Sometimes you need a cookie. Man, sometimes a girl needs a cookie! Need I say more? However, it’s never just any cookie. When I’m craving a cookie I look for a few specifics: warm and fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside and not too sweet. I know I know, a cookie that isn’t too sweet? Crazy! But honestly, what I look for is texture and a hint of sweetness to curb my craving and not give me a sugar rush and consequent crash. How do you remedy such a conundrum? Panela Cookies!
Panela Cookies are delicious. They are great on the go being small in size and big in flavor, with a moist cake center and crisp edges. And, best of all, they are easy to make!
I have been on a cookie craze lately. I think it is with all of the wedding planning. I keep trying to think of all the desserts that I can have at the wedding now that the venue has let us know that we don’t have to pay any extra fees for the vegan treats I wanted to bring in. That was incredible, because as I mentioned in an earlier post, I was hitting a road block with the desserts (with my mother especially). But, I was not deterred from my goal of having an all vegan dessert buffet.
This is going to come together with a cake and possible cupcakes from Sticky Fingers and the rest of the desserts from Chez Hareg. She makes the most incredible cookies that I buy at Wholefoods, the petite palmier’s are my favorite, and best of all they are egg and dairy free! (and peanut free for those of you, like myself, that have to stay away from those nutty legumes). So now I am going through my own archives of cookies to see what I have that is vegan, what I can make vegan, and what was simple delicious.
Panela Cookies fit the bill! They aren’t vegan, but I think with a few tweaks they could be vegan, and really they are just an incredible treat.
Enjoy them, store them and keep them away from your guests. If not, you’ll find you wish you had taken my advice since you’ll be OUT of cookies.
Taking the moist center of a cake and the crispy outside of a sugar cookie, these panela cookies get the best of both worlds. Molasses, cinnamon and grated panela give them deep flavor with a hint of sweetness, while the dried cherry gem dresses up this humble cookie that’s big on flavor and unsurprisingly addictive.
2½ cups of all-purpose flour, wheat
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup grated panela
¼ cup molasses
½ cup dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
In a stand mixer with a paddle, cream panela and butter until light and fluffy.
Add egg to sweet creamed butter mixture, and mix until fully incorporated. Repeat with molasses.
Slowly add flour mixture, on mixers lowest speed, until combined.
Using a 1½ tablespoon scooper, scoop balls of cookie dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets 1½ inches apart.
Press a dried cherry down in the center of each cookie.
Bake cookies on center rack for 15 minutes, until cracked on top and browned around the edges.
So I have told you all that I am vegetarian bordering on vegan. It isn’t as tough as you think. Honestly, I was completely vegan for a few months and when I went back to milk and eggs I found that they weren’t as delicious as before. I suppose my taste buds changed. You know what else changed? My cravings for meat. I went from no existent to eating bacon and chorizo when I can get it. And now what am I craving? Picadillo Tacos!Picadillo Tacos were an idea I had because I wanted to add the flavors of pan de jamon to everything. I love the combination of olives and raisins: tart and sweet. The vinegar from the olives cuts through the sweetness of the raisins, while the raisins bring out a little bit of that fruity taste from the oil on the olives. Simply delicious combination. I had used it in breads, stuffing, rice and quinoa – and now it was time for ground beef tacos.
Picadillo is a traditional Latin American dish that varies by country, but each is a combination of tomatoes and ground beef or pork. My version adds the lovely olive and raisin combination, as well as a hefty dose of onion, which also brings bite and sweetness to the dish.
Bringing together golden raisins, pimento olives, onion, sweet red pepper, a touch of agave and ground pork sautéed to perfection, Picadillo Tacos bring sweet and salty together in crispy, crunchy shells for a meal you can’t resist. Why choose ground pork for this picadillo recipe? Flavor for one thing! Ground pork is on average 70 percent lean and 30 percent fat which makes it perfect for sautéing and grilling. The fat is what makes the meat juicy and flavorful, but because of pork’s naturally mild flavoring it is best prepared with added spice.
