Stay and Have a Cookie

Amy's Blog

corn & black bean salsa. perfect party dip.


Chip & Corn Salsa

A few years back, on a Christmas Eve, a good friend, Patty, brought this salsa to share. As soon as I tried it, I knew I was going to need the recipe. I also knew that I probably shouldn’t steal the whole bowl and eat it by myself, but that’s what I wanted to do. This salsa requires very little effort to make, lasts several days in the fridge, has a TON of flavor, and it’s all vegetables! It really doesn’t get much better than this stuff. It’s practically diet food. I always serve it with tortilla chips, but it’s good on scrambled eggs, or a bowl of chili, and just about anything else you might be eating. I don’t think I’d recommend it on oatmeal though.

The original recipe is called Black Bean Salad and it came from a cookbook called Seaport Savories. It was actually published & sold as a fundraiser for a hospital in Alexandria, VA. According to Patty, the recipe was submitted by Katie Couric. I can’t vouch for anything else in the cookbook, but this one is a winner. I think it’s a perfect dip to serve at a New Year’s Eve party.

Corn & Black Bean Salsa

makes about 12 cups of salsa (I know, it’s a LOT, but trust me, this stuff goes fast, and you could always make a half batch if you don’t believe me.)

2 cans Black Beans
2 cans Corn (I like to get the no salt added variety)
2 cans Artichoke Hearts (not the marinated kind)
1 10.5 oz container of Cherry/Grape Tomatoes (You could use any other kind of tomato you have on hand, I just like the flavor of these. Once chopped, it equals about 1.5-1.75 cups of tomatoes.)
1 Red Onion
2 bunches of Cilantro
2-3 Lemons
1 cup of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Drain & rinse black beans, drain corn, dump both into a large bowl.

2. Drain artichoke hearts, chop into small pieces, and add to the large bowl. I try to get everything that’s going into the salsa into similar sized pieces. It makes for even distribution while you eat it.

3. Chop tomatoes into small pieces, and add to the salsa. When I use the small, cherry/grape tomatoes, I cut them into 8th’s.


chopped tomato

4. Dice red onion into small pieces. This one is especially important. Most people don’t want to bite down on a giant piece of raw onion. A couple of things I do to cut down on the onion-chopping tears…chill the onion in the freezer for a few minutes, prior to chopping, and sharpen my knife right before I cut the onion. Also worth noting, the older the onion, the stronger the gases that will make you cry.

5. Roughly chop 2 bunches of cilantro, and add them to the bowl. Yes, it’s a lot of cilantro, Cindi. I won’t tell anyone if you decide to skip it, but you’ll be missing out.


6. Juice 2-3 lemons and add to the salsa. This is a preference thing, for sure. I tend to like more lemon juice in my salsa. Start with 1-2 lemons and add more if it needs more. It also depends on how juicy your lemons are. Using something like this citrus reamer will help you get the most out of your lemons. I measured last time I made this and I ended up using 4-5 tablespoons.

7. Add the olive oil, salt & pepper, and stir until it’s combined. Salt & pepper amounts are up to your taste also. I used about a tablespoon of salt and quite a few turns of the pepper grinder.

Corn & Black Bean Salsa

If it lasts, I’ve eaten this salsa after it’s been in my fridge for about a week, and it was still good. I really do adore this stuff. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never eaten it straight out of the bowl, with a spoon. So good. Make some this week. You won’t be sorry. Oh and Happy New Year!

love and butter,

posted under snacks | 5 Comments »

salted dark chocolate toffee. aka christmas crack


Ok, remember when I said you should make these gingerbread cookies for your Christmas parties? You still should, but you should also make this toffee. It’s so simple (only 4 ingredients) and so yummy. AND you don’t even need a candy thermometer.

I started making my 4th or 5th batch this morning (in the last week), and realized I knew the recipe without looking at it. That’s when I decided that I needed to share, not only the toffee I had made, but also the recipe. I can’t take credit for this recipe though. It’s actually from Shauna Niequist’s latest book, Bread & Wine. I can’t recommend this book enough. I can’t recommend this toffee enough either. Seriously. Buy the book. Make the toffee.

salted dark chocolate toffee

1 cup (2 sticks) Salted Butter
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine butter & sugar over medium heat. Stir often, to prevent burning, especially as the butter is melting.

butter & sugar

3. Continue to cook & stir over medium heat. It will be this light champagne color for awhile.

light boiling sugar

4. As soon as it turns this amber color, take it off of the heat.

amber boiling sugar

5. Pour the hot butter & sugar mixture onto your parchment lined baking sheet. I like to spread mine out a bit, otherwise it can be a little too thick in the very center.

naked toffee

6. Allow to cool on the counter for a few minutes on the counter, and then stick in the fridge until it’s cool to touch.

7. Melt your chocolate chips, spread the melted chocolate evenly across the cooled toffee, sprinkle with salt, and stick back in the fridge to set up.


8. Once your toffee is completely cooled and the chocolate has hardened, break into uneven pieces and try not to eat it all in one sitting. I don’t think that’s dentist approved.

salted dark chocolate toffee

This is a perfect treat for delivering to neighbors, for melting in your morning coffee, or for eating while your kids are napping. I think you need a batch, or 4.

love and butter,

posted under candy, dessert | 2 Comments »

barbara’s gingerbread cookies


Gingerbread Cookies

One of my first Christmas seasons as part of the Gunther family, I was introduced to a very sweet tradition. They have a long time neighbor, Barbara, that bakes up a bunch of DELICIOUS gingerbread men. They are adorable, and simple, and everyone gets one. Got that? ONE cookie, each year. I’m pretty sure the first year Tim somewhat reluctantly (and I don’t blame him at all) shared his cookie with me. Now, I usually get my own and let me tell you what, I’ve looked forward to that cookie every year since the first.

