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Tate’s-Style Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookes

December 6, 2019

I was shocked that I liked, no ‘loved’ these.  I’ve made a lot of chocolate chip cookies and in no way did I think I was in the crispy camp.  I was always a steadfast chewy cookies person, or so I thought.

These are incredible and if you have ever had Tate’s, these far surpass the store bought variety.

I have to confess, I love Stella Parks (per Serious Eats, Stella Parks is our CIA-trained baking nerd and resident pastry wizard, dubbed one of America’s Best New Pastry Chefs by Food & Wine. She’s also the James Beard Award–winning cookbook author of BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, a New York Times best-seller. When not in the kitchen, Stella spends most of her time polishing Star Trek quotes, re-watching Battlestar Galactica, and playing video games.)  She’s awesome and a genius.  So of course I had to make them.

My daughter made them recently and described them like chips.  Hard to eat just one and I must agree!

You must have a food processor.  You must have a scale (you can get the volume weight from the original recipe, but I seriously discourage it.  The ingredients must be weighed)  Both are great additions to your kitchen.  Also you must get the specific ingredients if you don’t have them.  This is Stella Parks, so heed the ingredient list.

Tate’s-Style Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies by Stella Parks Serious Eats

8 ounces Gold Medal All Purpose Flour Blue Label (you can get a small bag 🙂 )

8 ounces light brown sugar

3-1/2 ounces raw cane sugar

2  teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

8 ounces cold butter, cut into 1 inch chunks (this is the only thing I deviate from.  I’m sorry Stella but I see no difference in salted vs unsalted)

8 ounces assorted chocolate chips, preferably no darker than 70%

1 large egg, cold and straight from the refrigerator

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Measure out the ingredients into a medium bowl, using your scale:  flour, brown sugar, cane sugar, salt and baking soda.  Place these ingredients in the food processor and process until well combined.

Add cold butter and pulse to form a dry and powdery mix.

Add chocolate chips and pulse until combined.

This cookie mixture can be refrigerated up to one week in an airtight container or used right away in the next step.

Place cookie mixture into a very large bowl.  Add egg and vanilla and stir well, until all the wet ingredients have been absorbed.  Knead the mixture by hand, right in the bowl, until it comes together like a classic dough.

Preheat oven (s) to 350 degrees.

Place parchment (no silicon mat) on rimmed cookie sheets.  Portion out the dough into tablespoons (I only got 37 as compared to Stella’s 56 ?).  Space the tablespoon dough about 2-3 inches apart on cookie sheet (I got 6 per cookie sheet).

Bake for 14-16 minutes (check at 14 minutes, mine were done) until uniformly golden brown.  Cool cookies directly on the rimmed cookie sheet until room temperature, about an hour.

Cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to 6 weeks.

measure out ingredients into medium bowl:

butter, chocolate chips:

process flour, brown sugar, sugar, kosher salt and baking soda:

add butter:

add chocolate chips:

 

place in a very large bowl:

add egg and vanilla:

stir until combined:

then knead together to form a dough:

rimmed cookie sheets with parchment:

portioning out dough:

baked:

yum!

 

 

 

 

 

Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

December 2, 2019

These are REALLY good.  Stiff competition for my Refrigerator Rolls Deluxe.  A bit more time consuming and doesn’t make as many but totally worth it.

This bread uses a technique called a roux, per Serious Eats:

Water roux makes bread extra soft, tender and fluffy.

This works for any yeast bread recipe. Bread machine or oven baked. I’ve used it on white bread, sour dough bread and wheat bread (half white flour & half wheat flour).

What’s the secret to a high rising, soft, tender, fluffy loaf of bread?

Just add a flour and water roux to your wet bread ingredients.

The flour and water roux helps the bread to retain moisture during cooking and afterward. The roux traps moisture and retains it. This also makes a tall, fluffy, tender loaf with a longer shelf life.

You will really see and taste the difference

I have seen this technique in Japanese milk bread, which is very popular right now.

Also the dough is a brioche:  bread with added egg and more butter (in this instance garlic butter), than regular bread.

The recipe has a very specific way of rolling the balls of dough.  I did this the first and second time but it’s very time consuming and I felt it wasn’t worth it.  I just rolled the dough firmly in the palms of my hands to produce a fairly uniform ball of dough.  This is a personal preference though.  The directions are in the original recipe, if you want.

Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls from Bon Appetit

10 tablespoon butter, divided

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely grated

3/4 cup milk, divided (this can be 2% or whole)

3 tablespoons bread flour (preferably King Arthur Flour)

2-1/4 cups bread flour (preferably King Arthur Flour)

2-1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (from 2 packages)

2 tablespoon sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons kosher salt

vegetable oil or see my preference*

1 large egg, mixed thoroughly and set aside in small bowl with brush

Flaky sea salt

Place 5 tablespoon of butter, thinly sliced,  in a medium bowl.  Cook remaining 5 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling often, until butter foams, then turns golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Stay with the saucepan the whole time, do not wander away.  Browning the butter happens very quickly.  You can go from melted butter to burnt butter very quickly.  You do not want burnt butter. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the garlic.  Scrape this butter/garlic mixture, including the milk solids on the bottom, into the bowl with the sliced butter.  Reserve saucepan.  Stir the butter/garlic/browned butter until all butter is melted and mixture is smooth.  Let sit, stirring occasionally, until the butter mixture is room temperature and solidified, about 15-20 minutes.

While butter mixture solidifies, whisk 1/4 milk, 3 tablespoons flour, SIFTED and 1/4 cup water in reserved sauce pan until smooth.  Set sauce pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until it becomes a very stiff paste resembling mashed potatoes, about 2 minutes.  Scrape this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Reserve saucepan.

Gently heat remaining 1/2 cup milk in reserved saucepan over low heat, to 100 degrees using an instant read thermometer.  No thermometer?  Dab the milk on the inside of your wrist.  It shouldn’t feel warm or cold.  Let sit for one minute.  Sprinkle yeast on top and whisk until dissolved or somewhat dissolved.  If the milk is too hot, you will kill the yeast.  So be careful.

Brush the bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch baking pan with 2 tablespoon of garlic butter and set aside.  Set aside another 2 tablespoon of garlic butter in a small glass bowl (so you can microwave if needed) for brushing over baked rolls.

Add yeast mixture, sugar, 1 egg, and 2-1/4 cups bread flour to paste in bowl of stand mixer.  Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms.  Add the kosher salt and increase speed to medium, continue to mix until dough forms a smooth single mass, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low again and add remaining garlic butter a tablespoonful at a time, waiting until incorporated before adding more.  Once all the garlic butter has been added, increase mixer speed back to medium and mix dough until very soft and smooth, about 10 minutes.  *Using the bowl that you made the garlic butter in, take a paper towel, and spread the remaining bits of butter/garlic mixture all over the inside of the bowl.  Place the dough in the bowl.  Cover with aluminum foil and let rise for 45-60 minutes, until doubled.  To create a draft free environment for the bread to rise, I make a proofing box with my oven.  Take a pan, similar to a 9×13 baking pan and place on the bottom rack of your oven which is COLD.  Fill pan with hot boiling water.  Place bowl with bread dough, on middle rack, above the now steaming pan.  Close oven door.  Put timer on for 45 minutes and take a peak.  If needs more time, give it another 15 minutes.

When the bread has doubled in volume, punch down and knead several times to deflate (you can do this right in the bowl).  Turn dough out onto a clean work surface.  Pinch off about 1-5/8 ounce of dough and roll very firmly in palm of hands to make a nice round ball of dough.  Place in prepared pan.  And repeat with the remaining dough.  It will make 15 balls of dough in a 5 x 3 grid in the pan, spaced evenly apart.

Place pan with balls of dough on top of your oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Let rolls rise for about 35-45 minutes until doubled.

When rolls have doubled, very lightly brush with mixed egg from small bowl and then sprinkle with sea salt.

Place in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.  Place on cooling rack and brush with 2 tablespoon of reserved garlic butter (you might have to microwave for 10 seconds).

Let cool for 10 minutes.

Take a large offset spatula or large metal spatula and slide under rolls and the sides to release.  Invert onto a cooling rack and invert again right side up.  Let cool another 15 minutes before serving.

