Quick Wine Poached Salmon

Since I work pretty long hours and get home well after what some people consider “dinner time”– I get it, Mom. I’m sorry for all of the times I gave you crap for dry chicken and one-pot meals.

At the end of the day: simple is the best option. Finding bread that’s not moldy for a PB&J sandwich at 1am after a 14 hour day is pretty close to nirvana for me these days. When I’m hungry and tired and I just need something to eat so I don’t turn into a gremlin (which I readily admit happens if I don’t eat on a regular basis), I remember to just keep it simple.

And I work from there.

I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve prayed in front of the refrigerator door before. Wishing and willing food to have withstood time, warded off mold, slime and freezer burn is perfectly reasonable, right?

Frozen or dried foods would seem to be the answer but I can’t stand the thought eating my dinner from a plastic tray. Or from the microwave. And I like things that are actually green and taste like what they are supposed to.

So I’ve been grabbing flash frozen, vacuum sealed pieces of wild caught sockeye salmon from the grocery store and packing them away for desperate times. Wild caught fish is never really going to be cheap but it’s definitely tastier than the stuff in a can, will keep for a couple of weeks when going to the fish market is not an option (or you get home after it closes–I do!) and makes me remember why I love salmon in the first place. This isn’t the oily, petal pink crap you might think of when salmon comes to mind. It’s almost red. Like when someone says “that’s not pink, it’s salmon.” It’s really supposed to that dark.

With a little olive oil and a few cloves of crushed garlic, I seared the outside of the fish–careful to not leave any behind when flipping and searched my produce for some citrus only to find that my only lime looked like a kiwi (read: brown and furry and required tongs to get to the trash can).

Knowing that the wine I had planned packed enough punch, I dumped the contents of my glass and the some more from the bottle when that burned off. It was light, very crisp, almost grassy and full of the crazy citrus needed to dampen any fishiness from the fillet. Sauvignon Blanc in general is a great wine to use because it hits all of the light citrusy notes you’d want with fish but I really like the Sea Glass Saugivnon Blanc for poaching  because it’s pretty inexpensive (less than $10) AND it’s delicious. I’m not much of a white wine drinker so finding one that I like is a big step.

My version of simple food is a little different from the pasta dishes I ate as a kid but the heart is still there. It’s quick, clean, healthy and easy.

White Wine Poached Salmon

  • 6 oz Portion of Flash Frozen Sockeye Salmon (Whole Foods/Wegmans/Trader Joes are all awesome)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 C Sauvignon Blanc
  • Fresh Dill to garnish
  • Mixed baby greens
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 T Italian Salad Dressing

Thaw fish in refrigerator over night (if possible) or thaw under running water (don’t nuke to defrost!!) In large frying pan on med-high, heat oil and garlic for about 1 minute–stirring to prevent garlic from burning. Place fish in pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until beginning to brown. Carefully, flip with a spatula and cook 2 more minutes until brown.

Lower heat, add wine (if you forget to lower the heat, you’ll know why I said to do it), and some dill, cover and cook on medium for about 8 mins or until fish flakes easily when pushed with the side of a fork.

In the meantime, rinse off your lettuce (I like to chop mine and put in a bowl of ice water to let it get crispy, but to each his own), cut up tomatoes and other salad accoutrements and pick your dill. I also like to toss some herbs in with the lettuce (dill, cilantro, mint are great surprise bites) if you have them readily available. Toss lettuce with dressing, top with fish and serve. High protein, low carb, and one dirty pan…nothing better than that!

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Not Your Mamas (or Grandma’s) Chocolate Chip Cookies

The first time I baked chocolate chip cookies in my own kitchen with my own pans and ingredients I purchased with my own money, I panicked. I’d gone too far, was instantly way too independent and far from home. Baking cookies was a family thing. Something we did together and only at holidays and there I was on a Tuesday (or whatever day it was) in my crappy little West Philadelphia apartment surrounded by the thick scent of old paint and industrial cleaning products, throwing tradition to the wind and doing it because I needed chocolate.

It was wrong.

But…I really wanted chocolate.

