Month: November 2011

Winter Sparkle (Molasses Cookies)

Spice and sparkle: two things that my winter cannot be complete without. I’m not talking spice in the form of cayenne & capsicum. I’m talking cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Whether you’ve got lattes-a-brewin’ or cookies-a-bakin’, nothing beats the cold weather comfort derived from something warm and spiced. The fragrances alone are enough to entice you to curl up under a blanket in front of a fireplace (or radiator) with your favourite person (or book) occasionally glancing outside to appreciate the aesthetics of the season. While this festive time consistently inspires twinkling lights, glittery greeting cards and sequinned attire, Winter’s ultimate shine comes from that iridescent sparkle that only truly occurs for a precious few moments as the sun rises over the blanket of an overnight snowfall. 
If only I could have something that was both sparkled and spiced…

Oh! That’s right. I can. These cookies. Molasses, cardamom and cinnamon come together to produce this chewy delicious magic. The sparkle comes from rolling the dough in raw sugar just before baking. As they stay soft and chewy for many days after baking, these make the perfect edible gift for that hard-to-shop for person on your list.  Or, you know, for yourself!

Spiced Molasses Cookies
inspired by Bon Appetit Magazine, November 2011

what you’ll need
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
½ cup vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat free)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup raw or sanding sugar 


how to do it
Preheat oven to 350F and position rack in centre. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. On medium speed of electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and shortening until light and creamy, about a minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. Add in egg, molasses and vanilla, beating on low just until blended. With spatula, fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Using a tablespoon measure, grab dough, 1 tbsp at a time and roll into a ball. Drop the ball into the bowl of raw sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet, leaving some space in between, and pressing down very lightly on each one. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cookies will be very soft immediately out of the oven. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from sheet. 
Tip: for best results, chill dough for about 10 -15 minutes in fridge before baking.



Juiced Up (Juice Recipes)

Juice cleanses (also known as juice fasts or juice feasts, depending on who you ask) seem to be all the rage these days. Popping up everywhere from celebrity gossip rags to health food blogs, many raw foodists, foodies, and everyday people swear by them. I’ve read multiple claims that a diet consisting of fresh juice will cleanse everything – from your skin, to your palate, to your colon, to your soul. While I’ve never been one for fad diets, this idea of a juice cleanse has intrigued me for months. A combination of my desire to hit the reset button on my eating patterns along with my absolute love of juice lead me to hop on this shiny new bandwagon for a little ride.

It lasted all of 6 hours.
Till I fell off.
And ate an entire container of hummus.
With a spoon.

So, be it! I will never be the kind of girl who can survive on juiced vegetables and supplements for weeks on end. Or even for a day. Still, those short few hours reminded me that I definitely am the kind of girl who likes to experiment with food. Finding myself in a slight cooking rut shortly after my return, I saw juicing as this fantastic opportunity to try new things. How many juice combinations could I make? So, so many. So many, that I decided to blog about it. Here, my friends, is a list of juicespirations. Oh, and a word of warning: beet juice tends to dye certain things red. Like your hands. Your clothes. Your juicer. And, well, your body waste – which can be frightening, but totally harmless. So drink it. A lot. Because it’s absolutely delicious. And so good for you. So, so good.


Juicespiratons

Tips: Wash all fruit and vegetables before juicing.
Peel when specified.
Drink immediately after juicing for best taste & maximum nutrients.
Transporting juice to work or school: Store juice in clean bottle with a crushed (chewable) vitamin C tablet to slow oxidation.
Do not juice: bananas, avocados, any pits & seeds.

Each recipe makes approximately 1 cup (250ml).

  • Red Power: 3 medium beetroots, peeled. 1 medium apple. (Best when mixed with equal parts water once juice is extracted.)
  • Invigorating Orange: 5 medium carrots, 3 slices pineapple, 1 tbsp ginger root
  • Summer Breeze: 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled. 1/2 cup cubed honeydew.
  • Fruitylexia: 6 large strawberries, greens removed.  2 kiwis, peeled. 2 apples.
  • Island Escape: 2 mangoes. 1/2 cup cubed pineapple. 1 peach. 
  • Wake Up: 3 pears, 1 apple, 1 tbsp ginger root
  • Apple Cobbler: 3 apples, 2 pears. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Hidden Veg: 2 small carrots, 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, 2 mangoes
  • Refresh: 1/2 cup cubed watermelon, 1/2 cup raspberries