Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gratin Dauphinoise

The picture, taken after lunch because I forgot to snap one before, makes this look almost like a hashbrown casserole - that's just the grated cheese on top that melted funny. It's actually sliced potatoes in herbed heavy cream topped with grated gruyere. And it's delicious.

Everytime we have a "holiday" meal, like Easter lunch which I made this for, I debate what kind of starch to make. Because I love them all. Elly Says Opa had this gratin dish on her blog that sounded delicious and different than the normal heavyonthecheese scalloped potatoes I have made in the past. Plus it has gruyere in it - and who doesn't love gruyere? I adapted it some to use items I already had on hand.

The only issue I had was that some of the potatoes that were stacked right on top of each other didn't cook as evenly as the other parts, which meant a few crunchier pieces among the delicious soft ones. Next time, I'd make sure they were spread out more and maybe bake it a few more minutes.

Regular gruyere was more expensive than the smoked gruyere so guess which kind I used?

This dish was creamy, rich, and downright sinful. Definitely a once a year splurge! I prepped the entire dish on Saturday night - short of baking it - covered it tightly in foil and put it in the fridge overnight. Then I just let the dish come to room temp when we got in from church and baked it before lunch was served.

Gratin Dauphinoise
makes 8 servings
8 small-medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
2 cup heavy cream
10 garlic cloves, slightly crushed, divided
2 sprig thyme
2 sprig of rosemary (I used minced rosemary, which I left in the dish when it baked)
2 sprig of parsley
salt and pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350

Place the potatoes in a pot and add the cream, 8 of the garlic cloves, and herbs. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and discard the garlic and herbs.

Use the two remaining cloves of garlic to rub around the inside of a 9x13 casserole dish, then butter the gratin dish so it's evenly coated. Pour the potatoes and cream into the baking dish and top with the grated cheese. Cook for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are brown and bubbling. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Baby Greens with Beets, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

For years, I wasn't able to eat salads of any sort due to my Crohns disease. After my resection last year, things like fresh vegetables, salads, fruit, etc were all of a sudden available to me again but we still haven't gotten into the habit of buying/eating green salads at home. So, when I was working on my Easter menu I decided to have a salad course just because I could!

This salad was from the April 2011 Cooking Light magazine. I've never prepared beets at home so it sounded like a fun challenge to prepare them. And, I have a deep love for goat cheese...

Since I fried up bacon for the eggs, I decided to go ahead and throw about 4 slices, crumbled, into the salad and am glad I did. I'm sure Cooking Light left it out due to the nutritional content but the salad really shined with the addition of the salty bits of bacon. The perfect bite was a little bacon, bite of beet, and a crumble of goat cheese. In the obnoxious words of Rachael Ray - yummo!

Since not everyone enjoys beets, I served them on the side.

Note: You can roast the beets up to two days in advance. I roasted them Saturday night, once they cooled I put them in the fridge overnight and peeled/sliced them Sunday afternoon before lunch.

Baby Greens with Beets, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese
Plenty for 5 first-course servings

3 medium beets (I ended up only using 1.5 of them)
1 cup water
4 cups mixed baby salad greens
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO
Crumbled goat cheese (I used a lot - because I like it)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
4 slices crumbled cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 375.

Leave root and 1 inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place beets and 1 cup water in a 13x9 baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until tender. Cool; trim off roots and rub off skins. Slice beets into small pieces and allow to cool completely.

Place the greens, bacon, and parsley in a large bowl; toss. Combine vinegar, pinch of salt, and a few cracks of fresh ground pepper and stir with a whisk. Gradually drizzle in oil, stirring constantly with the whisk. Drizzle dressing over the greens mixture and toss gently.

Arrange greens on each plate and top with sliced beets, goat cheese, and nuts.

Bacon-Balsamic Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are usually a staple at most Easter meals and ours is no exception. As I've mentioned before, deviled eggs are a must for all of our family functions and are often the first item to be eaten. When my brother came in the door today, the deviled egg platter was the first stop he made (though I think he did say hi on the way there). And, when we set the table, he conveniently put the platter right next to his plate...

I wanted to try something a little different from the norm. Awhile back, I tried BBQ Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs which were tasty. This time, I still had to go with the bacon (it's REALLY good in a deviled egg!) but went with the balsamic vinegar twist.

We all gave these eggs two thumbs up. They were smoky, thanks to the bacon, but tangy and sweet as well. The vinegar dressed the eggs up a bit. So, instead of the typical mayo/mustard/relish type that are often found at family occasions, try this one!

