No-Bake Chocolate Chai Cookies

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I found this recipe on The Hungry Mum blog (her recipe is here).   I was intrigued by the Chai spice mixture and since I had all of the ingredients on hand, couldn’t wait to try the recipe.  My only changes were to cut the recipe in half to make a smaller amount, to add chopped nuts to a portion of the mixture and to use a slightly different way of forming them.  This is a  very simple cookie to make and a delicious little morsel.

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE CHAI COOKIES

  • Servings: 12 cookies
  • Print
  • 1-½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1-½ tsp chai spice ( recipe below for homemade chai spice)*
  • 1-½ cups slow-cooking/old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, place sugar, milk, vanilla and butter.

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Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, then boil for 3 more minutes exactly, using a timer, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and mix in chai spice and oats.
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Place half of batter in a separate small bowl.  In this bowl, mix in the coconut.

With buttered hands, form batter into six  balls and place on prepared baking sheet.

In the remaining batter, mix in chopped nuts and form into six balls – place on prepared baking sheet.

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Place sheet in refrigerator to cool for at least one-half hour.

Makes 12 Chocolate Chai Coconut and Walnut Cookies.

*Chai Spice  (Please note:  This makes 3-¾ tsp. of spice mix.  Use only 1-½ tsp. in the above recipe.   Save the rest in a small closed container for another time.)
In a small bowl mix:

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice 

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Spicy Asian Chicken Salad

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This salad was adapted from one on The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Tasty Kitchen.  I made a few changes according to my family’s preferences and what I had on hand.

The sweet chili sauce is similar to a sweet and sour sauce but is fairly hot.  The way it is distributed through the salad, just a bit of the hot flavor comes through.

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SPICY ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD

  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • ½ cup Teriyaki sauce or marinade
  • 5 ounces, weight Lo Mein noodles or spaghetti
  • ¼ cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 6 cups salad greens
  • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tblsp.sesame seeds, toasted*

For the dressing  (makes one cup of dressing)

  • 1/3 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup canola oil

Place the chicken breasts in a glass dish or Ziploc bag and pour in the teriyaki sauce/marinade.

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Cover/seal and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours, turning occasionally. Grill the chicken breast over a hot grill or cook in a grill pan on the stovetop until cooked through.

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Set aside to rest. When they are cool, cut the breasts crosswise into strips.

While the chicken is cooking, place the noodles/spaghetti in boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a bowl, mix the cool spaghetti noodles with chili sauce. Set in the refrigerator to chill while assembling the salad.

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In a large bowl, mix together the salad greens, red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper.

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For the dressing, in a small bowl mix the sweet chili sauce, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and salt. Whisk in the canola oil until combined.  If dressing is made ahead of time, refrigerate but allow to come to room temperature and whisk before serving.

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For each serving, place one heaping cup of salad greens mixture onto six serving plates.  Top each with 1/6th of the cold chili noodles and a 1/6th  of the chicken breast slices.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Pass dressing for each person to drizzle over the salad. 

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Notes:
*To toast sesame seeds, place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently. Watch carefully, it only takes 4-5 minutes.

If you have any leftover dressing it will keep refrigerated for about a week.

Black-Eyed Peas and Chicken Curry

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This was a completely new experience for me, both with the black-eyed peas and the garam masala seasoning.  My youngest daughter and I really love this dish.  I adapted it slightly from a recipe on Veronica’s Cornucopia, including increasing the black-eyed peas to two cans.

I’ve seen garam masala in the spice aisle at my grocery store, but the recipe Veronica provided used items I already had on hand and I love the flavor.  Note that the recipe below for garam masala makes enough of this seasoning for several meals.

BLACK-EYED PEAS AND CHICKEN CURRY

  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • ½ cup undiluted evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14-15 oz. each) black-eyed peas, lightly drained
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned.

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Stir in garlic and grated ginger root; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add tomato; cook for 2 minutes.
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Stir in turmeric, cayenne, salt, paprika, and garam masala; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add evaporated milk, broth, black-eyed peas and chicken. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Spoon mixture over rice, sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 4 generous servings.

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*Easy Garam Masala (makes about 3 Tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix spices in a small bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.  Use only 1 teaspoon for this recipe.

From the archives:

January 20, 2011 – Maple Walnut Muffins

January 21, 2008 – Easy Potato Yeast rolls

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Molasses Cookies – A 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

The woman who wrote down the recipes in this book liked quick, easy recipes for flavorful, family-friendly food.  These Molasses Cookies are a good example.  They go together very quickly and a 2-½ inch cookie cutter produces a big 3-½ inch cookie – one is enough in most cases.  The recipe below is one-half of the original.  I really liked this cookie – it is crisp, spicy and very satisfying.

MOLASSES COOKIES

  • Servings: 2-3 doz., depending on size of cutter and thickness of dough
  • Print

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Have ungreased cookie sheets at hand and cookie cutter (I used a 2-½ inch diameter cutter)

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and molasses.  Add the egg and beat well.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger and cinnamon.

