The Search for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Part 2: Childhood Flashback

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I can’t get away from my constant craving for chocolate chip cookies. I love all kinds of baking, but it seems that when I have all the options open to me, the only thing I want to make is a warm, gooey, delicious, chocolate…what was I saying? Oh yeah, Part 2 is here! My mom recently passed along the cookbook from our childhood. Kids Cooking – A Very Slightly Messy Manual was the only cookbook that I was allowed to use (relatively) without supervision. ANd, surprise surprise, all I ever wanted to make was the chocolate chip cookie. To be precise, the “Darrell’s Forget The Cookies Just Give Me That Batter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe”. I immediately wanted to know how they lived up to my memories, so I dove right in.

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See the cute illustrations? It is such a good cookbook. I hope to hang on to it for any future kid’s birthday parties!

Darrell’s Forget the Cookies Just Give Me That Batter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/8 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, I didn’t use them!)

Directions:

  1. Turn your oven on to 375 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, melt the butter. While it’s hot, add both sugars. Stir, then let cool a bit.
  3. While the butter mixture is cooling, mix the flour, soda, and salt in the mixing bowl
  4. In a small bowl,  beat the egg lightly with a fork. Then add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture. Stir.
  5. Now add the butter, egg, and vanilla to the flour mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir again, then add chocolate chips and nuts if you want them.
  6. Stir everything until it’s all mixed up well and put the bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour to cool.
  7. When time is up, get your cookie sheet – don’t grease it. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls , put them on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Don’t overcook! You want your cookies to be moist and chewy. Take them off the cookie sheet carefully with your spatula and let them cool.
  8. Yum!

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They turned out delicious. And I tested the batter, in the name of title verification, and it was delicious too. Plus, the recipe was so simple I managed to not mess it up. The only thing I would change would be to add some more chocolate chips, but that would be a general rule for life if I had my way. Yay for kid’s cookbooks!

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Healthy Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

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Ok, I have been really bad with updating this blog. I realized that when I went to look through my pictures and found these muffins, which I made back when I was still doing my new years resolution of eating healthy. Clearly I gave that up about a month ago! But one recipe that I am still going to make is this one – these healthy (93 calories per muffin!) treats are surprisingly delicious and alleviated some of that guilt I feel each time I bake.

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffin

(recipe from sparkrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • raisins or nuts (optional)

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Directions

  • Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired.
  • Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
  • Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
  • Remove from pan, cool and enjoy.
  • These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Makes 12 healthy and delicious muffins!

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A Break from Baking – Brie and Proscuitto Bites

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My girlfriends and I had a pot luck Christmas gift exchange, and my dish to bring was an appetizer. I decided to make something that I had been eyeing for a while – the brie and proscuitto bites. I made them at home before bringing them over to my friend’s house, so I have no pictures of the finished product – but trust me, they were amazing and very addictive. I am glad I made them somewhere public so I didn’t just eat the whole tray myself. In Canada we don’t have the Pillsbury recipe creatings, so I just used a package of the crescent rolls and cut it into little squares. Still good!

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Brie and Proscuitto Bites

Source: Our Sweet Life

1 container of Pillsbury Recipe Creations
1 triangle of Brie cheese
about 1/4 lb thin cut prosciutto

Directions:

  • Grease a mini muffin tin and pre-heat the oven to 350.
  • Cut the Recipe Creations (or crescent roll dough) into 1 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch squares.
  • Cut the brie into little squares also, and wrap a bit of prosciutto around each piece of cheese.
  • Gently press the squares of recipe creations into the muffin tin, place a prosciutto wrapped brie into the center and bake about 20 minutes until the dough is golden brown.

They were amazingly easy and very impressive – I got lots of compliments on the time I must have spent on them, which I obviously accepted without denial.

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Martha’s Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

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These cookies were on my Christmas baking list, but a chocolate needing emergency (aka a snowy winter night with plenty of milk in the fridge and nowhere to go) came up and I couldn’t resist trying out this recipe. I have a ton of other updates for you, but I am working on doing them in chronological order. I will keep them short and sweet!

