Showing posts with label brown sugar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brown sugar. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Brown Sugar Bacon Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

A perfect blend of savory and sweet, the hint of smoky saltiness in these brown Sugar Bacon Cookie complements the dark rich flavor of the brown sugar. But make no mistake, Brown Sugar Bacon Cookies are totally drop sugar cookies, baked to be enjoyed with a cold glass of milk.

If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a thousand times. I love bacon. Also, I’m not much of a sweet eater. That doesn’t stop me making sweet recipes, of course. I have a core group of tasters that are always ready and willing to eat whatever I bring round or send to the office with my husband. If the goods get eaten, I’m happy.

I did bring some of these cookies out for a test run and I got a few skeptical looks when I said brown sugar AND bacon. It was a mixed crowd of thumbs up and down. But, you know what? I truly didn’t mind. I have since eaten the balance of that dozen singlehandedly. I think they are amazing.

Ingredients - for 3 dozen cookies
3 cups or 375g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup or 60g strained bacon fat (see instructions below)
1 1/2 cups packed or 300g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon bourbon
15 slices thin cut bacon, fried till crispy, then drained - 3/4 cup chopped bacon or 75g

To strain bacon fat, pull a paper towel apart so you have only one-ply.
Line a metal strainer with the paper towel and place the strainer into the top of a funnel, with the funnel in a sealable jar. You will need to prop the strainer handle up on something sturdy to get it balance securely.
Pour your warm (not hot!) bacon grease into the paper-lined strainer a little at a time, scraping your frying pan to get every bit of grease out. Leave to drain completely.
All of the browned bits stay in the paper towel and the bacon grease in the jar is clean, almost white.
This bacon fat keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for months. This works with beef or lamb drippings too, if you want to make your own tallow.

With beaters or with your stand mixer, beat the butter, bacon fat and brown sugar together until fluffy.

Butter on the left. Strained bacon fat on the right.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.

Add in the bourbon and mix again.

Turn the mixer off and sift the flour, soda and salt together into the bowl. Turn the mixer on sloooooowly to mix in the dry ingredients. Keep mixing until all is incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl down once or twice.

Reserve about 1/3 of the bacon pieces for poking into the top of each cookie, and stir the rest into the cookie dough.

Cover the bowl with cling film and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180° and line your cookie sheet with baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Use a tablespoon or a cookie scoop to drop small balls of cookie dough a good distance apart to allow room for spreading.

Top each scoop with a couple of pieces of bacon and use a fork to just flatten the balls.

Bake in your preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned around the edges. If your oven heats unevenly, you might want to turn the pan around halfway through.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Repeat until all the brown sugar bacon cookies are baked.


This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is making drop cookies, which are exactly what they sound like. Drop cookies are made by dropping the dough on to a baking pan with a spoon or scoop and they are probably one of the easiest types of cookie to make. No fancy rolling or forming or slicing necessary. Drop cookies are usually pretty rustic looking too, especially if you are using a tablespoon.

Many thanks to our Creative Cookie Exchange member Holly from A Baker's House who handled our behind the scenes work this month. Check out all the lovely drop cookies we’ve been baking!

Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Pin Brown Sugar Bacon Cookies! 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Apple Crumb Quick Bread #BreadBakers

Tart apples and lemon juice brighten up a crisp Autumn day when they are baked into a sweet quick bread that fills your whole house with the aroma of baked cinnamon apples. Nothing better!

You know how people used to do their colors? Well, I think we can categorize our general lives in the same sort of way. I am definitely a summer person. I want beach and water and sand and surf. A day out at the beach or on a boat, preferably one that moves along smartly, is the best day! But I do have an appreciation for the beauty of fall.

This month my Bread Bakers group is using fall flavors to welcome the coming of the new season. Our air is hardly crisp in Dubai, but temperatures are mercifully starting to fall, even if it’s just a little. I had a bit of reprieve last week though, because I was in the States to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday. The trees in Texas and Louisiana were just starting to turn and the weather was sweet. Sunny days and slightly cooler nights and early mornings. Just perfect for baking bread, don’t you think?

