Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto

I know you might be thinking, "That sounds like a weird combination of ingredients."  Stay with me on this, you won't regret it.  You want to try new things, right?  I've made a black bean and sweet potato burrito before, which was good, but this is way better!  Roasting the sweet potatoes is tasty and very appealing to the eye (always a plus).  And the addition of the swiss chard pesto is very unique and adds an interesting flair.

Also, you can adjust the spiciness level to whatever you prefer.  The boyfriend and I differ on this a bit, although we both have a similar Midwestern background.  I'm a wimp.  It's sad.  I try and try to enjoy more spice, but alas, I cannot.  I can't taste anything past the fire.  So I'm the perpetual "1 star/mild" girl at restaurants.  However, the boyfriend's multi-year stint in Colorado has served his taste buds well and he loves medium-hot cuisine.  Yay for him, but it does require some finesse in our shared cooking.

This pesto isn't too terribly spicy, as written.  The swiss chard absorbs a fair amount of any kick, so if you like it spicy, add in more, and taste, taste, taste!

This recipe is also a snap to put together, which is always welcome, of course.  I will admit that the boyfriend was a bit wary (even if he won't say so), and wasn't as excited as I was to try this recipe.  BUT, you can't argue with results, and the result was that we ate it all.

Tasty.  Easy.  Affordable.  Healthy.  Pretty.  It's a... quintuple threat.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto
(from the Bev Cooks blog)
Makes 4-6 individual tacos, with lots of leftover pesto, so make more potatoes and beans, or freeze the pesto!

1 bunch swiss chard, cut into chunks
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped, seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. green hot sauce

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Sweet Potatoes:
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into a small/medium dice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Salt & pepper

Black Beans:
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt

8 white corn or flour tortillas
1/3rd cup queso fresco, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
lime and cilantro for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400.

On a rimmed baking sheet toss the diced sweet potato with the oil, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, a pinch of coarse salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, toss the swiss chard, jalapeno, garlic, and hot sauce into a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Start pulsing. With the motor running, pour the oil into the processor in a thin stream, until you have pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Toss the beans into a small sauce pan and season with the remaining cumin, chili powder and garlic salt. Heat through, 5 minutes.

On a small grill or skillet, warm the tortillas.

Assemble: tortilla, sweet potatoes, beans. Dollop with a good 2 Tbs. of swiss chard pesto. Sprinkle on the diced avocado, queso fresco, a good spritz of lime and a few cilantro leaves.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Biscuits (Vegan)

I love biscuits.  This is a well known fact.  I would love to share biscuits with all my friends, however, some of them are vegan.  Hm.  This presents a problem.  How to make them without my beloved dairy?  And lard??  And no weird flours or ingredients that I'd have to get at a special store?

Enter: Coconut oil (non hydrogenated)

For those of you who haven't cooked with it before, it's great.  It's generally found in the organic area of the grocery store, and it's fantastic for cooking up to medium-high heat.  It's a mildly flavored (no suntan lotion smell, I promise!) and it's great for baking.  I also particularly enjoy using a bit of it for cooking eggs or some stir fries.  

To note though, that all coconut oils are not created equal.  I used Dr. Bronner's (yes, the same manufacturer as the hemp peppermint-all-in-one pure castile soap!) for this recipe, and it did smell coconut-y, but not in a bad way.  I do know that Spectrum brand is odorless, so next time I'll probably use it instead.  Also, it does melt at a lower temperature, so I knew that keeping it "in chunks" for biscuits would be tough.  Thankfully, we just acquired a food processor, and that does the trick for cutting in the fat without making a melted, soggy mess.  So the question -  can coconut oil replace butter and lard in a biscuit where it's crucial to have chunks of fat to create steam pockets and therefore flaky biscuits?

Apparently, yes.

But first, another dairy dilemma - what about the buttermilk?  A friend suggested almond milk.  To recreate the tang that buttermilk has, I soured it with lemon juice.  And, bingo, it worked.  And it didn't taste of almonds, which wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing, but not what I was going for.

