April 29, 2013

Zucchini Fritters

It's finally spring! What better way to celebrate than with some fresh produce? Zucchini is always fantastic this time of year, and I love finding new ways to use it. There's always my Zucchini Ricotta Crostada, a delicious combination of flaky pie crust, creamy ricotta, and fresh zucchini, but sometimes I just want to fry stuff. You know the feeling; you want something crispy and greasy and indulgent. Frying vegetables is wonderful because you get to indulge in crispy goodness but you still get all the nutrients and healthiness of the vegetable.

Instead of just breading and frying the zucchini, I wanted to do something a bit more complex but just as delicious. I made fritters, kind of like my Latkes, but with zucchini and a more creamy binding. Instead of eggs and matzo meal, I use eggs and flour to make a dough to hold the zucchini and scallions together. The contrast in textures is fantastic; there's the creamy dough, crisp zucchini, and crunchy fried exterior. Whether you use them as an appetizer, side, or snack, you will have a new favorite way to eat your vegetables!

2 lbs Zucchini
1 tsp Kosher Salt
2 Scallions, Sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Oil, for Frying

Trim the ends of the zucchini and grate with a food processor or cheese grater. Toss with the salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean towel and squeeze to drain the liquid.

Combine the zucchini, scallions, garlic, and egg. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the flour and baking powder.

Heat some oil in a skillet. Add spoonfuls of the zucchini mixture and flatten slightly. Cook until golden, flip, and cook until golden on the other side.

Makes 14
Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

April 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone loves peanut butter and jelly. Well, maybe not me since the texture of jelly is a little weird to me, but it's still a pretty popular combination. Equally delicious but less popular is the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Fans of Tagalongs, those tasty little Girl Scout cookies, know exactly what I'm talking about. 

The smooth, sticky, creamy peanut butter pairs perfectly with the molten bittersweet chocolate, especially in this cookie. There is just enough peanut butter so that you can taste it without it overpowering the chocolate. I like to use the jumbo chocolate chips or chunks so that there are big pockets of liquid chocolate scattered around the cookie. You can even fold in a handful of chopped roasted peanuts for more texture contrast; the cookies are fairly soft, so some crunch is definitely a welcome addition.

1 1/2 Sticks Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Chunks
1 Cup Chopped Roasted Unsalted Peanuts (Optional)

Heat oven to 350F and line cookie trays with parchment.

Beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter, then add the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then fold into the dough. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared trays and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

Makes 50
Recipe Adapted from

April 13, 2013

Caramel Pretzel Blondies

When I started this blog, I decided I wouldn't share some of my secret recipes. Sorry, but don't expect chocolate chip cookies or brownies or red velvet cake any time soon. I know a lot of you probably want those recipes, but they're secret. My blondies were on that list; everybody has asked for the recipe and I always said no. That is, until I tried something new that was just so good that I had to share. Imagine blondies without nuts or chocolate chips but with ribbons of caramel and pretzels instead. All that is topped with even more pretzels, caramel, and mini chocolate chips.

Yes, I know. It sounds strange. Pretzels in blondies? Really? Just try it. The combination of sweet, salty, and bitter as well as the contrast between cakey blondie, crunchy pretzel, and gooey chocolate and caramel is fantastic. Don't use milk chocolate in this recipe because the bitterness of semisweet chocolate pairs so well with the sweetness of the blondie and caramel and the saltiness of the pretzels. You can use whatever shaped pretzel you want as long as you chop them into fairly large chunks for the batter and whatever you think looks best for decoration on top.

Some of you (those who have never heard of blondies) are probably lost by now. I apologize both for not explaining earlier and for the fact that you've missed out on such a delicious food. Blondies are basically chocolate chip cookies with the shape and texture of brownies. I usually add chocolate chips and sometimes nuts, but I omitted them for this variation. Instead, I fold in chunks of pretzels and a swirl of caramel. I later top the whole thing with mini chocolate chips, pretzels, and more caramel. Whether this is your first blondie or your thousandth, you have got to try this delicious twist!

2 3/4 Cups + 1 T Flour
2 3/4 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
4 Eggs
3/4 Cup Oil
2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/4 Cups Pretzels, Plus more for Decoration
1/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
3/4 Cup Cream
3 T Butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13" glass baking dish with parchment paper and grease.

Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, cream, and butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until thick. Cool.

Roughly chop the pretzels and toss in 1T flour.

Sift together remaining flour, remaining brown sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. 

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Fold in the chopped pretzels.

Spread half the batter into prepared pan and smooth with a greased offset spatula. Drizzle with a third of the caramel. Spread the remaining batter on top and swirl in another third of caramel. Bake 40 minutes or until cooked through and deep golden brown.

When cool, top with more pretzels and the remaining caramel and mini chocolate chips.

Makes 18
Recipe Adapted from Publix