Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slow cooker. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Slow Cooker Cocoa Peanut Butter Oat Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Chewy, crunchy and more-ish, these no bake slow cooker cookies are made with cocoa, peanut butter and whole rolled oats. They will have you reaching for just one more, until they are gone.

Despite my participation in the last Creative Cookie Exchange no-bake challenge in 2014 when I made Kashata Squares from Uganda, I am a neophyte at no bake cookie making.

This time I got my head in the game and hunted high and low with two recipe goals in mind. 1. It should be easy. Some weeks I’m close to in over my head and no bake could not mean complicated. 2. It should be tasty. I was hoping for something with peanut butter. I’m not much of a sweet eater but I do love the sweet and salty combination that peanut butter brings to a cookie.

This recipe on Moms With Crockpots fits both bills. Of course, my slow cooker is not an official Crockpot®, which is a registered trademark, so while changing up the method somewhat, I also changed the name.

These guys couldn’t be easier. Set your slow cooker on high and make a dent in your to-do list.

1 3/4 cups or 350g sugar
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 cup or 120ml milk, warmed slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup or 113g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
3 cups or 300g old fashioned rolled oats (Mine are called Scottish jumbo!)
1/2 cup or 140g crunchy peanut butter

In the base of your slow cooker, before you turn it on, mix together the sugar, cocoa, milk, butter and vanilla. I say to warm the milk first (just 20 -30 seconds in the microwave will do) because, in my experience, cold milk makes melted butter seize up again. We don't want that.

Pour oats on top of the chocolatey syrupy mixture. Spoon peanut butter in the middle on top of the oats. Don't mix them in!

Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the cocoa mixture reaches a good boil around the edges. Resist opening it to look before your timer buzzes. Lifting the lid releases a lot of heat and it takes a while for your slow cooker to get back up to temperature. The peanut butter isn’t going to sink in (at least mine didn’t) but you do want it to soften in the heat.

You can see that it's bubbling!

Stir well. I mean, really well. You want the peanut butter mixed thoroughly throughout.

Use a cookie scoop to place your cookies on a clean heat resistant surface covered in baking parchment.

I don’t know if my 2-tablespoon scoop is smaller than the original recipe but I got 31 full scoops and one half scoop, way more that the two dozen promised.

Allow cookies to set for a few hours and then store in a sealed container, layers divided by parchment. (Cut up the pieces your cookies cooled on and reuse.) If it’s hot where you live, you might want to chill your cookies. Mine set perfectly but the bottoms were still a little sticky.

Many thanks to Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories and Renee of Magnolia Days for doing our behind-the-scenes organizing this month. It’s much appreciated!

Just in time for the heat of summer, another round of no bake cookies! Forget turning the oven on, we’ve got you covered.

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!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Apple Butter #BloggerCLUE

Low slow cooking transforms apples and a little sugar into apple butter by evaporating most of the juice until it creates a smooth, luscious spread that is concentrated appleness personified. And, despite its name, is completely dairy free.

It’s Blogger C.L.U.E. time again, when I get assigned a blog to hunt through to look for recipes which fill September’s “clue” or theme: fall fruit. I’m not ready for pumpkin yet (Is pumpkin even a fruit?) and frankly I’m not a fan of pears so I was hoping that A Mama, Baby and Shar-Pei in the Kitchen would have some apple recipes. I was not disappointed.

The eponymous mama behind the blog is Alice who is a fellow expat, living first in England – before I knew her so I had some catching up to do – then back in the US for a few years, and now she is making a home in Japan. Sadly, her first child, the Shar-pei, is no longer in the kitchen but over the years one baby became two so I am sure her household is just as crazy.

I had a hard time choosing from Alice’s many apple recipes. Tipsy apple pie with rum or her Ever American apple pie? Both looked delicious. Or baked Apple-y Donut Holes? Alice lived for many years in Washington state so she is really, really fond of apples. I was so tempted by her homemade apple chips and her apple cheddar scones as well, but as you can see, I finally settled on apple butter, which Alice makes in a crockpot.