I will admit that I wasn't sure these were going to work, so I didn't photograph the process (oops).  Work they did, and the flavor was great!  The whole wheat flour lent a nutty and more wholesome flavor, and they were flaky and tender, as all biscuits aspire to be.

And they are boyfriend and vegan friend approved!

(If you're going for just "regular whole wheat biscuits," you can still use this recipe.  Just swap out the coconut oil and almond milk for butter and milk)

Vegan Whole-Wheat Biscuits
(heavily adapted from the Cook's Country recipe)
Makes ~ 12 biscuits

12 Tbsp coconut oil (scoop out, and put in a bowl in the fridge until you need it - remember, it needs to be cold!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups almond milk (with 1 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp lemon juice)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix dry ingredients in your food processor, a few pulses will do it.  Scatter the coconut oil chunks (cold) over the dry ingredients and pulse briefly, until it resembles a coarse meal.

Dump the mixture into a bowl and stir in the almond milk mixture by hand.  Stop when the dough forms a uniform texture.  (The food processor will overwork it and produce tough biscuits.  Tough biscuits = all the bad things in the world!)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.  Roll it out evenly, until it's about 3/4 inch thick.  Dip a floured biscuit (or cookie) cutter into flour before cutting out the biscuits.  Place them onto the prepared pan.

Bake the biscuits for 5 minutes in the 450 degree oven, and then rotate the pan and turn the oven down to 400 degrees.  Bake for 10-12 more minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack, let cool a few minutes, and then enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Grandma's Molasses Cookies

I remember visiting my grandparent's house one summer, when I was young.  I was playing outside on the farm and having a grand ole time.  Going back in the house, I found some molasses cookies that my grandma made and I helped myself.  They were delicious.  So, throughout the afternoon, on breaks from playing, I went back inside and had more cookies.  A kid's dream.  (I also remember having a huge stomachache that evening from all of the cookies.)  The delicious cookies, however, were not forgotten.

So when I got a request for a molasses cookie recipe, I immediately thought of my grandma's cookies.  I called her up and asked for the recipe.  She had this recipe (which may or may not be the original), but nonetheless, it's tasty.

Now, I generally stay away from gingerbread-y type things.  I've tried them, but I do not enjoy foods that feel like they're punching you in the taste buds (can you tell I'm not an adoring fan of staggering amounts of ginger?)  These cookies are great because the ginger is not overwhelming, but still gives you spice and warmth.

These cookies are tasty any time of year, but feel particularly appropriate on these dreary, cold, and all around icky winter days.  We all need a little warmth this time of year, why not in a comforting cookie?

Grandma's Molasses Cookies
(My grandma's recipe!)
Makes 2 dozen (although the original recipe was doubled so it makes a lot)

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar in 1/4 cup milk)
1 tsp. baking soda

1/4-1/2 cup white sugar, reserved

Cream butter, shortening, and brown sugar.  Add in egg and molasses, and mix well.  In another bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients, and set aside.  In small bowl, combine buttermilk (or alternative soured milk) and baking soda.  Alternatively add in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into butter and sugar mixture.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours.  This dough will be sticky.  Saying it's sticky before it's chilled is like saying Mt. Everest is a kind of a tall hill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After dough is chilled, scoop out tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, and roll in reserved white sugar.  Slightly flatten with glass.  Alternatively, this dough can be rolled out and cup into shapes.  I'm just a tad too lazy.

Bake for 10 minutes.  After you've removed it from the oven, let cookies sit on cookie sheet for a few minutes and then remove them to a cooling rack.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Black Currant Tea Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée is a recent discovery for the boyfriend and I.  We first had it not at a bistro in Europe, but a friend's house in Wisconsin!  The friend happens to be a policeman, and he treated us to a fantastic homemade meal, but it was still rather unexpected to see him finishing a delicate French dessert with a kitchen torch.  But awesome.

