Favorite Ginger Cookies

There’s something about the flavors of molasses and warming spices that reminds me of holidays spent baking, indulging and making merry. This recipe, which comes from a childhood friend, combines ginger, cinnamon, cloves and molasses in a slightly chewy, slightly crunchy package that is high on my list of favorite cookies. While you can mix the dough by hand, it’s much easier — and faster — if you have a stand mixer.

Makes about two dozen

Ingredients

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add molasses and egg, beat well.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients, then add to the sugar mixture, beating in a little at a time until well combined.

Roll the dough into balls (about 1 1/2 inches diameter), then dip in sugar to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet that’s been greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack.

Pictured: Pyrex Flamingo 909 Pie Plate, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Recently we had family coming over for dinner, but we were going to be away from home all afternoon. Perfect scenario for a slow-cooked meal! I decided to make white chicken chili with all the fixings, and it was a big hit. One nice thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively mild — despite the three jalapeños (they mellow out a lot when cooked). Then you can spice it up to taste with toppings.

Adapted from the White Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped fine
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp canned fire-roasted green chiles
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt
pepper
1 tbsp masa harina
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and jalapeños until translucent and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, coriander and green chiles. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and transfer to slow cooker.

Add the beans and 2 cups more broth to the slow cooker and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker, making sure all the pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone easily, about 4-6 hours.

Keeping the slow cooker on, remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces (discard the bones). Once the chili has settled, remove as much fat as possible by skimming the surface with a large spoon. Stir back in the shredded chicken and let sit a few minutes until hot.

In a small pot, simmer masa in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes to thicken, then add to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve with an array of toppings.

Toppings:

  • lime wedges
  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
  • red pepper flakes

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x4)

Cranberry Apple Breakfast Cake

When I was growing up, one recipe my family always made for guests was a breakfast cake called Apple Delight. I suspect it might have come from a magazine or newspaper clipping at some point, as many “family recipes” do. But after decades of baking it again and again, it has been imprinted on my family history.

The original recipe just calls for apples, but after stocking up on some post-Thanksgiving cranberries, I decided to try mixing them in. The cranberries add a nice tang and extra dimension to the cake.

Note: I baked this in an 8×8 pan because I wanted to use my Fire King dish, but it’s really too small — the batter ended up ballooning over the top edges of the pan and the top got very brown by the time the cake fully set. If you don’t have a 9×9 pan, 8×8 is doable — just allow for some extra cooking time.

Ingredients

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped granny smith apples (about 2 small apples)
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in apples, cranberries and pecans.

Pour into a greased and floured 9×9 pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Pictured: Fire King Hildi Fruit Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 401 Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

 

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Cornbread

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been thinking about cornbread — and more specifically, cornbread stuffing. Cook’s Illustrated has a great cornbread stuffing recipe that I tried a few years ago, and this time around I’m curious about making a whole wheat version. My first step: testing out a whole wheat cornbread recipe.

The whole wheat flour gives this cornbread an earthiness that’s especially tasty topped with good local honey. I’ll definitely be making it again for cornbread stuffing next month.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated‘s Golden Cornbread for Stuffing (The New Best Recipe, America’s Test Kitchen 2004)

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking dish (or equivalent — I used two 8-inch square dishes).

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk and milk in a separate bowl. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in melted butter.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake until the top is cracked and golden and edges are pulling away from the sides, about 30-40 minutes.

Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-2-B Casserole (x2), Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl

Thrifted Find: Pyrex Divided Dishes

Pyrex divided dishes are especially fun to collect, due to the sheer variety of limited-release patterns out there. My favorite is Dandelion Duet (pictured above), which came out in 1959, advertised for its ability to hold two separate packages of frozen foods in one dish. (The Corning Museum of Glass has a great ad from the era in its library collection here.)

After a flurry of bidding on the Goodwill auction website, I’ve found myself with quite a few dishes (is this what obsession looks like?):

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Clockwise from top right: Verde, Snowflake (x2), Pink Daisy, Opal,  Royal Wheat, Golden Acorn, Town and Country, Dandelion Duet, Butterfly Gold.

Since shopping Goodwill online is sort of like cheating, I also took a picture of the pieces I actually scored in real-world thrift stores (Savers and Hope Thrift). Finding lids is always a particular treat.

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So what can divided dishes be used for? Chips and dip, cheese and crackers, soup and salad, chicken and waffles, spicy and mild, two different sides, different flavors of jello, individual pies with one crust … the possibilities are endless. I’ve also heard of people using them as dinner plates.

It’s worth noting that other manufacturers also made divided dishes. I frequently see Glasbake models in thrift stores, and Fire King seems to have some too.

 

Rustic Potato Leek Soup with Sausage and Kale

Sausage, potatoes and greens are a classic soup combo that I have made a bunch of different ways. For the sausage I’ve used linguica, Spanish chorizo, andouille, kielbasa. Potatoes could be white beans, barley, rice, quinoa. In place of kale: spinach, collard greens, broccoli leaves. (On a side note, if you ever have a chance to get some broccoli leaves, do it! We were ordering them in our Imperfect Produce box for a while and braising them like other hearty greens — really yummy. I’ve never seen them in stores.)

For this soup I wanted to use some of the flavors of potato leek soup but make it chunkier and brothier, like a stew. If you’re not a fan of kale, you can sub in spinach — add it after the potatoes are cooked and simmer for a minute or so just to cook it lightly.

Whether you opt for kale or spinach, it’s helpful to use an oversized pot, so that there’s plenty of room to accommodate the greens before they wilt and become more manageable. I used a 6 3/4-quart Le Crueset dutch oven, my go-to pot for making soup and cooking greens.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 lb bulk italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green portion only)
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs mixed potatoes, partially peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (I used russet and red potatoes)
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
10 oz kale (about 2 bunches), stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up into bite-sized crumbles, until it’s browned through. Add onions, leeks and celery and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute more.

Add potatoes, chicken broth, wine, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then stir in kale. Bring to a boil again, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cream and heat to warm through, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl; Pyrex Spring Blossom 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl