There’s a bit of a nip in the air, even here in Hawaii it’s been rainy and gloomy. And Starbuck’s has added my seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice Latte! This can only mean Fall is here!
This time of year I get a yen for spice cookies, nothing smells better than oven fresh cookies. It fills the house with those delicious fall aromas like cinnamon and ginger. And since this year’s Halloween will probably be very different from Halloweens past cookie baking is one of the activities we’ve added to our yearly festivities. I mean Halloween parties (or parties of any type involving multiple people from different households) is out of the question and for our family and friends Trick or Treating is a no go too. Instead we’ve been making Halloween crafts, watching Halloween movies, and reading Halloween books. And now we’ll also be baking and decorating Halloween cookies.
These Sugar & Spice cookies are yummy without the icing. They’re great for all the Fall occasions including Halloween and Thanksgiving. That’s right one recipe different styles!
You can even use the same cookie cutter, well at least the pumpkin shape! And the same icing colors!
These cookies are so easy to bake and they are so yummy! To make them pretty I used royal cookie icing in 2 different consistencies, piping and flooding. I also saved some cookies and icing so the kids can decorate them next when they’re in the mood!
This cookie recipe makes a dough that is great for rolled and cut cookies without having to refrigerate it before cutting! Here’s the recipe for the cookie icing, the cookie recipe is below. Enjoy!
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment mix together meringue powder and water until frothy and all powder is dissolved.
Add 1/2 of the sugar and beat on medium speed about 4 minutes. It will be thick and glossy.
Add flavor, shortening, and corn syrup and mix well.
Slowly add in remaining sugar. Mix on slow/medium until well blended. Mix for another 3 minutes. It should be thick like a piping consistency. (if you want it really thick add another cup of sugar, this is used for hard decorations like roses, eyes, and more that you stick to the top of cookies and cakes.)
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp cloth to keep moist.
Divide to make different colors and consistencies.
To make flood icing thin with water but add 1/8 to 1/4 tsp water at a time until you get desired consistency. Flood icing should be a bit thin and runny, but not too runny and watery that it rolls off the sides of the cookie.
To decorate cookies place a small amount of icing in a small bowl and color using gel food coloring.
I usually color a bowl then separate it again so that I can change the consistency of a portion of the colored icing. I place the Piping or thicker consistency in a piping bag and the thinner flood icing in a plastic squeeze bottle.
Pipe a thin line of icing, piping consistency of course, around the edges of the cookies and any other place you want to separate the flood icing from. Let dry.
Squeeze flood icing on the cookie surface and spread out making sure it all stays inside the piped lines. Let dry.
Pipe other decorations onto to dry flood icing, like words, eyes, and designs.
Let everything dry completely and store in air tight containers.
A full-flavoured alternative to your usual weekend roast – serve with a big bowl of rice
whole chicken, about 1.8kg
two thumb-size pieces root ginger
1 stick lemongrass, bashed with a rolling pin
1 lime, cut into quarters
70g/2½ oz pack Massaman curry paste (I used Blue Elephant)
1 tsp olive oil
450g baby new potatoes, any larger ones halved
400ml/14fl oz can coconut milk
1 tsp brown sugar, any type
200g green beans, trimmed
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp unsalted peanuts, crushed (optional) basmati rice, to serve
1. Put the chicken in a roasting tin or large casserole. Roughly chop half the ginger and put into the cavity of the chicken with the lemongrass and half the lime, then tie the legs together with string. Mix 1 tsp of the curry paste with the oil, rub it all over the chicken, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, cover the chicken loosely with foil, then put it in to roast. After 35 mins, take the foil off the bird. Add the potatoes to the tin, then stir them around in any juices. Roast for another 40 mins until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the potatoes are tender.
2. Take the chicken out of the tin and leave to rest, loosely covered. Put the tin on the hob, add the remaining curry paste, grate in the remaining ginger, then fry for 2 mins until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and sugar, then boil for about 5 mins until the sauce is slightly thickened.
3. Tip in the beans, simmer for 4 more mins (or until tender), then splash in the fish sauce, any resting juices and squeeze over the remaining lime. Scatter with the peanuts for the authentic Massaman flavour. Carve the chicken and serve with the saucy potatoes and basmati rice.