So I reverted to the exact mechanics of Christmas Eve baking in an attempt to make it right—holiday apron tied tight, The Waitresses blaring, I flipped spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet, carefully making sure that I had four blobs across and six blobs down on each tray per my grandmother’s strict training. She always said that if you couldn’t fit 2 dozen cookies on a pan, you were no baker—a sentiment that my mother loved to reiterate if my spoonfuls grew too generous.

When cookies are that small, they break all the laws of baking time and temperature–I must have missed something in the kitchen when it came to making these adjustments. My resulting cookies were black bottomed and stunk of burning chocolate.  

So, I made them bigger. No one was there to smack my hand with a spatula or pinch off the extra dough or tell me I was doing it wrong. And they were better (I’m sorry, Gram). I started messing with other things—chip type, Crisco in place of butter, size of eggs, dark and light brown sugar—until I found a way to make my perfect cookie.

Perfect is really boring, by the way. Dependable and delicious…but boring.

Ruth Wakefield took a chance when she made the first chocolate chip cookie at the Toll House Inn in 1930 and in celebration of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (May 15th), I got to baking.

I searched out a substitution for the traditional ingredients from my standard recipe on the yellow chip bag. I’ve had a bottle of ROOT—a Pennsylvania brewed, root beer flavored liquor that dates back to the 1700s—sitting on the top of my refrigerator for about a year collecting dust so I decided to work with that instead of the traditional vanilla that the Toll House calls for. The sweet, herbal combination of birch bark, cinnamon, wintergreen, cardamom with hints of vanilla were the perfect substitution, giving the resulting cookie a taste that was more herbal than sweet vanilla.

It wasn’t quiet enough of the in-your-face Root Beer flavor I was going for, so a little paint brush (new, of course) full of booze painted the top of each cookie was the little extra “oomph” these guys needed.

I’m not a big dunker–milk just isn’t my thing–but a glass of CRW (read: cheap red wine) was the perfect pairing for this late night treat…no need to share with any kids.

Root Beer Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C Crisco
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 3/4 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 t ROOT (+ 2 T for brushing)
  • 12 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Combine flour, salt and baking soda — be sure to stir!–in a bowl and set aside. Cream the Crisco, dark and white sugar until fluffy. (about 1 minute on high).

Add in the eggs and 2t ROOT–beat again on high for about 1 minute until completely incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients into the sugar/Crisco/egg/Root in 4 parts–mixing between each addition until flour is incorporated. Add in chocolate chips — mixing by hand so the chips don’t get annihilated.

Spoon or roll into balls and place onto cookie sheet — allowing space between dough balls for cookies to spread (I do 15 on a sheet). Place in oven for 5 minutes — rotate the pan–and cook for 5 more minutes. *I only do one pan at a time so they cook evenly.

Remove cookie tray from the oven and allow cookies to settle for about 1 minute on the tray before removing (onto a cooling rack if you are so inclined or a kitchen towel).

Once cookies are cool, brush remaining ROOT onto the top of each using a pastry brush (or small, clean paint brush). Put all dishes in sink, pray that someone else does them, pour large glass of red wine and enjoy!!

Tasty Lil Cow Pie

The beauty of working in a restaurant is that I get my days off during the week and I have time to cook instead of foraging in the refrigerator and cabinets. Don’t get me wrong, I still dig around and make things from what I have. The difference is that on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, my dinner won’t be between two pieces of bread.

I stared into the depths of drawers, cupboards and shelves last Wednesday trying to figure out what to do with one steak — it had to feed two people. With not enough vegetables for a stir fry and not enough anything for fajitas, I pulled the single NY strip from the shelf and looked back and forth from it to the smattering of possible partners. “Do we have any potatoes?” I asked my brother without looking up from the refrigerator.

“Did you look in the drawer?” he yelled from the couch.

“…no.”

Sure enough, they were there and along with a sad-looking bag of carrots, I hatched a plan. I’d had a staff meal of shepherd’s pie at work a few weeks before and — while I’m not really keen on lamb — the delivery was genius. The sweet, rich meat, roasted vegetables and gravy all stuck to the whipped mashed potatoes making every bite the perfect bite.

I grabbed the potatoes, peeled and cubed them and put them on the stove to start the mash. With a bag of frozen peas, it was a meal that really began coming together. But what to do about a sauce?

