Categories
Dessert Snack

Love Reese’s eggs? Copy that.

Copycat Reese’s eggs are a delicious facsimile, making it almost impossible to stop at eating just one.

If you do some looking online about the best version of Reese’s candy, you’ll find quite a few articles that discuss the superiority of Reese’s eggs to the normal peanut butter cups.

Yes, I know. I need to spend my time more wisely, but I ended up down a strange rabbit hole, and I figured I’d share the gist so you don’t have to follow suit.

Apparently, the prevailing thought process is that Reese’s eggs are better than Reese’s cups, because they have a better chocolate-to-peanut-butter ratio.

A 2019 piece by Chloe Bryan explains that the ridges on the cup are the problem.

“The trouble with the ridges: The thick edge they create disrupts the cup’s delicate peanut butter-chocolate balance,” she writes. “A bite including ridges will not contain as much peanut butter as a bite containing exclusively innards—and the latter is superior.”

She goes on to say that the Reese’s eggs (or the trees at Christmas time) are just like biting into those “innards” only, making them the better choice.

If I’m being honest, I’ll eat any Reese’s option without hesitation—eggs, trees, cups, pieces, mini, jumbo, etc. I love them. But I do agree that there’s something special about the seasonal varieties, which is why I was drawn to this week’s recipe to make a copycat version of the classic Reese’s eggs, and I have to say, it’s a pretty good copy.

The recipe I used comes from a post on Facebook from Tabatha Swartz on a group called “Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes.” I added a little extra peanut butter, since it helped me use the whole container, but I also included the original measurement in case you’d rather measure it out.

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Copycat Reese’s Eggs

Copycat Reese's eggs are a delicious facsimile, making it almost impossible to stop at eating just one.
Course Dessert
Keyword copycat, cream cheese, milk chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, Reese’s

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 28 ounces creamy peanut butter or three cups
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 2 bags milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Beat all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips until well combined. When it comes together, you can turn it out onto your kitchen counter and knead it a bit to finish it out.
  • Form the peanut butter mixture into egg shapes (or whatever shape you like), and place them on a plate or cookie sheet that can fit in your freezer.
  • Freeze for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are completely frozen.
  • Before removing the eggs from the freezer, melt your chocolate by using a double boiler or a by microwaving, 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chips are melted.
  • Lay out sheets of waxed paper on your work surface and then, in batches, dip each egg into the melted chocolate, and then place the coated candy on the waxed paper to harden.
  • Store the finished eggs in the refrigerator or freezer in an air-tight container.

These were amazing. They wouldn’t pass a blindfold taste test, but they were so, so good. And if you’re like the dozens of people who have taken to the Internet to talk about how great Reese’s eggs are in comparison to the cups, this might be just the treat for you now that you have to wait all the way until October for Reese’s pumpkin shapes to be on shelves again.

I would caution that these get melty pretty quickly, so I’d highly recommend keeping them refrigerated or frozen in between enjoying them. Also, the great thing about this recipe is you can make any shape you want. You could easily use cookie cutters to get creative and make all kinds of seasonal peanut butter creations.

And, of course, you could put it into some cupcake liners and get the classic ridges, too. Just don’t post online about messing up the chocolate-to-peanut-butter ratio. You may not like the response.

This piece first appeared in print on May 6, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Spicy ramen makes ‘miso’ happy

Spicy garlic ramen comes together in about 15 minutes, has lots of levels of flavor and is extremely easy to customize with your favorite ingredients.

One of the first meals Joey and I had inside a restaurant after we were officially vaccinated for COVID-19 was to try out some local spicy garlic ramen we heard about online.

The restaurant serves its spicy ramen in levels, with each level getting progressively hotter. Joey started off asking for a relatively high number, and the sweet girl at the counter just shook her head at him and asked if he was sure. He went with a lower option, just in case.

We really enjoyed the ramen. It was flavorful and just the right amount of spicy. It made for a great meal, so of course, we decided we had to figure out how to make some spicy garlic ramen for ourselves at home.

If you’re not into spicy flavors, I’d recommend starting with less of the sambal oelek, which is a spicy chili sauce. I used only one tablespoon the first time, and in the four or five times I’ve made this since, I added a second tablespoon, and it gives it a good “makes your nose run” heat.

This comes from the blog “40 Aprons” by Cheryl Malik. You can find her original post at https://40aprons.com/15-minute-spicy-ramen/. I added extra garlic in my version.