One of our favorite food is Korean Kalbi, or barbecued beef short ribs. We usually order this at one of the local fast food Korean restaurants, but it’s pretty pricey; you get 3 thin short ribs, a couple of scoops of steamed white rice, and a choice of 4 side dishes (kim chee, bean sprouts, tofu, etc.) for a over $12 a plate.
My husband’s main complaint about the local restaurants isn’t the the price or the serving size of the kalbi, it’s about the flimsy plastic utensils they provide which usually snaps in half the moment you try to cut into the meat. Hence he has decided not to patronize any of the fast food style Korean barbecue joints.
There are sit down Korean restaurants where you can grill your own meats, the meal comes with many side dishes, soup, and steamed rice; but they also come with a hefty price tag. The last time my girlfriend and I stopped at one for lunch it cost us a little bit over $65, and that’s without drinks or tip! Not to mention that was the least expensive barbecue dish on the menu! The food was good, specially the kalbi, but I’m sure we won’t be repeating it often.
To solve all these issues I’ve found a great Korean Kalbi recipe to make at home. I make it of our Sunday barbecue and it was a big hit with my family. I used thin cut boneless beef short ribs which I threaded on to bamboo skewers to make them into kebabs. You can use bone-in short ribs and don’t have to thread them on to skewers, I do however recommend that you use the thinner cuts so that the marinade will infuse the meat better.
I served this with steamed white rice, macaroni salad, and kim chee cabbage; it was even better than the plates we get at the Korean restaurants at less than half the price! (The short ribs cost $6.97 a pound, if you get the thin cut that’s 6 short ribs).
Another way to serve this is on small white corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, just like the Korean Kalbi Tacos from the food truck in L.A.! We served it this way for my mom’s 80th. birthday party a few years ago.
Just in time for your Labor Day barbecue! Here’s my recipe!
Boneless Beef Short Rib Kalbi Kebabs
Makes 18 skewers
3 lbs. thin cut boneless beef short ribs (you should get 18 short ribs. You can use bone-in ribs if you prefer)
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbls. fresh ginger – finely grated
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbls. minced garlic
1 tbls. white sesame seeds
1 tbls. black sesame seeds
2 stalks green onions – chopped
1. Cut short ribs into thirds if you will be threading them on to skewers, if not then don’t cut them.
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix until sugar dissolves.
3. Pour marinade into large ziplock bag.
4. Put meat into marinade and marinate in the fridge overnight.
5. Thread meat on to skewers and barbecue on the grill to desired doneness. If you’re not making kebabs then cook ribs on the grill until done.
Serve hot immediately off the grill.
Looking for more grilling inspiration? Check out PersonalCreations.com and see how people grill around the world!
Asian restaurants specializing in Korean Fried Chicken seem to be popular these days. Bonchon Chicken, a franchise from South Korea has opened over 100 restaurants around the country.
So what is Korean Fried Chicken and how does it differ from other fried chicken? Korean Fried Chicken or KFC as it’s known to some is chicken that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. But what sets it apart is that sticky sweet and spicy sauce it’s dipped in. It really is delicious!
If one were to travel to South Korea you’d find many fast food joints dedicated to this dish; each one touting their own special sauce. But traveling to South Korea, or just about anywhere right now, doesn’t seem to be a realistic option for many of us. So as I’ve been sharing some of my favorite foods from all over the world. In short bringing home the flavors and memories of my travels. Today I’ll share a recipe for Korean Fried Chicken, my family says it tastes just like the real stuff!
This recipe takes a bit more effort to make and probably a trip to the Asian Market for a couple of the ingredients, but believe me it’s well worth the effort. In an absolute pinch if you can’t find Goochujang Paste, the Korean Chili Paste, you can substitute Sriracha chili sauce or a Thai Chili Paste, it will be close but not the same.
The recipe is divided in 4 stages; the marinade, the coating, the sauce, and the garnish. You can make the sauce ahead of time and reheat just before serving. To maintain the crispiness chicken should be served as soon as it’s fried, it looses the crispness as it cools. I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but boneless skinless breasts can be used as well.