Do Ahead:  Dough can be formed into rolls (do not let rise) 1 day ahead; cover and chill.  Let rise before baking.  This might take about 3 hours.

Also, you can make the rolls completely and when cooled, freeze, covered in heavy duty aluminum foil,  for up to 3 days.

 

place butter in saucepan:

finely grated garlic:

browning butter:

add browned butter to butter in medium bowl:

sift flour into saucepan:

stir flour, milk and water until smooth:

over medium heat, whisk constantly until thick paste:

add to standing mixer bowl:

stir butter and browned butter until smooth:

brush 2 tablespoon of garlic butter on 9×13 baking pan and set aside:

set aside another 2 tablespoons of garlic butter into small glass bowl:

yeast mixture, sugar, 1 egg and 2-1/4 cups bread flour:

mix with dough hook until shaggy dough, then add kosher salt:

increase to medium until dough is smooth, then start adding garlic butter 1 tablespoon at a time:

place dough in bowl that you made the garlic butter in:

cover with aluminum foil and place in “proofing box” (cold oven) with pan of boiling water underneath:

after about an hour, dough doubled in size:

punch down dough:

weigh out 1-5/8 ounce (I know this says 1-1/2 but it should be a bit more):

roll into 15 balls and place in prepared baking pan:

let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes:

brush with egg and sprinkle with sea salt and place in oven:

remove from oven when golden brown, about 20 minutes, brush with garlic butter:

cooling, yum!

 

 

 

 

Smoky Barbecue Chicken

November 25, 2019

So this recipe is from Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant, using an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker.  I realize that you have to have one or the other to make this recipe.  If you are not into another piece of kitchen equipment, I totally understand.  But the Instant Pot is such a good one.  Granted I do store it downstairs in my laundry room because I have no space in my kitchen for it.  But I still think it’s an invaluable tool. I am still learning about it’s many time saving ways: I just made applesauce with it, which was amazing and saved me tons of time.  Anyway, this is one of the recipes from the book with just a few tweeeks (I doubled the sauce ingredients, and used less chipotle chile sauce) and it is soooo good.  A good jumping off point for getting used to your Instant Pot if you are a first time user.  I actually just gave this recipe to someone that had her Instant Pot for awhile and was afraid to get started (me too actually, my daughter held my hand, metaphorically speaking, and I boiled water the first time, hahaha!) and she just reported to me that the recipe was great.  So here goes:

Smoky Barbecue Chicken from Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark

2-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons molasses

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon of the sauce from chipotle chile in adobo sauce (try this to start and if not hot enough, chop up some of the chili, add more sauce, according to your heat tolerance, mine happens to be very low)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 garlic gloves, grated on a Microplane or minced

1-1/2 teaspoons sweet(or hot) smoked paprika (I used sweet)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Season the chicken thighs with the salt and a sprinkling of pepper while you prepare the sauce.

Place in the Instant Pot, the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chile sauce, vinegar, garlic, paprika, pepper and mustard.  Set the Instant Pot to saute function, stir the ingredients together and simmer until mixture is thick (about 2-3 minutes) stirring occasionally.

Add all the chicken and stir together until the chicken is covered in sauce.

Cover and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.  Let the pressure release naturally.

(Just a tip here about the Instant Pot in general:  getting the pot up to pressure and releasing the pressure takes time.  We ended up eating at 9 pm occasionally because I did not take this into consideration.  Give yourself about an hour and half for this particular recipe.)

Using tongs and then a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a large container (I used a covered glass dish for this).

Set the cooker on the saute function and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

If you like, you can shred the chicken.  Then add some or all of the sauce back into the chicken.  If not putting all the sauce on the chicken you can serve it on the side.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice, on a roll, as is, however you like.

for the slow cooker, Melissa Clark writes this: Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours.

Enjoy!

salt and pepper chicken:

sauce ingredients:

add chicken:

pressure cook:

all done:

transfer chicken to dish and add sauce:

 

.

 

Chicken Cacciatore

November 16, 2019

I love Giada DeLaurentiis’ recipes.  Straight forward, simple directions with delicious results, always.  This is a classic dish.  Excellent served right away and even better the next day.

