicken stock is added…bring to a boil, add red lentils and reduce to simmer for an hour. The aroma as it cooks is unlike anything we have had. I felt it was intriguing but honestly thought this would be an expensive test…not sure we were going to like it at this point.
  • After an hour, the chickpeas are added and that simmers for another 30 min. Like I said, you don’t just throw this one together haha.
  • Lastly, four minutes before eating, you add broken angel hair pasta and allow that to soften.
  • Lemon juice is drizzled on top of individual servings.

As my husband and son came to eat, I asked my son, who has been to Morocco, if he ate anything like this on his travels. He didn’t think so but we were all game to give it a try and it turned out this was absolutely incredible!

A lot of time and a lot of ingredients, but I would make this again for sure. We were all so surprised by all the different flavors bursting through…so much so that for me personally who doesn’t care for lentils or chickpeas ate the whole thing haha. Gosh…listen to me 😂😂

Bottom line, we loved it…we are big fans.

Here are a few pictures from Morocco while my son was studying abroad in Spain. Enjoy 😍

Major Grey’s Roll-Ups

This recipe comes to us in the “Cocktail Cookies” section of our cookbook. You can think of these cookies more as an appetizer or snack rather than a dessert since these are more salty and savory than sweet.

There are a few surprises in these cookies that make them quite unique. Dorie created them as a tribute to a popular canapé while she was growing up that used Triscuits, spread with cream cheese and then topped with Major Grey’s Chutney. I personally had never heard of Major Grey’s Chutney and had to look it up to see what it was. 😳

Interestingly, it is a wonder I have never heard of it after reading of its popularity!

“Major Grey’s Chutney is considered by many the gold standard of all chutneys. Complete with its own legend of a 19th-century British Army officer (of the same name) who presumably lived in British India and created this unique condiment made of fruits, vegetables and spices. Using plenty of mangos, red peppers and a variety of seasoning and spices, we created our own delicious version of this timeless classic. Being both sweet and savory it pairs well with smoked meats or strong cheeses and tastes great added to dips, grilled chicken or your favorite vinaigrette recipe.

These cookies are made with a traditional rugelach cream cheese dough and look similar as well, but Triscuits are added in the food processor giving an interesting texture and saltiness. The dough is rolled out and chilled and then a mixture of the chutney and Dijon mustard is spread out on top before cutting and rolling.

These cookies had mixed reviews…people either really liked them or just thought they were ok. I kept telling everyone that they are a “savory cookie”…that there is no sugar, but I think they were still caught off guard and didn’t know what to make of them. I actually liked them but I knew what to expect haha. I think if they were served on a cheese platter while sipping wine…they would have been a hit. 👍

Lucky Charm Brownies

When I saw the name of this recipe, I was picturing having to go through a box of cereal to get a cup of the Lucky Charm marshmallows to mix into the batter haha.

I was wrong. These are an almond flavored brownie that brings about such joy, that Dorie thought of them as a lucky charm…hence the name.

This brownie is different…both with the ingredients and texture. We used almonds, eggs, sugar, butter, melted chocolate, and amaretti cookies which are an imported Italian almond cookie. The batter is whirled together in a food processor to get everything finely ground and then baked. After cooling, the brownies are glazed with a chocolate ganache and then topped with crushed amaretti cookie crumbles and set to chill for about 30 min. I thought I would have trouble cutting these and getting nice squares, but no problem. I found these to cut more like fudge than a regular brownie.

These were a hit with just about everyone I had taste them…16 people this time! They were different than what you would expect and had a strong almond flavor due to the amaretti cookies both in the brownie and on top. I think everyone thought they were a good change.

Me…I am just not that sophisticated I guess because I think you shouldn’t mess with a regular brownie haha everyone else said this one was definitely a keeper.

Meatballs and Spaghetti

Meatballs and Spaghetti…simple and straightforward, but nothing about this dish tastes simple…as my husband put it, “this isn’t my mom’s spaghetti with a jar of Ragu!” 😂

This is the most authentic Italian meal I have ever made. It was absolutely delicious!

The sauce begins its simmer while you make the meatballs. I chose to swap out the beef and regular hot sausage after seeing a fellow baker of mine, Steph, said she used ground turkey and hot turkey sausage. (Great call…thanks Steph!) I also used whole wheat pasta.

The meatballs, like I said, were a combo of ground turkey and hot turkey sausage mixed with onion, rolled oats, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper, basil, and a beaten egg. You combine the mixture and make 24-28 meatballs which you brown in a skillet without cooking them through, as they will cook for a long time in the sauce. After browning them, you add them to the sauce, pushing them down so they are submerged. I made a double recipe of the sauce since I figured more sauce is always better…and I was right! The meatballs and sauce simmered for and hour and a half in my new dutch oven which I was super excited to use! Dorie tells us this long, gentle simmer will flavor the sauce without overcooking the meat.

I am not one to touch raw meat…always preferring to use a fork…so you can imagine, I don’t really enjoy “making meatballs”. That being said, this recipe would be an instance where I will suffer through haha. We loved this dinner and I will absolutely make it again. 😃

This one’s a keeper!

Chocolate-Cranberry and Almond Cookies

This cookie recipe tells us we are in for a surprise…extra flavor and texture. The dried cranberries and sweet almond meringue crunch offer a sophistication to a plain chocolate cookie base.

