Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Chewy Ginger Cookies

I love gingerbread and ginger cookies.  This is part one of a two part gingerbread cookie baking extravaganza that I got into this season (the second part being gingerbread men).  I made these gingerbread cookies that were nice and chewy using the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook.  I love to bake.  I don't just love it, but I find it relaxing and calming, and it is one of my favorite things to do.  I always want to bake more than I have people to feed all the baked goods to, so I have to contain it.  It's a bit of a problem!  At any rate, recently, I received a whole box of baking supplies from ShopRite and used some of the supplies to make these cookies, which were absolutely fabulous and addictive.  The original recipe recommends icing the  cookies as well, but I didn't think they needed it.

Chewy Ginger Cookies (recipe adapted from Jennifer Appel)
2 cups ShopRite all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ShopRite cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup ShopRite sugar plus 1 T for sprinkling
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Using your stand mixer, beat the oil and sugar on high speed for three minutes, then beat in the egg and molasses.  Unsulphured molasses stinks in my opinion, but don't worry, your cookies won't as it changes it scent when baked.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Drop  rounded teaspoonfuls spaced apart  on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Bake each sheet of cookies, one at a time for 12 minutes.  They'll be soft when they come out but cook more when removed from the oven.  Allow to cool and remove from the sheets.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery is one of my favorite bakeries in New York.  Even though I am an avid cupcake baker myself, I still enjoy their famous cupcakes, and of course their banana pudding.  Recently, I picked up the Magnolia Bakery cookbook and have been making some of their recipes (soon I'll post the fabulous apple cake with caramel cream cheese frosting that I made for New Years Eve).  Their banana pudding is so simple and easy to make, but it is just the best.  I was a little skeptical given how easy the recipe was, but the end result made a huge amount of that famous banana pudding that they serve at the bakery.  My husband absolutely loved it.

Magnolia's Banana Pudding (from the Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice water
1 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding (use Jello brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 12 oz box Nilla wafers
4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water for a minute until well-combined.  Add the pudding mix an d beat for two minutes more.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before proceeding, which is important to allow the pudding to set completely.

In the mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on high for about three minutes until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in the pudding mixture and blend completely in the mixer.

To assemble the dessert, use a large glass bowl with a 4-5 quart capacity.  Arrange 1/3 of the nilla wafers on the nottom and then 1/2 of the bananas and 1/3 of the pudding and repeat the layering twice more.  Cover and chill for at least four hours and no more than eight hours before serving.  This dessert serves 12-15 people and is perfect in my opinion for family gatherings!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Veal Kimchi Dumplings

I've been on a dumpling kick recently.  I just can't get enough dumplings! Recently, I made some veal-kimchi dumplings that were spicy and delicious and we just couldn't get enough of them.  This recipe can also be made with chicken if you prefer.  The combination of kimchi and sriracha sauce lends a nice flavor.    I even made dumplings for New Years Eve for our cook at home dinner tradition, but I made my beef dumplings with Napa cabbage.  Happy and healthy new year to all my readers.  I have high personal hopes for the New Year and some important goals in mind.  I hope the new year brings everything you hope for.

Sasha's Kimchi Dumplings
1 lb ground veal (or ground chicken)
1 T sriracha sauce
4 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
10 oz diced kimchi
1 T diced ginger
1 T diced garlic
1 bunch of chives, diced
3 scallions, diced
2 T black of balsamic vinegar

Mix all of the ingredients for the dumplings together in a bowl.  Don't be afraid to use your hands.  You are going to need to do so to work everything together.  Be sure to chop of the ingredients finely.  Use circular dumpling wrappers and gold the dumplings as you prefer.  I usually made them with pleats, but I was lazy when I made these and simply made half moon shapes.  Use a bit of water to seal them together.  After you fold each dumpling, allow them to rest on parchment paper while you prepare the rest.  Its amazing how many of these a person can eat.  They are just so addictive!

To pan fry the dumplings, the following website provides a great primer on how to pan fry.  Line the finished dumplings on parchment paper before cooking so they don't stick.  Coat the bottom of a non stick pan with a couple tablespoons of canola oil.  Line the dumplings in the pan, crowded, smooth side down and cook over heat for two to three minutes.  Add about a half inch of water, cover with a lid and allow to cook for four to five minutes until the water is gone.  Then, remove the lid and flip the dumplings and cook another three minutes until nicely browned. 

Prepare a dumpling sauce of 2:1 soy sauce to balsamic vinegar and add a tablespoon each of sesame oil, garlic and ginger as well as plenty of sriracha sauce to add some heat if you prefer.  Dip the dumplings in the sauce and enjoy.
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