Add the flour mixture gradually to the shortening mixture and mix well.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured board.  This is a nice dough to handle.

Roll 1/8 to ¼ inch thick and cut with a floured cookie cutter.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown on top.

Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on size. 

Spice Cake – a 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

I made this Spice Cake twice because I misread the handwriting in the book and used too much vinegar the first time.  I also thought apple cider vinegar would work well but it didn’t. This cake is what I would call a weekday-supper cake.  It’s easy to mix, spicy, and a good cake – just not a Sunday dinner cake.

SPICE CAKE

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup soft shortening

*Substitute for cake flour:  For each cup of cake flour, Place 2 Tblsp. cornstarch in a one-cup dry measure.  Fill to the top with all-purpose flour.

My vintage Swansdown cake flour scoop

Have all ingredients at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Grease and flour two 9-inch layer cake pans

In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together for one minute:

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg.  Add gradually to the egg/sugar mixture until the dry ingredients are absorbed.

In a one-cup liquid measure combine the vinegar, milk and vanilla.

Add one-half of the milk mixture along with the shortening to the mixer bowl and beat for one minute.

Add the remaining milk mixture and beat for one additional minute.

Pour into the two prepared 9 inch layer pans …

….and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean.

Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn cakes out onto the rack to continue to cool completely.

The recipe didn’t specify a frosting, so I used the only one in the book (for Peppermint Candy Cake and left out the crushed candy).  It’s a basic frosting that my mother would have called “butter cream icing”.

FROSTING

  • ¼ cup softened margarine
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 tsp. milk
  • ¼ cup pecans (for topping)

Beat together the margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Gradually add 3-4 tsp. milk until frosting is of a good spreading consistency.

Frost the top of the bottom cake layer.

Place the top layer on and frost the sides, then the top of the cake.  Place pecan halves on the top of the cake.

6 to 8 servings

Spicy Hot Chocolate

It seems that a spicy hot drink is the best way to warm up on a cold January evening.  I developed this hot chocolate to please my oldest daughter.  It’s our favorite wintertime drink.

SPICY HOT CHOCOLATE

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. cocoa
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 2 cups hot milk

In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar, cocoa, salt, chili powder, cinnamon and pepper.  Gradually stir in the hot milk until sugar and cocoa are dissolved.  Heat over medium heat until mixture is steaming but not boiling.

Pour into two mugs and serve (by the fireplace if possible)

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

I first made these pickles on September 21, 1985, and thought they were good enough to take to the county fair in 1986.  I don’t believe they won a ribbon, but the family enjoyed them.

The recipe is from a great book, Garden Way’s Pickles & Relishes – 150 recipes – Apples to Zucchini, by Andrea Chesman. The original recipe made 4 pints, but I cut it in half for this batch which will give me one jar to use this summer and one jar to save for next Memorial Day and July 4th.  The addition of Tabasco sauce makes them spicy but not hot.

SPICY BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES

  • 3-1/2 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers, unpeeled
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

The Brine:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. mixed pickling spices
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Combine the cucumbers, onions, one quart of water and 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce in a stainless steel or glass bowl and let stand for 3-4 hours.

Drain the vegetables and rinse 3 times with cold water; let stand in fresh water for 5 minutes, then drain again.

Combine the vinegar, one cup of water, brown sugar, granulated sugar, spices and 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce in a stainless steel saucepan; stir and bring to a boil.  Add the drained vegetables to boiling brine, bring to a boil again, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fill hot sterilized pint jars with the pickled mixture, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Seal.

Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, counting the time after the water begins to boil again after the jar has been inserted.  For small batches like this, I like to use an asparagus steamer for processing the pickles.

Cool on a wire rack.

Let pickles cure for at least 2 weeks before serving.

Click here for a good website on canning and preserving.

Spicy Mandarin Orange Muffins

muffcup2The recipe for these muffins is adapted from one in the cookbook, Seasoned with Sunshine.  In 1988, my son babysat their two young children and my daughter-in-law came to work in my office one day a week to make a little extra cash.  We had a one-hour commute each way and she never ate breakfast before she left, so I made these muffins to take along for a quick snack after we arrived.  They are extra-tasty and freeze well.  These also won a ribbon in the 1988 Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair.

SPICY MANDARIN ORANGE MUFFINS

  • 11 oz. can of mandarin oranges
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Topping:

  • 3 Tblsp.  butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Drain oranges well and spread out on paper towel while mixing batter.

orangesPlace flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, allspice and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk together.  Combine oil, milk and egg in a shaker or small bowl and mix well.  Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

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Dough will be quite stiff at this point.  Add drained oranges and mix lightly.

Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake @ 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Immediately remove muffins from pans.  While hot, dip tops of muffins in melted butter, then in sugar mixed with cinnamon.

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Yield:  12 small muffins – just the right size to have with a nice cup of coffee. 

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