Chili Jj

About a zillion years, or at least it feels that way, I found a recipe for Chili El Cid. It was very different than the chili I had grown up with, but it was intriguing beyond words. It was so weird – in a good way. It had a cinnamon stick and a jalapeño that was slit and they both simmered in the chili.dd_1796

Question: Who puts cinnamon in chili?
Answer: A very enlightened person.

Seemed so strange. Still does, but it works so well. The source, originally, was not the Parade Magazine though that seems to be where everyone else knows it from. I found it via my love of Sheila Lukens.

I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of beans in my chili. Not sure what camp that puts me in – maybe Texas, but I do put a few (read: 1 can of light kidney beans, rinsed very very well) for the MotH. It is a concession I am willing to make. Though am still not really a fan, which is interesting since all the chili of my childhood had beans in it.

We have had a bit of a mild winter, even for us, so I have not been in chili mode, but we just are having a crappy weekend this weekend. Windy, rainy, and whatnot, so I think I that fits the bill. Maybe my last chance till next winter.

Steve (MotH) says that it is fine to make chili when it is not cold – he’ll just turn the A/C down and we will make due. He is probably right, but I always hold out hope that we get just a smidge of winter in February. One can only hope.

Olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbs McCormick – Montreal Blend
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 – 14.5 ozs cans beef broth
1 – 28 ozs can whole tomatoes
1 – 28 ozs can crushed tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 jalapeño, slit lengthwise 3 times
1 – 14.5 ozs can light red kidney beans, rinsed well, no, really rinsed well, otherwise ugh

Heat olive oil, about 2 Tbs in a large pot.  Add sirloin, sausages, and onion. Once it is all cooked though, with the meat being no longer pink and the onion translucent. Use a potato masher to break the meats up. Add the chili powder, Montreal blend, basil, oregano, and cumin. Cook until the spices are fragrant, a couple of minutes.

Add beef broth and both kinds of tomatoes. Add the cinnamon stick and jalapeño. Bring to a boil briefly and reduce to a simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally while breaking up the whole tomatoes -with said potato masher. When there is about 30 minutes more of simmering to do, add the very rinsed beans. Stir well.

Before serving, remove cinnamon stick and jalapeño – duh. Garnish with grated cheddar, lime crema* and if you are a great person, serve over cornbread.  Yes, I am that person (see below).

*sour cream with some fresh lime juice – sounds cooler to say crema, maybe? Not sure. Yep. It does.

Sour Cream Cornbread – necessary
1 cup of self rising cornmeal (though you can make it from regular cornmeal if you make the correct modifications*)
2  large eggs
1 small can of creamed corn
1 cup sour cream  – full fat people, I mean really?
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a greased 9 x 9 inch glass baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. In my opinion – closer to 30 minutes.

From my great friend Dawn, who taught me a great many things about Southern cooking and baking. 

* 3/4 cup cornmeal + 3 Tbs
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

I just do not like to buy self rising anything so …

Brickle bits of Snicks

I think we all love the idea of a recipe that we can make with the things we have on hand. That said, it is so very annoying when you think you have something that you always have on hand – and then you don’t have it at all. Damn it.dd_img_0450-edit

I had that happen tonight. I was making Snicks for a good friend because I remember he liked them and I just knew I had everything. Crisco – check, butter – check, eggs – check, brickle – check, and the rest … sugar, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, blah blah. Oh, holy crap – why do I not have ground cinnamon. I mean I looked everywhere in the pantry  and nada, nope, nothing. It cannot be a Snick without cinnamon. Thank goodness my dear mother-in-law lives around the corner and she bailed me out. Once again.

I guess I am not as good as putting things on the grocery list as I thought. Although cinnamon is typically one of those ingredients that I order from Penzey’s or the Spice House, but I can manage with grocery store cinnamon. Then I realized I needed to refill my supply of cream of tartar too, and hell, looking around the kitchen I need several other things. I think this just may be the pre-baking season clean up and restock.

