Marvelous Mocha Madness

I dare you to find a richer, more decadent mocha cookie than this one from Gourmet.  Kat and I made these munchies for her housewarming party earlier this year, and I recreated them this afternoon to bring to a bonfire tonight (I am daring myself to try them instead of a graham cracker in a s’more, though I may die from sugar shock…).

I used this recipe, with a few modifications:

  • I ran out of white sugar and had to use some brown, which was fine, but I should have gotten all the lumps out in advance because they were a pain to do while cooking.
  • I melted 2 of the cups of chocolate chips and only put 1 cup in before baking – last time, we melted all the chocolate and it was great, so I didn’t want to go to far with their 50/50 breakdown – these cookies are so rich, you don’t really need pockets of chocolate.
  • I tried to bake some in a mini-muffin pan because I ran out of baking sheets.  Major fail.
  • I used instant espresso powder – last time, we used actual espresso, which left a bit of a crunch in the final product.  This way isn’t necessarily better, it was just cheaper.  (I might even try it as a drink later…)
  • I ate way too much batter, and now I am stuffed.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

Kitchen Adventures: A new way to eat bacon

Yes, you read that right.  I have discovered my new favorite way to eat bacon, or as I like to call it, dinner.

A few months ago, Matt and I ventured out to a $1 tapas place where we first encountered an amazing bacon creation.  For a dollar a pop, these treats were pricey – but oh-so-worth it.  Tonight we embarked on a quest to recreate that dish, and did so super successfully.  I am now pleased to present to you…

Bacon-Wrapped Chili-Almond Stuffed Dates (ta da!)

Ingredients:

  • 16 dates (pitted, aka with the pits removed)
  • 16 almonds, roasted with no salt or seasoning
  • 8 pieces of bacon, sliced in half crosswise
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a pan, roast the almonds and chili with a dash of oil until the chili powder sticks to the nut.
  3. Stuff one almond inside each date  (it should be easy to slide it in where the pit used to be, but don’t stress if it’s not – just stuff the almond in somewhere and wrap the date around it).
  4. Wrap 1/2 a piece of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick.
  5. Place this awesome little bundle on some tinfoil in a baking dish and throw it in the oven until the bacon is browned and crisp, probably 20 minutes.
  6. Serve either warm or at room temperature, and enjoy!

The result was delicious.  The chili really goes well with the saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the date.  These would be great at a dinner party or even as an appetizer for a smaller crowd – there’s no limit to how many or how few you can make at a time.

My two biggest tips: DO use tinfoil in the baking dish, even if it’s metal – it really helps contain the fat as things melt.  DO NOT try to skimp on bacon.  I used 1/3  a piece on a few and they came out looking supremely ugly.  The best part?  Ingredients for about 40 of these were less than $13, making them far cheaper than anything you could get at a restaurant.  If that’s not baconey goodness, I don’t know what is.

Cornflakes and Chicken?

You betcha!

This is my favorite fried chicken recipe (read: the only one I’m interested in making).  Cornflakes and peanuts combine to give the chicken tenders a great outer layer, and the pineapple salsa makes this dish feel fancy and perfect for a special occasion.  The roomie and I made this for Valentine’s Day and I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch.  This concoction is based on this recipe, another treat that was sent to my inbox a while ago.

Cornflake-fried Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:
For the  salsa:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple (non-negotiable – pay the extra cost, you’ll be glad you did), cut into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red onion, chopped

For the chicken:

  • 1/2-2/3 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, well chopped
  • 1/2-2/3 cup cornflakes, lightly broken up
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb chicken tenders or breasts, cut into tender-sized pieces
  • cooking oil

Now there’s just four steps to success:

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