Central Market is an institution here in Austin. One of my absolute favorite discoveries from their vast array of in-house-baked goodies is hands down their Chewy Chocolate Crispy Cookies. Apparently the recipe is a well guarded secret! Luckily I was able to come upon this copycat recipe via Candace Creations. This is a chewy, soft, chocolaty cookie, with a crunch of chopped pecans. Pure Texas, and purely delish!
Central Market-Style Pecan Chewy Chocolate Cookies
• 8 ounces chopped pecans
• 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
• 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour • 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3 egg whites
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for about 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
- Place sugar, cocoa, flour and salt in mixer bowl and stir together.
- Beat in egg whites, one at a time, scrapping bowl.
- Beat in vanilla and continue beating at high speed for 1 minute.
- Stir in cooled, toasted chopped pecans.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies for spreading. - - Bake 1 sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, turning sheet halfway though baking time.
As an newbie gardener, I'm not insanely well versed in knowing when the right time is for plantings. I have a feeling that Sept. may not be the most ideal time to begin a new crop of plants, but I'm hedging my bets. Here in Texas, it's still 100 degrees on most days, and it will be for awhile. My limited botanical knowledge tells me as long as I keep the plants away from frost, they should be just fine. Sitting in today's sun, I can say that frost is a long way off...
These roma tomato seedlings are all of 1 week old. I saved the seeds as I cut into some juicy romas. The seeds were then rinsed and dispersed onto a damp paper towel I placed in a plastic bag. After about 5 days I had sprouting little seedlings.
The tiny seedling roots became slightly embedded in the paper towel, thus a ready made planting strip. I cut the towel to size and transferred to a planter.
After only 1 day the romas grew nearly half and inch and seem ripe for some hearty future growth....even in Sept!
In Texas, summer is here - bring on the frozen treats! I utilized some 3 oz. plastic cups, assorted flavors of yogurt, and some bamboo appetizer sticks. (The bamboo sticks are the perfect size for the 3 oz. cups!) Everything I needed was readily accessible at the grocerey store.
For some I used one flavor of yogurt per cup; for others the flavors were layered. Load up your cups, insert a bamboo stick in the middle, pop these in the freezer for a few hours and viola....sweet, frozen, healthy-ish summer treats! The flavors pictured: key lime pie, a layered peach & vanilla, and a layered banana cream pie & vanilla.
1 cup reduced-fat (1%) milk or ½ cup fat-free and ½ cup reduced-fat 2% 2½ reduced-fat Oreo cookies 1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding (dry mix) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 package Splenda or Equal 1½ cups ice cubes
1. Add all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add a few more ice cubes if the shake isn’t thick enough. 2. Serve at once. Makes 2 (1 cup) servings
I'm sort of loving this magazine that I stumbled upon while perusing the wares at the flagship Whole Foods here in Austin. Edible Austin: the designer in me loves it's aesthetic, heavyweight matte paper, and arty photos, & spreads. Check it!
I want to call these mock-mashed potatoes, but I don't think that name gives this dish justice, but neither does pureed cauliflower....mashed cauliflower seems to be fitting. I've been experimenting with different versions and have settled on my fave. This is my low-fat version, and honestly I was surprised, it's just as tasty as the full fat cream & cheddar version. Low-Fat Mashed Cauliflower (2 servings, ww+ points = 1)
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 T fat free milk
1 t powdered butter substitute (Molly McButter or similar)
1 slice fat free sharp cheddar cheese singles
1 T powdered white cheddar popcorn seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: Cut cauliflower into approx. 2" pieces. Place in microwave safe covered bowl w/ milk. Microwave for 10 min, stirring every few. Remove cauliflower mixture & transfer to blender or food processor. Add cheese, butter substitute, white cheddar seasoning, salt, & pepper. Blend/process until smooth. You may need to add a little more milk to reach desired consistency.
