Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chocolate and Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Yummy note: This month, my group with the Secret Recipe Club is on a break, so we will be back with our regular group posting in mid-January. Instead, a few of us (like 60-some bloggers!) decided to get in the spirit of the holiday fun and do a Cookie Carnival, which is basically a virtual cookie exchange. I wish I had some addresses of my fellow Secret Recipe Club friends, as I'd ship them some delicious cookies that I ended up making. I made not one, but two different cookies from my cookie match, Sawsan from Chef in Disguise. My cookie match had some awesome choices to pick from...she calls herself a "food explorer" which is perfectly fitting for her as she tries out and blogs about various foods from around the world. Speaking of trying food from around the world, I think this is one of my first international bloggers to review in the SRC so it was an exciting find. Sawsan has such a variety of recipes on her site, and if you are ever looking for traditional middle eastern cuisine, please check her blog out as that's her speciality. Now on to the cookies- I picked these chocolate and peppermint swirl cookies as my daughter has been asking me for mint chocolate things lately, so I thought she'd really enjoy these, and they are super festive! With so many choices on Sawsan's blog, I had to try the date and ranger cookies as well from Chef in Disguise and those were packed full of flavor and might be my new favorite as well. :) I hope you all enjoy making some cookies this holiday season and share some with your friends and family as we did. 

Chocolate and Peppermint Swirl Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the chocolate half:
2 tablespoons cocoa

For the peppermint half:
1-2 teaspoons green food coloring
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Mix butter and sugar until creamy, then add in the egg and vanilla/almond extracts. Gradually add in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Divide the dough in half.  And add cocoa to the one batch, and the green food coloring and peppermint extract to the other. Chill for about 15 minutes. Roll each dough out on waxed paper, forming two different large rectangles. Next, place the two rectangular-shaped dough sheets on top of one another. Peel the one waxed paper sheet off and trim dough if needed to align. Use the waxed paper as a guide and roll up rectangle starting with the long side. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes or so, and then cut the log into 1 cm slices. Arrange on a prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for about 5-8 minutes or until the cookie starts to set and the bottom begins to brown. Sawsan noted to briefly set the cookies under the broiler to brown the tops slightly if desired. Allow to cool before removing from pan and enjoy!  

Roll out dough into rectangles and stack on each other. 
Roll up using the long edge of the rectangle to start your swirl cookies. 

Use a sharp knife and cut out 1 cm thick slices and bake.

Festive Chocolate and Peppermint Swirl Cookies! 

I had to try out Sawsan's go-to cookie recipe, also. The Chef in Disguise said was probably her favorite cookie recipe and I see why... it is fantastic, chewy, flavorful cookie, that I even snuck a few for breakfast. Yummy.. So try out the oats and date ranger cookies too if you are looking for a good comfort cookie. 
Oat and Date Ranger Cookies

Happy Holidays from Heather at It's Yummy to My Tummy!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Taco Pizza

Yummy note: I'm not sure I need much explanation for this post, especially if you are from the midwest area and have had Happy Joe's pizza before. They have a bunch of fantastic speciality pizzas that you just have to try in you are ever in the area of one. Our family favorite is the Taco Joe. However, when you find yourself hours away from a Happy Joe's location and you are craving a piece of taco pizza, no-- not a Mexican pizza from some other pizza establishment, but real taco pizza, you find yourself trying to recreate the original. This has been our closest rendition of the Taco Joe pizza we have grown up loving. 

Taco Pizza

  • 2/3 cup of taco sauce
  • 2/3 cup of tomato sauce or pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup of refried beans
  • 1 package of taco meat seasoning (about 1/4 cup taco seasoning) 
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups or so of taco-blend cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza Crust (preferably homemade -see below recipe, or a pre-made crust) 
  • Toppings for Regular Taco Pizza: 
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomato (or could use salsa)
  • Doritos or similar taco chips, broken up
  • Optional to make a Taco Supreme Pizza:
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced black olives
  • Diced onions

Prepare crust per recipe below or use a pre-made crust. Brown ground beef, drain fat if needed; then add in water and taco meat seasoning and simmer for a few minutes. Prepare taco pizza sauce by mixing together 2/3 cup of taco sauce, 2/3 cup of tomato sauce or pizza sauce, and about 1/2 cup of refried beans. Mix until smooth. Top pizza crust with sauce. Add some of the taco meat, sprinkle with the taco-blend cheese and layer with more taco meat. Place in a preheated 425-450 degree oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Then add your desired toppings of shredded lettuce, broken up Doritos chips, and chopped tomatoes. For a taco supreme pizza, add sour cream, sliced black olives, and dices onions.  

Pizza dough/Crust recipe
1 package of dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp sugar 
1 tbsp olive oil 
3 cups flour 

Dissolve yeast in warm water, then add in dry ingredients-sugar, salt, and flour. Add in 1 tbsp olive oil to mix dough until smooth. Roll into a ball and cover for about 15-20 minutes. Next divide the ball into two sections and roll out or spread onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. If you use a pizza stone, sprinkle a little cornmeal on the pizza stone before your spread out your dough. I typically pre-bake the crust for a few minutes (~5 minutes) before adding on the toppings. 

Mix tomato sauce/pizza sauce, refried beans, and taco sauce together until fairly smooth. 

Pre-bake the crust slightly and then layer on the sauce, taco meat and cheese.

Bake in preheated 425-450 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Top with desired toppings to make a taco pizza or a taco supreme pizza.