Is there anything that beats the smell of bread in the oven? Yeast or quick bread, sweet or savory, it really doesn’t matter. But when you add apples and cinnamon, the delightfulness of the aroma expands ten-fold.

This recipe is adapted from one on Cube 5107.

For the bread batter:
2 Granny Smith or other tart green apples
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups or 250g flour
1 cup or 200g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup or 125g sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup, firmly packed, or 100g brown sugar
1/4 cup or 32g flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup or 60g butter

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and line a normal bread pan with baking parchment or grease it well with non-sticking baking spray.

Put your lemon juice in a small bowl.

Core, peel and finely dice your apples and put the pieces in the lemon juice and stir well as you go along.

In a small bowl, mix together your all your ingredients for the crumb topping, except the butter.

Cut the butter into pieces and work them into the dry mixture with two knives or a pastry blender. You are trying to make something that looks like very coarse sand but with the occasional small butter lump still.

Add a good handful of your apple pieces to the crumb topping and mix well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Add the rest of the apples pieces to the dry ingredients and stir to coat.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, sour cream and vanilla.

Pour your liquid ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl and use a rubber spatula to stir until just combined.

Spoon the thick batter into your prepared bread pan.

Spread the crumb topping out over the batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you are a thermometer user, the internal temperature should reach 200°F or 94°C.

Cool in the bread pan for about 10 minutes and then remove and cool on a wire rack.


Many thanks to our Bread Baker host this month, Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm. Are you ready for fall weather and fall flavors?

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Friday, August 28, 2015

Brown Sugar Nectarine Tart #FridayPieDay

Sprinkling fresh nectarines with brown sugar and a little sea salt enhances their summery sweetness in this baked tart that is easy enough to make any day of the week.

Sometimes fresh nectarines can be a disappointment. They smell all nectarine-y in the stores so you take them home with great anticipation of that first juicy bite and the inevitably sweetness dripping down your chin. And then the sadness hits. The nectarines are juicy enough, even somewhat sweet, but they just don’t taste as strongly of nectarine as their aroma promised. That, my friends, is when I figure I have a couple of choices: make jam or tarts. Either will use sugar and heat to concentrate the flavors of the fruit and restore your good temper with deliciousness to share.

This is my contribution for this month's Friday Pie Day! Scroll down to the bottom to see what my fellow baker, Heather, is sharing today.

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, 8 3/4 oz or 250g, thawed – preferably all butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 nectarines (about 10 1/2 oz or 300g, whole)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Generous pinch fine sea salt
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons apricot (or peach or nectarine) jam

To serve: thick cream or vanilla ice cream - optional

Preheat oven to 425°F or 218°C and line your baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Unroll your puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle a circle in the middle with the cornstarch.

Cut your nectarines in half and remove the pits. Slice the halves thinly.

Starting in the middle of the circle, lay your nectarines slices out, overlapping them slightly. Keep going until the entire circle of cornstarch is covered, using all of the nectarine slices.

Fold the sides of the pastry in about 1/2 an inch or 1cm and sprinkle the tops of the nectarines with brown sugar and the generous pinch of salt.

Now fold the pastry over again to cover about one quarter of the fruit, all the way around.

Dot the top with butter.

Bake in your preheated oven for about minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden all over.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Loosen the jam by adding a little water to it and warming it gently in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove.

Brush it on the top of the nectarines when the tart has cooled. I used some homemade caramel apricot lime jam but you can use whatever jam you have open in the refrigerator.

Cut into four equal pieces and serve with thick pouring cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or perhaps a complementary slice of buttermilk pie. (See Heather's link below!)


FridayPieDay is the brilliant invention of Heather from girlichef and I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

This month Heather went traditional southern with a creamy buttermilk pie, and it looks delicious!

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oatmeal Stout Loaf #BreadBakers

The dark brown sugar and rich oatmeal stout give this loaf more than a subtle sweetness, making it perfect for breakfast or slathered with butter for a mid-morning snack. It's delicious plain or toasted and is complemented both by jam or/and some sharp and salty cheese.