Chicken Cacciatore from Food Network Giada DeLaurentiis (for some reason I can’t link to this recipe, but just put this in the search bar and it will come up right away.  I’m pretty sure she has a video for this recipe, which is always helpful)

4 chicken thighs, with skin and bones

2 chicken breasts, with skin and bones (I used 5 drumsticks, with skin and bones, personal preference)

2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/2 cup  all purpose flour, for dredging

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red (or green) bell pepper, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use the big holes on my box grater to finely slice, works like a charm)

3/4 cup dry white wine (we always have Sauvignon Blanc, so that is what I use)

1, 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice (I used 2, 14 ounce petite diced tomatoes by Hunt)

3/4 cup chicken stock

3 tablespoons drained capers (do not shy away from this ingredient, it is necessary, adds to the great flavor)

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves (I do not add this, personal preference

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Start heating the oil in a very large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  While oil is heating up, dredge the chicken in the flour, setting back down on the cutting board.

Cook the chicken in 2 batches (because you do not want to overcrowd, the chicken will not brown properly), about 5 minutes per side until nicely browned.  Set aside  on a large plate.

Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the sauce pan and saute over medium heat until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Season with the rest of the salt and 6-7 grounds of fresh pepper.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, chicken broth, capers and oregano.  Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them over to coat with the sauce.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook on medium low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.  You can test with an instant thermometer, it should register 160 degrees or higher.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter.  If need be (I did not see a need) boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.  Spoon the sauce over the chicken.  And if you are doing basil, sprinkle that on top.

Serve with pasta, crusty bread, rice or by itself with a nice crunchy salad.

 

salt and pepper chicken, heat pan, dredge chicken:

cooking chicken:

 

Adding bell pepper, onion and garlic:

 

addling tomatoes, broth, capers and oregano:

chicken back in the pan:

after 30 minutes:

yum:

Granola Biscotti

May 13, 2019

This cookie makes a great snack.  Not too sweet, portable and could be healthy 🙂  It’s my husband’s favorite which I have to make on a regular basis now.

I double the recipe and it works out perfectly.  I tried making 2 very large logs when I doubled the recipe but it really doesn’t work very well.  If you have a double oven, like I do, you can bake both baking sheets of 2 logs each at the same time.  Otherwise bake them separately.  The recipe below is not doubled, it makes two logs.

Also, I tried mixing my way:  adding all the dry ingredients, which included the sugar and then the wet ingredients which included the butter.  Wrong, wrong.  The sugar did not dissolve when I did that.  So follow the instructions.

I highly recommend using a scale.  It makes this recipe a whole lot easier.  Again, this would be a reason to buy one.  If you don’t have one, refer to the King Arthur Flour recipe.  They give you the ingredients using cups.

I just made a few tweaks, mainly oven temperature and times and some of the ingredients.

Granola Biscotti  by King Arthur Flour via Smitten Kitchen 

4-1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

4-5/8 ounce rolled (whole or Old Fashioned) oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 ounces butter, melted

1-3/4 ounces granulated sugar

1-7/8 ounces brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 ounces pecans or walnuts, chopped

2 ounces shredded sweetened coconut

4 ounces raisins or cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place parchment paper onto a rimmed cookie sheet.

In a small/medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars.  Then whisk in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients and then the nuts, coconut and raisins or cranberries to make a stiff batter.

Using a large ice cream scoop (see picture), divide dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Using wet hands, shape the dough into 2 logs.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown and beginning to form cracks.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

When logs are completely cool (about an hour), transfer to a cutting board.  Using a serrated knife cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces and place on cookie sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

The pictures below are from doubling the recipe, but same idea if only doing once the recipe.

prepping rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper:

flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt:

melted butter and sugars:

nuts, coconut and raisins or cranberries:

mix everything together:

portion the dough evenly using an ice cream scoop:

using wet hands, form into logs:

bake:

when completely cool, place on cutting board:

and cut:

and bake again:

yum!

 

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

February 5, 2019

So these are absolutely delicious.   Sweet and tart at the same time.  Yum!

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen, which as you may or may not know, you need a subscription to their site to get their recipes.  Not all.  Some you can get on Instagram if you follow them.  But they are only available for a short period of time.  Anyway I can’t link you to the recipe because…….you need a subscription.