Following this enjoyable experience, I took a French cooking class, and what was the dessert?  Crème brûlée, of course!  The class was great, and I learned how to make some tasty and classic things.  (Hilarious moment sidenote - The rack inside the oven was too high for the soufflé, but that wasn't clear until after it was baked and had already adhered to the top of the oven.  Whoops!)  Back to the crème brûlée.  Although this dessert seems like it would be difficult, it's really not, so why wouldn't you want to have this all the time?  (Besides the obvious waistline concern)

The boyfriend made it clear that he thought we needed more crème brûlée in our lives, so I was interested in finding some twists on the classic.  I stumbled upon David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert cookbook and found exactly what I was looking for: Black Currant Tea Crème Brûlée.  I like LOVE black currant flavor.  It's prominent in the UK, and after studying abroad in Scotland, I was hooked (to note, the purple Skittles in the UK are black currant, and not grape).  Black currant isn't a common flavor here in the US, but I have found it in tea, so I do have it on hand all the time.

One last essential before making this dessert: a kitchen torch.  I had been told that purchasing a fancy kitchen torch was unnecessary, and you just needed a regular torch.  Great.  There's a hardware store right across the street from us, so on one of our recent snow days we bundled up and wandered over and found the perfect little torch for $35.  Done!  Granted, a torch isn't used for a lot of dishes, but this means Baked Alaska, toasted marshmallow, and various other meringue dishes are within reach.  As well as any fancy seared sushi, if I ever get so brave as to attempt that at home.  Or, it could be used in a more conventional fashion for jewelry making or... plumbing repairs....?

The taste of the finished dessert?  Delicious.  You want more of a description?  Um... delicate, intriguing, yummy... just try it!  After making this one, I want to experiment with other tea infusions, like Earl Grey and green tea.  My whisk and torch are at the ready!

Black Currant Tea Crème Brûlée
(from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert cookbook)
Makes 6-8 servings

3 cups heavy cream
6 Tbsp sugar, plus 8 tsp for caramelizing
1/4 cup loose black currant tea leaves
6 egg yolks

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, the 6 Tbsp of sugar, and tea leaves until warm.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.  (If you want it less strong, steep it a bit less)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Set six 6-oz or eight 4-oz ramekins or custard cups in a deep baking dish.

Pour the cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another saucepan.  Reheat the cream until it's quite warm.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in the warm cream, whisking constantly as you pour to prevent the eggs from cooking.  Divide the custard mixture evenly among the ramekins.  Fill the baking dish with warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

You can cover the baking dish tightly with tin foil for baking, but the French chef didn't do that.  I tried it both ways, and found the tin foil to slow the baking process, and found no difference in texture between covered or not.  So it's completely up to you whether or not you want to cover them with tin foil.

Slowly and steadily place the baking dish with the ramekins into the oven and bake until the perimeters of the custards are just set and the centers are still slightly jiggly, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the custards from the water bath to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Refrigerate until chilled (although overnight is best for optimum texture).

Just before serving, evenly sprinkle each chilled custard with 1 teaspoon sugar and caramelize with a kitchen torch.  Wave the tip of the flame over the sugar at close range until the sugar begins to melt.  Rotate the ramekin for even caramelization, until the sugar has darkened and caramelized (but don't outright BURN it, that creates a bitter flavor)  To see a video how-to, click here.  Let sit a minute to harden, and then serve.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Oreos

Yes, you read that correctly.  Homemade Oreos!  The good news is that they're very easy to make, and don't require anything special in terms of ingredients or equipment.    (The bad news... well, if you're aiming for a healthy cookie, this ain't it.)

Also, if you'd like some extra points at work, these cookies are highly recommended!  They disappeared remarkably quick from my desk.

I used a metal shot glass as a cookie cutter (as I was aiming for more authentic sized cookies), however any size or shape is fine.  Use whatever you've got!  You also don't have to "cut out" the flattened balls of dough, but I was looking for some uniformity as mismatched cookies... just didn't appeal to me.

