Monday, April 23, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Scone-Cookies

A few nights ago I got home from the store and there was a plate of these little beauties on my counter waiting for me. My sister made them and shared because she is awesome! What a fantastic surprise! And I'm not a bit ashamed to admit I ate every single one on the plate--they were so completely delicious...

These lovely edibles are floating around Pinterest as Strawberry Shortcake Cookies, but they aren't really cookies. The ingredients and method are totally scone: no egg, not a lot of sugar, you cut in the butter, mix in the cream to make a dough, fold in the strawberries. Yeah. Scones.

Whatever you want to call them, they are completely delightful. My sister used the word "devilish". Delightfully Devilish Strawberry Shortcake Scone-Cookies. Make some. You won't be sad you did....maybe only that you didn't double the recipe.

We experimented with storing the few left-over scone-cookies. The one we put in a zip-top bag got mushy and was no longer delightful. The ones we froze and then let defrost, both on the counter at room temperature and carefully in the microwave, were perfect. So on the very slim chance that you have any left-over, freeze them for best results.

Strawberry Shortcake Scone-Cookies
printable recipe

12 oz strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
coarse sugar, for sprinkling over the scone-cookies

1. Heat your oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and the 2 tablespoons sugar; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until moist and fragrant.

4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Add the cream to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in the strawberry mixture.

5. Use a standard cookie scoop to scoop the dough, about 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets; sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and set, and lightly brown on the bottom. Transfer to paper towels or wire racks to cool. Enjoy them the same day they are baked or store in the freezer.

Makes about 3 dozen scone-cookies.

PS: We can't remember which blog we got the recipe from (out of the many that have posted the recipe). If you're sure it's yours, let me know and I'll be happy to give you credit :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Snickerdoodles are one of my Top-5 favorite cookies. I love how simple they are, and the cinnamon-sugar on the outside adds a subtle flavor and crispiness that makes them irresistible! I also love that you can make them with simple baking staples. No chocolate chips, nuts, M&Ms, toffee bits, or other cookie mix-ins? No problem! You can still make Snickerdoodles.

The cream of tartar has always been a mysterious ingredient for me, so I decided to look it up and find out why it's in there.Turns out that in order for the baking soda to work there needs to be an acid--the cream of tartar. Some "modern" Snickerdoodle recipes call for baking powder instead of baking soda and cream of tartar, but since baking powder is baking soda and cream of tartar mixed together, it's essentially the same thing. Right?

Who. Knew?? Maybe you did already. I learned something new today.

Snickerdoodle purists insist that the cookie is not the same when made with baking powder instead of baking soda and cream of tarter. Me? I feel that a taste test is in order. I must know if they are different. For science.

While looking for the answer to the cream-of-tartar mystery, I also learned a little something from Wikipedia about this delicious cookie's silly name (can you say "Snickerdoodle" without smiling?):
The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln (lit. "snail noodles"), a kind of pastry. A different author suggests that the word "snicker" comes from the German word Schnecke, which describe a snail shape. Yet another hypothesis suggests that the name has no particular meaning or purpose and is simply a whimsically named cookie that originated from a New England tradition of fanciful cookie names.
For these cookies I've modified my sister's recipe by decreasing the butter and sugar a little, and they cooked up perfect at my high alititude (about 5000 feet). If you live at a lower altitude, they will still be delicious--A huge thanks to my friend, Kyla, who tested them out at sea level in California. Thanks!! :D

Also, don't overcook these. Cook them just until they are puffed, and maybe starting to brown just a touch around the outside. If you want them to stay soft and chewy after they cool (and even for days after...if they last that long) they have to come out of the oven when they are underdone. Otherwise you will end up with rock-hard cookies, and that's just not delicious.

printable recipe

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Heat your oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Sil-pat liners.

2. Cream together the butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and brown sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar, and mix well; scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half of the flour, mix well, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining flour. Set the dough aside and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Using a standard cookie scoop (or you can use rounded tablespoon scoops) scoop the dough, roll the dough into balls with your hands, and then roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar.

4. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed in the center and just barely starting to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before removing them to paper towels or wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Southern BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I love pulled pork because it is super easy (I cook the meat in my crock pot), it is super tasty (thanks to my scrumptious Southern BBQ Sauce), and I always have left-overs.

You can eat the pork on a bun, or one of my favorite ways, with roasted spaghetti squash. I've even used left-over meat to make a salad. Yum! 

I like to use country ribs over a larger cut because I think they cook faster, and I like bone-in because cooking the meat with the bone gives it a little more flavor. Because the country ribs have a decent amount of fat which will melt and keep the meat moist, there is no need to add any liquid to the crock pot.

Southern BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

4 pounds bone-in pork country ribs
1-2 tablespoons liquid smoke
buns for serving

1. Put the pork country ribs in a crock pot, and add the liquid smoke. Cover with a glass lid (if you have a plastic lid weigh it down with something heavy) and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until the meat falls off the bones and shreds easily.

2. Shred the meat into a bowl, discarding all the undesirable bits. Add half of the Southern BBQ Sauce and mix to coat the meat evenly. Serve the meat with the remaining sauce, on toasted buns or with roasted spaghetti squash.

Makes 6-8 cups shredded meat (depending on how much bone is in your cuts of meat).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Southern-Style BBQ Sauce

Years ago I was in the grocery store and a man had a table set up with samples of pulled pork in BBQ sauce. It was called Miss. Essie's, and it was a Southern-style sauce, which meant more vinegar, less sugar. Up until this point I had not been a fan of vinegar-based BBQ sauces, but he was so convinced I would like it I took a sample.

The flavors in my mouth were amazing. I asked him how to make the pulled pork, and left with a bottle of the sauce. When I made it at home it was just as good and my family was hooked. I bought Miss. Essie's regularly for the next couple of years and then it suddenly disappeared from store shelves. What?? Why does this happen to amazing things I find at the store?? I tried several other BBQ sauces, but not one of them was even close to the awesomeness that was Miss. Essie's. My only other option was to come up with my own.

The recipe I settled on is super easy and fast to put together, and the flavor is fantastic--just the right combination of bite and sweet and spicy. We've used it on pulled pork and chicken, and it is equally delicious on both (I've not tried it on shredded beef, but I bet it would be great on that as well).

To make this sauce even easier, I use a 2-cup glass measuring cup and the theory of displacement (think back to your Jr. High science class). Fill the measuring cup with the water, squirt in the ketchup until the water line rises to the 1 cup line, add the molasses until the water line rises to the 1 1/4-cup line, etc., until you've added all the ingredients. Whisk together and then pour into the pot. Super easy.

Southern-Style BBQ Sauce
printable recipe

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot (I use a 2-quart), and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature to allow to thicken before using.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce, enough for 6-8 cups shredded meat.
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