Monday, June 22, 2009

Sassy Sweet Treats makes dessert an entire meal!

  Our lovely friend Jennie Broderick, AKA Cookie Einstein and owner of Sassy Sweet Treats, invited us over for dinner on Saturday with her husband Jim and our friends Todd and Nicole. "Dinner" was great, an assortment of deliciously basted BBQ goodies and a great time with our pals and their canines. But in Sassy Sweet Treats Land, the main course is of course dessert. 
   For a starter Jennie served Grandma Flossy's Cream Cheese and Olive Spread. Apparently, its that simple. Just cream cheese and olives. You can't go wrong with either, and Flossy realized together they are even better! The first of many addictive flavors of the evening.
   I literally had a bouquet of cilantro from the CSA so I made this "experimental" White Bean Cilantro Hummus. I added some garlic, cumin, lemon juice and olive oil. Its a great spread for bruschetta.
   We played with Tugboat and Daisy. 
   Daisy is a very sassy girl herself. She exuberantly jumps up on people and has great aim when it comes to men. We are not talking about tennis balls!
   Now for dessert. Oh wait, we didn't eat dinner yet. Dinner was fantastic. Not only can Jennie bake but she is a Barbecue Queen as well. She made really delicious grilled shrimp, chicken and perfect corn, a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad plus hamburgers for the two picky boys. 
   Her oven skills don't stop at cookies either, we had Bowman's Mac n' Cheese. Whew, was it delicious! What I really liked was that Jennie used two big types of pasta, cellentani and rigatoni. It was messing with my mind. You get big mouthfuls of different creamy textures, topped with toasty bread crumbs. Irresistible.
   I supplied a veggie dish of Sage Pecan Carrots
   Everything was so good. I really wanted seconds but I consciously held off because there was a lot more to come!
    Now is it time for dessert? I have to say, my dessert feigning brain wouldn't have waited, but Jennie, who is a wonderful hostess, knew exactly the appropriate time to wait between dinner and dessert, so we weren't still full but hungry for sweets. 
    Of course there was an assortment of Jennie's Famous Sassy Sweet Treat Cookies. There were her best selling chocolate chunk, my favorite the peanut butter chunk, the fabulous sugar cookie, the scrumptious oatmeal raisin and the very special oatmeal toffee chunk. You want to try these. Trust me. They make great gifts, but be selfish and treat yourself to a tin. You will be very happy you did. Make that two tins; they go very fast. (I am giving Mike a dirty look right now because he just finished the last of the stash we brought home ... grrr.)  
    Another addictive dessert that Nicole made was what she calls Chocolate Saltines. They are so so good. Why? A few key ingredients, chocolate, saltines brown sugar and butter! Thats it. So easy and so delicious.
    There's more. Jennie's Mom Bonnie made her infamous Sour Cream Coffee cake at my desperate request. I had this the first time when I photographed Jennie's cookies for her website and I literally rave about it every time I talk to her. It is my favorite cake ever. Rocco, who also loves it, describes it as uniquely complex on the taste buds, at first you taste the warm butteriness, then the chocolate flavor melts in, then a nice hint of sour creamy cinnamon. Its bonkers. Jennie, please figure out how to ship this. I will order it every week!
    If all this is not enough Jennie made the most beautiful Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes. She assembled them like a pro and they looked better than the photo from the magazine where she got the recipe. These babies were so good with more playful textures to spin my brain: the sweet strawberries enveloped in smooth whipped cream on top of perfectly moist shortcake. 
    At one moment I looked at my plate and I might as well have had one of those segmented TV dinner trays in front of me. A piece of Sour Cream Coffee Cake in one corner, Nicole's Chocolate Saltines in another, the decadent Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake in the center, and the poor Peanut Butter Chunk Cookie never made it to the plate. And in the next moment it all disappeared. Thanks Jenny and Jim for a wonderful evening! 


Grandma Flossy's Cream Cheese and Olive Spread
In a food processor combine Spanish Olives with Pimentos with Cream Cheese to desired consistency.

White Bean Cilantro Hummus
1/4 C. dry white beans, soaked overnight then boiled for 20 minutes in unsalted water until soft
3 cloves garlic
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 C. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine everything in a food processor.

Sage Pecan Carrots
Bunch of carrots, peeled
1/2 c. pecans
1/2 stick butter
olive oil
1/4 C. chopped fresh sage
2 TBSP brown sugar
Salt and Pepper

Combine everything in a baking dish and bake until carrots are tender at 350 degrees.

Bowman's Mac n' Cheese

1 – 1 lb box of pasta (Rigatoni) 
1.5-2 lbs cheese (A majority of it should be sharp cheddar, the rest can be Monterey Jack) 
2-3 TBSP flour
2-3 TBSP butter
Italian style bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grate all cheese ahead of time.  Boil water. Drop pasta into boiling water.  While pasta is cooking, make the sauce.  The key to great sauce is constant vigilance!

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter.  When butter is melted, add flour and 1/4 cup of milk.  Stir to get a paste.  

Immediately add cheese a handful at a time, stirring constantly.
  Add milk as you go along, as you see fit.  There is not a precise milk measurement because it varies depending on your cheese and volume.  You do not want runny/watery sauce.  It should have a good thickness, so add milk slowly.  You can always add more to thin sauce. 

When all of the cheese has been added, stir until a good thick cheese sauce has been attained.
  Salt and pepper to taste, though you probably will not need much salt. Until all of the cheese is added, heat on high heat.  You should turn down the heat to medium-low once all cheese is added, making sure to stir often to avoid cheese congealing or burning on the bottom.  Keep on low if you are waiting for the pasta to be done. When the pasta is done, pour into a strainer and drain water.  In a large oven proof bowl add 50% of pasta, add 50% of sauce, and add a layer of breadcrumbs.  Then add remaining pasta, remaining sauce, and top with a layer of breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool for 0-5 minutes and serve.

Nicole's Chocolate Saltines
1 sleeve saltines
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 package mini chocolate chips
Toppings-M&Ms, toffee bits, walnuts, coconut-whatever you want!

Cover a cookie sheet with sides with foil.  Spray with Pam.  Spread the crackers in an even layer on the sheet.  Melt better and sugar and pour over the saltines. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (watch to be sure they don't burn).  Sprinkle mini chips over saltines and let sit for 5 minutes, it will then be spreadable-spread evenly over the crackers.  Top as desired then chill in fridge. Break into uneven pieces.

Everything else is super confidential! 


Rocco Galatioto said...

Great as usual; BUT..
Is this a blog about food or about DOGS?

Lani said...

ummmm, my mouth is watering over here. everything looks awesome! cute blog too! thanks for pimpin' my good friend jennie :)