Mini candied ginger cookie crumbles

I think i have a ghost living in my house. I wrote this post and at the end made sure my blog knows to publish it a week earlier from today. And strangely enough “somebody” switched the day to god-know-when. I happened to notice it because I was still waiting to get an email from WP when a post is being published. But I didn’t get any. Or…and most of you might agree and I don’t, that maybe…just maybe…I need glasses.

SO,

If you love candied ginger you are going to love these crumble cookies. Now I know what you’re thinking…sort of. Ginger is spicy. Hot yes but not paprika hot. It has a sharp taste and a big aroma. But when it’s baked with another element, say sweet cookie dough, it only compliments and enhances the flavors. It does not take over. Fear not. Think of it as a zest to your cookies.

delicious candied ginger cookies

How did I get to ginger candied cookie crumbles? totally by accident. I wanted to use my basic Moroccan cookie dough but with the addition of a fruit. Humming my way to “shop” in my pantry (and I do need to go shopping), I found a beautiful crystallized ginger jar I bought a few days earlier, only because I liked the jar and the crystallized look of what was in it. And I’m thinking hey, why not?

Next, while I tried to form perfectly round cookies I looked around and spotted those mini muffin pans that happened to lay on the counter. Are you thinking what I’m thinking now?

The baking crumbles filled my whole house with aroma of ginger, sugar and cinnamon. We couldn’t wait for them to taste them. The cookies are soft and crumbly, they look good too and melt in your mouth, with a bit of stickiness. A cup of your favorite Joe is surrounded by tiny crumbles that you bother to pick with your fingers and nibble. Can you imagine spending a better afternoon than playing with your food? and eat it too? I think not.

candied ginger soft cookie doughdelicious crystallized ginger cookies

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2 c. sifted all purpose flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
3/4 c. vegetable oil
kosher salt, pinch
tap water, as needed
1/2 c. chopped candied ginger
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Preparations:
Now let’s preheat oven to 350°. Set a side a mini muffin pan.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar. Mix. Create a well in the center and pour the oil, vanilla extract and chopped candied ginger. Gently combine ingredients and only if you need add tap water little at a time, until you get a soft dough. Don’t over work the dough. Form a big ball, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes.

Let’s take the dough and separate it with our fingers into small pieces. No measurements or science is needed, simply small pieces of dough – that’s the crumbs. Fill each muffin cup with some of the cookie dough about 3/4 full. Gently press each filled cup with your fingers making sure the crumbs are “staying together”. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top gets golden brown.

home made candied ginger cookiesRemove from the oven, let cool completely and serve on a pretty platter accompanies with fresh mint tea or your favorite cup of coffee.

Now if you really want to get spoiled and feel like a kid again, have it with a cup of cold milk.

candied ginger fact

Bon-apetite

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Moroccan spicy caraway cookies

who said cookies have to be sweet?

delicious moroccan caraway cookies

Every time I make these cookies i think about my mother. My childhood memories are vividly brought up right in front of my eyes, a hint of smile on my face as I think how my mother made these special cookies, only a couple of times a year, as a special get together on high holidays. We would start the big meal with these spicy delicious caraway cookies and a cup of sweet fresh mint tea…we would talk…laugh…then the big meal begins. These rare but delicious treats will always stay special to me as my mother wasn’t a big baker, she cooked more than baked and sweets rarely mentioned in our household, yet she would surprise us with her Moroccan specialties she learned from her mother…a special lady I never had a chance to know.

Now trying my baking specialties I am still struggling to keep the dough together but not always succeeding at the task. The dough is soft and falls apart in your mouth, almost to a melting point and taste so delicious. The recipe is simple and contain only few ingredients but the trick is to keep the dough together while shaping it into little balls. I’m still working on improving my handling skills but I’m not intimidated and am still creating these treats. They go well with a nice cup of mint tea or your favorite cup of coffee.