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Spicy Garlic Ramen

Spicy garlic ramen comes together in about 15 minutes, has lots of levels of flavor and is extremely easy to customize with your favorite ingredients.
Course Main Course
Keyword garlic, gingerbread, miso paste, ramen, sambal oelek, sesame oil, soy sauce, spicy

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1- inch knob fresh ginger cut into fourths
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • dash rice wine vinegar
  • 2 blocks ramen
  • Optional toppings: soft-boiled eggs sliced green onion, sesame seeds, fresh sliced mushrooms, etc.

Instructions

  • Combine the broth along with one cup water in a medium-sized pot. Toss in the ginger, garlic, miso paste, sambal oelek, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, letting the flavors meld for 10 minutes.
  • If you are serving this with soft-boiled eggs, place your eggs in a pot and just cover them with cold water. Bring to a rapid boil and remove from heat after six minutes. Drain the eggs and immediately plunge them in a bowl of ice water, and set them aside while your ramen finishes.
  • To finish off the ramen, remove the slices of ginger, and bring the broth back to a low boil and drop in the blocks of noodles. Cook for two minutes or until the noodles reach your desired level of doneness.
  • Serve with whatever toppings you choose.

This was so, so good. I don’t normally make something again, let along numerous times, before I share a recipe with you guys, but this one was so good that it has its own card in my recipe box already. 

It’s so easy to add extras, too. You could add shrimp or chicken or tofu, too, if you want some protein in there.

And the nice thing about controlling the spice level yourself is even if you guess wrong, you don’t have to deal with the judgmental eyes of a cashier, silently telling you, “I told you so.”

This piece first appeared in print on April 29, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Main Dish Side Dish

Huge casserole will make you say, ‘Cheese, Louise!’

This over-the-top version of macaroni and cheese makes a huge amount of the creamy, decadent dish.

As the extremely proud aunt of a fantastic three-year-old, I have been around for quite a few meals of macaroni and cheese the past several years.

I definitely can’t argue with her taste in good food. Joey makes fun of me for ordering mac and cheese regularly, and while my niece’s dish of choice is generally a cup of the single-serving microwaveable kind, I tend to opt for a more grown up version.

After I recently saw a recipe online for a batch that claimed to be the “world’s best” and featured three types of cheese, I decided to forgo any boxes of Kraft and try my own version from scratch.

I will warn you, before we even launch into this, that this makes an absolutely huge dish of macaroni and cheese. I would highly recommend halving or even quartering the recipe if you aren’t feeding a crowd or don’t want a lot of leftovers.

The recipe I used comes from the blog “Mom on Timeout.” You can find the original post at https://www.momontimeout.com/best-homemade-baked-mac-and-cheese-recipe/. I ended up adding extra pasta to my version, because it was way too soupy for my tastes. I also added garlic powder and extra paprika.

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Over-the-Top Macaroni and Cheese

This over-the-top version of macaroni and cheese makes a huge amount of the creamy, decadent dish.
Course Main Course
Keyword garlic, gruyere, macaroni, panko, parmesan, sharp cheddar cheese

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces elbow macaroni cooked al dente
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar shredded
  • 2 cups gruyere shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a three- or four-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  • While the pasta cooks, combine the shredded cheddar and Gruyere in a large bowl and set it aside.
  • When the pasta is finished and drained, add it to another bowl and drizzle it with the olive oil and mix to combine. Set it aside.
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt six tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and continue to stir for one minute. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream until the mixture is smooth. Continue stirring regularly until small bubbles start to form on the surface. Whisk in the salt, pepper and garlic powder and continue cooking, stirring regularly, for about two more minutes. Reserve two cups of the combined cheddar and gruyere, and add the rest to the pot, a handful at a time, whisking in between additions until the sauce is smooth. Once all of the cheese is melted into the sauce, add the pasta. Stir to fully coat the pasta and dump half of it into the prepared baking dish.
  • Add the rest of the cheddar and gruyere in an even layer and then top with the rest of the macaroni mixture.
  • In a bowl, combine the panko, parmesan, four tablespoons melted butter and paprika, and stir until all of the bread crumbs are moistened.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on the top of the dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is browned and the cheese is bubbling.

This was so rich and really delicious, and while gruyere is not a cheap cheese to buy, it really did add some complex flavors I wouldn’t have been able to get with just the sharp cheddar.