The chef at work used Guinness but we didn’t have any. The beer — with its roasted malt, coffee and bitter chocolate flavor — was the center of the dish. A stout was what I needed. A Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout was what I had. “Hey, Matt–do you think I could use this Chocolate Stout for this?” I asked.

“Um…that’s my dessert beer,” he answered with sadness in his voice “And it’s out of season so I can’t get any morebut if it means you’ll cook and I’ll have food soon, go ahead. If you must.”

Satisfied with the plan, I sliced and browned the meat with some onion and garlic, added in the beer and waited. I leaned in to see if what I was doing was working and my whole face was filled with the sweet swirls of singeing beef, earthy chocolate, and garlic.

“How’s it going in there?”

“I think you’re beer would be pleased with how it’s being sacrificed.”

With meat braising (read: to cook by browning in fat and then slowly cooking in a covered pan with a some liquid), I mashed the potatoes with butter and cream and layered the ingredients in a casserole dish — meat, carrots, peas and potatoes — covered and put in the oven. I pulled the lid off for the final few minutes to get a good crust on the potatoes and to make it look as I’d seen in the weeks before at work.

We dove in to find the meat dissolving to the lightest bite, full of the deep, woody, bittersweet chocolate of the beer. The creamy mashed potatoes held onto the gravy for dear life; the carrots and peas little life boats of respite from the richness.

Matt looked at me in disbelief. You just made this up?

I shrugged. I was hungry, he was hungry and I was afraid the meat was going to go to waste if we didn’t cook it. “Yea?”

You can make stuff up any time you want to, ok?

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout Shepherds Pie

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 C cream
  • 1 8 oz NY Strip Steak, cut into strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 bottle Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
  • 1 C Baby Carrots, chopped
  • 1 C Baby Peas

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Peel and cube potatoes. Place in 4 qt. stock pot with enough water to cover them and boil until potato is tender to fork — about 20 mins.

While potatoes are cooking, dice carrots and onions and set aside. Remove large portions of fat from outside of NY Strip. Slice steak into 1/4″ strips. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and garlic on high, stirring to ensure garlic does not burn. Add meat — cooking until lightly browned. Add onion and 1/2 bottle of beer. Cover, cook on low until potatoes are ready.

When potatoes break easily when pierced with a fork, remove from heat and drain. Return potatoes to stock pot and mash until no lumps are visible. Add butter and cream. Beat with electric mixer until smooth.

In casserole dish, layer meat, carrots, peas, the rest of the beer and the potatoes. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Remove lid and broil for 5 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

*The only sad thing about this dish is that Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is only released in the winter — it’s a bit heavy for the summertime. BUT so is this dish…enjoy!

Apple Jacks Sauce

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times: South Jersey is a great place to grow up. We had the option of going to the ocean, the mountains, open fields, major cities, farms, lakes, zoos, museums–you name it, I day-tripped it and was home in time for dinner.

My parents are both originally from the North East PA so it was important to them that my brothers and I liked to be outside because they grew up outside–climbing trees, getting dirty and hanging my little brother from a make-shift game hoist in my grandmother back yard were all a part of childhood.

My mom loved to take us to the farms just outside of the Pine Barrens to pick blueberries in the spring, corn and tomatoes in the summer and apples in the fall. We’d spill in the front door after a long day of running between the rows of plants, covered in dirt and juice with stomach aches from stuffing our faces with the ripe, fresh fruit and more in bags than we knew what to do with. My mom and I would pick out the best looking specimens to save for fresh snacks and set to work on the rest — peeling and chopping for pies, sauces and jars.

The apple sauce was my favorite.

We only ever picked McIntosh Apples so that’s what made up our sauce — tart, juicy white flesh cooked down to a soft, caramelly brown mellowed with the addition of grated cinnamon sticks, some lemon zest and just a touch of sugar. Since it was a pretty healthy snack, and my mom made it in vats, I ate it to the point of near combustion on more than one occasion.

And I miss it. My sweet tooth craves a taste of fall afternoons long past, when a bad day meant I had too homework or got in trouble for staying too late at the playground.

So I set out to make my own. On the odd side of New Jersey apple season.