Ground pork is not only easy to cook, it is very versatile in recipes. Add crumbled pork onto pizzas and salads, make juicy burgers, meatloaf, lasagna and, as in this case, taco filling! The recipes you can conjure are only limited by your imagination and your spice rack.
Speaking of your spice rack, all you need for this recipe is salt and pepper. This recipe relies on the interplay of the flavors of the ingredients. Combining sweet and savory, which is evidenced to work excellently with any cut of pork, Picadillo Tacos are your ticket to a delicious, hands on meal bursting with flavor without busting your budget.
Update your dinner and try these Picadillo Tacos. You won’t regret it. Actually, you may just make it your new staple for taco night!
Bring the flavors of Latin American home with Picadillo Tacos, a blend golden raisins, stuffed olives, sweet red peppers, onion and ground pork perfectly blended and stuffed into crispy corn tacos for a crunchy, sweet, salty and juicy treat that is easy to make and easy to eat any day of the week.
1 lb ground pork
¼ cup + 2 tbsp golden raisins
¼ cup pimento olives, diced
½ sweet red pepper, diced
¼ medium onion, diced
1 tsp agave
¼ cup of water
8 hard tacos shells
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake taco shells according to distributors directions.
Preheat a pan on medium-high heat.
Sauté onion and red pepper for 3-5 minutes, until onion is translucent and pepper is softened.
Add raisins and olives. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Add water and continue stirring mixture until water has evaporated and raisins are plump.
Add ground pork to pan and incorporate all ingredients. Stir occasionally until the pork is cooked through.
Add agave to mixture and stir until fully combined.
Stuff warm taco shells with picadillo until overflowing.
This week I have been investigating the possibility of making my own wedding invitations, meaning designing my own wedding invitations. Wedding preparations are going as planned. We are right on schedule. We need to pick up the painting of Napoleon for our “save the dates” and square that away. We have the lovely Emilie from Bliss on our team now, and with Mathy as our photographers and Blend as my makeup team everything is coming together. That is, except for the actual invitations.
I have looked into lots of invitations. Most of them we can’t get because they are too expensive, they require a 50 unit minimum, or a combination of the two. However, I have though of a few ideas that could help. One was stamping and embossing. Ohsobeautifulpaper.com has a whole section devoted to DIY invitations done in this manner. However, the price started adding up fast when I only need to make 20 invitation sets.
Aren’t those lovely!?!
Then I thought, why not DIY letterpress. There is a machine called the EPIC 6, which you can use to make your own letterpress invitations. Again, this seemed like a great idea but the time and effort, a long with all of the additional costs came out to only $100 less than getting our suites flat printed. This did work for some people though, which gorgeous results!
Yeah I know, super gorgeous!
Then I was thinking, why don’t I just design some that I love. Say, for instance the ones above. If I could find some letterpressed or embossed paper that I liked, I could just print a similar invitation on that flat printed. I would have the element of texture with price conscious flat printing.
So far Lee and I have found a few things that we like. Watercolor seems to be a big theme for us, especially because our Save the Dates will have a painting of Napoleon. I may do the water color myself, to add texture to the paper as well. On the other hand, there are a lot of invitations that are flat printed with watercolor art that look fabulous as well.
So the search is on to find the perfect invitation and create it myself. I may have them professionally printed, so I can get a higher quality than my little inkjet can provide. What’s nice about this is I can get creative with the envelopes, liners and accessories. Velvet sash? Sparkly sheen? What about a wax seal? The possibilities are endless.
Once thing I know for sure is that I am geeking out about it. First I thought I would do an ode to doctor who, now it’s game of thrones… just a little something that only the geeks like Lee and I would notice. And then I thought… they should just be an ode to us.
And that’s that!
What do you think we should do? Have you made your own DIY invitation? Send me links and let me know!
