Thursday, June 25, 2015

Red, White, and Blue Cookies

With 4th of July coming up and those summer time BBQ's, the delicious burgers and ribs need a dessert bursting with patriotic spirit. Try out this recipe for Red, White and Blue Cookies that are bound to impress and taste delicious!

Red, White, and Blue Cookies
Red, White, and Blue Cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 3/4 cup STAR Extra Light Olive Oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. With a mixer, beat the STAR Extra Light Olive Oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition and then add the vanilla.
  3. Turn the mixer off. Add flour mixture and then beat just until combined. Remove the dough and separate it into three equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into a 4x4 inch square. wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the white portion of the cookies.)
  4. Return one of the remaining pieces of dough to the mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the red food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the red dough, shape it into 4x4 inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the red portion of the cookies.) Clean out the bowl to remove any red food coloring residue.
  5. Add the final piece of dough to the mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the blue food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the blue dough, shape it into a 4x4 inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the blue portion of the cookies.)
  6. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut each square in half to form two rectangles. Wrap half of each color of dough in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge so it can stay chilled while working with the first half of the dough. Place the red dough in between two pieces of waxed paper and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick with a rolling pin. Repeat separately with the blue and white dough.
  8. Peel the top layer of wax paper off of the red dough and then peel the wax paper off one side of the white dough and use the other side to transfer the white dough on top of the red dough. Peel off the wax paper from one side of the blue dough and use the other side to transfer it atop the white dough. Very lightly roll the three layers together. 
  9. Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll the dough as tightly as possible into a log. Repeat the rolling and stacking process with the remaining dough in the fridge. Wrap the logs in the wax paper and then plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 1 hour.
  10. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge, roll them on the counter several times so they don't have a flat side. Then, slice each log into 1/4 inch rounds. Place the rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, as the cookies will expand when baked. Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until pale golden, and then transfer them to a rack to completely cool.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

4 No-Bake Desserts to Make with Kids

There’s almost nothing kids like better than taking over the kitchen and experimenting with different ingredients, textures, colors, smells and flavors. And it’s a great activity, even if we can’t help wondering what state the kitchen will be in when they’ve finished. Children find cooking just as relaxing as we do and it’s also an excellent way for them to get used to different foods, find their way around the kitchen, spend time with the family, socialize and, at the end of the day, play. All the while they are learning and not even realizing it!

Cooking with kids is a highly stimulating experience—quality time they’ll probably remember into their adulthood. As always with children, we’ll fill the kitchen with color and bring recipes to life that they can eat later on, while attempting to keep their clothes and faces clean but in the end, who cares? Here are four “cooking-less” recipes to get kids “cooking” that you can eat later on as a family for afternoon snack. If they leave anything for you, that is…  

Check out our Pinterest Board that has tons of recipes for not only no-bake desserts but also fun afternoon snacks and easy to prep lunches!

1) Cake pops. If you’ve got young children, you’re probably already familiar with this kind of lollipop, as you might well have seen a demonstration or workshop at one event or another. Kids love creating these impressive sugar-coated balls on a stick using all different kinds of ingredients—from bread to chocolate cookies. There are several different ways of making a cake pop. We suggest crumbling up some cookies and mixing them with cream cheese spread (one small spoonful of spread and one cookie per cake pop). All you have to do is make an even ball, cover it with cooking chocolate melted in the microwave and, if you fancy, sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Spear with a stick and you’re good to go. Enjoy your stylish new cake pops while they last!
No Bake Desserts to Make With Kids
No-Bake Desserts to Make with Kids

2) Mug cakes. Your kids will love making these mug cakes as much as they’ll enjoy eating them. Mug cakes are basically sponge cakes with as many extra ingredients as you like, but made in a mug and cooked in the microwave, without any need for an oven. There are lots of different recipes, but chocolate is always a hit and kids love being able to make their own creations without any help from grownups (who can just keep a quiet eye on things). And they can then eat their cake straight out of their favorite mug. Mugs cakes really are very easy to make: simply mix all the ingredients together in a mug and microwave for a few minutes. There are a thousand and one recipes with nuts, berries, etc—try them out until you find the one you (or rather they…) like best.

3) Mousses and custards. Some people make mousses and custards in the oven, but you don’t have to because there are plenty of recipes that are no bake. Vanilla or chocolate custard, fruit or lemon mousse… the possibilities are endless and family afternoons very long. Where shall we start?

4) Milkshakes and smoothies. This is where things start to get a bit harder: it’s not as easy to get kids excited about mangoes, raspberries, pears and the like as it is with chocolate and cookies. Smoothies—which have become all the rage thanks to their many wonderful properties—are both a great source of nutrients and an ideal way to get kids to eat fruit without realizing it. So, how about turning our kitchen into a multicolored universe of fruits of all different sizes and textures and getting our children to choose what goes in the blender? Along with ice and yogurt, you've got yourself a healthy snack for the kids who will also love pushing the buttons on the blender.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chicken Balsamic Marinade

One of the simplest ways to flavor food is to marinate it. This marinade will take your chicken from boring to inspired.

  • 1/4 cup STAR Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons STAR Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl. Combine the marinade and chicken in a large resalable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

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