Bacon-Balsamic Deviled Eggs
adapted from

12 eggs
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place the eggs in a large pot in a single layer and fill with water to cover by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil; immediately remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Drain. Cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and halve lengthwise. Separate the yolks from the whites, placing the yolks in a ziptop sandwich bag. Arrange the egg whites on a serving platter.

Add the bacon, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, celery salt, and pepper to the ziptop bag of egg yolk; zip the top and squish until it's all well combined. Cut the corner off and squeeze the mixture into the egg whites. Garnish with parsley.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

When I make my menu/grocery list, it's my goal to buy as few ingredients as possible (ie, choose several dishes that use the same ingredients so as to not waste any) and use items that are in the freezer before they go bad. This was the perfect dish to meet that criteria - I had frozen chicken, frozen goat cheese, and was planning to already buy parsley and mint for other recipes. I didn't have to buy a single "new" ingredient for it.

This is a basic stuffed chicken recipe, similar to our favorite spinach and smoked gouda chicken. The goat cheese gives a strong flavor and tang to the dish while the mint offers a sweetness. It's a great combo. The panko adds a bit of crunch to the creamy texture of the cheese and it all works really well together. It's also a easy, fast meal perfect for a weeknight that would work with a multitude of side items.

You do need to enjoy mint and goat cheese to like the dish. That probably goes without saying but after watching Jason deconstruct his chicken by scraping the entire filling out and eating the chicken by itself, I figured I'd throw it out there.

Note: I only made two pieces of chicken, because it's what I had, but made all the filling and just split it between the two. Yours won't look as full as mine if you use the suggested 2 tablespoons worth.

Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Source: Cooking Light
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat broiler to high.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket; close opening with a wooden pick. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Add chicken to pan, and cook for 2 minutes on 1 side or until browned. Arrange chicken on a baking sheet (browned side up); broil for 8 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fig-Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam

My rockstar husband earned enough incentive points at work to buy us a new, awesome grill. When it arrived, we were so excited to try it out so I planned a few grill meals this week so we could break it in. Tonight was one of those nights. But sadly, mother nature had other ideas. Grilling in a little rain doesn't bother me much but grilling in golf ball sized hail does so I made these delicious burgers on the stovetop instead. You can actually make a very tasty burger by melting butter in a cast iron skillet and cooking the burgers in that instead.

I found these burgers on Pink Parsley who originally found them in Southern Living magazine. This is probably one of my favorite burger recipes now. I don't usually like onions but the onion jam was so good I could eat it out of the skillet on it's own. The fig added a nice sweet glaze to slightly salty crust on the burger. The recipe calls for Meunster cheese but I topped two of them with smoked gouda, since we loooooove smoked gouda. You could really use any cheese you like.

Fig-Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam
makes 4 burgers

Red Onion Jam
4 cups thinly sliced red onions (about 2 medium or 1 large)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. fig preserves
4 (1/2-oz) Meunster cheese slices
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Saute the onions in hot oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar, vinegar, and thyme, reduce heat to low, and cover and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until onion is very tender. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Prepare grill and heat to medium-high and grease grates with vegetable oil using a paper towel and tongs. Gently stir together all the ingredients for the burgers (through black pepper) and shape into 4 (1/2-inch) patties.

Grill patties 5 minutes on each side. Brush each patty with fig preserves and top with a slice of cheese. Grill an additional 2 minutes, or until beef is cooked and cheese is melted.

Serve on buns with red onion jam.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pumpkin and Gouda Mac & Cheese

Yes, I am aware that this is a cold weather dish and since I'm in Texas, obviously it's not cold this time of year. But, I bookmarked it sometime in January when my oven was out of commission and vowed to make it once I had a working one again. So here it is!

I actually don't think mac and cheese and pumpkin have to be cold weather items. Though I'd probably not make hot soup this time of year, mac and cheese is an item I would happily eat year round. And pumpkin, too!

This dish was shared on Cooking Whims and was really delicious. It doesn't have a strong pumpkin flavor so don't hesitate to make it if you aren't a big pumpkin fan. Jason knew there was a flavor in it he wasn't familiar with but had no idea it was pumpkin until I told him. I think it makes the dish really creamy and rich in texture to have the canned pumpkin integrated throughout the cheese. I'm a fan of gouda anyways and it works well with the spinach and pumpkin flavors.

