Monday, September 07, 2009

Brown Sugar and Me

My new comfort food? Brown sugar. Light brown or dark brown - I'm not too picky. I don't eat it straight, of course. Well, almost never. I usually prefer to eat it in the form of my favorite cookie ever: America's Test Kitchen's Brown Sugar Cookie recipe. However, at a recent Ice Cream Enthusiasts Meeting, I had a sundae with a rich, delicious butterscotch-caramel syrup. This sparked my interest in finding some new recipes within this flavor profile. Thus, the caramel cake from last week and this week's new recipe Butterscotch Bars (Cooking Light).

These bars were a wonderful addition to my brown sugar recipe collection. The recipe was simple to put together and used ingredients I almost always have on hand. Very dangerous. I baked them for only 25 minutes, which resulted in a crispy outside and slightly doughy inside. I added toasted walnuts to the batter right before pouring it into the pan which added a little texture to the bar as well as the subtle walnut flavor.

The recipe made 16 bars cut from a 9 x 9 square pan, none of which lasted very long once dearest husband declared the serving size should be increased to two bars. I would definitely make these again for taking to my book club or the office, or just to snarf down after a long day. I was happy to have found a great Cooking Light butterscotch bar recipe. But, I have to admit, I have my eye on another, more fattening, butterscotch brownie recipe that includes chocolate chips. Maybe for the holidays...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Drought Is Over

I admit it. I fell off the cooking wagon. Would that be the chuckwagon? Who knows. At any rate, I have been neglecting my personal goals of trying new recipes and cooking more meals. Thankfully, invitations to join good friends and family for dinner over the past weekend inspired me to revisit the kitchen.

Caramel Cake
: I wanted to take a two-layer cake as my contribution to an outdoor dinner with friends. Searching through revealed several possibilities. However, because of dietary requirements of my friends, I made the cake from one recipe and the frosting from another. The cake turned out to be a little more dense than a normal cake, almost like a distant relative of a pound cake. The frosting was good, although I almost did not have enough to frost the entire cake! All-in-all, everyone had second helpings of the cake and the leftovers did not last long at home. I'll make this one again!

Darlene's Healthy Salad
: Thankfully, the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine came in the mail last week! Flipping through the newly redesigned layout, I came across this easy salad. I did not include radishes but added cherry tomatoes. This salad came together fairly quickly, especially since I used my awesome food processor to slice the cucumbers and red onion. The tangy combo of red wine vinegar, onion, and cucumbers made this salad a modern version of the cucumber salad my grandma used to make. I bet I would have loved it even more if I would have picked out a ripe avocado instead of an unusable rock-hard one. Oh, well. I already made this salad again! It will be a regular next summer.

Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Cucumbers
: This recipe was fast, easy, and delicious. I was able to quickly assemble it even after working late and walking the dog! Other than dicing the cucumbers instead of slicing, I made the recipe as directed and had no problem finding any of the ingredients. My husband loved the recipe. I think he was surprised about how much flavor was in a dish with relatively few ingredients (and relatively few dishes to wash!). This would be a great dish to take for lunches. Also, I liked the "game plan" feature in the magazine. We'll be making this again!