AND you can make yours double, triple, or bajillion stuffed!  A definite plus in making your own.

Let's do the twist...

Annnnnnnnnd eat away!

Homemade Oreos
(from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. Slightly flatten the dough. I used a metal shot glass as a "cookie cutter" so they'd be equal sizes and shapes.

Bake for 9 minutes. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie (twisting works well). Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Cranberry & White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Raisins are lame.  I'm sorry, they just are.  I like grapes.  I like wine.  It's the dried-out stage I don't enjoy.   (Old grapes should be left on the vine and used for ice wine, and not raisins, just my opinion.)  For my current cookie craving I wanted an oatmeal cookie, but no raisins.  To quote a friend, "Raisins are the bits that should be chocolate and aren't.  A disappointment."

Now craisins, however, are completely different.  You might find this hypocritical, but... it makes perfect sense to me.  I once had a fantastic cranberry and white chocolate oatmeal cookie and was on a mission to make my own version.

Since I'm clearly not the type for an oatmeal raisin cookie (come on, they're always the ones left on the cookie tray, with the exception of the folks who took them thinking they were chocolate chip!), I had no standard base I used.  I found an interesting recipe from Anne Burrell from the Food Network.  Few tweaks, and voila, a tasty cookie!  Also to note, this is a thinner cookie due to the butter, and although I know that I've made it clear how I feel about crispy cookies, but this one definitely works.

I also have to note that this also seemed like a perfect, cozy cookie for this freaky, snowy weather we're currently having (seriously, snow in the Pacific Northwest = catastrophe!)  So, I'll just enjoy one of these cookies on the couch with tea in hand and kitties on the lap!

Cranberry & White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
(adapted from the Food Network)
Makes ~ 3 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and kosher salt.

In large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter. Using an electric beater or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it they are light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. Add in the vanilla as well.

With a rubber spatula or with the stand mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate and craisins.

Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours, it's pretty sticky.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon the cookie dough by rounded tablespoon-size balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the cookie dough balls 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 12 to 13 minutes.

Let the cookies cool for 2 to 3 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mom's Shepherd's Pie

This past weekend the boyfriend and I were visiting the Midwest, and a what wonderful trip it was!  Good friends, good food, good times.  It was a nostalgic trip which got the memories flowing.

Our week sort of exploded when we got home (why does that always happen post-vacay?)  Some comfort food was desperately needed, and I was inspired by our recent trip back home.  I couldn't think of anything more comforting and nostalgic than my Mom's Shepherd's Pie.  It's a tasty, easy, and economical recipe that's made even easier if you have leftover veggies and/or mashed potatoes lying around. I've tweaked just a few things from the original recipe (ex. added more mashed potatoes, because when is that ever a bad thing?), but it's mostly the same wonderful hotdish I grew up with.  (For those of you not familiar with the term "hotdish," it's the Midwestern term for casserole!)

This dish isn't known for being pretty, I'll admit.  It won't win any prizes for plating on Iron Chef America.  BUT, on the savory, wonderful, comfy taste?  Definitely a win.

Meaty, veggie goodness covered with mashed potatoes and melted cheese?  Yeah, that's a beautiful thing.

This also freezes well for "emergency lunches," so it's great for practicality as well as taste.  (I mean, it's Midwestern, so of course it's practical.)  It ain't fancy, but it's good eatin'!