Sausage is already a difficult food for me to handle so I did not slice it, as suggested with the recipe, but instead removed it from the casings and crumbled it as it browned. I also used 3 links instead of 2 and Jason seemed pleased there was meat in every forkful. You could always leave the sausage out if you want it to be a side dish instead of main course.

Pumpkin and Gouda Mac & Cheese
3/4 of a 14.5 oz box of elbow macaroni (about 10 oz)
2 links of sausage (turkey, chicken, meat, or vegetarian) - I used 3 chicken sausage links
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
6 oz Gouda cheese, grated
1 (5-6 oz) bag baby spinach
Sprinkle of dried mustard
Sprinkle of nutmeg
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for topping
Panko crumbs for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

Slice, or crumble, and cook the sausage; set aside.

Coat a large saucepan with olive oil or cooking spray. Cook the onions over medium heat until browned and soft (4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the pumpkin and the milk and stir to combine. Continue to stir the pumpkin and milk so the mixture thickens. Add the Gouda cheese and stir to melt. Season the sauce with a dash each of mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour the pumpkin sauce overtop. Stir to coat. Stir in sausage. Tear the baby spinach leaves and add to the mixture, stirring to wilt the spinach. Taste the pasta and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and/or pepper if needed. I added a good amount of salt and pepper at this stage.

Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and transfer the mac & cheese to the dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss some Panko breadcrumbs on top. Spritz a few spritzes of cooking spray on the Panko and then pop it in the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes until the top is browned.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

This was my first attempt at making homemade enchilada sauce. Since Jason is a huge fan of Mexican food (aka Tex Mex), we eat it (out) a lot. Living in Texas means lots of great options! Almost  always, we order sour cream chicken enchiladas but still like a basic "red sauce" enchilada on occasion. I've made enchiladas that used the canned version before but now that I've seen how easy homemade sauce is, I won't anymore!

These really were delicious and just like you'd get at a local Mexican restaurant. I actually preferred these because I get a little picky about my chicken when eating out and I knew exactly what kind of chicken was going into these. I found the recipe on Pink Parsley and modified it a little just to fit our tastes. Since the chicken simmers in the sauce, it really absorbs the flavors and ensures that the chicken isn't dry or tasteless.

Don't be scared of the two jalepenos or the chili powder. I am pretty sensitive to spice and I didn't think these were hot at all. If you like a lot of heat, you could leave the seeds in tact. You could use any combination of cheese; I used sharp, since that's what I had on hand. I don't want my tortillas to be crunchy but just in case you prefer them that way, I included the instructions on how to do that.

We spent Sunday evening repairing our fence (the recent winds had blown part of it down) so my plans to cook this dish for dinner were pushed back and we got take out instead. Since I knew I had a late meeting on Monday, I went ahead and prepped this dish late that night so Jason could bake it when he got in from work. I assembled it all and just skipped baking it. I was a little worried about the tortillas being too soggy but they were perfect! So, now I know that this would be a great dish to deliver to a new mom or someone recovering from surgery that could use a hot meal. If you weren't sure when they would be eating it, you could deliver it assembled but not baked and all they would need to do is pop it in the oven. If I delivered it that way, I'd probably go ahead and crisp up the tortillas so it would support the sauce better.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
2 cups shredded cheese (any combination of sharp, mild, monterey jack, etc), divided
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onion mixture, and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

If you want crispy tortillas: Up the temp to 425. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly. Then pull the enchiladas out and continue on.

Pour the sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, and bake 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Feta

This is another recipe from Annie's Eats. When she posted it a few weeks ago, I knew that now that I had an oven I had to try it!

I think this is a crowd-pleasing great weeknight meal. For one, it's all done in a single skillet (one dish recipes get bonus points from me!). Plus, it's pretty quick and it's low maintenance. But more than that, it's SO tasty. I wanted to just take a spoon to the skillet when it was finished. The tomato sauce has a rich depth to it that works so well with the tangy feta and crunchy bread topping.

You could serve any veggie/starch alongside it; I made browned butter orzo and zucchini/squash (which blew my one dish night but was worth it!). Even just a salad and some bread would be delicious with it!

Roasted Shrimp with Feta
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (just grate them over the skillet - must faster!)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 tsp. tomato paste
1½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 lb. large shrimp (16-20 per lb.), peeled with tail segments left intact, deveined
5 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly tender, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Continue to cook 2-3 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes.

Combine the bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest and the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Toss well with a fork to blend.