Her original recipe calls for 30-60 apples so I scaled mine back to a more manageable level, but it is so good that next time I just might go all in! Oh, and I also added some lemon just to add a little more tartness because I used only Red Delicious instead of a mix of apples and I subbed ground ginger for cloves and allspice.

1/4 cup or 60ml fresh lemon juice
11 apples - about 4 1/2 lbs or 2 kg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 cup or 200g sugar

Pour your lemon juice into the crockpot.

Peel, core and slice your apples, putting all the sliced bits in the crockpot as you go.

Give it a stir every now and then to mix the apples through the lemon juice.

Add in your spices and sugar and mix well. Alice’s instructions said to cook on medium for 10 hours, stirring occasionally, then turn to low but my crockpot only has two settings - low and high - so I put it on low. She also said that if the apples are cooking down too fast or burning to turn it to low so I figured low was better than high if you only have two choices.

I started a little late in the morning so I turned my crockpot on about 11 a.m. stirring the apples every hour or two all day long. By 9 p.m. that evening, they had cooked down and softened but they certainly weren’t anywhere near apple butter or even applesauce. So, following Alice’s advice, I left them on low overnight.

It was glorious the next morning to wake up to a whole house still smelling of apples and cinnamon. I used my whisk to break the apples down completely into sauce; they were still quite juicy though. You can use an immersion blender, as Alice did, but I found the whisk worked beautifully since the apples were already so soft.

Leave them on low for another few hours, with one change of method. Every time you take the lid off to stir the crockpot, use a dry cloth to wipe the condensation off of the inside of the lid, rather than letting it run back into the pot, which is what I had been doing.

Could I have turned the crockpot up to high at any point in this process to speed things up? Sure, probably so, but I enjoyed the leisurely stirring and the completely relaxed, no stress method more. Because even if I was just reading a book or watching tv, I was being productive! Most importantly, I had time to take a few photos of a spectator outside my kitchen window. I've been reliably informed that he's a bee-eater but he also seems to eat other bugs and ants, bringing them all up to the windowsill and knocking them on the concrete to remove stingers and extract venom.

At the 24-hour mark, I ladled the hot, thick apple butter into sterilized jars. You should do the same to yours as soon as they reach a consistency you like. Remember that the apple butter will thicken up a little more as it cools.

Aside from peeling, coring and slicing the apples, this apple butter feels almost effortless and the full jars make that time spent well worthwhile. Thanks, Alice!

Enjoy your apple butter spread on buttered toast or stirred through some plain yogurt. It also makes a great filling for tarts!

Are you ready for fall fruit? Check out all the lovely recipes my fellow Blogger C.L.U.E. participants are sharing today.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef and Guinness Stew - or Pie

When weather turns chilly, my thoughts turn to my slow cooker and a nice beefy stew with Guinness. Serve the warming bowls of deliciousness as is or top the stew with puff pastry and bake for a beautiful beef and Guinness pie. 

Whenever we are traveling and have the chance to eat a pub lunch, my husband almost invariably orders the beef and Guinness pie, if there is one on the menu. He loves the filling and the flaky puff pastry top. When decent pub grub is not available, I make my own. For stew beef to become tender, slow cooking is the way to go, so I like to use my crockpot to make the filling. After browning the meat, everything goes in the pot and I can get on with other projects like baking his favorite apple rhubarb strawberry pie. Pie for dinner and pie for dessert and he’s a happy man.

For the stew:
5 slices streaky smoked bacon
2 lbs or 950g braising or stew meat
1.1 lb or 500g marrow bones (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons or 15g flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large onion (about 7 oz or 200g)
1 large carrot (about 5 1/2 oz or 155g)
1 large parsnip (about 5 1/2 oz or 155g)
1 can (14 oz or 400g) chopped tomatoes with their juice
1 can (12 oz or 355 ml) Guinness stout
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper

For the pie:
1 sheet puff pastry (8 oz or 230g)

Cut your meat into bite-sized pieces, removing any gristle you can see.