Also they are somewhat tedious to make for muffins.  This was my sink after making them:

These are muffins.  My sink looks like I made a 3 layer cake, with filling, frosting and then I decorated it!  Not my idea of a sink for muffins.  In my eyes, muffins are a one bowl deal and no more than 30 minutes of prep.  So be prepared to give yourself some time for these muffins but they are definitely worth it and worth the extra dishes.

And there are many steps to this muffin AND you have to wait 30 minutes for the dough to absorb before adding the cranberries and moving on to the very important part of putting them in the muffin tins.

You also need a Food Processor for this recipe.  If you don’t have one, borrow one.  This recipe is not possible without one.

The only thing I did to change this recipe was to decrease the cooking temperature.  425 degrees which the recipe states, to me is not a muffin temperature.  I fooled around quite a bit with the temperature on top of trying to make the recipe easier to make.  The only success I had was the temperature.  Because it is an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, the steps need to be followed.

Maybe it would be better to treat these muffins as a 3 layer cake with all the fixings.  They are worth it because they are that delicious.  Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time to make them.  😉

CRANBERRY PECAN MUFFINS from America’s Test Kitchen

Streusal Topping

3 tablespoons flour

4 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, cut up

pinch of slat

1/2 cup (60 grams) pecan halves or pieces (I think the pieces are cheaper, that’s fine because they get chopped up anyway)

Muffins

1-1/3 cups (6-2/3 ounces) flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

————————————————

1-1/4 cups (150 grams) pecan halves or pieces, toasted (bake pecans in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes)

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (7-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

————————————————-

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted (microwave in microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds, stir and then add 10-15 seconds if needed)

1/2 cup milk, whole, 2%, whatever you have

————————————————-

2 cups (200 grams) cranberries, these can be fresh or frozen.  You can only get fresh in the Fall.  Buy them in the Fall and freeze.

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

For the Streusel:

Process flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter and salt in food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand.  Just keep pulsing until this is achieved.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

For the Muffins:

Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with baking spray with flour (like Pam with Flour).

Whisk flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place toasted pecans and sugar in food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand.  Just keep pulsing until this is achieved.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and then whisk in eggs, butter and milk until combine.  Whisk flour mixture into egg mixture until just moistened and no streaks of flour remain.  Set batter aside for 30 minutes to thicken.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse cranberries, confectioner sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in food processor until cranberries are chopped up in smallish sizes.  Using rubber spatula, fold cranberries into batter.  Using an ice cream scoop, divide batter equally among muffin cups.  Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the muffins and gently press streusel into batter to make sure it has adhered.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until muffins when inserted with a toothpick, comes out clean and muffins are firm to the touch.  (mine took about 27 minutes but each oven is different.  Start to test at 25 minutes.  They should start ever so slightly browning on the edges).  Cool muffins on wire cooling rack for 10 minutes and then very gently remove muffins from muffin tin.  Let cool completely before serving.

I put mine in the refrigerator, into 2 large plastic containers with lids.  They are still good after 1 week and I only have 3 left.  Freezing might change the texture of the muffins and streusel topping.

Streusel:

Finished streusel, set aside:

Prep muffin tin:

Flour mixture:

Toasted pecans: I love parchment paper 🙂

Toasted pecans and sugar:

Add eggs, butter, milk:

Add flour mixture:

Let sit 30 minutes:

Processing cranberries with confectioner sugar and salt:

Add to batter:

Measure batter into muffin tins and sprinkle with streusel topping:

Press streusel topping onto batter:

Out of the oven and cooling:

Yum:

 

 

 

 

 

Butterscotch Brownies

August 29, 2018

Butterscotch Brownies, Butterscotch Blondies, Blondies, Blond Brownies:  so many names.

I have been searching for a really good recipe and this came to my attention earlier this year.  And I think what makes these the best, is browning the butter and sprinkling the batter with flaky salt.  So yummy…….

I don’t believe in putting any add ins and/or mix ins into the quintessential Blondie.  My personal opinion here.  I may change my mind in the future but for now I will leave adding anything to the batter up to you.  Suggestions are on the bottom of the recipe.

I also really appreciate that the recipe has weights as well.  I encourage you all to get a scale and use it.