We start with a “Do-Almost-Anything Chocolate Cookie Dough” consisting of the usual flour, sugar, eggs, cocoa ingredients. Once you have the base made, we add in dried cranberries that have been chopped and steeped in hot water for 10 minutes. The dough is rolled out between parchment paper and put in the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour. After chilling time, the dough is cut into 2in circles and topped with an almond crunch made from sliced/slivered almonds coated in confectioners sugar and egg white. The cookies are then baked for 20min…which i thought was a long time for cookies.

The outcome is a cookie with interesting texture just like Dorie told us they would be…imagine that haha There is a chewiness to these, that is addicting actually. We decided these cookies would be the perfect addition to coffee and tea as they aren’t really an overly sweet cookie.

I don’t know why, but I usually find myself comparing cookies to just the old fashion chocolate chip cookie and I still think those are hard to beat haha

Happy New Year everyone!

Butter-Glazed Turnips

I love a good, roasted vegetable and have used turnips in the past to add to a mixture. I can’t recall ever making turnips to stand alone. This recipe gives us a new technique to prepare turnips, or carrots we are told, that is quick and easy.

After chopping the turnip, you simple cook them in a pan of bubbling butter, sugar, salt and water. As the water evaporates, the turnips are cooked and glazed. Give them a drizzle of honey and pepper and you are done. Really couldn’t be simpler.

We enjoyed these. I think the turnip is an under represented vegetable in most people’s kitchen. It wasn’t until the last year or so, I added them to my rotation every once in a while. We also had roasted potatoes for dinner and I liked these mixed in…gave a hint of sweetness to the combination.

I would make these again, and would give this technique a try on the carrots as Dorie suggested in the recipe.

Happy New Year!

Slow-Cooker Brisket with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

Merry Christmas to all! Although I am cooking and writing this about a week prior, the entry will post on Christmas Day. This year our celebrations will look very different just like everything else has this year…wishing you all good health and to be able to find joy today.

This recipe was tricky from the beginning…would you believe I had trouble finding brisket haha….and then the one I found was only a pound and half so I made half the recipe. I went ahead and followed Dorie’s suggestion to sear the meat, potatoes and carrots ahead of time. I wanted to skip this step because it kind of defeats the purpose of using a slow cooker in my mind, but I figured it might give more flavor…so I followed the optional instructions.

Everything was easy to do…the extra carrots and potatoes added half way though and dinner was ready 8 hours later. I should add that I omitted the prunes…I usually go by the recipe as stated the first time but I just couldn’t do it haha. Maybe that was the secret ingredient…I don’t know.

So, my family all enjoyed this saying it reminded them of a pot roast dinner and it was super tender. I had trouble getting nice slices as the meat just fell a part. It all got eaten but I have to confess, my husband had seconds but liked his with bbq sauce 😳 so I am thinking that defeats the whole purpose of such a gourmet recipe but hey, they were all happy and dinner got eaten so yay.

Not sure I would repeat this one but as always fun to try.

Molasses Coffee Cake

This coffee cake would be good all fall and winter long, but it sure screams Christmas to me. 🎅🏻🌲. It is likened to a gingerbread, but lighter and more complex…I feel like it was a more grown-up version.

The cake is made up of the usuals…the cinnamon, molasses and ginger but this version also adds pepper and Chinese five-spice powder which brings a depth of flavor that actually zings on your tongue. The batter also has another surprise…coffee, which you would think would take over the flavor but in reality all of them blend together and create a mystery that is hard to pinpoint…but easy to say it is delicious.

The cake has an optional glaze which I made, and can be dusted with espresso powder. My glaze came out a little darker and thinner than I would have liked and didn’t really allow for the espresso powder to show. I was disappointed in the look, but it didn’t seem to make a difference in the overall taste of the cake. The glaze is made up of cream, white chocolate, butter, and an espresso extract made with the powder. Personally, I am not a coffee drinker and was thinking coffee in the cake and espresso in the glaze might be a bit much…but you know what…it works and was really delicious. I tried a bite without the glaze, and although less coffee flavored, I preferred having the glaze on top. It almost added a caramel consistency topping after it had chilled. If anything, maybe next time I would back down a bit of the extract, but that is just me.

This was surprising. Molasses can be a tricky flavor to work with and can easily be too much in a recipe. This one blended just perfectly and really keep you guessing as to what you were actually tasting. It was delicious.

Everyone was surprised by this one and loved it. It’s a keeper!

Mint Chocolate Sablés

What is not to love about a mint and chocolate combo right?! They seem to be a perfect match and these cookies confirm that thought…and the mint was just the perfect amount, a hint…not over powering.

These have full chocolate flavor with cocoa and coarsely chopped dark chocolate…along with a full two sticks of butter…they are Sablés after all.

I did change one thing. We are told to cut these cookies out and then place them in a muffin tin to cook…I was guessing to keep their shape. I tried it in my mini pan thinking it would make bite size cookies which would be a good thing. I had assumed the cookies would melt down and fill the tin, but that didn’t really happen so on the next few batches I just cut them into circles and baked. Worked just fine and much less hassel.

Everyone loved these.