Two things I would add as tips are, first, you might want to bake this on a baking sheet in case it spills over. My baking dish was just over three quarts in size, and I could barely fit the entire batch into it.

Second, if you want the best results, shred the cheddar and gruyere yourself. Pre-packaged shredded cheese often doesn’t melt as easily because of additives put in to keep it from clumping together.

I was amazed at the size of this batch of macaroni and cheese by the time I was done. I ended up giving away quite a few helpings so that it would all get eaten.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy this one with my niece. We’ll have to have a mac and cheese date sometime soon; although, I suspect that my use of “fancy” cheese won’t impress her too much and with her three-year-old appetite, we’re bound to have a lot of leftovers.

This piece first appeared in print on April 22, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

‘Tassie’ together some mini pies this week

Pecan tassies are a bit quicker to accomplish than a full pecan pie, and they’re a great crowd pleaser for a dessert table.

I have said before that I actually really enjoy making pie.

I think now that I feel confident with pie crust, the idea of creating a shell and a filling that (at least in theory) comes out in whole, beautiful slices is one of my favorite things.

Joey has been a wonderful and willing participant in my pie experiments over the years, with pecan being his absolute favorite, so when I announced I was making pecan tassies, he was on board to be my taste tester.

If you’re not familiar, a “tassie” is a mini pie. An old article by Betty Rosbottom in the Los Angeles Times points out that the word really just means “cup,” but in the U.S., at least, we tend to use the term for the dessert.

The recipe I used comes from the blog “Baking a Moment.” You can find the original at https://bakingamoment.com/brown-sugar-pecan-tassies/. I doubled the vanilla in my version. Also, feel free to skip the whiskey in these. You can’t taste it in the final version outside of it amplifying other flavors, but if you’re not feeling it, it won’t hurt anything to leave it out.

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Brown Sugar Pecan Tassies

Pecan tassies are a bit quicker to accomplish than a full pecan pie, and they're a great crowd pleaser for a dessert table.
Course Dessert
Keyword brown sugar, cream cheese, mini pie, pecans, tassies, vanilla, whiskey

Ingredients

Pastry Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans plus more for tops

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • For the pastry, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, and then beat in the flour and salt. If you’re using a mini-cupcake pan, divide the pastry into 24 equal balls; if using a regular cupcake pan, divide it into 12.
  • Press the pastry into the bottoms and up the sides of each well.
  • For the filling, beat the egg, brown sugar, melted butter, whiskey, vanilla and salt until it’s smooth. Fold in the pecans and evenly distribute the filling into the prepared pan.
  • Top each well with some more pecans, and bake 25 minutes for the mini-cupcake pan or 30 minutes for the regular cupcake pan.
  • Let the tassies cool, and then remove them from the pan. Store them in an airtight container.

These were awesome. I opted for the mini-cupcake pan version, and it produced cute little pies that were easy to just pop into your mouth. Especially if you wanted to create a dessert buffet table or had a gathering where people will be snacking, this is the recipe for you.

If you’re not with me on enjoying pie baking, this is a good one to try in order to dip your toe in the pool or to just avoid trying to roll out pie dough altogether. Plus, if you need him, I know a guy who makes an excellent taste tester.

This piece first appeared in print on April 15, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Side Dish

Tasty collards will ‘leaf’ you wanting more

Collard greens are slow simmered and paired with bacon to create a traditional southern side dish.

While I have always thought of collard greens as something eaten mainly by southerners, an article from the website “What’s Cooking America” notes that even the ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed the leafy greens.

For the U.S., the tradition of cooking collard greens with pork—often using a ham hock to simmer in the broth—came from Africa as southern slaves honed the technique of cooking collards with the food scraps given to them for sustenance.

Collard greens, which are in the cabbage family, have a taste similar to kale or mustard greens. They have a deep, earthy flavor, and they’re especially good when you cook them down with plenty of pork fat. They’re not healthy that way, but they’re definitely delicious.

I recently decided to give collard greens a shot in my own kitchen and decide to use a recipe from the blog “Cooking with Pennies.” You can find the original post at https://www.spendwithpennies.com/collard-greens/. I added lots of extra garlic in my version.

