Friday, January 04, 2008

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

(Recipe courtesy of Cathie B.’s Catering)

Warning: these cookies are probably a little too good, if you know what I mean. If you are working on the virtue of temperance then perhaps you’d better go google-search a nice, safe fruit salad.
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 48 chocolate covered caramel candies (Rolos)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

1.Preheat oven to 375. Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

2. Carefully beat in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt).

3. Refrigerate the dough for an hour or two while you unwrap all those Rolos. (It is helpful to put the Rolos in the fridge, too.) Use a cookie scoop or spoon to make balls with the cold dough. (If it is too sticky, put the dough back in the fridge.) Put an unwrapped Rolo in each blob of dough. Make sure the dough completely covers the Rolo or the caramel might leak out while baking. Roll or dip the little balls of dough into the white sugar.

4. Place on a cookie sheet (I use parchment paper for easy clean-up if some caramel bakes out) and bake for 8 minutes at 375. Let cool for a bit on the pan and then move to a cooling rack.

5. Ingest in large quantities. Pause; wonder if you should have shared with the kids.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cathie B.’s Unbelievable Beef Stew

The ultimate in comfort food, this stew is even better when the recipe is doubled or even tripled and shared with a friend in need.

The following proportions serves 6 to 8.

  • 3 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium to large onions, chopped coarse
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 C. full-bodied red wine
  • 2 C. chicken stock or broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 6 small boiling potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and slice ¼ inch thick
  • 1 C. frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ C. minced fresh parsley, if desired

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place beef cubes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 T. of oil over medium high heat in large soup kettle; add beef to kettle in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove meat and set aside.

2. Add onions to now empty kettle; sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to sauté about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to kettle. Add stock, bay leaves and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven; simmer in oven for 1 hour.

3. Bask in the delicious smells that are now beginning to fill your home.

4. Remove kettle from oven. Add potatoes and carrots, cover and return to oven. Simmer until meat is just tender, 1-½ hours to 2 hours. Remove stew from oven.

5. Add peas and allow to stand 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and add more salt & pepper to taste.

6. Enjoy! Say a prayer for Cathie B. and her family while you’re at it.