One of my favorite places to browse around in Houston is the main headquarters of an immense gourmet specialties and liquor store called Spec’s, sitting large on three blocks (with ample parking) in an area that is now called Midtown. When I was growing up, we’d have just said, it’s a little south of Downtown. Back then the neighborhood was all run-down wood framed houses, with peeling paint, sagging front porches and inhabitants whose equally downturned expressions reflected the hardship of life in a big hot, humid city where air conditioning was too expensive to run. And Spec’s was just a small neighborhood liquor store. The nearest grocery store was a Fiesta at least a mile and a half away at the squalid south edge, wedged almost under a freeway, between that end of south Downtown and the seedy north end of Montrose, what would later become part of the Museum District.

Now Midtown boasts shiny apartment buildings with faux balconies, grocery stores, trendy restaurants and fern-festooned wine bars and property values have soared accordingly. I don’t know if this was good or bad news for the original folks who lived there but it’s certainly a sign of prosperity and renewal for Houston’s inner city.

A number of years ago, Spec’s even started carrying a selection of deli meats and cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables along with fresh baked artisanal bread and some refrigerated items, along with the gourmet canned goods, liquor, wine and beer, so I guess, theoretically, you could do a lot of your shopping there, assuming your food budget would allow such expenditure. I understand they even serve a plate lunch come midday. Me, I go for the cheese and alcohol.

You are probably wondering at this point when, if ever, I’m going to get to the bread. Almost there now.

My libation of choice this summer was a cocktail, yet unnamed, consisting of the delicious combination of Texas’ own Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, a good squeeze of lime, club soda and just a capful of Campari over ice. And I can highly recommend it. But while I was at Spec’s buying those refreshing ingredients, I spied some bottles of oatmeal stout and my mind jumped ahead to this month’s Bread Bakers theme of oats. Unfortunately for that brand, it came only in six packs. A helpful Spec’s employee – they are everywhere and very knowledgeable – found this Texas-brewed one for me instead, saying it was actually much better than my first pick anyway. The Convict Hill oatmeal stout has overtones of chocolate and toasted barley, the bitterness softened by the addition of flakey oats. And I knew it would be a great addition to an oaty yeast loaf.

Many thanks to our host this month, Rocío from kidsandchic. We have a record number of oaty breads for you this month – 28 in all – so make sure to scroll down and check them all out.

1/4 oz or 7g active rapid rise dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup firmly packed or 100g dark brown sugar
1 cup or 100g quick cook whole grain oats
1 1/4 cups or 295ml oatmeal stout, at room temperature
1/4 cup or 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for buttering pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups or 310-375g unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

To finish:
2-3 tablespoons oatmeal stout
Healthy sprinkle quick cook whole grain oats

In a small bowl, add your yeast with one tablespoon of the brown sugar and the two tablespoons of warm water. Stir gently then leave aside for about five minutes. We are checking to see that the yeast is still alive. It should bubble up and get foamy. If it doesn’t, buy some new yeast and start again.

Foamy and we are good to go!

To a very large mixing bowl, add the oatmeal and the oatmeal stout. Stir well and leave for about five minutes so the oatmeal can soften slightly.

Add in the rest of the brown sugar, the yeast mixture, melted butter and the salt and stir well to combine.

Add in your flour a few big spoons full at a time, mixing well in between. Keep adding and mixing until you have a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes, adding a sprinkle of flour as necessary.

Let rest, covered with an inverted bowl, about 15 minutes. If you aren’t using the rapid rise yeast, allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Butter your 9x5x3 in or 23x13x8cm loaf pan. Form dough into a loaf shape and transfer to pan. Brush surface of dough with oatmeal stout and sprinkle with oats.

Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake bread in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until browned and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. If it’s browning too quickly, cover with foil. I usually double check for doneness with a thermometer as well. Internal loaf temperature should be about 190°F or 88°C.

Turn loaf out onto rack to cool completely.


