Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies For The Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Tanayas Table Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies 1

What’s better than cookies and pie? How about cookies AND pie, wrapped into one delicious and decadent holiday cookie?

Pecan pie is a favorite with my family during the holidays… so I thought, why not blend our favorite pie into cookie form for my first year participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for a great cause?

Official Food Blogger FB Cookie Swap 2014 Badge Tanaya's Table

These Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies are gooey, sticky and nutty with a hint of chocolate and the aroma of vanilla and bourbon to bring it all together. I thought they would make great batches to send to three of my fellow food bloggers to whom I was assigned to send holiday cheer… in the form of cookies, of course.

I also baked some more of these cookies to share with my fellow Los Angeles-based food bloggers at our annual holiday cookie swap. Last year I made red velvet gooey butter cookies, and these pecan pie cookies seemed to be just as big a hit! In fact, all my fellow food blogger friends brought something irresistible to the table.

Check out this one-minute Tastemade video for an overview!

The most delectable cookies made in L.A. all crammed into a 1-minute video!

The most delectable cookies made in L.A. all crammed into a 1-minute video!

Being especially short on time this year due to family circumstances, instead starting from scratch in formulating this cookie-pie mashup recipe, I decided to do a little background research first. After all, reinventing the wheel is not the greatest use of time, right?

Thank goodness for this Spend With Pennies recipe, because it provided me with a solid base and allowed me more time to adapt the recipe to my taste… and to dress it up with a little bourbon love!

You can definitely modify the recipe below however you would like, depending on how much time you’ve got to do your holiday baking this year. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Perhaps you can even start your own cookie swap tradition!

Tanayas Table Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies 2

Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies

Ingredients

    • 1 prepared pie crust (check out Crazy for Crust’s all butter from-scratch recipe here)
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted & chopped
    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup corn syrup
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 2 large eggs, beaten (set aside 2 tablespoons for egg wash)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 cup bourbon (or more, if desired!)
    • 1/4 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large non-stick pan, combine butter, pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, bourbon and salt. Over low heat, slowly stir in eggs (minus the 2 tablespoons for egg wash). Continue to slowly stir on stove over medium-low heat just until slightly thickened (just about the consistency of pudding). Stir in vanilla, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Roll out dough and use a 3″ cookie cutter (I used the rim of a glass) to cut out circles. Gently fold the edges in, about 1/8-1/4″
  4. Brush the egg wash around the pie crust edges for a glossy finish. Sprinkle with granulated sugar for a golden brown crust, if desired.
  5. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of the pecan pie filling into each circle. Top with chocolate chips, if desired.
  6. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until filling is just set and crust is lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!

Speaking of cookies, the L.A. Cookie Con & Sweets Show is coming in January! Stay tuned to receive a discount code for Tanaya’s Table followers, plus a behind-the-scenes video of the newest bakery to open in Hollywood serving unique, internationally inspired baked goods!

L.A. Cookie Con Official Blogger Badge Tanaya's Table

Seasons 52 Fall Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Tanaya's Table Seasons 52 butternut squash soup

This stellar soup has a secret ingredient!

Now that we’re in the midst of Fall, like many people, I often get a craving for thick, hearty soups that warm the body and comfort the soul.

Recently, thanks to Braun Thermometers, I had the opportunity to attend a cooking class by Seasons 52 Executive Chef Russell Johnigan at their Westfield Century City location. It was there that I learned the secret to a wonderful savory soup without any of the cream or butter that’s found in most hearty Fall soups… and I’m excited to share it with you!

The secret ingredient in this recipe is the tart apples that balance the sweet richness of the butternut squash, all while giving the soup great body.

TT Seasons 52 chef demo 1

After Chef Russell graciously showed us his culinary ways and we got to taste the final product, I was amazed at how luxurious the soup tasted without adding much fat. I also love that this soup is completely vegetarian, and heck, it can even be vegan!

What’s also really cool is that all items on the Seasons 52 menu are under 475 calories, and the smaller portions are under 275 calories. They also change up their menu throughout the year as ingredients go in and out of peak season.

It’s a place you can go to feel fully satisfied and also good about your choices at the end of your meal, and I’ve always felt that way when dining there.

So here it is, my new go-to hearty but healthy fall recipe, courtesy of Seasons 52 Executive Chef Russell Johnigan:

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash – about 4½ cups, packed
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled & diced into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 quart low sodium vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Garnish:

1 apple, washed & cut in small slivers
1 dollop sour cream, reduced fat
1 pinch chives, finely sliced
1 pinch pumpkin seeds, toasted

Method:

• Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and spoon out seeds.

• Place squash halves and apples on foil-lined cookie tray, cut side up. Combine sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle mixture evenly over squash. Roast squash and apples for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until able to handle. Scoop pulp from skins. Reserve pulp for soup.