I took an amazing Italian Cooking class a few years back and this dessert has definitely emerged as a favorite. I had misplaced the recipe and the gal who taught the class was kind enough to share it with me again. Be sure to check out her site, Anne's Italy, and book a class with her on the wonders of Umbrian Cooking if she's in your area! TIRAMISU (“pick me up”) .............................. (makes enough for 20 people) .............................. 20 oz. Ricotta 1 lb. Marscapone 1/3 c. of sugar or to taste Yolks from 10 eggs One large chocolate bar, chopped into some fine & some chunky pieces Grated coconut Brewed espresso coffee large box of Original Grahams (or similar vanilla cookie) – preferred cookie……. OR 3 boxes of lady fingers DIRECTIONS: Mix first 3 ingredients together. Blend egg yolks and add to cream mixture. Combine chocolate and coconut reserving some chocolate for the top layer. Dip cookies into coffee mixture until soft, but before they fall apart. (You may also use coffee with some milk, if preferred.) Cover bottom of a pan thoroughly with soaked cookies. Add a layer of the cream mixture and some of the chocolate/coconut mixture. Repeat layering until all cookies are used. Top with chocolate as the final layer. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours or in freezer for 20 minutes.
I was slated to enter a pumpkin recipe contest at my work's Fall Festival & low and behold the evening before at 10pm, I realized that no grocery store in North Lake Tahoe had any canned pumpkin! There's apparently a pumpkin shortage... Thankfully I remembered a great post from my hometown friend Megan's Megasimple Blog about roasting and pureeing pumpkin. (Check it!) She used smaller sugar pie pumpkins. At 10 o'clock on a Fri. night all I could find were the large jack o'lantern variety, and they worked out fine for me.
Cutting into the large jack o'lantern was probably the hardest part of the deal. I put the cut pieces in a 375 degree oven for an hour and 40 min with a pan of water below them.
Here's the pumpkin right after coming out of the oven.
After roasting, you'll then want to scoop out and puree the insides, as pictured above, and you'll have some pumpkin ready for the recipe. If you're lucky enough to find pumpkin in a can you can skip this roasting/pureeing process. (Since I was up til 1am making this recipe happen, I would have been excited for the canned version!) This yielded way more pumpkin than I needed, so I pureed the rest and froze it for later use...stocking for the next pumpkin shortage!
While the pumpkin was roasting I prepared my graham cracker crust. This recipe is for the crust to fill 6 wide mouth 8 oz. mason jars. After the crust, my pictures seem to trail off as the evening got later....
After putting a little under 1/4 c. of crust in the jars, you then need to smash it down, as in the picture above: before (on the right) & after (on the left), then you bake!
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST 8 graham crackers crushed (I crushed mine in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin) 2 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
Directions: Combine graham crackers and sugar. Add melted butter and stir until moist. Divide evenly into 6 wide mouth 8 oz. mason jars (a little less than 1/4 c. each). Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 min.
NO-BAKE CREAM CHEESE PUMPKIN PIE (amended from this recipe I posted about in 2007: the best pumpkin pie ever!) 4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Neufchatel Cheese softened 1 Tbsp. cold fat-free milk 1 Tbsp. sugar 1-1/2 cups thawedWhipped Topping 1 cup cold fat-free milk 1 can (16 oz.) or 2 cups pumpkin 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) Vanilla Flavor Instant Reduced Pudding 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon cloves 6 prepared graham cracker crusts in mason jars (see above)
Directions: Beat Neufchatel cheese, 1 Tbsp. milk and sugar in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in whipped topping. Spread onto bottom of crust in each mason jar (about 1/4 cup each). Be sure to swish the jar around to even out your layers. Then pour 1 cup milk into a medium bowl. Add pumpkin, pudding mix and spices. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. (Mixture will be thick.) Spread over Neufchatel cheese layer in each mason jar (again about 1/4 cup). Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Garnish with additional dollop od whipped topping, if desired. Store leftover pie pots in refrigerator.... but believe me, they won't last long!