And here I give you our Bread Bakers' Ode to Oats, in 28 lines.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Disclaimer: No one has compensated me in any way to say nice things about Spec's. I just like the place.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bourbon Baked Beans #BloggerCLUE

Tangy, spicy, rich, and loaded with bacon, these bourbon spiked baked beans are the perfect side dish for a barbecue or even to serve as the main course with a loaf of crusty bread.

I must confess that here in Dubai, we don’t grill as often during the summer as we do the rest of the year because with temperatures that soar into the 120s°F (49-50°C) the last thing we want to do is light a fire and stand over it. But an assignment is an assignment and this month’s Blogger C.L.U.E. theme is “barbecue and grilling.” So I headed over to learn more about Lisa, the talented writer, photographer and cook behind Authentic Suburban Gourmet and poke around in her blog, as instructed, to hunt for dishes that fit our theme. A search for the word “grill” turned up eight pages of recipes! Clearly this bonafide Bay Area foodie, as Lisa refers to herself, is keen on grilling everything from peaches to cauliflower to flank steak. I was just about choose one of those lovely dishes and take one for the team when that same search for “grill” revealed this flavorful baked bean recipe with barbecue sauce. Sure, I'd have to turn the oven on, but that’s why, on the eighth day, God created air conditioning for the great indoors.

The only ingredient changes I made to Lisa’s recipe were to start with dried beans instead of canned (but I’ll leave both amounts in case canned is easier for you – just rinse them well) and I added a couple of hot peppers. Because we like that kind of heat all year long. She didn’t say what sort of vessel to bake them in so I took the liberty of inaugurating my brand new bean pot (Isn't it pretty?) and sealing the loose-fitting lid with a flour-water dough.

1 1/2 cups or 315g dried white beans = 4 1/2 cups cooked beans or 3 cans (15 oz 425g) white beans
8 slices smoked bacon
1 large onion
2 hot red chilies - optional
1 cup or 240ml ketchup
1 cup or 240ml traditional barbecue sauce (I used one labeled BOLD.)
1/4 cup or 60ml bourbon
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: dough seal for bean pot
1 cup or 125g flour
Lukewarm water to make soft dough (I used about 1/2 cup or 120ml.)

If you are going to cook your own beans, pick through them carefully and remove any stones or small clumps of dirt and any beans that have holes or discolorations. Even the best quality beans might have stones since they are usually sorted by machines and the occasional non-bean gets through. Either soak them overnight in cool water or cover them amply with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and leave to soak for one hour.

After an hour covered with boiling water: All plumped up.

If you are using canned beans, pour them into a colander and rinse well.

When soaking time is over, pour off the bean water and put the beans in a pot, covered with fresh cool water. Bring to the boil then lower the flame to simmer and cook the beans until they are tender. Depending on how old (and, therefore, dried) your beans are, this could take an hour or an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, you can get on with the rest of the dish. Chop your onion finely. Do the same with the hot peppers, if using. Cut the bacon into small strips.

Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove it from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and place on some paper towels to drain. I highly recommend hiding this bacon bounty or you might find it all gone before the beans are tender if you leave it irresistibly, invitingly exposed on the kitchen counter.

Spoon or pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat from the frying pan (I recommend saving the fat in a jar in the refrigerator for another use.) then use that same frying pan to sauté the chopped onions and peppers until they are softened.

When your beans are tender, drain them and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Tender beans

Put your cooked or rinsed canned beans in your bean pot or another ovenproof dish. Measure out the rest of your ingredients and add them into the bean pot or dish.

Don’t forget to add in the bacon, onions and chilies.

Stir everything well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you are using a casserole dish, bake it in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

If you are using a bean pot, you might want to add a dough seal. Simply put your flour in a small bowl and add enough lukewarm water to form a soft dough. Knead it for a few short minutes.

Roll the dough into a long snake that will reach right the way around the circumference of your bean pot lid. Secure it by pressing it to the rim of the bean pot itself. Gently lay the lid on top and press ever so slightly down.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then loosen the dough seal with a pointy knife.

Remove the lid and serve up the bourbon baked beans!


Whether you are looking for great grilling recipes or dishes to make for a barbecue, our Blogger C.L.U.E. (Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat) Society has got you covered this month.