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The one thing that I hate about this recipe is chopping up the chocolate squares. I can’t do it without hurting myself. It frustrates me to no end. I only do it because the results are so delicious. I think I need a better knife, or a better technique – anyone have any tips?

Anyway, the cookies turned out amazing. Super chocolatey, melty, and made the whole apartment smell delicious!

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

Source: Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Makes 2 dozen

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely.
  4. Enjoy!
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Dorie’s Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

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We had a birthday in our house recently, and I decided it was a good occasion to make one of the cakes I had marked off from Dorie’s book. The Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie cake had all the ingredients that I usually love, so it was high on my list. Also, I had never made caramel before so I was curious to take on the challenge.

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The cake part of the recipe was fairly easy – except I realized I didn’t have enough bittersweet chocolate so I substituted some unsweetened in its place. The caramel part was another story. It took forever for my caramel to change color at all. The recipe says that it would take 5 to 10 minutes before you notice a change in color. Nope. Not me. It took about 20 minutes before it started doing anything. In hindsight, I should have probably increased the heat to compensate for my old trashy oven, but I was too nervous to screw it up. So once it finally started changing, it happened all at once. I added the cream and butter and the whole thing went INSANE. It got all over my oven, all over my pan and myself. Seriously, I made a huge mess. And then the caramel that got on the elements set on fire. So yeah, not so successful for a first attempt.

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Once I cleaned up a little and put out the fire, the caramel actually looked reasonably edible. So, I added the peanuts and managed to follow the rest of the recipe without incident. Although, the caramel was not that easy to work with, and it made quite the mess on my kitchen counters, pans, racks etc.

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The final result looked quite nice, and a lot like the picture from the book, so I was happy about that. The taste was enjoyable, but I found the cake to be more dry than I had expected. I think if I make this again, I would use a different cake recipe, maybe even a brownie recipe, instead of this one. As for the caramel, if I make it again i would use a MUCH larger saucepan to try to avoid having to take apart my oven and scrape caramel off everything.

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Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

(Source: Baking: My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 stick(8 TBSP) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 TBSP light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ TBSP light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts

  • Butter and flour a 8 inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.
  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.
  • Bake the cake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool he cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. During baking the cake probably will have puffed to the top of the pan don’t be concerned if tit sinks a little or it if develops a crater in the centre. Cool the cake to room temperature.
  • When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.

To make the topping:

  • Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat proof bowl.
  • Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. You’ll have a layer about ¼ inch high. Allow the topping to set to room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving.
  • To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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I recently came into possession of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It is potentially the best gift anyone has ever given me, since I got that creepy crawler oven from Santa when I was 10 even though my mom had insisted that it was not a toy for girls. I love this thing. I think it would make the list of things I would grab if there was a fire. I decided to put it to use on my second installment of the quest for the best chocolate chip cookie. This time I tried something a little different, and went for a recipe with oatmeal in it as well. You know, to be healthy. Or something.

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The mixer made things so much easier, especially with a batter like this that is a strain on my weak, weak arms. I guess I have even less motivation to hit the gym now!

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The cookies turned out great! I loved how big the cookies were and how much of a mouthful they were. I think I would knock the cooking time down by a few minutes to make them less crunchy, but that might be a result of my crappy, temperemental oven and not a result of the recipe.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Source: allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely

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Planning for the Christmas baking session…

I have finally finished with school for this semester and can focus myself on the things that really matter (read: baking). Every Christmas my mother and I get together and spend a day (at least) baking as much as possible, and then we distribute it to our friends, family, coworkers, etc. It is one of my favourite holiday traditions and I look forward to it all year. Last night I took the time to talk to my mom about what baked goods are on our list this year, and we went out to gather the ingredients. Here is the list so far:

I made the dough for the glazed lemon cookies yesterday and it is currently sitting in my freezer. I hope to get some more done tonight, plus I have two blog posts to add that have been waiting for school to be finished. I hope to do lots more updating in the next couple of weeks!

Happy Holidays everyone!

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