So, unfortunately I cannot access the original recipe for you because it’s on The New York Times Cooking website which you now need a subscription.  Didn’t need one when I printed the recipe in February.  😦   So I am writing this exactly how Yossy Arefi had it.  You can check out her blog, too:   www.apt2bakingco.com.  Unfortunately this recipe is not in it but she has some other great ones in there.  So sorry about this, against my blogging ethics not to have the original recipe linked.

Butterscotch Blondies by Yossy Arefi, The New York Times Cooking

1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan  (I use salted butter in ALL my recipes, I can’t tell the difference, up to you here which one 🙂  Also I never grease the pan with butter, I always use canola oil spray)

1-1/2 cups (330 grams) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1-3/4 cups (224 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Any mix-in you like (see NOTE)

1/4 teaspoon flaky salt (optional but I don’t think so)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray or butter 9 x 9 inch baking pan with canola oil spray.  Line with parchment paper (see picture below for a guide).

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook butter, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heat proof rubber spatula (I also like to move the pan in a circular motion instead of using the spatula until the very end) until it turns deep golden brown and smells nutty (I never smell the nutty smell, oh well :/ )  DO NOT WALK AWAY from the pan during this process.  The butter can go from brown and nutty to acrid and burnt in mere moments.  ( I can attest to this, it has happened and then you have to throw butter OUT (yikes) and start all over.)  Transfer the butter and all the brown bits from the pan to a large heat-safe bowl to cool slightly.  (When I first made brown butter, I threw out the brown bits:  hahaha!)

When the butter is cool (I usually measure out the other ingredients after I have browned the butter and by the time I am finished, the butter is cool enough), add the sugar and whisk until smooth (if you find this difficult (I do) use a hand held mixer to do the mixing).  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt along with any mix-ins, with a rubber spatula, until well combined and no streaks of flour remain in the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with flaky salt, if desired.

Bake the blondies until set and slightly puffy, 20-27 minutes.  For gooey blondies, err on the short side of the baking time.  (I bake mine for 24 minutes)  Cool before slicing.

NOTE:  Add ins

1 cup chopped white or milk chocolate

1 cup toasted chopped nuts

1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup dried whole cherries or apricots, chopped

1/4 cup crumbled halva

2 tablespoon bourbon or rum or 1 tablespoon espresso powder, mixed in with butter and sugar

Sprinkle of cinnamon or cardamom, mixed in with the butter and sugar.

Swirl in 2 to 4 tablespoons Nutella, peanut butter or tahini into the top of the batter before baking.

 

Spray pan with Pam or something equivalent.  I use these Cookie baking sheets all the time.  Cut one in half and both halves fit perfectly into the 9″x 9″ pan.

how to brown butter:

start melting the butter:

it will get foamy:

and then start to clear up:

then it will get slightly foamy again and start to turn brown, it should look like this:

then pour into a heat proof bowl:

mise en place:

add sugar, then eggs and vanilla:

Fold in flour mixture (and add ins if you are adding):

until smooth:

pour into prepared pan:

sprinkle with flaky salt (this was not very good, try to sprinkle it evenly, not like me):

out of the oven:

when completely cool, place brownie on cutting board:

remove the parchment paper:

and cut into bars:

yum!

Super Chocolatey Cookies

January 23, 2018

These are the most chocolatey cookies I have ever made so far.  They are SO good, even when they are STALE they are good.  Just sayin’.

So the first time I made these I was a sticky chocolatey mess, so heed the refrigeration recommendation.  They are definitely needed.  And don’t get lazy and substitute chips for the chopped chocolate.  Get a bar of yummy Ghiradelli chocolate and chop into nice chunks.

The original recipe name is Super Chocolatey Buttons but these are not button size.  They are about twice the size because they make about 30 cookies versus the 60-65 yield in the original recipe.  The baking is a bit longer but not much.  I just don’t have a cookie scoop that small.

I followed the recipe exact except I really don’t like the look of the cookie after rolling it in the cocoa. I think it’s an extra step that’s not really needed.  If you choose to go that route, use a less expensive cocoa to roll them in and save your more expensive brand for the cookie dough.  I did do both:  just confectioners sugar and confectioners sugar and cocoa so you could see which one you liked.  With just the confectioners sugar they do look like snowflake cookies, so I don’t know, you decide: haha!  I was also thinking of rolling them in white sprinkles:  wouldn’t that be interesting!  They would look like chocolate nonpareils!