Braeburn, Rome, Cripps Pink, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Pacific Rose and Fuji all ready for action.

With McIntosh apples not looking so hot, and too many other options to pick just one, I decided to compromise: I bought one of each. Working with Betty Crocker and her guide to Apples-and-Their-Uses, I found a good combination of sweet and slight tart apples that are good in sauces and made a well-balanced mashup.

And while I was slicing and peeling, I remembered that my I used to love buttered noodles, white bread, and I thought that dark chocolate tasted like dirt — my childhood palate was pretty boring. I need spice. Some kick. Some heat.

This stuff needed whiskey.

So instead of water and sugar, I added Jack Daniels…and then a little more. The oaky blend pulled the spice from the cinnamon out of hiding and gave my apple sauce a slap in the face. It was a mouthful of crisp fall evening, a faint fire burning somewhere — it even lingered in my nose the same way.

Apple Jacks Sauce

  • 3 lbs of Apples
  • 1/4 C Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 2 T Cinnamon

Peel, core and slice all apples and place in a large stock pot with water and whiskey. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Add cinnamon. Cover and continue to cook on low heat for another 30-40 minutes.

This is fantastic when served warm over vanilla ice cream or spooned over a pork tenderloin and roasted. Or you can eat it like I do : out of tupperware without even closing the refrigerator.

next to of course pb&j chili i

love you.

The high heat, full mouth fire that burns into my nose and smoulders in my belly warms me to the core and fills me right up. It’s also a meal that requires one pot and very little attention. So, what’s not to love?

The difficult thing with chili is to narrow down exactly what I put in it — it’s a gut-feel kind of meal. Sometimes, I only put one type of kidney bean or only a green pepper instead of an assortment of colors. I have, on occasion, completely forgotten onions. Sometimes, my guts are feeling risky and I add a few more chili peppers.

Oh, the chili peppers.

When I first asked my mom how to make her chili, she rattled off the ingredients and instructions. Meat, onion, chili powder, kidney beans, tomato paste. I was shocked. She used McCormicks Chili Powder. No actual peppers were invited to her pot. Finally, I knew then why toed the line of being a spicy Hamburger Helper with beans. I’d head chili that made me sweat and my stomach burn for days. That’s what I was looking for. So, I took the basics from her recipe to create my own.

My chilis of choice: Guajillo, Chili de Arbol and Chipotle peppers, respectively. The guajillo peppers add a very light touch of sweetness but have a slap-in-the-face of heat once swallowed. Chili de arbol provide more spice up front that fill the entire mouth, give that tongue tingle and burn up into your nose and eyes (in a good way). And the Chipotles — well they just give the whole thing a greatsmoke. The chipotle pepper is really just a smoke dried jalapeno, but the smokiness is bolder than any hotness of the pepper. If you don’t like it really hot, you can split the peppers and remove some or all of the seeds. Taking them out of the pot after a few minutes also helps if you don’t want to sweat.

My gut also tell me that whatever I’m drinking, the chili pot should, too. My favorite addition to a chili pot is a IPA (Dogfish Head 60 Min to be exact) for it’s slight bitterness and lemony notes that slice up some of the spice and pull at the zip from the bell peppers.

I start with ground turkey meat — some fat here is needed, so a 93% lean is what you want — a big stock pot and some olive oil. Once it starts to brown up a bit, in goes about half a bottle of beer, the chilis, and some cayenne powder for good measure. I let them sweat for a bit while I chop (and open) up everything else. A few different types of bell pepper, some onion, kidney beans, diced tomatoes and voila!

Now here’s the only hard part: not diving in right away. The chilis need a while to release all of their oils and get the spice to cook into everything. I add the rest of the beer, cover and drop the heat to low to cook for about an hour until it looks more like it should…might not be so pretty, but its sure to get folks hot and bothered.

Spills Chili

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey, 93% lean
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  • 1 Guajillo Pepper, split down the center, seeds removed if desired
  • 2 Chili de Arbol peppers, split down the center, seeds removed if desired
  • 3 Chipotle peppers, split down the center, seeds removed if desired
  • 2 T Cayenne Powder
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15.5 oz can cannellini beans
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • Grated chedder cheese to garnish

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil. Add ground turkey. Once almost all meat is browned, add chili peppers, cayenne powder and 1/2 of the beer. Simmer 15 minutes. Add diced onion, bell peppers, kidney beans, cannellini beans (with liquid from can), diced tomatoes and the rest of the beer. Cover and simmer 45-60 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved. Top with cheese and serve.