Lay it out in a single layer on your cutting board and season it with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle it with the tablespoon and a half of plain flour and toss it around with your clean hands until well mixed.

Peel and cut the parsnip and carrot into pieces. Cover the parsnip with water in a small bowl until ready to use, to stop it from turning brown. Chop your onion roughly.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy in a non-stick pan. Remove the crispy bits from the rendered bacon fat and set aside.

Fry the meat in the bacon fat until browned on all sides, in two or three lots so that the pan doesn’t get crowded.

If you put too many pieces in at once, it will just steam instead of browning. As the batches get browned, remove them to a bowl.

Now you are ready to put everything in the slow cooker.

Start with the meat, then add the onion, parsnip and carrot. Top with the bacon, thyme and bay leaf. Pour the canned tomatoes in and then the can of Guinness.

Tuck the marrow bones down into the vegetables, if using.

Cook on high for three to four hours or until the beef is tender. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.

This can be served exactly as is or it can be baked as pie topped with puff pastry.

If you cooked your stew with the optional marrow bones, these can be put under the broiler or grill in the oven to brown. They are lovely served as an appetizer with toast on which to spread the marrow.

To make the pie, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Spoon your beef and Guinness stew into a baking pan and allow it to cool a little while your oven preheats. I like to use a small pan that holds the beef and vegetables with a good amount of the broth that is created while the stew slow cooks. Then I thicken the rest of the broth with a little flour and serve it as extra gravy with the pie.

Slice the outside edges off of your puff pastry sheet and cut a few slits in the middle.

When your oven is up to temperature, cover the filled baking pan with your puff pastry. Fold the sides up so they don't hang over the edges. Press down all around the edges to seal the crust to the pan. You can use the trimmed pieces to decorate the top, if you want.

Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden.

To serve, cut a piece of the puff pastry off the top and fold it back. Scoop the stew into your bowl and top with the puff pastry.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Spicy Ham and 10-Bean Soup

Spicy ham and bean soup is the perfect comfort food and it is best made in a slow cooker where the beans won’t catch at the bottom as they begin to plump out, soften and thicken the soup. 

Mix and match ingredients
If there is any recipe that is forgiving of mixing and matching and adding more or less of this and that, it’s bean soup. Especially bean soup cooked in a crockpot or slow cooker. I’ve given you some guidelines here of what I usually toss in but feel free to add a can of crushed tomatoes or more carrots or fewer chilies. Use smoked pork loin or sausage instead of ham. Up the amount of garlic or toss in some leftover caramelized onions if you’ve got some handy. It’s all good! Beans are best friends with just about every vegetable I can think of and using a mix of different beans means that the smaller, quicker cooking beans will essential dissolve as the soup cooks, thickening it beautifully and leaving you with a hearty bowl of comfort that sits well on a spoon and sticks to your ribs.

Crockpot potential - so much more than soup!
I use my slow cooker frequently in the summertime to avoid turning on the stove or oven but as weather gets cooler in the northern hemisphere, I start making soup. I know for a lot of families, soup is a starter course to be followed by the main meal but I firmly believe that a good, thick soup is a meal in itself, especially with some vegetables thrown in. I am delighted this week to be sharing a long list of wonderful Sunday Supper Slow Cooking recipes - from drinks to desserts - that can all be made in your crockpot. Special thanks to Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures and Heather of Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks for hosting this event. Make sure you scroll down past my bean soup to see all the links.


1.1 lb or 500g assorted dried beans (A 16 oz bag will work fine as well.)
1 carrot (4 2/3 oz or 130g)
1 onion (about 3 1/2 oz or 100g)
3 cloves garlic
2 fresh red chilies
Olive oil
1 1/2 lbs or 700g ham
3/4 cup macaroni or small pasta of your choice – optional
Sea salt
Black pepper

Start softening your beans by putting them in an heatproof bowl and covering them with boiling water. Put a plate on top of the bowl to hold some of the heat in and allow the beans to soak for one hour. This replaces the overnight soak that is often recommended when cooking dried beans.

