Sunday, July 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free!) and Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Paninis

I love a good food dare.  One of the surest ways to get me to try a new recipe is with a food dare. Now, there are several different types of food dares.  The first is a Direct Dare from friends or family.  This type of dare includes challenges such as “Hey Sharon, I dare you to make this recipe!” or “Hey Sharon, check out this recipe I found – can you make it?”  Friends know that a surefire way to get me to make a specific recipe is to throw down the gauntlet and challenge me with a simple Facebook tag under a posted recipe – Sharon Matten.  That’s all it takes.  Sometimes “what do you think” may be added, but usually just my name is sufficient to have me studiously planning my next new recipe.

The next type of food dare is a Suggestive Dare.  A Suggestive Dare is usually done at a family or Shabbat meal.  Somehow, I can’t imagine why, the subject of different types of food or recipes will come up for discussion and someone will say “Hmmm…I wonder how one would make that” while looking directly at me.  It really doesn’t take much.  Suggestive Dares are very subtle and extremely powerful.  I mean, we’ve all heard of “the power of suggestion” right?

Gooey, crispy & SO cheesy!
The final type of dare is a Personal Dare.  It’s one where I dare myself to make a specific unique recipe. Pesto and Fresh Marinated Mozzarella Panini.  (In case you were wondering last week why I happened to have Garden Fresh Pesto in my fridge…here’s your answer!) I took my Personal Dare so seriously that when we got home I actually purchased an inexpensive George Forman grill at Target to make the Panini’s.  Another type of Personal Dare is the MacGyver Dare.  Similar to an episode of the Food Network Show Chopped, I sometimes find that I have to make some sort of appetizer or soup out of whatever ingredients I happen to have on hand.  MacGyver Dares can be the most fun and creative which is why I love them so much. For example, when Dear Husband and I were in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, at Café of Paris, DH ordered an awesome Panini sandwich.  He loved it so much that I personally dared myself to remake a version of the sandwich – a

Each dare tests my cooking depth and skill.  It’s fun because it’s a new challenge, uncharted territory to discover, and a fresh way of making something novel.  How fun is that??!!

And they're Gluten Free too!!
Recently a friend Facebook tagged me on a gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  There was nothing subtle about it – it was a direct challenge and I took the trial seriously.  Mind you, other Facebook friends also goaded me into trying the recipe with “So Sharon…did you try the recipe?  How did it turn out??”  Are you kidding me?  How am I supposed to pass up that type of Direct Dare?  It’s equivalent to suggesting to someone who loves roller coasters “Hey, want to go to Great America Sunday?”  To be truthful, I was a lot suspicious of the cookies.  How could you possibly make a cookie that’s gluten-free, sugar-free, and egg-free too and have it taste good?  And not only that…there were CHICK PEAS in the recipe!!  That’s right - CHICK PEAS!!  Complete and utter insanity.  SO EXCITING, SO FUN!!  There was the test.  I set out to make the cookies, and ironically happened to have all the ingredients in the house.  They turned out so well that people couldn’t believe that they were gluten-free.  I also had a rousing good time having friends and family guess what the ”secret ingredient” was in the cookies… CHICK PEAS of course.  That’s right CHICK PEAS!!

I’m sure I have you all revved up for next week’s Kosher Everyday article.  Come back and check it out at – I dare you!

Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Panini 
(Can be made Gluten Free by using GFE bread!)
Use a crusty, hearty bread for these sandwiches.  Café of Paris used a wonderful ciabatta bread, but when I went to our local kosher Breadsmith I found out that they had stopped making ciabatta bread and I ended up buying a few loaves of rustic French sandwich bread.  It was also fabulous!

2 tablespoons Garden Fresh Pesto
Sliced fresh marinated mozzarella cheese, or sliced mozzarella cheese (enough to cover one slice of bread)
2 slices crusty bread
1 large tomato slice (optional)
Nonstick vegetable spray

Preheat a Panini maker, mini indoor grill, or skillet. Spray one slice of the sandwich bread with nonstick spray and place sprayed side down on the grill/skillet.  Spread the two tablespoons of pesto evenly over the bread, leaving around ½ inch un-pesto’ed around the edges.  Top with the tomato (if using) and then layer the cheese on top.  Spray the remaining slice of bread with nonstick spray and place it sprayed side up on top of the cheese. Close the grill lid, or press down lightly on the sandwich with a spatula if using a skillet.  Allow the sandwich to cook for around 5 minutes.  If using a Panini maker or grill, rotate the sandwich 90° and cook until golden brown.  If using a skillet, flip the sandwich and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Remove from grill/skillet and slice diagonally.  Serve hot. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie – Great for the GFE (Gluten-Free Eater)
I spent some time online trying to find the origin of this recipe.    I found it on a number of blogs, food websites and Facebook pages.  They are best served warm, when the chocolate chips are melted and gooey, but are still really peanut buttery and rich even after they cool.  I know you won’t believe it until you try the recipe yourself but you really can’t taste the chick peas in this recipe.  Really truly!!  Please let me know how yours turn out!

1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (I used crunchy and they were awesome! )
1/4 cup (80 grams) honey or agave (I used honey)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (Use the best ones you can find!)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.

Wearing gloves, or with wet hands, form the cookies into tablespoon size balls.  (I used a scooper and then rolled them into ball shapes.)  Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.  Bake 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Panini (Can be made Gluten Free by using GFE bread!)
All the ingredients (no tomato in this sandwich!)
 Garden fresh pesto on the bread...
(Check out my new Forman!)
 Top with the fresh marinated mozzarella cheese!
 Another slice of crusty bread...
 Cheesy & gooey!
(They ate it before I could photograph it cut!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie – Great for the GFE (Gluten-Free Eater)
All the cookie ingredients...
Note the CHICK PEAS!!
(I almost always make a double recipe!)
 I love these cool measuring pushers!!
 All the ingredients in the processor...
SO smooth!
 Dump in the chocolate chips...
 I used a scooper!
 Ok...they look good so far...
 Woa!  Gooey & Fabulous!!
(And you can't even taste the CHICK PEAS!)

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!


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