“Miles Away from Ordinary” Shrimp

With 80 degree days in the middle of March this year, my itch for bare feet and beers in the sunshine is strong — and the bizarre flip back to normal chilly, rainy spring days has me looking for summer anywhere I can find it. Wearing flip flops on days when my toes turn blue is not working out so well though.

So I started looking for summer at the market. Reading Terminal Market is my go to for great meats, fish and vegetables — and I get a student discount on Wednesdays to boot. I like to go in the morning, after the 9-5’ers rush in and out for breakfast — it’s quiet, everyone is still happy since their days’ haven’t had much chance to be bad yet, and navigating the stalls is managable. Forget about going at lunch time.

With my craving grumbling, I made my way over to John Yi Fish Market and eyed up their case for some ideas. And there they were…

Glorious piles of shrimp. I was raised on this stuff. Pink foods were my thing for a while — shrimp and salmon were all I wanted. When picking my poison, I asked why some were pink and others blue. The answer: different species–but they all will turn pink when cooked. I’ve worked with both before and find that it’s easier to tell when the tiger shrimp (read: blue shrimp) are cooked because they turn pink…so I ordered a pound and headed home.

With the shrimp split up the back and cleaned, and Corona in hand — because I deserve a beer after that process — I readied my double boiler and jumped up on the counter in search of some Old Bay. I spotted red lid, caked with remains of crab boils past and muscle memory took over; the salty, peppery chili spice watered on my tongue.

I grabbed the can and jumped down, excited that in a few minutes I would be feasting…but something was off — the can was too light.

The Old Bay was gone. Why else would it be in the back of the cabinet? This is what living with your little brother is like.

I had to try something else. So I dumped the remains of my beer into the bottom pot of the steamer in place of the water, squeezed the juice of half a lime and crossed my fingers.

Like shrimp, Corona and lime make me think of summer time.This might just work, I thought to my self as I placed the top pot with the shrimp over the beer and set my timer for 8 minutes.

And work it did. The green, citrus cut the fishiness and gave most of the flavor (kind of like it does with the beer) but grain and corn flavors from the pale lager just made it to the meat. My intention was to put these shrimp onto a salad, take a new beer out to the back deck and listen to the hum of I-95 — which, if you close your eyes can be confused with the sounds of the ocean — but I never made it.  My brother came home and we ate them all out of the pot, right off of the stovetop. Just like we used to in the summer when we were kids.

Miles Away from Ordinary Shrimp

  • 1 lb Fresh, Raw Tiger Shrimp, cleaned and de-veined (if possible)
  • lime, cut into slices
  • 1 bottle Corona

If you are able to get cleaned and de-veined shrimp, do it! Otherwise, cut the shrimp along the back with a paring knife or pair of kitchen scissors and clean the black vein out. In the top/steamer pot of a double boiler, rinse all of the shrimp well. In the bottom/sauce pot, pour the beer and juice of 1/2 of a lime. Stack pots, cover and cook on med-high heat for 8 minutes. Shrimp will be completely pink when they are finished. Remove from heat and serve, squeezing extra lime to taste.

Cookie Cookie Cookie Starts with B(ourbon)

My mother’s little sister– a living, breathing version of Snow White– was suddenly and completely dead serious when I asked for her sugar cookie recipe. The smile evaporated from her voice, the birds stopped singing at her window, the woodland creatures could go to hell for all she cared; this was serious business.

“If I give you this, you have to promise that you’re going to follow it. You’re not going to make changes or substitute things. Butter means butter. White flour means white flour. When I say rotate the pan, you rotate the pan. Got it? I need you to promise me you’re going to follow them and not act like your mother.”