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Collard Greens

Collard greens are slow simmered and paired with bacon to create a traditional southern side dish.
Course Side Dish
Keyword bacon, collard greens, garlic, onion

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 slices bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion diced (I used yellow.)
  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Wash and drain the collard greens and remove as much of the stems as possible, leaving the leaves in large, two- to three-inch pieces.
  • In a very large skillet with a lid or deep stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat and then fry the bacon until it is crispy.
  • Add the diced onions to the bacon and saute for three to five minutes or until they’re starting to soften.
  • Mix in the garlic and collard greens. Once everything is well combined, pour in the broth and place the lid on the pan.
  • Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the greens are tender. Stir them every 10 minutes or so to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

While this recipe didn’t follow the tradition of boiling a ham hock with the greens, the bacon added plenty of great flavor. I served these with some fresh cornbread, too, and sopping up the juices from the pan—often referred to as “pot-likker,” according to “What’s Cooking America,” was amazing.

And I learned you don’t have to be southern to enjoy collard greens. They have travelled all over the world throughout history, and while this particular recipe probably doesn’t count as adding vegetables to your meal, I still highly recommend them.

As Paula Deen once said, “I figure it’s almost like a balance. We’re eating these wonderful collard greens and turnip greens, which are so medicinally good for you, and OK, so what if it has a little ham hock in it?”

This piece first appeared in print on April 8, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Main Dish

Spring is time to come out of your shell

Chicken Alfredo stuffed shells can be made easily with a rotisserie chicken and jarred Alfredo sauce.

With the weather finally warming up, it’s about the time of year when you begin meeting yourself coming and going, it seems.

There are so many activities outdoors, and staying inside after the harsh winter on top of a pandemic makes me want to spend every moment I can out in the yard or taking a walk instead of standing in front of the stove. If you’re a fan of a kiddo involved in spring sports, your life is about to get pretty busy, too.

This week’s recipe pays homage to that. You can make it as complicated or as easy as you like.

If you’re in a hurry, I’d definitely recommend using jarred sauce, shredding up an already-cooked rotisserie chicken and maybe even skipping the pasta shells and cooking some lasagna noodles to layer in there instead.

Regardless of how much time you spend, though, this dinner is a really yummy one.

I found this on the Julie Evink’s blog, “Julie’s Eats and Treats.” You can find her original post at https://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/chicken-alfredo-stuffed-shells/. 

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Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

Chicken Alfredo stuffed shells can be made easily with a rotisserie chicken and jarred Alfredo sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Alfredo sauce, basil, chicken, garlic, mozzarella, oregano, parmesan, stuffed shells

Ingredients

  • 30 large pasta shells cooked according to package directions
  • 1 pound chicken breasts cooked and shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella divided
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan divided
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh Italian parsley optional
  • 15 ounces garlic Alfredo sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • While the shells are boiling, combine cottage cheese, 3/4 cup mozzarella, 3/4 cup parmesan, egg, garlic, oregano, basil and salt and pepper, stirring well. (If using the fresh parsley, dice up 1/4 to 1/2 cup and add it in, too.) Add in the chicken and stir until everything is well mixed.
  • In the prepared dish, add about one cup of the Alfredo sauce to the bottom.
  • Spoon the chicken mixture into the drained, prepared shells and place them, crowded tightly but in a single layer, in the dish.
  • Evenly distribute the remaining Alfredo sauce over the shells, along with the reserved cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and the dish is heated through.
  • Serve garnished with more parsley, if using.

This is a great casserole to create ahead of time and slip into the freezer or fridge to bake later. While you’re busy cooking one, why not go ahead and assemble a second one, too?

I often love cooking from scratch and taking some time preparing food, but when the birds are chirping and the temperature is rising, sometimes it’s OK to just go easy on yourself.

Grab a plate, go eat outside, and enjoy the arrival of April.

This piece first appeared in print April 1, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Dessert

Baking brownies can be a sticky situation

A gooey layer of caramel is nestled in between from-scratch chocolate brownies in this decadent dessert.

At some point in my baking adventures, I plan on trying to make homemade caramels, but I haven’t been brave over the years when it comes to candy making. 

I think that’s mostly because I didn’t grow up making candies regularly and only very recently invested in my own candy thermometer. But I am incredibly intrigued by the idea of making my own caramel and have earmarked several recipes that I want to try out at some point.

Part of the reason I want to try it out is because I love caramel so much. As a kid, I loved getting a Sugar Daddy or a box of Sugar Babies during Halloween or Easter.

The other reason is because every time I make a recipe that features caramels I buy from the store, I end up with a huge pile of little plastic wrappers on my kitchen counter. Not only does it make me feel wasteful to create all of that trash for one dish, but I also find it incredibly difficult not to pop those little squares into my mouth as I unwrap each one individually.