Remove the pan from the heat. Lay the shrimp in a single layer, tails up, on top of the the tomato mixture. Scatter the feta over the top of the shrimp, followed by the bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the breadcrumbs are browned. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Passion Bars

I was on the hunt for another easy cookie or brownie recipe when I came across these in my Costco cookbook, of all places! The recipe was from Ghirardelli - of course I was too cheap to use a Ghirardelli brownie mix in it!

These brownies, or bars, are really really good. I'm not a huge peanut butter fan but I liked the flavor in this. The can of sweetened condensed milk never hurts! They are very rich and sinfully delicious. And super easy!

Because I didn't use the Ghirardelli brand, I just assumed a brownie mix designed for 9x13 pan would work - and it did.

Why these are called passion bars, I have no idea. Maybe because I was really passionate about eating the whole pan straight out of the oven?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Passion Bars
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 pouch chocolate brownie mix (they suggest Ghirardelli triple chocolate)
1 cup peanuts, chopped
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil and eggs. Add the brownie mix and peanuts; stir until moistened. Press half of the brownie mixture into the pan (use your hands - it's way easier); reserve the other half for the topping.

To make the filling, stir the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Spread it evenly over the brownie layer in the pan.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the reserved brownie mixture over the peanut butter layer.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is set. Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce & Jalapeno Crema

This recipe is truly restaurant quality - which is not surprising, considering it's a Bobby Flay recipe. A friend of mine, who blogs at Cooking, Baking, and Traveling, shared the recipe awhile back and said it's a favorite of theirs. We, too, loved it.

This is an explosion of flavors - the black beans are quite spicy on their own (I actually might use just 1 chipotle pepper next time for us), the crema is rich with a kick, and the salmon is smoky, sweet, and delicious. Throw in a good amount of chopped green onions on top for crunch and it's a winning combination.

This does have some spice to it but you could adjust it to your taste. For the many layers of flavor that it has, it was actually quite quick to make. I used steelhead trout in place of salmon because it was on sale - it tastes the same (in my opinion...).

Your mini chopper and immersion blender will make this recipe so much easier! If you have a grill, just use that for the salmon.

Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce and Jalapeno Crema
Black Bean Sauce:
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt

1/3 cup honey
1 tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Four (8 ounce) salmon fillets, skin on (I used steelhead trout)
2 tbs cooking oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Jalapeño Crema:
1/2 cup crema, or sour cream
1 large jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper

For the black bean sauce: Preheat a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil, then saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the black beans, chipotle, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir together for a few minutes to let the flavors marry. Using an immersion blender, puree the black bean mixture. Keep warm until serving.

For the salmon: To make the glaze, whisk together the honey, ancho chile powder, and mustard in a small bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill pan (or your grill, which is what we used) over high heat. Brush the salmon with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown and a crust has formed, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush the top of the salmon with some of the glaze, flip over the fish, and continue cooking until a crust has formed and the salmon is cooked to medium, about 2 more minutes. The salmon will be pink in the center.

For the Jalapeño Crema: Combine the minced chile and the sour cream in a mini food processor. Puree until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Spoon some of the black bean sauce in the center of your plate. Drizzle with some jalapeno crema. Set the salmon in the center, glazed side up, and brush with more glaze. Drizzle some more crema, if desired, and garnish with the scallions.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Butter Cookies

Like butter? What about sugar? And cinnamon? Of course you do! Who doesn't? These cookies are the perfect blend of all three flavors. I've said many times that I really don't enjoy baking much but going without an oven for so long made me appreciate the luxury of just throwing together basic ingredients I always have in the pantry and being rewarded with a delicious baked good. So, when I had a craving for a sugar cookie, I went looking for a new recipe to try. This had the basic element of a sugar cookie with the added spice of cinnamon and the delicious taste of butter. The perfect combination!

I found the recipe on Milk and Honey . It was simple - even for a nonbaker like myself - and very quick. It'd also be a great recipe to make with children because it was fun to roll the ball of dough around in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. I put my sugar and cinnamon in a small dipping container and then swirled each ball of dough around it to fully coat. That way my hands didn't warm up the dough too much while I coated each piece.

The outside gets a bit of crunch from the cinnamon and sugar but the inside of soft and chewy. Don't be fooled by the snickerdoodle look they have - they taste completely different!

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, blend sugars with an electric mixer set at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape sides of bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and blend at a low speed until just combined. Do not overmix. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar topping.

Place onto ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies to a cool, flat surface.

See Aimee Cook

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