• Heat oil in soup pot at medium heat. Add apples, onion and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, until tender and sweet. Add vegetable stock. Stir in cooked squash pulp. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add Tabasco, honey and salt. Puree in a blender until smooth.

• To serve, garnish the puree with any combination of: apple slivers, sour cream, chives, toasted pumpkin seeds.

Tanaya’s Table note: I also love using crème fraîche atop soups, and imagine that this soup would be wonderful served with a dollop to stir in. When making this soup at home, I also added a little sriracha sauce to the mix. The soup is a great base to improvise with, depending on what you’ve got and how creative you want to get!

TT Seasons 52 chef demo 3

The entire meal was delicious. Juicy roast chicken, hearty butternut squash soup, decadent desserts under 275 calories served in shot glasses!

After savoring the soup, we also learned Chef Russell’s secrets to creating a juicy Roast Chicken, and his tips on how to properly use a thermometer to check the temperature of your chicken.

The takeaway: make sure you insert the thermometer on the meatiest parts, and whatever you do, don’t let the meter touch the bone. This causes it to read a higher temperature, falsely indicating that your chicken has been cooked long enough.

Luckily, while it may be a little complicated to properly take the temperature of your chicken, Braun’s new no-touch forehead thermometer makes it super easy to take the temperature of those special humans in your life. Because keeping your children at the right temperature is just as important as keeping your chicken at the right temperature!

We got to try out the nifty new thermometers on one another, and everyone was amazed at how accurate the thermometer was when reading from up to 2 inches away from the forehead versus when making direct contact! Amazing.

This is the latest technology out there, and with cold & flu season upon us, it definitely makes life a lot easier to know you can quickly and accurately gauge your loved ones’ temperatures. You can find out more on the Braun website. The best part is that the indicator reads within seconds and lights up green, yellow or red indicating the severity of the fever.

We learned all this while devouring the chicken with an onion jus that Chef Russell had whipped up for us. Stay tuned for the Seasons 52 roast chicken recipe… here’s to staying well this holiday season!

Figology Fest + A Recipe For… Whiskey Bacon Fig Jam!

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

We be jammin’

 

I know, right? Whiskey, plus bacon, plus glorious FIGS… who knew? From the fortuitous moment that I got three crates of fresh California Figs from the Food Bloggers Los Angeles’ Figology Fest, endless possibilities started running through my head.

Figs are such a versatile fruit, with so many varieties and complexities in flavor! Allow me to break down some of the different variations in relatable terms– through the language of wine, of course:

  • Black Mission – The Cabernet of figs. Purple and black skin, with a deep, earthy flavor.
  • Brown Turkey – The Pinot Noir of figs. Light purple to black skin, with a robust flavor.
  • Calimyrna – The Chardonnay of figs. Yellow/pale green skin, with a buttery, nutty flavor.
Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Clockwise: Calimyrna, Black Mission and Brown Turkey Figs

 

Not only are figs varied in color and flavor, but they also boast a variety of health benefits. For example, the fig is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. Plus, they’re rich in antioxidants and fiber. What’s not to love?

Here are some fun facts… you know, just in case you’re ever on “Jeopardy” and “Figs” happens to be a category: Figs are in season for most of the year (from May through December), and wasps are the only pollinators of this unique fruit. Plus, did you know that 98% of the nation’s fresh figs are grown in California? Or that 100% of dried figs also hail from Cali? Just another reason to be proud of our stellar state! California Love, all the way.

The figfest was not only a great chance to catch up with the fab bloggers that comprise our fun-loving foodie group, but also an opportunity to explore the different ways that figs can enhance any given part of a meal. A variety of fresh figs starred in everything from drinks to savory dishes to desserts during our figgy soiree.

Created by two amazingly talented ladies, Erika (In Erika’s Kitchen) and Judy (Two Broads Abroad), here are some of the goodies they served up for summer “fig-spiration” (okay okay, last fig pun… for now!):

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Left to right: Fig & Olive Focaccia, Fresh Fig Tart, Boozy Fig Milkshake, Stuffed Figs a la Blue

 

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Spicy Pork & Fig Skewers

 

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Fresh Fig Tart Slices

 

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Fig Zinfandel Sorbet with Candied Walnuts and Fig Caramel

 

After tasting all this “fig-tastic” food (ha… couldn’t help myself!), we went home with an abundance of assorted figs. I really love a good sweet-savory combination, so I thought that a great way to prolong the life of these figs would be to turn a handful of them into a jam. A bacon and whiskey jam, to be exact.

The recipe I created also has a secret little kick– in the form of a dash (or two) of Sriracha!

 

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

The Basics: Fresh Figs, Whiskey, Bacon

 

For jams like this, I’m a big believer in improvisation and innovation with what you’ve got. So if you don’t have all these ingredients sitting in your pantry, don’t stress– you can always create your own flavor profile using the fig-bacon-whiskey base.

