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Saturday, February 12, 2011

(Chocolate) Peppercorn Cookies for Valentine's Day (or breakfast?)

See, this is why I don't have homemade chocolate cookies in the house - While friends like Tucker and Shannon stay thin by baking and dropping off, I tend to eat their treats for breakfast....

Today's recipe comes from Tucker, who dropped off these delicious and surprisingly named, Peppercorn Cookies yesterday. After one bite, I was addicted to the incredible chocolate beginning with the hint o' heat aftertaste. (hence the breakfast thing). I just had to share the recipe for Valentine's Day so you can either bake and drop off, or sit and enjoy ~

I found an internet version of the recipe (since that's the raison d'etre of the blog) on and added Tucker's version in red so you get the real deal. The big differences are that Tucker's cookies are chocolate based (yumm) and she rolls the dough into a log in order to slice the cookies.
~ Enjoy

Prep Time: 20 mins Total Time: 30 mins Yield: 48 cookies

3 cups unbleached flour (Tucker uses 1.5 cups)

3/4 cup unsweetened powdered cocoa -

2 teaspoons baking powder No baking powder

1 cup butter, softened 12 T butter, softened

1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns ( a generous t. (or more) 1/8 t ground pepper

1 pinch cayenne 1/8 t cayenne

1 tablespoon ground ginger no ginger - however, I think this would be nice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3/4 T cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves no cloves

1 3/4 cups sugar 1 cup sugar

1 1/2 t vanilla

1 egg

powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven 375'. 350'

Combine flour and baking powder.

In another bowl, cream butter till it is pale yellow and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar and spices, then egg. And finally, gradually beat in flour.

Roll dough into 12" log. Chill till firm ..Slice into 1/4" slices. Arrange on greased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch them closely since it's hard to tell if they're burning!! Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool.
Knead dough on floured surface a few times. Divide it into 3 pieces and roll each piece to 1/8" thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place onto ungreased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 (1022 g)
Amount Per Serving % Daily ValueCalories 92.9 Calories from Fat 36 39% Amount Per Serving % Daily ValueTotal Fat 4.0g 6% Saturated Fat 2.4g 12% Cholesterol 14.5mg 4% Sugars 7.3 g
Sodium 44.1mg 1% Total Carbohydrate 13.4g 4% Dietary Fiber 0.2g 1% Sugars 7.3 g 29% Protein 0.9g 1%

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fig and Blue Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

OMG - I now have a signature dish. Even though I only used this Cooking Light recipe as a basis for my dinner last night - it was the perfect guide to a perfect meal.

If you like the taste combination of figs and blue cheese, you're going to love this. I started by using what I had in the house: A small pork loin blade roast (not tenderloin), Stonewall Kitchen's Fig & Ginger jam (I'm sure any Fig jam will do - you can find it by the cheese/deli displays) dried thyme, salt/pepper and blue cheese crumbles - that's it.
All I did was mix the jam, blue cheese and thyme together (you can choose your own taste concentration between figs & blue cheese depending on the ratio you use). I molded it into a log that would fit my roast, wrapped it in plastic and froze it - this is a trick to keep it from melting all over the pan when it's cooking. I then cut a slit, length-wise into the meat without piercing the end. Stuffed my frozen cheese log inside, seasoned with salt and pepper and threw it into the oven at 450 degrees for 10 mins to brown. I then removed it, spread A BIT of diluted fig jam on top and put it back in the oven at 325 degrees to finish cooking.

When it was done, I removed the pork for slicing and added a bit of white wine to the drippings and the bit of melted fig/cheese mixture in the pan to create a sauce. It was very easy and tasted like a really good restaurant meal. Not a bad use for a $4.00 piece of meat.
(photo: Cooking Light - Randy Major)

~ Enjoy