Feb 24, 2018

Chewy ONOLICIOUS Hawaiian Chocolate Spice Cookies

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You deserve to put a little spice in your life with a blend of dark semi-sweet chocolate, laced with Hawaiian Island spices. Rich and chewy ONOLICIOUS chocolate cookies!

Hawaiian Chocolate Spice Cookies
1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup un-sulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons boiling water
7 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4" chunks

For Coating Cookies:
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the butter and grated ginger together with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the brown sugar, beating until combined. Now add the molasses and beat again until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water.

Turn the mixer to low and blend in half the flour mixture, then the water-baking soda mixture, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Remove from the mixer and add in the chopped chocolate either with a spatula or by hand.

Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Pat out to about 1-1/2" thickness, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325°F.

Cut the dough into 36 pieces and form pieces into small balls and coat each into a plate of the granulated sugar. Place about 2" apart on a parchment paper baking sheet to allow for spreading. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the tops begin to crack, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing the cookies from the pan and allowing them to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Feb 19, 2018

A Symphony of Flavors in Every Bite!

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Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs
You will discover a Hawaiian symphony of flavors in every bite of this incredible dish. Tender baby back ribs with notes of sweet brown sugar combined with tart apple cider vinegar. Mysterious umami-rich flavor of Chinese fermented black beans, sweet pineapple, and soy sauce combine with fresh garlic and ginger to give you a climactic ending that's well-deserved of a standing ovation.

1 1/2 pounds of baby back pork spareribs (one rack of ribs)
   cut into individual pieces
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fermented Chinese black beans*, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons water
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Cut baby back spareribs apart and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place the ribs in a roasting pan, covered tightly with double-thickness foil and bake for 2 hours at 275˚F.

Whisk ketchup, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, Chinese black beans, chili sauce, and soy sauce in a pot. Bring mixture to a boil then simmer everything gently for approximately 10 minutes. Stir often.

Meanwhile, stir butter into a large hot skillet. When butter melts and just starts to brown, stir in all of the pineapple chunks without the juice. Cook, stirring, until pineapple is caramelized and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Now add the pineapple chunks to the ketchup mixture, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Combine cornstarch with water and add to the sauce to thicken. Bring sauce to a full boil to properly thicken the cornstarch.

Put ribs in serving bowls and pour the thickened sauce and pineapple over the ribs to cover. Let rest for a minute or two, then serve with Gingered Jasmine Rice and Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: *Fermented Chinese black beans (aka salted black beans) are actually fermented soybeans which adds a wonderful umami-rich flavor to this dish. It is available in the asian food section of most grocery stores including Friendly Market and Misaki's here on Moloka'i. It comes in little 8 ounce plastic bags, which is better tasting than brands in a jar. I usually add a little olive oil to them and keep it in a small jar in the door of my refrigerator. It can be added to a variety of stir fry dishes. It's nice to have on hand.