Crispy Chocolate Molasses Cookie Crust

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HAPPY BEST MONDAY OF THE NEXT 2 MONTHS!!

Why, you ask?—you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy..

Hmm, maybe because Thanksgiving is this week?! And that means for the next 5 weeks it’s basically a holiday celebration every. single. day. Y’all know how much I love the holidays, my husband groans when September/October comes around because I’m just going crazy with my urge to start decorating! No, no, I don’t put a tree up that early (although I do beg!), and I don’t put any Christmas lights up until November 1st, no holiday music until the middle of November…I’m not that bad!

What do I do that’s over-the-top? I light every single wintery smelling candle, I put far too many warm spices into our coffee, I break out all of the cozy sweaters and blankets, and I START BAKING ALL THINGS HOLIDAY THEMED!! How much is too much molasses to eat every single day?

So here you go, a little bit of my September-December obsession for you!

It all started when Roberto and I agreed to host Thanksgiving this year in Atlanta. The savory side of the meal doesn’t really stress me out—I can manage some sides, rolls, salad, while I throw all of the other stuff on my husband (…like the 17# turkey…). It’s the desserts that I was obviously pumped about but also got a little bit of the sweats when planning it all out. The Big 3 had to be in there: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan. But then I’m like HAH I’m not making your typical pies, that’s ridiculous! Sooooo, yes, I have been over planning on pies this year. Ginger and bourbon apple pie—check. Caramel pumpkin pie—absolutely. And, finally, a chocolate ganache pecan pie with a chocolate molasses cookie crust.

I always love to change-up the crusts that I do for my pies, whether it’s your typical pie dough, a sweet dough crust or, like this below, a chocolate gingerbread cookie ground up into crumbs, mixed with melted butter, then pressed into the tart pan! To me, a pecan pie is just a little bit on the sweet side, so I cut the syrupy filling and swapped it with my chocolate ganache tart filling (added toasted pecans, of course!). With this change, naturally, I had to do something a bit more fun for the crust. A gingerbread crust would have been amazing, but then I was like uhhh a gingerbread cocoa crust?  YES PLEASE!

This crust is spiced like a gingerbread cookie would be, not super, super sweet like a you’d think a cookie crust would be, and then it’s got some yummy dark chocolate cocoa powder mixed in—a win in every category if you’re asking holiday-obsessed Katie!

Here you have it, a little game changer in your Thanksgiving (or holiday!) menu! It’ll definitely be something that will wow your guests, especially if you accidentally cook a dry turkey, under salt your mashed potatoes or only set the table for 9 instead of 10! So, as Thanksgiving can be a little hectic, very loud, maybe some people had more than their share of wine, and others just fall asleep before dinner is even served—this pie will always be a win!

Best enjoyed the morning of, the day after, the next 5 weeks of holiday fun, with great company, a nice deep red, and most likely your stretchiest of pants!

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ingredients

Butter—10 oz, or 1¼C

Sugar—7.25 oz, or 1C

Eggs—1

Molasses—2.5 oz, or ¼C

Honey—2 tsp

Flour—9.5 oz, or 2C

Cocoa Powder—1.5 oz, or ½C

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Cinnamon—2 tsp

Cloves—½ tsp

Ginger—1½ tsp

Nutmeg—1 tsp

Turmeric—½ tsp

Salt—1 tsp

 

Butter, melted—2 oz, or 4 TBL

Cookies, ground—6 oz, or 1.5C

Pecans, toasted—4 oz, or 1C

 

process

Sift together all of your dry ingredients—flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and salt.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Once creamed, add in your egg, molasses and vanilla.

When all incorporated, slowly add in your dry ingredients until just combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge before baking.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Roll the cookie dough into balls about 2TBL’s in size—if you’re using them for the crust, this won’t be as important because you’ll be grinding them up!

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until no longer ‘wet’-looking.

Allow to cool completely before grinding.

Toast your pecans in a 350˚F oven for about 8 minutes, until toasted. Cool.

When you’re ready to make your crust and tart, combine ground cookies with the melted butter.

Press crust into your tart pan, making sure that it’s about ¼” thick and even on the bottom as well as up the sides.

Bake in a 350˚F oven for about 12-15 minutes, until the crust has baked and is set.

Put all of your toasted pecans in the bottom of your cookie crust.

Make your chocolate ganache filling (found here!).

Pour into your crust and place into the refrigerator to set up for at least 6 hours.

 

Bon Appétit! 

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Dried Fruit Granola

This is my first, of many I hope, recipe collaborations! I have been pressuring my fiancé for many, many months to make his granola recipe for me to share with everyone! Not only is this one super tasty, but also it’s so versatile! Not a huge fan of raisins? Coconut? Substitute them!

Clearly I am excited, as I have used 5 exclamation points in the last 6 sentences!

This past week has been Thanksgiving recipe testing mania. I have been working with iamduende.com creating something extra special for all of you for the upcoming holidays! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away?! Between lots of work and endless making and remaking of desserts, there’s hardly been a moment of downtime. Keep in mind that with every recipe that I am testing for this wonderful Thanksgiving special, I am taking endless bites, I mean how else am I supposed to adjust the ingredients?!

This all leads me to just feel oh so balloon-like and even slightly more wound up than usual! I then decided that with this dessert heavy season upon us that I needed to at least have a healthy snack around to munch on instead of my bowl of holiday Rollos and Hershey kisses.

So, as I unwrap my fifth Ghirardelli chocolate bar and melt it down, instead of taking a piece for myself, I instead take a handful of slightly sweet and wonderfully crunchy homemade granola! The natural sweetness in the raisin, cranberry, coconut combination along with the fillingness of the nuts make for an all around wonderful and enjoyable snack.

Feeling extra slumpy recently because you’ve been stuffing your face with any and all things that just scream hey it’s the holiday season, you must eat me! ??! Well, let’s put a slight stop to the madness with this granola!

 

ingredients

Canola Oil—0.75 oz, or 2 TBL

Honey—3 oz, or 1/3 C

Fresh Ginger, peeled & chopped—0.75 oz, or 2” piece

Oats—9.75 oz, or 3 C

Brown Sugar—1.6 oz, or 3 TBL

Salt—0.05 oz, or ¼ tsp

Cinnamon—0.05 oz, or ¾ tsp

Pecans, chopped—2.25 oz, or ½ C

Coconut Flakes—1 oz, or 1/3 C

Dried Cranberries—2.15 oz, or 1/3 C

Raisins—2.15 oz, or 1/3 C

Candied Ginger—2.25 oz, or 1/3 C

 

process

In a small saucepot, combine the oil, honey and fresh ginger.

Preheat the oven to 300˚ F.

Put on low heat and stir to dissolve the honey. Keep on low heat until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, chopped pecans and coconut flakes. Mix.

Remove and toss the ginger from the honey mixture. Pour the honey/oil into your oats.

Mix to coat.

Spread evenly on a sheetpan that has been lined with parchment paper.

Put in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that your granola toasts evenly.

Once your granola is nice and toasty (you’ll be able to smell it!), remove from the oven and allow to cool.

When it has cooled, mix in your dried cranberries, raisins and candied ginger.

Store in an airtight container, and enjoy as a snack on its own, with some plain yogurt or cashew milk—my favorite!

 

Bon Appétit!