While the beans are soaking, peel and chop your carrot and onion. Slice your garlic and mince the red chilies.

Cut the ham into chunks. This is an excellent use of the end bits you can often find discounted in the deli section of most supermarkets. I buy them and toss them, well-wrapped, in the freezer till it's time for soup. Another bonus of buying the end bits that are too small for the deli to slice safely is that, sometimes, they have spices on the outside or charred marks from the roasting, which add even more flavor.

Put a good drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of your crockpot or slow cooker and pile in the carrot, onion, garlic and chilies.

Add the ham and cook on high, with the lid firmly closed until the beans are finished their hour soaking time. If you have planned ahead and the beans are already soaked, everything can go in at once.

When the beans are ready, pour out any soaking water that was not absorbed and give them a quick rinse.

Add the beans to the pot and cover with fresh water plus an additional two or three inches above the beans. Give the slow cooker a good stir.

Put the lid on securely and cook on high for three to four hours or on low for five to six hours. Check your beans for doneness occasionally towards the end of the cooking time.

When the beans are sufficiently soft, and about half an hour before you are ready to serve, add the macaroni, if desired. Give it a good stir and cook on high, covered, until it is done. This makes a very thick soup, especially if you have added the pasta, so feel free to add a little more water, if you want to thin it out a bit. Personally, a soup I can almost eat with a fork is my ideal soup.

Taste your soup and add salt and some freshly ground black pepper to your liking. I recommend this step at the very end because some hams are very salty and there’s no way of judging ahead of time how salty that will make your soup.


Are you a fan of cracking crockpot recipes? Have I got a link list for you!

Satiating Soups
Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)
Satisfying Sides
Scintillating Sweets and Sips
Savory Baking

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crockpot Borlotti Beans with Smoked Pork

Cream and burgundy Borlotti beans are sometimes called cranberry or French horticultural beans but they all seem to come from the same original new world source, the cargamanto bean first cultivated in Colombia. Near as I can figure. 

Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely considering how small the world has become these days, I first discovered Borlottis (or one of their close cousins) as fresh beans in a small vegetable stall in Kuala Lumpur. They were already shelled but their distinctive red marks attracted me immediately. This was years ago (2007, in fact) when Nigella was still doing her quick dinners on television. She was home alone and had pan-fried a thin steak to eat with some mashed white beans as her side. I tried some version of her recipe with the fresh borlottis and fell in love with them. Nowadays, I can’t find the fresh ones so I make do with dried. But, you know what?  They are also fabulous. Maybe I’m just a bean person. Are you?

I made this one-pot dish in my crockpot a while back and I’ve been wanting to share it with you. I love the slow cooker for busy days when I can’t be standing around stirring a pot. Fill, turn it on and walk away! Come back in a few hours and you’ve got dinner. If you can’t get smoked pork neck steaks, by all means use whatever you’ve got. A smoked ham hock would be great, as would any kind of sausage.

2 medium onions
2 handfuls cloves garlic (Let’s not get anal about how many. You like garlic? Hum more in.)
2 lb 3 oz or 1 kg smoked pork neck steaks
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 lb+ or 500g dried Borlotti beans
2 bay leaves

Slice your onions and lay a third of them at the bottom of your crockpot or slow cooker. Add a third of the garlic cloves.

Top with a third of the smoked pork steaks or whatever meat you are using. Sprinkle with sea salt and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper.

Add on one third of your Borlotti beans.

Keep layering, onions and garlic, pork steak, salt and pepper then beans until you get to the final layer of beans.

Add water to cover the beans by at least one inch or two centimeters.  Add another few grinds of pepper, if you are so inclined and tuck a couple of bay leaves into the water. Cover the pot and turn it on low.

