I consider myself a cookie connoisseur. I enjoy a variety of types, ok nearly all types, hence the connoisseur title. Can I put that on my business card? Probably not advisable unless my business is baking. Yeah, it's not. Oh that it could be. I digress. Peanut butter are probably my favorite, generally though if asked to describe my favorite snack, it would have to be cookies. Small, portable, delicious, sweet and available in a thousand varieties, who doesn't like cookies? I might as well be talking about puppies for how non-controversial this subject is. Puppies and cookies for President! Anyway...
I rarely buy cookies. One, they never last in our house since I have zero self control and two, homemade always tastes better. Except, I admit I have a fondness for those crunchy savory little ginger snaps in the brown bag. They taste simple and old fashioned and eating two is usually enough for me, kind of like dark chocolate, a little taste will do.
Why am I talking about cookies again, other than to make your stomach growl? Last week I made two batches of delicious cookies for very good reasons, other than my own ravenous desire to munch them down. The first are one of my absolute favorites and if you've ever gotten a Christmas goodies package from me you've probably had these cookies. Cranberry White Chocolate shortbread, they are easy, they have only butter, sugar, flour, cranberries and white chocolate and they are spectacular. And though they don't count toward my 52 new recipes this year, I still had to blog about them.
I made these cookies specifically because they ship well and have big flavor punch and I've never met someone who didn't like them. So I whipped them up for the I Am Baker, bake-cookies-for-a-worthy-stranger project I signed up for in March. I had the name and address and lovely story from the stranger's daughter, read her cute blog about her daddy (the recipient) over here. I baked these little beauties, restrained myself from eating too many, packaged up a couple dozen and shipped them South to my stranger. And then I had to ship the rest off with Joe to his office. After I ate one, ok three. Make these for yourself or your new neighbors or your friend who just had a baby or just because you are in the mood for something crumbly and buttery and scrumptious. Or maybe bake these next babies instead.
If you don't visit Smitten Kitchen and you like to cook or bake at all, then I feel a little sad for you. It's a wonderful home cooking site based in NYC, filled with beautiful photography, helpful detailed blog posts and some tremendously good recipes. Snickerdoodles had to happen on Sunday. They just did. We are getting our house painted. What better excuse do I need to bake than that? I felt compelled to provide treats for the hardworking crew up on ladders painting our shingles and trim and working hard on a hot and humid afternoon. Yes, we were paying them, but cookies needed to happen. I tried Smitten Kitchen's snickerdoodle recipe and found it to be perfect. Crunchy edges, soft lofty cake like middles and enough cinnamon to make me smile. The painters smiled too. And did a lovely job I might add. And just to keep this whole 52 recipes in 2011 a little more balanced, it's been heavy on the sweets lately, I tried a delicious and fairly healthy new dinner recipe on Tuesday night.
We had a work potluck on Mardi Gras a few weeks ago and my boss brought this spicy little number, Shrimp Étouffée. I immediately begged for the recipe and promptly put it up on the fridge and forgot it for a month. Easy to make and filling enough to be the main course, it was quite tasty. Joe did request fewer peppers and more shrimp but even he liked it. Here's the original recipe. I think next time I'll make a roux to add more depth and flavor to the dish and give it a richer texture. I also will add more shrimp, which I had swapped for crawfish. I did use 1/2 the butter called for and a little olive oil, added some diced roma tomatoes that I had on hand and served it over a long grain basmati rice. I think the addition of more tomatoes and some lemon juice would also add to the flavor. I made some of Emeril's Essence to use for the Creole/Cajun seasoning and I used a lot of it. I like spicy. I will also admit to a few squirts of siracha since I was out of Tabasco. My lips were tingling afterward it was so spicy. But if you like Creole flavors and your throat doesn't close up at the thought of some fresh pink shrimp then I highly recommend this dish. And yeah for a balanced 52!
So what's for dinner tonight at your house? I think it's Costco potstickers for us. I'm all cooked out tonight.