I just love the flavor and texture of using fresh figs here, but the other nice thing about this recipe is that you can substitute dried figs if fresh ones aren’t in season. Big thanks once again to California Figs for the fig love!

So here it is… a little boozy, jammy, hint-of-savory goodness for you to enjoy in any way you can think of!

 

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Fig Jam: The Evolution

 

Whiskey Bacon Fig Jam

Ingredients

  • 12 fresh figs (preferably Mission)
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

In a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, brown the bacon. Remove the bacon and set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Add shallots and sauté until softened, over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients except lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, crumble the bacon and add it to the pot.

Reduce heat and partially cover the pot, while continuing to simmer. Stir occasionally until the mixture reduces to a thicker, syrup-like consistency.

Add lemon juice. Pour mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Final step: enjoy your boozy, bacon-y, figgy jam! It spreads wonderfully on crisp toast, adds a savory-sweet textural component to cool, creamy ice cream, and is great rolled into croissant dough and baked with a little mascarpone or Brie cheese. You can even glaze your chicken with it and bake it for dinner.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Whiskey Bacon Fig Jam on Vanilla Ice Cream – A surprisingly craveworthy combination!

 

This post was sponsored by California Figs. All opinions are my own.

All photos copyright © Tanaya’s Table.

Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese from Our New L.A. Food Bloggers Cookbook for Charity!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh

Welcome to Tanaya’s Table! What better way to kick off the blog than by giving a preview taste of the goodies inside a cookbook I was fortunate to be part of? Thirty Los Angeles food bloggers (including myself!) have come together for charity to create 30 creative versions of macaroni and cheese for our new ebook, Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese: 30 Mouthwatering Recipes for America’s Favorite Comfort Food.

As a member of the Food Bloggers Los Angeles group, we were challenged to re-imagine mac and cheese and elevate it from a childhood favorite to include a bit of something for everyone. The recipes are likely to satisfy all types of palates, from decadent to healthy tastes. In addition to indulgent twists on the American comfort food, there are even gluten-free and vegan versions in there! My recipe, however, is unabashedly one of the more indulgent renditions of the classic dish… and it manifests itself in the form of Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese!

The fruits of our digital cookbook labor, Mo’ Macaroni and Cheese officially launches today, and is available on Amazon’s Kindle store, as well as on Google Play, Scrib’d, Nook and other platforms for under two bucks– $1.99, to be exact! Categories include classic recipes, international variations, lightened-up dishes, and mac and cheese with a twist.

The best part– and the reason we embarked on this ebook project in the first place– is that all proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which feeds more than 1 million Los Angeles County residents annually! Talk about feeling good about doing good, while cooking some really good food!

One thing I especially like about an ebook recipe is that I can put the reader in a protective sleeve and never worry about losing the recipe, spilling on the pages or accidentally tearing out part of the recipe while I do my thing in the kitchen. I also like that I can search the ebook for recipes using ingredients I already have on hand.

As a thank you for visiting Tanaya’s Table and for your support as I embark on this adventure, below is the recipe I created for the ebook.

I wanted to create a recipe that brings a comfort food classic and a fun go-to appetizer together, and I also love anything with a little kick. The secret ingredient here is actually garlic. It adds a depth to the flavor, while the extra bread crumbs give the crunch that comes from biting into a jalapeño popper. I love creating food with a twist, and pushing people to try something slightly out of their comfort zone. My hope is that you enjoy this fun dish with a kick as much as those whom I tested multiple versions on did (thank you to my family and friends, a.k.a. loving guinea pigs!):

Jalapeno Popper Mac N Cheese Recipe - Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese
Recipe created by Tanaya Ghosh to benefit the L.A. Regional Food Bank

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
8 ounces large elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 large jalapeño peppers, 1 diced and 1 sliced into rings (de-seed for less heat)
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
8 ounces grated pepper jack cheese
4 ounces plain cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook pasta according to package directions, to just al dente. Drain and set the pasta aside in the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat. As the butter melts, whisk in the flour. Add the garlic and diced jalapeños. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and add sea salt to taste. Gradually whisk in pepper jack and cream cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted smoothly into a thicker sauce.

Fold sauce into cooked pasta, coating thoroughly. Spread into a 9-inch-square greased baking dish. Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. Arrange jalapeño slices over the top and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and top forms a crust. Enjoy!

If you’d like to help the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and its mission by supporting our ebook, please let me know what you think! If you love it, please do share it. It would mean the world! Plus, I’d love to see your macaroni and cheese creations on social media by tagging @TanayaG on Twitter or @mstanayag on Instagram, and using the hashtag #30macncheese. I’d be glad to share your creative photos, and I’d love to see how your recipe renditions turned out!

Next up: I’ve got an interview with the CEO and founder of Coolhaus Ice Cream, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of an organic farm opening its doors (bushes?) to the public for DIY blueberry picking! Until next time….

~T

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