I rolled my eyes at her through the telephone. All I wanted was a recipe. But where Ms. Crocker and Mrs. Fields fall flat, my Aunt Ann is a genius…so I didn’t argue. Her sugar cookies are impeccable. They manage to be perfectly soft without being doughy and undercooked in the middle. The light vanilla flavor is just sweet enough to make it treat without making a visit to the dentist necessary. And somehow they manage to never crumble and seem to never get hard. They’re present at every holiday party, family wedding, baby and bridal shower, iced and decorated so there is just the tiniest pang of guilt that surges through my system before I destroy the little piece of art.

I needed to know how to make them. She could have my pound of flesh if I could have her secret. With a hard gulp, I meekly agreed to her proposal, my voice barely audible through the receiver.

Pleased that she’d instilled the proper amount of fear, she rattled through the instructions and promised to email them to me as well to make sure I didn’t miss a thing.

I thanked her profusely, but I hung up with a heavy sense of dread. I was Flick at the schoolyard flagpole and she’d just triple dog dared me to lick it. I, apparently like my mother, have a difficult time following directions especially when I’m told that I cannot deviate from them. I figure, I almost always end up at the right place –even if a few detours are involved, so what’s the big deal?

I set out to make the cookies after a trying day—even though the dough needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (though overnight is best)—with the hope that I could end it on a positive note. I pulled the recipe from the box above my stove and set to work, cutting the recipe in half since I didn’t have 5 ½ cups of flour…but I had 2 ¾ cups. Strike one.

I should say here that I hate cooking with butter and I will almost always sub in Crisco when baking since I think it makes for a fluffier cookie and it’s easier to mix since it’s always soft…sorry, Ann. I whipped the Crisco and started to add in other wet ingredients.

When it comes to halving a recipe with 3 eggs, I crack them all into a measuring cup, stir and measure out half. I’ve tried dumber methods – this works better.

Before adding in the dry ingredients, I reached for the vanilla extract to find the vile empty.How am you supposed to follow directions if you don’t have everything the directions call for, genius? I thought to myself.

I looked down at the bottle and read the label, looking for answers. Vanilla extract is 41% alcohol–so sub in alcohol! I looked to the bottles eying me from the top of our refrigerator—bourbon would be it. It have to do. The bottle was nearly empty anyway.

This was no longer my aunt’s cookie recipe. The strong vanilla flavor would be replaced with the lemony, honey of aged Kentucky Bourbon. This was something much, much different…and definitely not for baby showers.

So, I swapped her ingredients for mine. Vanilla replaced by Bourbon—Basil Hayden’s is what I keep, but I suppose any old good Kentucky Bourbon would do. It’s is a small batch bourbon that has about two times the rye of other bourbons. I love the light finish with its little bit of spicey peppermint and honey — it really gets my blood boiling without the burn that a lot of other bourbons have. It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to curl up in front of a fire and have my hair rubbed. I threw in an extra dash for good measure.

I packed up the ball of dough and stuck it in the fridge and set to the icing where I used the bourbon again…only a bit so it’s just enough for flavor but no where near enough for a head ache.

The next morning I rolled the cookies out (the secret here is to keep the dough thick) and cut them with the rim of a wine glass…because I of course don’t have any cookie cutters. Circular cut-outs seem silly, but a cookie is a cookie as far as I’m concerned!

It will turn out almost cake or bisquit like — and what the cookie lacks in sweetness, the icing more than makes up.

Here’s my version (the whole thing, you can half if you’d like):

Bourbon Sugar Cookie Dough                         Icing

  • 5 1/2 cups of flour                                   1/2 C butter (icing should have butter…)
  • 1 t salt                                                     1/4 C half & half
  • 1 T baking powder                                    3 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 C Crisco                                                2 T bourbon
  • 2 C white sugar                                        *I like to garnish with bourbon sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 C half & half
  • 2 t bourbon

Combine flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.

Cream together the Crisco, sugar, half & half, eggs, and bourbon until fluffy. Mix on high about 1 minute. Add dry mix in gradually until completely mixed. Scrape dough into ball and refrigerate in greased gallon bag for at least 4 hours (over night is best if you can stand to wait).

Preheat Oven to 350. Lightly flour counter surface and roll dough to at least ¼” thick and cut. Cook 5 minutes, rotate pan. Cook 5 more minutes. Let cookies set on tray for a minute or two before removing—cool completely before icing. Yields about 32 cookies.