So you can say that I’m either environmentalist or I lack self control, but either way I should probably learn how to make this stuff myself. Unfortunately for this week’s recipe, I still have a conquered candy making, so we’ll stick with the stuff from the shelf.

This recipe comes from Sabrina Snyder’s “Dinner Then Dessert” blog. You can find her original post at https://dinnerthendessert.com/fat-witch-bakerys-legendary-chocolate-caramel-brownies/. I added extra vanilla in my version.

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Chocolate Caramel Brownies

A gooey layer of caramel is nestled in between from-scratch chocolate brownies in this decadent dessert.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, caramel, chocolate

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 heaping cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 11 ounces caramel squares unwrapped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare an eight-by-eight-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray and lining it with parchment paper.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in between each. Remove it from the microwave once the butter is fully melted, and continue stirring until the chocolate melts, too.
  • Set the bowl aside to cool a bit.
  • Place the caramels in another microwave-safe bowl along with two tablespoons water, and microwave for one minute. Remove it from the microwave and let it sit for about two minutes, and then stir until the mixture is smooth.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla for a couple minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate/butter mixture.
  • Beat in the flour and salt until the mixture is smooth.
  • Spread half of the batter evenly into the baking pan. Pour the caramel into the pan next, keeping it about one inch away from the edges.
  • Place the pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the caramel is set up.
  • Spread the rest of the batter evenly over the top of the caramel layer and bake for 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool before removing them from the pan using the parchment paper and slicing them into squares. Store them in an airtight container.

These brownies were incredibly decadent. Despite my sweet tooth, I was very satisfied with eating just one. They also were a little on the messy side, since the caramel was nice and gooey in the center. I would highly recommend these with a side of ice cream.

And at some point, I am sure I will learn to make caramel myself. Of course, that really only solves the problem of all the extra wrappers, since there’s no way I will be able to resist eating it, too. I mean, somebody’s got to test out the new recipes; it may as well be me.

This piece first appeared in print on March 25, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

You’re fine ‘pudding’ whatever you want in these cookies

A package of pudding gives these cookies a bit of a cake-y texture and flavor, and doubling down on the chocolate makes them even better.

I am and always have been a rule follower.

I rarely if ever got in trouble in school, and I still read instructions before completing a form or assembling a piece of furniture.

For years, I was that way with recipes, too. I followed the directions to the letter. But I have had the good fortune to write this column every week for over eight years now, and one thing I’ve learned about recipes is that the rules are meant to be broken.

That was definitely the case for this week’s recipe. I didn’t sift the flour and baking soda before adding it to the batter. I didn’t use vanilla pudding. I added extra vanilla extract. I grabbed margarine instead of butter, since that was what I had on hand.

And you know what? My cookies still turned out great, so I’m sharing this recipe with you this week so you can be a rule breaker, too.

This comes from the blog “I am a Honey Bee.” You can find the original post at https://iamahoneybee.com/2014/01/09/chocolate-chip-pudding-cookies/. I changed this up by substituting in different flavors from the original and doubling the vanilla.

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Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

A package of pudding gives these cookies a bit of a cake-y texture and flavor, and doubling down on the chocolate makes them even better.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, cookies, instant pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3.4 ounces instant pudding I used chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 ounces chocolate chips I used semi-sweet

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until they’re light and fluffy—about two minutes. Beat in the pudding mixture. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add in the flour and baking soda and beat until everything is mixed well.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Roll the dough into one-inch balls or scoop it out with a one-inch baking scoop and place them about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until the cookies are set in the middle. Once the cookies have cooled for about five minutes, transfer them to an airtight container.

Despite using the chocolate pudding, these weren’t overly sweet or decadent. They were just really good, soft cookies. We shared some with some friends of ours, and they gave them two thumbs up, too.

And these are infinitely customizable. Go look at the instant pudding in your local grocery store and get creative with your flavor combos. Maybe lemon and white chocolate chips? Coconut with almonds? Butterscotch and dark chocolate?

There are many, many times that being a rule follower is a wonderful trait to have, and believe me, it keeps you out of trouble a lot in life. But in this case, I’d say go ahead and live on the wild side a little. I’m not quite ready to be a rebel without a cause, but cookies are a cause I can get behind.

This piece first appeared in print on March 18, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Main Dish

‘Andouille’ yourself a favor and try this recipe

Roasted vegetables along with andouille sausage combines fresh and spicy flavors. Paired with a side of asparagus, it’s the perfect summer meal.

