Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We are not done yet!

We've been asked a few times how many batches of each goodie we made from the gifts we sent out. It is all a blur right now, but we made at least 2 or 3 batches of each - though some of them we did at least 4. We brought over the gifts today to different friends and neighbors in the area here - they pretty much got the same things, except I made another cookie to put in their bags.

I've never made anything like these Seven Layer Cookies before. There are a ton of steps, but as long as you take your time and have everything ready to go, it was actually a fun recipe to put together! The most stressful part was inverting the different colored layers on top of each other - I was afraid they would just fall apart! Thankfully, everything held together well and it came out ok. 2 thin layers of bittersweet chocolate, 3 layers of different colored almond-flavored extremely moist cakes and 2 layers of strained apricot preserves form the 7 total layers. On day one, the cookies had a pretty strong almond flavor - but on day two, the flavor was more mild and absolutely delicious!

They definitely get better as they age. Cutting the thin layer of chocolate without cracking the surface is tedious and a bit tricky. We dipped a very sharp knife in hot water and dried it after every cut... so with a yield of over 5 dozen, it took forever to say the least. We both agreed it was well worth the effort and stress though - I'm not sure how 'authentic' they may be, but they are certainly going on the "must have every year" list!

In the packages we mailed out yesterday, we did happen to include one item we did not make. We wanted to add something small, chocolate and a bit more adult. We stumbled upon these at Costco and decided we would give them a try and see. While we did give quite a few away, let's just say that after we had a couple, we decided to keep more than we sent out!

When you bite into the smooth chocolate shell, an intense, rich and thick filling made from Baileys bursts into your mouth - very good stuff!

I did actually get around to making dinner last night, but I was too tired to talk about it after posting the round up yesterday! So we'll talk about it tonight and just catch up with recipes over the weekend! I'm glad I had already planned to make Curried Chicken with Couscous as it was a simple stir-fry that really didn't take much effort on my part. Quick cooking couscous infused with a hint of coconut from light coconut milk took just a few minutes to cook while I worked on the rest of the dish. Sliced chicken breasts are coated in a mixture of flour, curry powder, hot madras curry powder and salt. This is then stir-fried in a bit of hot oil until both sides are golden - then more coconut milk, julienned carrots and plump golden raisins are added. The coconut milk helps to keep the strips of chicken moist while it finishes cooking through. This also allows the carrots to get a little tender and the raisins to soak up some of the curried sauce. Simply served over the light couscous, this hassle-free meal only took about 20 minutes, but was still satisfying with a hint of spice. Because we used light coconut milk, the flavor is more subtle and does not overpower - just enough to make you take notice.


  1. Your Seven Layer Cookies look awesome, Joe! I buy them at an Italian bakery nearby because I don't have the patience (or talent)to make them. Have to say though, yours even look better than the bakery! Also, I'm very impressed with all the gifts you made....I'm sure the recipients will appreciate all your hard work :-)

  2. The Seven Layer Cookies look great - very stunning visually, and I'm sure they taste just as good!

    The chicken dish looks great! Not a huge fan of coconut milk in savory dishes, but I'd certainly give it a fair try if it was put down in front of me. Looks really tasty!

  3. I've always known those cookies as Italian Tri-colors. And I love making them.....and of course eating them.

    They're always an attention getter and will get you lots of ooh's and ahh's.

  4. Val - I've seen them before in the stores, but not sure how they compare to an authentic version. They were so good though!

    Jeph - I'm beginning to really enjoy using coconut milk in different savory recipes - more mild though since we are using the light versions.

    Barbara - I agree! It was so fun to see the layers when you slice into them.

  5. Turns out your dish inspired me last nite. With no recipe to follow, but flipping through an indian cookbook for some ingredient ideas, I sauteed an onion in one pan, and a peeled/diced sweet potato in another. Added water, peas and green beans to the sweet potatoes to simmer while garlic and thin sliced chicken where added to the onions, then turmeric, curry powder, hot curry powder, garam masala, cumin, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds,, I forget what else were tossed in. Then chicken broth, yogurt and heavy cream and the veggies. Turned out kinda thin (I got it too spicey - tempered that with more dairy), but REALLY good served over basmati rice cooked with a pinch of saffron threads mixed in.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Jeph - Wow! That sounds absolutely delicious... save us some okay?!