Mom's Shepherd's Pie
(adapted from my Mom's recipe)
Serves 8

1 lb. ground beef (I use the leanest I could find)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
can of mushrooms (or 4 oz. fresh, if you like, sauteed with the garlic, onions, and beef)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup water
2 cups mixed veggies, cooked and drained
5 cups hot mashed potatoes (or 3 lbs. fresh potatoes, cooked and mashed)
1 cup shredded cheese

Saute garlic and onion in large skilled until fragrant (30 seconds), and then add in ground beef and saute until meet is browned.  Drain off any extra fat.  Add in flour, salt, pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire, mushrooms, ketchup and water.  Combine well and cook until mixture is thick.  Stir in veggies.  Put in 2 quart or 9x13 casserole dish.  Top with mashed potatoes and shredded cheese.  Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quinoa Veggie Loaf

A fresh, new year means it's time for resolutions!  We all aim to be healthier, right?  (Or at least try to cut down the sweets consumption, however briefly)  Well, if you're looking for a healthy, easy, affordable recipe to add to your repertoire, I've got just the thing for you - a Quinoa Veggie Loaf!  My version is vegetarian, but could easily be made vegan.  (I'm from the Midwest, so cheese is an entire food group for us)  :-)

To start, some of you may not be familiar with the amazing grain - quinoa.  Hailing from South America, and gaining popularity as a "superfood," it's a wonderful grain to add to your diet.  Low-fat, high in fiber, high in protein (unusual for a grain), gluten-free, and easy to cook - what's not to love?  There are many colors, and it has a nutty flavor and a texture that's sort of like cross between barley and couscous.  It works well in many applications such as a pilaf, veggie burger, or breakfast cereal - with many more possibilities.  If you're intimidated by the preparation of it, don't be!  This website will show you the way to make it perfectly every time!

Growing up in the Midwest, wheat and corn were the grains I knew.  (Anything else might have thought of as hippie food)  On a recent trip home I introduced quinoa to my family and had fun taking my dad down the "natural foods" aisle for the first time.  I was afraid they would be tough critics, but they loved the quinoa dish I made for them.  So if you haven't yet tried quinoa - give it a shot.  It's tasty, economical, healthy, and boyfriend-approved - jackpot!

Quinoa Veggie Loaf
(adapted from Whole Foods)
Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can  garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 cups cooked quinoa (How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
10 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup (about 1 onion) chopped red onion
1/4 cup cheese of choice (cheddar is a good choice, but basically something you want to see golden brown and bubbling)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 kale leaves - stems removed, chopped, and sauteed (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan with oil; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).  Add onions, and cook until soft.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add chopped kale and wilt.

Meanwhile, put beans, oats and 1/2 cup water into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. (This mixture is the "binder" in this recipe)  In a large bowl, combine bean mixture, quinoa, salt and pepper and all other ingredients except cheese. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan, gently pressing down and mounding it in the middle. Sprinkle cheese on top of loaf.  Bake until firm and golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Set aside to let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Chocolate-Mint Cookies

Why did I have an urge to bake cookies so soon post-holiday?  I mean really, I had enough sugar the past two weeks that I expected to be set until next Halloween.  Perhaps it's a cookie withdrawal.  But, an urge I had, and the boyfriend was on-board with more cookies, so there it is.

This cookie base was originally introduced to me by a coworker last Christmas.  She and her now-husband had made little bags of goodies for everyone at work, and there was this amazing chocolate cookie included.  I experienced part of heaven in that cookie, and had to ask for the recipe.  This was one of the many recipe requests I had made, so I think they were a bit concerned about me pilfering all of these recipes.  Anyway, gave it to me they did, and it's wonderful!

It's a perfect chocolate cookie base for any combination of flavors.  Here I feature Andes mints, but I've also used it for macadamia and white chocolate chips.  Any other nut/chocolate/dried fruit combo would be tasty as well.  This dough also freezes well, and is great to have around "just in case."

Okay, hopefully this will be the last cookie for awhile.  (Unlikely)  New Years means a more healthy diet, right.....?  Right.....?  I guess I'd consider these mental health food, and that's important too....

Chocolate-Mint Cookies
(adapted from Troy Wormsbecker)
Makes 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz melted bakers chocolate (unsweetened)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups Andes mints, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (mini work great)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and both sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla and melted chocolate.  Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder; mix well.  Stir in Andes mints and chocolate chips.  Scoop out a tablespoon of dough, roll into ball, and place them 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.