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.
Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps. We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat. So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan. Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!
Another one of my favorites when I’m visiting Jordan or Dubai is Shish Taouk, Lebanese Chicken Kebobs. I eat this for dinner almost everyday when I’m in that part of the world, basically because I don’t eat lamb (which I’m told is very good there) and really because I just love it.
Shish Taouk, like Souvlaki is marinated in yogurt, placed on skewers, and grilled; the biggest difference is the spices used in the marinade. I mix my marinade in a large mason jar that way I can shake it until all the ingredients are combined, then I pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag and place the chicken pieces inside. I marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator and place them on skewers just before we grill them.
Another “secret” I’ve discovered in the Middle East is to let the cooked chicken skewers “set” in a large covered WARM pan for about 5-7 minutes before serving. This lets the chicken soak up it’s juices and the meat comes out very tender and juicy.
In Lebanese restaurants in both Amman and Dubai Shish Taouk is usually served with french fries and hummus with pita bread. I prefer to have it with steamed white rice. You can even place the chicken (sans skewers) on a pita add sandwich fixings and have a Shish Taouk Sandwich.
3 pounds chicken tenderloins – cut into cubes (each tenderloin will make 3-4 cubes)
1 cup lemon juice
3 Tbls. minced garlic
1/2 cup FULL FAT Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tbls. tomato paste
salt to taste
Place all ingredients except the chicken pieces in a large jar.
Shake jar until well combined.
Pour mixture into ziplock bag.
Add chicken cubes to bag.
When ready to grill place 3-4 chicken cubes on to a skewer.
Grill until just done -do not over cook – chicken should be firm but not hard
Place skewers in warm covered pot for 5-7 minutes to set before serving.