I have been away for a bit, and I apologize for that. These past week has been full of fun and mayhem. My sister came to visit and we finally tried the cake that Lee and I will be having at the wedding. Sticky Fingers! Delicious, fluffy little morsels that rival any cupcake you can face it off with. We have also looked into tea cookies and a Viennese dessert table from Chez Hareg. It’s gotten me thinking about the sweet treats that I love to make at home and one very particular one came to mind: alfajores!
These beauties came about for an article I did for The Latin Kitchen. I had never made them before, and consequently a friend of mine had just gone to Argentina to visit family and brought me back some authentic alfajores to try. They were two crisp, flavorful cookies sandwiched together with a smooth chocolaty ganache that was rich and creamy. But then I thought, if these were fresh how amazing would they be? PRETTY AMAZING was my conclusion!
Making these isn’t difficult, it is just a little time consuming. It can also be done in batches, like making all the cookies first, next day making the filling, next day assembly. It can also be done all at once, but at that point it may be a bit overwhelming. It’s funny because soon after making about 2 dozen alfajores (and having eaten a dozen myself) I thought it would be a good idea to make holiday mailers for the clients I already have and prospective clients. Each box had”an alfajores kit” which included a picture of the assembled delicious, 6 cookies, a jar of homemade dulce de leche and a small pack of candied sweet and spicy almonds.
I got rave reviews and wish I took pictures of the mailers because they were adorable. Alas, you will just have to use your imagination. There was a lot of orange and holiday cheer built into them. I digress, these little crisp, crunchy, light cookies come together with dulce de leche and coated with chopped almonds. They are delicious, and it’s time for you to make them and understand how truly wonderful homemade alfajores really are.
Although, doesn’t everything taste better homemade? Hell to the YES (it does)!
Alfajores, the little cookies from Latin America full of dulce de leche, get a crunchy, nutty upgrade with chopped candied almonds and almond short bread.
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup dulce de leche
½ cup sugar, granulated
4 large egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pure almond extract
2 tbsp dark rum
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup candied almonds, finely chopped
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat butter, sugar, almond extract and vanilla until fluffy.
Add egg yolks and rum to butter mixture. Beat until incorporated.
In a separate bowl sift flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and powder.
Add flour to wet mixture in stand mixer bowl while beating on speed 2. (If dough appears dry, add milk 1 tbsp at a time until dough is soft.) Half, cover and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Using one half at a time, roll out dough to a ¼ inch thickness on a well floured surface. Using a 2.5 inch circular cookie cutter, cut rounds and transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with second half of dough until all dough has been used.
Bake cookies for 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling rack.
Pair each cookie with another that is a similar shape and size. Add a ½ tbsp dulce de leche to the flat side of each cookie, then sandwich together. Press cookies together until dulce de leche begins to pillow out of the sides. Roll sides in chopped almonds.
Sometimes you need a cookie. Man, sometimes a girl needs a cookie! Need I say more? However, it’s never just any cookie. When I’m craving a cookie I look for a few specifics: warm and fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside and not too sweet. I know I know, a cookie that isn’t too sweet? Crazy! But honestly, what I look for is texture and a hint of sweetness to curb my craving and not give me a sugar rush and consequent crash. How do you remedy such a conundrum? Panela Cookies! Read more…
So I have told you all that I am vegetarian bordering on vegan. It isn’t as tough as you think. Honestly, I was completely vegan for a few months and when I went back to milk and eggs I found that they weren’t as delicious as before. I suppose my taste buds changed. You know what else changed? My cravings for meat. I went from no existent to eating bacon and chorizo when I can get it. And now what am I craving? Picadillo Tacos! Read more…
This week I have been investigating the possibility of making my own wedding invitations, meaning designing my own wedding invitations. Wedding preparations are going as planned. We are right on schedule. We need to pick up the painting of Napoleon for our “save the dates” and square that away. We have the lovely Emilie from Bliss on our team now, and with Mathy as our photographers and Blend as my makeup team everything is coming together. That is, except for the actual invitations. Read more…