The character of what we eat

ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVE MOST ABOUT COOKING is the ability to research a recipe, make it, and change it around however you want in order to make it better. As I have said previously, recipes exist to use as guidelines. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun if it was strict! Every experience in the kitchen should be a unique and exciting adventure. Today’s recipe started off as a crescent cookie, and I improvised as I went to turn it into a pocket. I love the rustic, unperfect look of the pockets when they come out of the oven. In my humble opinion, cookies should not look like they came off an assembly line. Each of these fabulous treats is molded by hand so that no two will come out the same. The cranberries are just stunning, both to the eyes and the palette. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that gets snow, think about how beautiful it is when it falls, and how no two snowflakes are exactly alike. It’s kind of like that. Like people, food has character, and personalities that are there to be freed and experienced by us chefs and the people we feed. This is why food can influence us so much! Think about your favorite comfort food meal, and how it always makes you feel better when you eat it no matter what is going on around you. This is how I am beginning to really understand and appreciate food – you have to let it work its magic. Enjoy this recipe and everything it can bring to your table.            ~Sam~

White Chocolate Cranberry Pockets

Ingredients:

–          2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts (1 box)

–          1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

–          1 cup water

–          1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

–          ½ cup chopped walnuts

–          2-3 tbsp milk

Directions:

1)      Heat the oven to 350. In a medium microwave safe bowl, pour the water over the cranberries. Microwave on high, in one minute intervals, until the berries are very soft, about 3 minutes, stirring after each interval. BE CAREFUL as the bowl and berries will be HOT! Drain thoroughly.

2)      In the food processor, combine the cranberries, 1 cup white chocolate chips, and walnuts. Process to form a coarse paste, adding a bit of water (1 tablespoonful at a time) if needed to reach that consistency. If necessary, process in batches and stir together in a large bowl until evenly combined.

3)      On a flat surface, unroll one pie crust. Pile ½ of the cranberry mixture in the center of the crust. Use the back of a spoon to spread the filling evenly all over the crust, leaving about ½” as a border around the outside edge. Using a sharp knife, cut the crust into 8 uniform wedges. Starting at the point end, bring the corners of each wedge together to form a rough triangle. Pinch the corners together so that the crust sticks to itself in the center of the triangle; you want to edges to stay together in the oven to form the pocket. Repeat with the remaining crust and cranberry mixture.

4)      Place the triangles about 1 ½” apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the peaks of each triangle are lightly golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

5)      While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze. In a small microwave safe bowl, pour the milk over ½ cup white chocolate chips. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chocolate is melted, about 1 ½ – 2 minutes. Stir until smooth, adding up to another 1 tbsp of milk if needed to reach drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cookies and allow to set before storing.

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