Korean Fried Chicken
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite size chunks
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. White Pepper
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Cup flour
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp. Chili Flakes
Oil for frying
2 Tbs. Gochujang Paste
2 Tbs. Honey
4 Tbs. Brown Sugar
4 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 Tbs. Minced Garlic
2 Tsp. Minced Giner
1 Tbs. Vegetable Oil
1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. White Sesame Seeds
1 Tbs. Black Sesame Seeds
1/2 Small onion thinly sliced
Mix Marinade ingredients together and pour into a Ziplock bag.
Add chicken and coat with the marinade.
Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 1 hour.
Heat a large pan of vegetable oil, make sure you have about 2 inches of oil in the pan.
Mix the coating in a bowl.
Lift pieces of chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off.
Drop into the hot oil until it’s cooked. Coating should be deep golden brown and if you cut a piece of chicken in half the meat should not be pink.
Drain cooked pieces of chicken on paper towels and keep warm until all the chicken has been fried and the sauce is done.
Place all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and stir.
Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
Place cooked chicken into a large bowl, pour sauce over it and gently tossed until all chicken pieces are coated with sauce.
Move to serving dish and garnish with cilantro, onions, and sesame seeds.
I love pretzels in any shape or form, what I’m not too thrilled about is the price of pretzels at the mall or the re-heated frozen pretzels they sell for a ridiculous price at the movie theaters. That’s why I’ve been making my own pretzels for the past year or so.
In the beginning I thought pretzels were really hard to make at home. The Alkaline Water Bath that gives pretzels that unique pretzel flavor and signature chewy crust seemed daunting. So to avoid a procedure I thought would be messy and difficult I first made pretzels that didn’t require this dipping process. Those pretzels were very good and seriously really easy to make! Instead of the Alkaline Water Bath these pretzels were brushed with egg wash which gave them a shiny surface. Click here for that no bath basic pretzel recipe!
My family really loves those pretzels which I switch up with different flavors including a Cheesy Garlic Pretzel and a cinnamon sugar one. But delicious as they are they lack that true pretzel texture and flavor. So I decided what the heck, let me try to make “real” pretzels. I didn’t want to be too ambitious, I seriously thought the bath dip was very difficult, so I figured I’d start with Pretzel Bites. Dipping small pieces of dough had to be easier and less messy than dipping and entire pretzel!
Once I got the Alkaline Water Bath going, which by the way is just a fancy name for a Baking Soda dip, I discovered this step was pretty easy. And believe me the end results were so worth the extra effort! The Pretzel Bites turned out EXACTLY like the ones sold at the mall! My homemade Pretzel Bites had the same flavor and texture; they’re crust has a bit of crunch when you bite it yet it’s chewy too. In short they were perfect. My grandsons love them!
So next time you have a yen for Pretzel Bites don’t run to the mall just whip up a batch at home! Believe me you won’t regret it. Here’s the recipe!
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Tsp. Yeast
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tbs. Butter, melted
2 Tsp. Brown Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water
Kosher or Coarse Salt for the topping
2/3 cup Baking Soda in 10 Cups water for the Bath
Mix together flour, yeast, 1 Tbs. of the melted butter, brown sugar, and water. If using a stand mixer use the dough hook attachment to mix.
Once the ingredients are well combined knead with dough hook for about 5 minutes or by hand for 12 minutes.
Dough should be very soft and smooth but not sticky. If too sticky add more flour 1 Tbs. at a time until it’s no longer sticky. If the dough is too dry add more warm water 1 Tbs. at a time until it’s soft and smooth.
Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise until it’s doubled in size, about 30-60 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine baking soda and water for the bath in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile punch down dough and divide into 10 equal pieces.
Let rest for 5 minutes uncovered.
Roll each piece into long rope on a lightly floured surface.
Cut each rope into 1″ pieces.
Drop pieces into boiling baking soda bath 2-3 pieces at a time. make sure they aren’t crowded together or at sticking to each other.
Let dough sit in the baking soda bath until they float.
Remove each floating dough piece from baking soda bath and place on baking sheet about 1/2′ apart.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve either by themselves (they’re delicious) or with your favorite dipping sauce like mustard, cheese, marinara sauce or ranch.