8 Tbs of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of brickle bits (Heath’s – it is in the baking aisle)*
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2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt over a piece of waxed paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture in thirds and mix until just combined. Mix in brickle pieces.

Use a #40 disher to make cookies, rounding them in your hands before rolling them in the 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup of sugar sifted together. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes**, turning half way through. Cool on the baking sheet for a minute and then remove to a cooling rack to cool.

Made 36 cookies.

* If you want this to be easy, one bag equals 1 1/3 cup of brickle pieces. I prefer a bit less so that is why I go for a scant one cup. Your call. But please do not try to store the brickle in the fridge – humidity and brickle does not go well together. I store mine in the pantry in a zip top bag and it has worked out well.

** 9 minutes worked perfectly for us.

Modification of a recipe from Cookie Madness.

 

Toffee Bit Snickerdoodles

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Toffee Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are a pretty perfect cookies. It is unreal that it took until I was grown up-ish to have them. Toffee is always a good thing. Adding them to a cookie I already like, is a great thing. I could go on about this, but let’s just cut to the chase.*

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup (8 ozs.) Heath bits
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbs sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt over wax paper. It is just a thing I do with dry ingredients. I think sifting is important.
Beat butter, shortening and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy.
Add eggs. one at a time; mix thoroughly.
Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until well blended. But don’t over do it.  Stir in toffee bits.
In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons sugar and the 2 tsp cinnamon together. Shape cookie dough into 1 1/4 inch balls – how do you measure that?, roll in sugar-cinnamon.
Set onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool slightly then remove from cookie sheet.

Notes: Once again have no idea where this recipe came from (until I did a photo search), but am glad that my friend Zach said these are his favorite cookies I’ve made ever. Making notes – I’ll make this recipe for him for Christmas – just for him.

*So I had to look up “cut to the chase” – apparently it means a western movie thing – just cut to the chase because we don’t want to hear dialogue  – cut to the exciting part – the chase. I get it, but it is anti-climatic in a way. I thought it would be, well, more interesting.

I’m pretty sure this is from Cookie Madness, a favorite site of mine. It’s kind of funny, sometimes when I look for a source for a recipe (if I haven’t written it down), I do it by photos. My brain works much better in the visual world than in the world of words. Odd, since I enjoy writing as well, but for me, the visual brain is so much stronger.

Snicks

Okay, this is going to come as a great surprise. I have never had or made a snickerdoodle until the first time I made them in 2009. Not sure how I missed this bandwagon, but I did. Completely. My mom never made them and I’d love to be able to ask now if she even knew what they were, but I can’t, and I’m betting she had no earthly idea.

When I made these in 2009 both the Boy and the MotH really liked them. I think it is because they are not too sweet. Neither are huge on sweets, unless you count the Boy’s thing with M&M cookies – can’t say I blame him though.

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Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture (or stir in by hand) until well combined.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.

Shape spoonfuls of cookie dough into 1″ balls, then roll in raw sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Place 2″ apart on ungreased (parchment-lined, if you prefer) cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove to a wire cooling rack.  They will be slightly puffed when removed from oven but will flatten completely as they cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Recipe Notes: For softer, chewy cookies, take the cookies out of the oven at 8 minutes (or maybe earlier depending on your oven). For crisp cookies, allow them to bake longer.  If you like an extra spicy cookie, add extra cinnamon to the sugar mixture (some recipes call for a ratio of 2 tablespoons sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon).  Save the leftover cinnamon/sugar for cinnamon sugar toast. But butter will be involved.  Yep.

This is from one of my favorite blogs Pinch My Salt. I really like finding out what Nicole is up to – you never know and to me that’s the best kind of cooking blog. I think I may have to get out of my cookie rut, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. There is nothing wrong with a rut as long as you are enjoying yourself. In my opinion, anyway.