Chai-Spiced Shortbread Cookies

Chai ShortbreadAlthough the flavors here are rich and complex, the recipe is very easy to make. This recipe makes about 45 cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds*
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Leaves from 1 English Breakfast tea bag
1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla together in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth. In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, cardamom, and tea. Add the flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or if you don’t have parchment paper, lightly grease the pans. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and space them about 1 inch apart on sheets, and then flatten slightly with a floured bottom of a glass. Bake until cookies are light golden on the undersides, about 15 to 18 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through baking. Once you have removed the cookies from the oven, transfer them to racks to cool.

*Grind in a clean coffee grinder or in a mortar. For tips on cleaning your coffee grinder, click here.

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Crock Pot Week Day 4 – Tips for Cleaning Your Crock Pot

Burnt Crock Pot

As Crock Pot week starts to wind up you’re starting to realize that yes, the prep may be a cinch, but there is still the clean-up! And of course, like me, you left the pot sitting a little too long after dinner, and now you have a stubborn stuck-on mess to get rid of. So here are some tips to help you get back your shiny clean pot so you can make another recipe!

**Warning**
These instructions are for cleaning the stoneware crock part of your crock pot. Never submerge the base of your crock pot (the part you plug-in) in water. To clean that part just use a squirt of household cleaner and a damp rag or sponge.

Method 1Throw it in the dishwasher

If your crock pot is dishwasher safe and the mess inside is only a little stuck on you might be just fine by tossing the crock in the dishwasher. Pretty simple.

Method 2Soak it in hot soapy water

Put your crock pot in the sink, squirt in some dish-soap and fill with the hottest tap water you can. Let it soak for 1 to 2 hours and wash as usual.

Method 3Baking soda

If soaking your crock pot didn’t work, pour out all the water from the crock and sprinkle liberally with baking soda and scrub. The baking soda acts as a scouring powder that is safe to use on almost all surfaces. This usually does the trick. But… if scrubbing with baking soda doesn’t work then dump about ¼ cup of baking soda into the crock, fill it will water to cover all the burnt areas, squirt a dollop of dish soap and put the crock into the heating base of your crock pot. Cover and “cook” on high for 2-4 hours. The combination of heat, baking soda and detergent should do the trick.

Method 4Oven cleaner (The Last Resort!)

Oven cleaner…. it is toxic, the fumes are horrible to breathe in and it’s just some really nasty stuff. But as the last resort dry your crock off as much as possible and spray some oven cleaner on the burnt areas and let it sit a few hours to overnight. Repeat as necessary.

Method 5Prevention (The Best One!)

Here a three tips for preventing a mess.

  • Use a crock pot liner. These are heat safe plastic liners that you can cook in. Much like an oven bag.
  • Spray your crock with non-stick cooking spray. This will not help you from burning your dish but it usually helps release anything from the sides and bottom of your crock should you burn it.
  • Follow the recipe and cook for the listed length of time. If a recipe has a time range, such as 4-6 hours. Cook for 4 hours and then check it to see if it is done yet. If not cook longer. Time ranges are given in many recipes because different crock pots cook slower or faster than others. If your dish is done at the lowest time range turn it off or if your crock pot has a “warm” setting put it on warm to keep it till time to serve.