Totally forgot to take a photo with the bay leaves but they did go in!

You’ll have beans and pork ready to eat in six to eight hours, depending on how old your beans were to start. Older beans have dried out more so they take a little longer to cook. Check them in around four to five hours and add more water, if necessary. You don’t even need to stir.

When they are done, I like to take a half cup or so of beans out and mash them with a fork.  I add the mashed beans back into the crockpot to thicken the broth beautifully.

Serve with rice or a crusty loaf to sop up the broth and, if you are me, some pepper sauce.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Indian Corn Pudding with Date Honey for #RandomRecipeChallenge

This simple cornmeal pudding is flavored with date honey but you could easily substitute any syrup you love.  Cooked in a crockpot or slow cooker, it makes an easy, belly-warming sweet finish to any meal.

I’m now in my second go-round of living in the Middle East, but the fact of the matter is that I fear I have barely touched the surface of the ingredients available here. Take date honey, for instance.  I first noticed date honey, or date syrup as it sometimes called, when we moved to Dubai back in November last year but I’d never bought it because I had no idea what to do with it.  Then, last May, on a holiday with my mother in the region, our hotel had a bowl of it out at breakfast.  I put it in my plain yogurt and everyone else was spreading it on buttered toast.  But I still never bought any of my own.  So I was delighted when Dom from Belleau Kitchen set using a local ingredient as our Random Recipe Challenge for this month.  I love Dom’s challenges because they are the impetus I need to try something new, even when sometimes it’s just a recipe in a book I’ve had for years so I bought a big bottle of date honey and prepared to use it in a recipe.

Unfortunately, an EatYourBooks search of date syrup and/or honey showed up zero recipes in my own cookbook collection.  It tastes more like molasses rather than honey or syrup, so I changed the search parameter to molasses and my chosen number lead me a recipe in a book I have never, ever cooked from, Lora Brody’s Slow Cooker Cooking.  I bought it online several years ago meaning for it to be a gift for my elder daughter, along with a crockpot, but she declined the gift idea, saying, quite rightly, that she didn’t need a heavy appliance to lug around.  So I was left with the book and I popped it on my shelf and forgot about it.  It’s actually quite a nice cookbook and I regret neglecting it.  That said, I halved the recipe because I wasn’t sure about a slow cooker sweet dish.  I shouldn’t have worried.  It was delicious, especially with a big slurp of pouring cream.  My husband declared it very good, in fact.  So go ahead and double everything and cook for nine hours.  Live large!  And try something local that is made or grown in YOUR neighborhood.

random recipes #33
Click on the badge to see the Random Recipe Challenge rules.

1/4 cup or about 70g yellow cornmeal
2 cups or 275ml whole milk
1/4 cup or 60ml date honey or syrup (or sub molasses/treacle as in the original recipe)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon butter, cut into two pieces, plus extra for greasing slow cooker
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a small mixing bowl, whisk your egg, a half cup of the milk and the date honey. Set aside.

Check out how dark this stuff is! 

Butter the inside of your slow cooker.  Do not turn it on yet.

Place the cornmeal in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Pour in a half cup of the milk; whisk constantly as you pour, so that the cornmeal does not form lumps.

Add your sugar, salt and baking soda to the egg/milk/molasses bowl and whisk again.  Add this mixture to the saucepan along with the butter and whisk well.

Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the mixture, whisking constantly and making sure to reach into the corners of the pan, until small bubbles start to form on the surface and the mixture starts to thicken.  This takes just a few minutes.

Remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining cup of milk, whisking vigorously to dissolve any lumps.

Pour the mixture into the buttered insert of the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW for about four and a half or five hours, or until the outer edges and top have darkened and the middle just jiggles a little.  Turn off the slow cooker and let the pudding cool slightly, uncovered.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or a good helping of thick pouring cream.

It rather makes its own sauce as well.