The caraway seeds have a sharp flavor, almost like parsley…well it is from the parsley family, and are a beautiful savory addition to this simple dough, which i intentionally reduced the amount of sugar in it and let the seeds blend with the oil and be the star.

moroccan spicy caraway cookies

delicious moroccan caraway cookies

delicious spicy moroccan caraway cookies
moroccan spicy caraway cookies
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2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. superfine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp toasted caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
tap water, as needed
kosher salt, pinch
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Preparation:

Let’s toast the caraway seeds in a small non-stick pan first. Just for a few minutes, you don’t want to burn them. Set a side.
In a large bowl combine the sifted flour, create a well in the center, pour the oil and add the rest of the ingredients including the caraway seeds. Gently knead the dough for a few minutes while adding tap water as needed and only if need. Mix until combined and you get a nice soft dough. Don’t over work the dough. Form one big ball, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. In the meantime, lightly grease baking sheet. Gently create small balls from the dough pressing gently to flatten them. If you get cracks while pressing, like I do sometimes, that’s o.k but if you don’t like when that happens, like me, just leave them in the form of balls. They look very cute this way and unique. Lay cookies on the sheet and bake between 20-25 minutes, until the top is light golden brown **

** I bake them 5-6 minutes longer as i like the top to turn a little darker and slightly crusty. Your personal preference.

Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite hot drink. For kids, it’s heaven with a cup of cold milk. So o.k. adults will like it too.

delicious spicy caraway cookies

Delicious baked apples in a crusty crust

Hello friends,

So here I am talking about how to impress your guests, again, or surprise yourself with a bit of creativity.

As you probably know I like to make my guests feel special and always like to end a dinner party with something to remember, usually it happens with food. So last night we had friends over for dinner and I was looking for a simple dessert to make, not very sweet, with simple ingredients that yield a big impact. I had six apples chilling in my refrigerator that no one paid attention to and a lots of frozen puff pastry. What to do what to do. Bingo – who doesn’t like warm baked apples in a crusty crust? well…my daughters. but that doesn’t count.

After scoring, cutting, wrapping and baking, in the end I came up with these mouth-watering sparkly baked apples in a golden crusty crust with stuffing that simply tastes  a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

delicious baked apples

baked apples in crusty puff pastry

Not only that but these apples look beautiful too, like little individual presents. I mean if the apples had eyes they would blink right back at me.

It’s so easy to make even a teenager with a nose ring can do it.

so, shall we:

ingredients
1 pkg puff pastry dough, thawed and chilled
6 medium size granny smith apples
1/2 c. toasted almonds, crushed
2 tbsp honey
3 cloves cardamon, crushed
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)
2 tbsp fruit jam (orange, apricot
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
preparations
Heat the oven to 375º. Wash apples, scoop the cores then peel. Try to keep the apples whole. Drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice to keep color.
For the mix: in a microwave melt the jam about 30-40 seconds just to get it easier to blend. Combine honey, crushed nuts, cardamon, zest and jam and mix well.

delicious baked applesStuff apples with the nut mix, as much as the apples can contain. Set aside.

crusty baked apples

Roll out the pastry sheet into a thin layer and cut into equal squares, roughly 5″x5″. Larger squares if you have larger apples. Place stuffed apples in the center of each square, brush inside edges with the egg wash and wrap apple with pastry sheet. Here you can get creative and wrap it anyway you like. I pulled the four corners into the center and left little “ears” sticking out (in case you feel like stuffing these tiny pockets too). Place the wrapped apples on a greased parchment paper, brush with egg wash all around and sprinkle with cinnamon powder and brown sugar. Chill for 15 min.

delicious baked applesBake from 35 to 45 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Serve warm. If you have a very sweet tooth add a side of vanilla ice cream, it’s a perfect cool/warm combo for any juice buds. Otherwise, serve the warm apple on its own making it the star.

delicious baked apple

P.S. I didn’t know it was my friend’s birthday that night (what kind of friend am I anyway?), so I quickly took a tiny birthday candle, stuck it inside the edge of the pastry and boom, instant personal birthday cake. The man was happy. Still is.

A must try. Yum.