Search for Snickerdoodles

So, I don’t know what happened in the time since we started this blog, but it’s been insanely difficult lately to find newspaper recipes online that don’t cost money for archive fees. I found a whopping two results when I searched for news about “snickerdoodle recipes.” Two. On Google.

This article contained a recipe for snickerdoodles bar cookies instead of regular cookies, but I liked the woman’s frugal food budget.

Thank goodness for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which not only had a snickerdoodle recipe, but a recipe submitted by someone local. Huzzah!

Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (I actually had to lower it to 375 and move my cookies up from the center rack because the bottoms kept burning…)

2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until fluffy.

3. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Beat into butter mixture.

5. In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon. Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in cinnamon sugar.

6. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until cookies are crackled but no longer gooey in the center (do not let the edges brown). (I cooked them about 7 minutes at 400. When I lowered the temperature, it was about 9 to 10 minutes, but they still burned on the edges)

7. Transfer cookies to wire cooling racks with a metal spatula.

((Photos will go here once I figure out why I cannot upload anything to my laptop 😦 Suffice to say, the cookies looked burnt. :-P))

This recipe venture (and semi-failure) kind of illustrated why I see many people in the online cooking/baking community turning to blogs instead of newspapers. I feel like I could have gotten a much better and thoroughly tested recipe had I gone to a cooking site where many users rate their experiences.

I guess it’s a little like techie folks mocking newspapers and TV stations for their laughable, out-of-date coverage of technological advances. There’s no way, even when papers draw their recipes from new books and even some bloggers, that newspapers can stay up on all the newest and greatest recipes.

Mark Bittman seems on top of things, of course. And one local notable exception? Seattle Times’ and NPR’s food writer Nancy Leson is on it. She blogs, she tweets, and she seems pretty savvy to trends and new ideas.

Are newspaper test kitchens still running after the most recent wave of cuts to the industry? I’m hoping to get in touch with folks in Seattle and Detroit to find out. Do you have any ideas?

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Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pear Butter Pork Chops

I’ve been dying to use the pear butter I made last weekend in our crock pot. Huzzah! Thanks to Tracy for the apartment-warming gift.

Pear Butter

Pear Butter

I modified a basic pork-chop-and-fruit recipe from the Canadian paper Metro News. The author of the recipe is affiliated with a massive blog, but I don’t know whether the post appeared in the newspaper or online first, so I decided it would be OK.

Pear Butter Pork Chops
Serves 2

• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 3 thin-cut bone-in pork chops (original recipe calls for 4 inch-thin chops)
• 1/4 cup pear butter
• salt & pepper

1. Season chops generously with salt and pepper.

2. Set a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and heat one tablespoon olive oil.

3. Add chops and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

4. Transfer chops to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

5. Plate meal. Pour pear butter on top. (This is the part I modified! Can you tell? :))

Pear Butter Pork Chops

Pear Butter Pork Chops

The pork chops were juicy, the pear butter was ginger-y and amazing, and the crackers with brie made for a nice side. Seeing as how we have 14 cans of pear butter, we’ll probably be making this again.

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AJC for Jamie G.

I have a new food reporting obsession. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s recipe finder.

On many sites, I’ve had a difficult time searching through recipe archives. My queries for “chicken” wind up netting either zero hits or 23946732875. Even ProQuest fails me at times.

So it was a welcome change to discover the AJC’s food page. I admit, I was skeptical of the newspaper’s site at first — the home page was so crammed with advertisements that I thought I hit one of those error pages, where you misspell a word in the URL, so scam artists design a site that looks similar but is just all links and ads.

The food site itself is divided into several categories that seemed pretty intuitive to me:
• What are you bringing? (recipes suitable to bring to a potluck or work function, they seem to serve more people than an average recipe without being restaurant-sized batches)
• Sunday Dinner (more involved meals designed “for when you have more time”
• Fit to Eat (healthy, obviously)
• 5:30 Dinner Challenge (30-minute meals)

Bottom line: AJC: UR DOIN IT RIGHT.

The Journal-Constitution is also doing it right because they’ve hired the talented Jamie Gumbrecht from the Lexington Herald-Leader, where she worked as a pop culture reporter. And although it’s silly that she’s moving away from Seattle instead of closer, I can’t help but be happy for her.
Jamie and Shannon
Jamie and me in 2003.

Just for Jamie, I stepped out of my comfort zone again this week with another cooking-but-it’s-sort-of-baking recipe. I attempted broccoli corn bread, and then in a flash of inspiration (and because the site was so freaking easy to navigate), I also tried the peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.

A note to food page designers: I loved being able to rate the recipes, as well as see how many people rated them. Toby was highly skeptical of the corn bread, but I pointed out that 16 people gave it 4 stars.

However, it would have been helpful to know when the recipe was posted and how long the recipes stay posted on the site. I assumed that because 16 people had a chance to try the corn bread, it wasn’t just posted super-recently, but as our Detroit News adventure taught me, I don’t expect it to stay online terribly long.

This meal was served with my mom’s fantastic chili recipe, which is not from a newspaper, but is delicious nonetheless. And I should mention that *I* made this entire meal, so you know it’s simple.

Broccoli Corn Bread

2 (8 1/2-ounce) boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, excess water squeezed out

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine corn muffin mix, butter, eggs, cottage cheese, onion and broccoli.

3. Spread in baking pan and bake until cake tester comes out clean and edges are lightly browned, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Chili and Corn Bread

Notes and Modifications
• Don’t be afraid to overcook this one a bit. It’s extremely moist, so it’s nice to have a crunchier crust.
• Toby’s cousin Alex joined us for dinner. Alex likes corn bread!!

And for dessert, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups warm milk (or water)
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and warm milk or water with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add the cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Beat 2 minutes, until smooth.

3. Spoon the batter into the lined cups. Drop a teaspoon of jam on top and in the middle of the batter in each cup. Press down on the jam slightly with the back of the teaspoon.

4. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the centers are firm. (Do not underbake.) Cool in pan for at least 5 minutes before removing

Nutrition information per cupcake: 199 calories (percent of calories from fat, 44), 5 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 209 milligrams sodium.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Notes and modifications
• Let’s be frank. (And slightly not safe for work.) If you put too much batter in the cupcake cup, the batter doesn’t completely surround the jelly and you wind up with cupcakes that look a bit like this. I mention this on a practical note, in case you don’t want lady-bits cupcakes at your next office party. If, on the other hand, that suits your purposes, I highly recommend them.
• The recipe insists you need paper muffin tin liners, but you don’t. I thought the jelly might seep through the bottom if you didn’t use them, but that wasn’t a problem.
• We used Pillsbury yellow cake mix because it was on sale, and it worked just fine.

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