Super Chocolatey Cookies (from Food Network)

4 ounces of butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Ghiradelli is my preferred brand)

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped in chip size pieces (Ghiradelli again here)

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoon buttermilk (you might be able to get away with milk here as a substitute but I have not tried that)

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder (Valrhona is my favorite:  Whole Foods or Amazon)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup confectioners sugar, for rolling

1/2 cup cocoa powder, for rolling, optional (like Hershey’s which is readily available at supermarkets)

Whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder (Valrhona or comparable) and salt in a medium bowl.

Place eggs, vanilla and buttermilk into a medium bowl.

Place butter, unsweetened chocolate and 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe medium bowl.  Microwave for 1 minute on high.  Stir for 1 minute until ingredients are completely combined.  If there is still a bit of lumpy chocolate left, microwave for 10 seconds only, and stir again.

Pour melted chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and start mixing on low with the paddle.  Add the white and brown sugars and mix for 1 minute.  Add the eggs/vanilla/buttermilk and mix until thick and glossy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the flour mixture  and beat on low speed until almost combined.  Then add in the 1/2 chip size semi sweet chocolate and mix until just combined.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Scoop out refrigerated dough into generous 1 tablespoon balls or use the purple cookie scoop from King Arthur flour to form the balls.  Place balls onto a smaller rimmed cookie sheet (that will fit in your refrigerator) that has been lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Half way in the second refrigeration, turn your oven on to 350 degrees.

Place 1/4 cup confectioners sugar in a small bowl.  Place 1/2 cup of supermarket brand cocoa powder in another small bowl, if using.

Place parchment paper on rimmed cookie sheet.

When hour is up, take one ball and place in confectioners sugar, covering with sugar.  Remove coated cookie ball and do the same with the cocoa powder (if using) and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Continue with the other balls of cookie dough, placing about 2 inches apart.  Take the uncoated balls and put them back in the refrigerator.  Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, turning cookie sheet mid way.  They should still be soft in the middle when done.  Place cookie sheet on cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Then remove cookies onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  Repeat with the rest of the cookie balls.

melted chocolate mixture and sugars:

and beat for 1 minute:

add egg mixture and beat 2-3 minutes:

flour, cocoa powder and salt:

mix into batter and then add chunks of semisweet chocolate:

cover and place in refrigerator:

cookie balls formed and then go into refrigerator for another hour:

coating with just confectioners sugar:

coating in confectioners sugar and then cocoa powder:

baked with just the confectioners sugar coating:

baked with confectioners sugar and cocoa powder coating:

cooling:

yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce

January 17, 2018

I love that this recipe uses lamb instead of beef for meatballs and uses a mix of spices to enhance that flavor.  Smells great too.

I tweaked a little bit on the recipe but not much: I used crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes.  They get crushed anyway in the recipe, so why add another step?  I omitted Rosemary and Red Pepper Flakes because I’m not a fan but please feel free to add them if you like.  The quantities are in the original recipe that has been linked.  And don’t omit the Feta Cheese OR the Mint.  I  think it finishes off this dish perfectly.

I served this over rice and my son used the meatballs as a filling for a sandwich served on crusty bread.  There is not a great deal of sauce so I think rice is the way to go rather than pasta.  Mashed potatoes sounds good to me too as well as polenta.

Lamb meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce (from New York Times Cooking)

meatballs:

1 medium onion, finely diced

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

pinch cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

2 pounds ground lamb

sauce:

1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon cumin

pinch cinnamon

pinch cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1-3 inch strip of orange peel

1/4 cup orange juice, from small orange that you got the peel from

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

topping:

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoon finely diced mint leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a very large bowl, put the ingredients for the meatballs:  onion through parsley.  Mix thoroughly.  Add ground lamb and with a large fork stir to combine. Mix until you see the other ingredients evenly dispersed in the lamb.   Try not to mix too heavily or the meatballs will be dense and hard.

