Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cookies - copyright 2015 Tanaya's Table

RECIPE: Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cookies For The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Note: So many travel adventures to share with you all! Stay tuned in 2016 for some exciting news with Tanaya’s Travels!

I grew up loving the holidays so much that there are recordings of me singing Christmas songs year-round. Even in 75-degree weather, every so often on family road trips I’d bust out with “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” (Yup, for some reason I placed great emphasis on the “wish” part.)

The holidays just gave me such a joyful feeling, a feeling of safety and love and happiness thanks to my festive and fun-loving family.

Something extra I looked forward to this holiday season was participating in the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, since really I enjoyed doing it last year despite going through some tough times during the holidays. I suppose it brought a bit of normalcy to my anything-but-normal year in 2014.

Last year, I made Bourbon Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Cookies. Since this holiday season had a strange kind of calm to it in comparison to my 2014, I decided my cookies should reflect that. Because what’s better than sitting back with a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate when you’re catching a much-needed (somewhat of a) break?

I decided to infuse some Merlot for a little tang, as well as some Himalayan Pink Salt to balance and round out the sweetness of this decadent, fudgy cookie. Here’s the recipe, hope you enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cookies - copyright 2015 Tanaya's Table

DARK CHOCOLATE RED WINE COOKIES

Ingredients: (makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies) – Adapted from Simply Scratch

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick unsalted butter (softened)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup red wine (I used Merlot, but you could use pinot noir, red zinfandel or any red table wine you’d enjoy with chocolate)

3/4 bag (about 10 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chunks)

1 teaspoon Himlayan pink salt (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt & baking soda.  Set aside.

In a separate mixing  bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Next, add in the egg, vanilla & red wine. Mix together until well incorporated.

Gradually add dry ingredients until well combined, folding chocolate chips in last.

The batter will have a mousse-like, slightly fluffy consistency. Oh, and it tastes DIVINE!

Place heaping teaspoons or tablespoons (depending on size desired) onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a couple inches apart.

Sprinkle a few flakes of Himalayan pink salt on top of cookies, if desired.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size and desired gooey or crunchy level.

If you’re sending your cookies across the country like I did for this cookie swap, bake those batches a little longer. Otherwise, enjoy these moist, gooey, chocolatey wine-infused cookies to enjoy at home or to share… and be proud of yourself for finding a delicious way to enjoy your dark chocolate and red wine antioxidants! 😉

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015

I sent these cookies to the fab bloggers at Freshly Baked SweetsIn Natalie’s Shoes and Hye Thyme Cafe. I also received some incredible cookies from the talented bloggers of Sweet-E Pie & Babycakes, Kitchen Gidget and Creative Touch. Thanks for so much cookie love, everyone!

Check out the Tanaya’s Table Instagram photos with the #fbcookieswap hashtag for photos of the awesome treats. Participating bloggers’ cookie recipes, including mine, can be found here. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

 

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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

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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