Saturday, January 28, 2012

Whoopeee! It's World Nutella Day

February 5th is World Nutella Day (my favorite holiday) and this year I came up with a recipe that makes me say whoopee! every time I think about this Nutella filled, cakey little cookie that's slightly chewey and is a snap to make. I've decided to call these little darlings "Nutella Whoopie Pies".

Nutella Whoopie Pies

2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups butter softened
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar for dusting
1 Jar (13 oz) Nutella

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium size bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, with hand mixer combine butter and sugar. Beat until smooth and airy (about 2-3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla and mix, making sure to scrape down the edges of the bowl as you mix. When mixture is smooth, add half the dry ingredients and mix on low. Add the rest of the dry ingredients until dough is smooth. Don't over mix. And don't be surprised if the dough is sticky. It's supposed to be.

Form cookies into small balls about 1 inch to 1-1/4 inch. Place on baking sheets, flatten slightly with a spoon and bake 11 minutes. Cool on baking rack, then remove to paper or kitchen towels to finish cooling. You'll get approximately 40-42 cookies.

When cookies are cooled, take a big dollop of Nutella and place it on the flat side of a cooled cookie. Cover that mass of delicious chocolateness with another cookie.

Taste to see if it's decadent enough, and if not, add more Nutella.

Dust with Confectioners sugar and enjoy. You don't have to refrigerate these cookies. I think they're perfect when left at room temperature.

And don't just make these for World Nutella Day. They're perfect anytime.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Umm-Umm Good

In all my years of cooking, I have never attempted to make split pea soup. I love it out of a can, but really, how much extra salt does a body need? My mom used to make it and it seemed like it took forever. The rinsing and soaking, and whatever other rituals she used to go through kind of turned me off to preparing it from scratch. Well yesterday I was in the market doing my weekly dash down the aisles and I picked up a bag of split peas, got home, chopped some veggies and within the hour had a steaming, delectable pot of soup that I'll certainly make again, and again, and again. It was just so easy.

Turkey Bacon and Split Pea Soup
Serves 4

2 tsp canola oil

2 carrots diced

2 ribs of celery diced

1 cup onions diced

3 slices turkey bacon diced

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

6 oz dried split peas

1 14.5 oz can low sodium, fat free chicken broth

4-1/2 cups water

In a colander, rinse peas under running water and check for any stones or debris that may be hidden. I didn't find anything, but it's good to check. Set aside.

Heat oil in large pot over medium to low heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bacon. Add salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables and bacon soften but do not brown (about 10 minutes). Add chicken stock, water and split peas and bring to boil. Cover pot, lower heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with croutons for garnish.

Re-mix: Since this was my first time making this soup, I took the simple route and didn't add any exotic seasonings. Next time I will add a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin for a bit more warmth, and a dash of ground cayenne pepper for some heat. Tonight I reheated the soup and enjoyed it with a grilled brie and pepper jelly flat bread sandwich. Umm-umm good.