Place parchment paper onto a cookie baking sheet with sides.  Form lamb mixture into 1-1/2 to 2 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.  Cook in oven for 20 minutes.

While lamb is cooking, prep for the sauce.  In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, thyme, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and bay leaf and saute for 5 to 7 minutes until onions are translucent.  Add tomatoes, sugar, orange peel, orange juice, salt and pepper.   Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Set aside.

When lamb is done, using a slotted spoon, place meatballs into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Remove bay leaf and orange strip and pour tomato sauce over top and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with feta cheese and mint leaves.

onion through parsley in large bowl:

mix thoroughly:

add lamb:

mix lightly but completely:

form into balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet:

sauce ingredients:

topping:

cook onions, thyme, cumin, cayenne, bay leaf for sauce:

add tomatoes, sugar, orange peel, juice, salt and pepper and simmer:

sauce complete:

lamb cooked and put into 9 x 13 baking dish:

cover with the sauce and bake in the oven:

lamb meatballs done, then top with the feta and mint and serve:

yum:

Berry French Toast

January 9, 2018

I have been making this for Christmas morning for about 10 years now.  We all love it.  Great combo of bread, eggs and lots of fruit.  You can serve it with bacon, ham or whatever your heart desires.  It’s also great left over and warmed up the next morning or the morning after that (if there is any left, that is)!

I finally was able to take pictures (not possible on Christmas morning :/) because my husband and I were invited to a brunch on New Year’s day and I thought this would be perfect to bring.  I also figured out how to prep the casserole for the evening before so it wasn’t so daunting to put together the morning of.  So this is a great strategy for Christmas Eve for Christmas morning.

I also have done ALOT of different things with this casserole to come to this point, so learn from my mistakes:

The casserole cannot be put together entirely the night before.  Trust me it was not great.

The French bread they suggest was bland, no flavor.

I used 12 ounces of Cinnamon Bread, unsliced, from Hannaford’s Supermarket:  no.

I added 1 more whole egg:  not necessary.

Then I tried 12 ounces of Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl Bread, sliced.  This turned out the best but not enough bread.

Finally I used the whole loaf of Pepperidge Farm bread, and this turned out to be perfect.

Also, for the frozen blueberries, blackberries and raspberries I used a mix of these berries rather than getting individual frozen bags of each.  Wyman’s of Maine Triple Berry Blend or Trader Joe’s Fancy Berry Medley.  Though if these are not available to you I would suggest getting individual bags of each (see the link to the original recipe from Cooking Light) rather than getting mixed berries with strawberries and removing the strawberries.  Unless you love frozen strawberries and can put them to use.

Berry French Toast adapted from Cooking Light April 2004

5 cups of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries NO STRAWBERRIES)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup milk (fat free, 1%, 2% whatever you have on hand)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

1 large egg

1, 16 ounce loaf of Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place berries, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon into prepared 13 x 9 inch baking dish and toss together until thoroughly combined.  You might have to move the sugar mixture around a bit.

Cut bread into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes.

Combine milk, vanilla, egg whites, and egg in a large bowl.  Stir together with a whisk until thoroughly combined.  Add bread and toss together until the bread is coated and the liquid is nearly gone.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Arrange bread in a single layer over berries.  Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until berry mixture is bubbly and the bread  is golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

To prep for the night before so you can put it together quickly the next morning:

Cut the bread into cubes and put in large Ziploc bag.

Combine the milk, vanilla, egg whites and egg in medium bowl, stir together with a whisk and cover with plastic wrap to seal.  Put in refrigerator and place bag of cubed bread on top.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a small plastic container with lid and set aside on counter.

Have a tablespoon, the sugar and powdered sugar on the counter with the sugar mixture.

Place a 9 x 13 glass baking dish next to the above with the cooking spray.

You are now all set for the next morning.

As soon as you get up, put the oven on and combine the egg mixture with the bread.

Spray the baking dish and put the frozen berries into it and sprinkle with the sugar mixture, toss to combine.

When the oven has come to temperature, arrange the bread on top of the berries and sprinkle with the sugar.

Continue as above.

mis en place:

mix berries with sugar mixture:

cubed bread then toss with egg mixture:

spread bread mixture over berry mixture:

out of the oven, 30-45 minutes:

Yum!