A couple of years ago, dear Barbara shared her cookie recipe with us, and now I’m sharing my version with you. I have to say, Barbara makes her cookies in little gingerbread men shapes, with multiple colors of icing, lots of details, and they’re just adorable. Something you’ll come to learn about me, is that, while I do love for the food I make to look good, I don’t usually have the patience and attention to detail required to really decorate sweets well. So, these are my simpler version, with a much more forgiving decor. I actually made some snowmen, along with the trees and candy canes, but I had such trouble decorating them, that they will not be making an internet debut anytime soon. Now for the cookies…

Gingerbread Cookies

2 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Egg
2/3 cup Molasses
2.5 oz Brown Sugar (about 1/3 cup, packed)
1/2 cup (1 stick) Melted Butter (I always use salted)

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, & cloves, in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine Molasses, Brown Sugar, and Melted Butter. Mix on medium for about 30 seconds to a minute. You just want it to be thoroughly combined.

     Gingerbread progress

3. Add the egg and mix just until thoroughly combined.

4. Add the dry ingredients, about 1/3 at a time, mixing between additions.

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

5. Cover the dough, and stick in the fridge to cool for about an hour.

6. While the dough is chilling, line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

7. Roll out the dough, to about 1/3 of an inch thick, depending on how thick you like your cookies. You can roll them out using a little flour to keep it from sticking everywhere, but I like to roll it out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Then I don’t have to worry about adding too much extra flour to the cookies.

8. Cut with cookie cutters, and transfer to parchment lined cookie sheets.

Gingerbread Tree Dough

9. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set. These are one of those cookies that’s a little trickier to know when it’s done. They don’t brown until they’re over-baked. You can lightly touch the top of the cookie, and make sure it’s solid, and not doughy any longer.

10. Allow to cool completely, then decorate to your heart’s desire. Here’s the frosting recipe I used, except I only used vanilla extract (1 teaspoon), instead of the almond extract. I put my frosting into a disposable piping bag like these ones, with a tip in the bottom like this one.

Gingerbread Tree

Gingerbread Candy Cane

11. Let the cookies sit for several hours before attempting to stack them. This is a softer frosting, and while it does setup some, it’s never super hard. I prefer the taste of a buttercream like this on my cookies, but it doesn’t make for the easiest cookies to stack or send in the mail. I think it’s worth it.

How about making some yummy gingerbread cookies for a Christmas party this year? You’ll be the hit of the party.

love and butter,

cardamom cookies


A little over a month ago, I came across the website for a food blogger cookie swap and I thought to myself, bake a few dozen cookies to send to other food bloggers and get a few dozen cookies in the mail from other food bloggers? Yes, yes I think I can get on board with that. So, I signed up, got a list of bloggers to send cookies to, and started on my mission of a good cookie to mail. I wanted something Christmasy, something yummy, and something that would ship well. I didn’t want cookies showing up broken into pieces.


My first plan was to make some gingerbread cookies, iced with buttercream frosting. I actually made them (and will blog about them soon, promise!) and they were delicious. The only problem? The icing didn’t set up as much as I wanted it to, for shipping across the country. I didn’t want to use a royal icing, because I prefer the flavor of a buttercream. So, I had to come up with another cookie.

I thought back to a cookie I had made several months ago, these cardamom cookies. They were yummy, but I wanted to tweak them a little bit. I made them with whole wheat pastry flour, bumped up the cardamom (which I made sure was freshly ground), and skipped the lemon peel & sprinkling of sugar. When I made the first test batch, they were yummy, but the dough was so sticky and hard to roll out and get onto the trays. That was even after chilling the dough for a long time.

Second time around, instead of rolling out the dough, I scooped it with my favorite cookie scoop and flattened it with the bottom of a mason jar. Much less mess, which is always good, and the cookies tasted just as good. They have a good, strong cardamom flavor, which I love. You could always cut back on the cardamom if it isn’t your favorite.

Cardamom Cookies

2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Freshly Ground Cardamom (Freshly ground makes a HUGE difference. If you can’t make it happen, I would at least double the amount you use.)
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Ground Almonds (I used almond meal)
1 cup (2 sticks) of Butter (I always use salted)
2 Eggs (room temperature)
4 teaspoons Milk (I used whole milk)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. If you’re using whole cardamom, grind it up in a coffee or spice grinder. I use my magic bullet.

whole cardamom_small

ground cardamom_small

3. Whisk together flour, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and ground almonds.

3_dry ingredients

4. Cut butter into small cubes, add to the dry ingredients, and cut in with a pastry cutter or with your fingers. I usually choose to use my fingers and work the butter in that way. Just squish it between your fingers until it’s almost completely incorporated into the dry ingredients. It’s a little messy, but that’s half the fun of baking, isn’t it? I guess that’s only true if someone else is doing the clean up.

5_butter incorporated

5. Whisk together the eggs & milk, until they’re completely combined.


6. Add the milk & eggs to the rest of the cookie dough, and mix until thoroughly combined.

7_cookie dough

7. Scoop the cookie dough out onto your prepared cookie sheets.

8_cookie scooped

8. Flatten with a small mason jar.

9_Mason Jar

9. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until just barely golden along the edges.

11_Cardamom Cookies

I don’t know about you, but I love giving away cookies at Christmas time. Maybe it won’t be these cookies, but bake something up to give away this year. If you’re looking for a good gingerbread cookie recipe, come back soon. I’ll be posting my favorite in the next week!

love and butter,