I’m sure no one actually notices, but I’m sometimes worried I have a weird reputation for wandering all over the aisles of my local grocery store.

I always start with the good intentions of going aisle by aisle until I cover the whole store, my list complete and my cart full. But it rarely works out that way.

This past week, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. I’d already visited the produce section and was checking out my protein options, when a package of andouille sausage caught my eye.

I pulled out my phone and searched for a recipe I could use, landing on a one-pan meal that combined sausage with fresh vegetables.

I headed back to the produce aisle, struggling to unknot the plastic bag I already had in my cart to add another onion and tossing a sweet potato and Brussels sprouts in, too.

And that got me to the recipe I’m sharing with you today. It has tons of flavor, looks pretty on the plate and is super easy to clean up.

This comes from the recipe blog “Diethood.” You can find the original recipe at https://diethood.com/andouille-sausage-vegetables-dinner/. I added extra seasonings in my version.

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One-Pan Andouille Sausage, Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted vegetables along with andouille sausage combines fresh and spicy flavors. Paired with a side of asparagus, it's the perfect summer meal.
Course Main Course
Keyword Andouille sausage, Brussels sprouts, one-pan, onion, sweet potato

Ingredients

  • 12 to 14 ounces rope andouille sausage sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts cut into about one-inch pieces
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion cut into wedges
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large, rimmed sheet pan by lining it with aluminum foil.
  • Add the sausage, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and onion to the pan, and drizzle them with the olive oil. Sprinkle the seasonings over the sausage and vegetables and then stir to evenly coat them in oil and seasonings.
  • Spread the sausage and vegetables evenly on the sheet, and bake for 27 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through and removing the sheet when the vegetables reach your desired tenderness. Serve immediately.

This was a fantastic meal. I also bought some fresh asparagus, so I roasted that, too, to go along, and it was so good. 

(For the asparagus, line another rimmed sheet with foil, place the asparagus on the pan, drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil along with salt and pepper to taste. Mix to coat the asparagus, and then sprinkle on about six to eight tablespoons of minced garlic and dot the top with about two tablespoons of butter. Bake in the 400-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until it’s done.)

I don’t know if anyone noticed me zig-zagging my way through the grocery store, and honestly, it doesn’t really bother me too much if they did.

Sometimes, you have to let the ingredients speak to you—no matter what aisle you’re in.

This piece first appeared in print on March 11, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Fresh berry cookies are almost too good to be ‘blue’

Blueberry white chocolate cookies are big and soft with lots of blueberry flavor, a hint of lemon, and pops of white chocolate.

When I was a kid, our Sunday morning breakfast tradition was having some sort of pastry before church. 

Most often, it was some mini donuts, but every so often, my parents would pick up a variety pack of jumbo muffins. I loved all the flavors, but I often opted for a big, cake-y blueberry muffin as my first choice.

I recently picked up a big container of blueberries and decided to make some cookies I’d been eyeing for awhile. Let me tell you: these were so, so delicious, and while they weren’t quite the same fluffy cake texture of a muffin top, that’s definitely what they reminded me of.

This comes from the blog “In Fine Taste.” You can find the original post at https://infinetaste.com/blueberry-lemon-white-chocolate-chip-cookies/. I added extra vanilla in my version and removed some extra lemon flavors.

Print

Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blueberry white chocolate cookies are big and soft with lots of blueberry flavor, a hint of lemon, and pops of white chocolate.
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberry, cookies, cream cheese, lemon, vanilla, white chocolate

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar plus more for rolling dough in
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
  • Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together. Beat for about two minutes until it’s light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon juice for another minute until the batter is smooth.
  • Beat in the salt, baking soda and flour. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and blueberries.
  • Add a few tablespoons of sugar to a small bowl. Scoop dough out in about 1/4-cup scoops, and roll the dough ball in the sugar. Place the cookies about two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets, and place the sheets in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 13 to 16 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are just browned. Let the cookies rest for 10 minutes before enjoying or transferring to an airtight container.

You could probably get away with using frozen blueberries for this, too, if you thaw them and drain them very well first.

We shared these with some friends, and I almost immediately got a request for the recipe. This makes huge, soft cookies that were so, so good.

And while they aren’t actually muffin tops, I think you could get away with eating these for breakfast, too. If anyone judges you, just don’t share your cookies with them.

This piece first appeared in print on March 4, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.