Bittersweet (Duck Egg) Brownies

I’ve been thinking about what to do with my latest batch (dozen) of duck eggs. They are just slightly richer and sometimes a little larger than chicken eggs, though not always bigger. I’m not a huge brownie person, but think about it – rich eggs in lots of chocolate. I can see how this should be a very good thing. I can also see how my friends who really like chocolate will like them – at least I hope so. D&D_2172

16 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into Tbs
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces (Ghirardelli)
4 eggs – fresh local duck eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. fine salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (Renfroes’)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper; grease paper. Set pan aside.

Pour enough water into a 4-quart saucepan that it reaches a depth of 1″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Combine butter and chocolate in a medium bowl; set bowl over saucepan. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk to combine. Stir in chocolate mixture; fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.

Source: Saveur – Nick Malgieri (Nick’s “Supernatural” Brownies)

I cut these into small bite-sized pieces and I am glad I did – they are super rich. In my head, these need to be crumbled into some vanilla ice cream – and that, in and of itself, is rather funny, since I’m (again) not a huge brownie/chocolate fan and really do not care for ice cream either. But I really need to get the boy to get some soft serve from somewhere and give that a try.

The pieces in the center are almost fudge like and the ones on the edges, my favorite, have that little crispy bit of edge. Really, for someone who does not care for brownies, these are pretty damn good. But, rich, oh. so. very. rich.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Blondies

I think my favorite kind of recipe is one where I have all the ingredients on hand – no need to go to the grocery store. It also helps if it something that, in general I like, but made a little better because of a twist. I think that definition suits this recipe exactly. I had pretzels from a non-starter recipe for, well, something. I cannot remember, but I’m sure it was a good idea at the time. And there we are. This was my Friday night baking. I only do that if I have had a good week – and – have everything on hand. This was so not a disappointment. It has gone over well with everyone I’ve shared it with.

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2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup  brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
12 ozs semi sweet chocolate chips (1 bag) Ghiradelli
1 1/2 cup chopped pretzels

Line a 9 x 13 inch metal pan with parchment to overhang the long sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Over waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together both sugars and butter until light. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients. Stir in chips and pretzels.

Spread batter in baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, until golden. Run a plastic knife around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack. Then make into squares.

I made these for The Boy – we are just going to call it a Friday night special –  and I really loved them and The Boy did too. He is a huge fan of the blondies. But so am I.

The recipe says they can be stored in an airtight container for two weeks. They will not last that long.

Thank you Food & Wine – even though your website is more annoying than I had any idea of. Really – rethink your advertising. Left your site more often than stayed. I am pretty sure I am not the only one.

Toffee

I first started making toffee when I was pregnant with the Boy – and that is a long time ago. My favorite candy to make in winter, basically the only time we can do it here, is my grandmother Daisy’s Vanilla Taffy. That recipe though required the cooperation of mother nature in the form of really really low humidity. So far, this December that has been few and far between, so I satisfy my candy making desires by making toffee. This is a new recipe to me, but, in the grand scheme of things, I think it turned out very well. A few notes – you must have a candy thermometer. The old methods of figuring if you have heated your sugar enough may have worked 70 years ago, but in this day, that just seems a recipe for a disaster. Buy the damn candy thermometer – they are not that expensive. Or if you have a good digital instant read thermometer, those work too. I finally bit the bullet and got a Thermapen this year. I love it. It was probably last year’s model, but it is nothing short of amazing. And yes, it really works for candy too. dd_1692

So here are the details:

1 cup chopped pecans, or more if that works for you – Renfroes Pecans
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs corn syrup

1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 12 oz bag of Ghirandelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a skillet, dry roast the pecans until they become fragrant. Do not wander away or they will burn, it is inevitable. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle half the pecans on the baking sheet forming a single layer. Reserve the rest for the top of the toffee.

Put the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Clip the candy thermometer to the pan, but do not let it touch the bottom of the pot – that will mess up your reading. Heat mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasional, until the sugar has melted. The toffee is ready when it reaches 295 – 305 degrees F.* This make take 15 minutes or so.

Pour the toffee over the pecans and spread evenly with a heatproof (read: Get It Right) spatula and tap the pan to get any bubbles out.

Let the toffee cool for a couple of minutes and the spread the chips evenly over the surface. Wait 3 minutes, until chocolate looks slightly melted and use and offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and press them lightly into the surface.

Let cool at room temperature for at least an hour and put in the fridge overnight to cool completely. Once cooled, pull off the foil and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Can be kept there for three months, but do not expect it will be.

*This is when my OCD kicks in and I pretty much hover over the pot and stir the whole time. Well, off and on anyway.

Source: Simply Recipes

 

Butter / Egg Usage – October 2016

1 October 2016 – Red Onion White Wine OJ Butter Sauce Pasta with spinach tortellini  – 4 Tbs

14 October 2016 – Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies – 16 Tbs / 2 large eggs

15 October 2016 – Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins – 5 1/2 Tbs / 2 large eggs

19 October 2016 – Shortbread – 16 Tbs

19 October 2016 – Best Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies – 12 Tbs / 1 large egg

25 October 2016 – Cheddar, Corn, and Sausage Muffins – 4 Tbs / 2 large eggsdd_1591

27 October 2016  – Lemon Bars – 16 Tbs butter / 5 large eggs

28 October 2016 – Pecan Sandies – 16 Tbs butter

28 October 2016 – Lemon Crisps– 8 Tbs butter / 1 large egg

97.5 Tbs = 12.1875 sticks = 48.75 ozs = 3.04 pounds 

13 eggs 

I will have to add this all up just to see where it gets me for this year. This is not a bad month after all. Might even make up for my crappy summer. But probably will not. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies – redux

I have had a habit of making cookies in the fall/winter (when the baking is so much easier) for people that I really appreciate. Especially for all the staff at the restaurants that we go to. And now it is time to start baking again for this fall, at least our version of fall – which is not saying much — sigh. dd_1578

There is a sweet boy that works at our favorite local on the beach and I have been remiss to ask his name, but I finally did last weekend and asked him what kind of cookies he liked. I think I might have scared him a bit – I mean who does that. He said chocolate chip, so this is a new version of the standard. Because Toll House Cookies are a total standard – at least for me. But I totally wanted to make some really exotic kind of cookies …  but he said chocolate chip cookies, so there we are. Simple as it is ….

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz bag)

Preheat  oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt over a sheet of waxed paper.

In a stand mixer, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs, one at a time and then add vanilla. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually mix in flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in Ghirardelli chocolate chips.

Drop by disher* #30 onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

* a disher is apparently a name for a cookie scoop – or an ice cream scoop. Had no idea at all, but thanks to Alton Brown I know how to determine the size of the disher. The one I had was a 40, so I then purchased a 30 and a 20.

I really liked these cookies. They were crispy on the edges and that is what I like in a chocolate chip cookie. Not a huge fan of the chewy cookie, unless they are oatmeal cookies. These seemed to go over well with the Boy, and the office. So, all in all that is a good thing. I do value the opinions of my friends and family – just as long as they are honest in their assessments. I think these were a success.

Brown Sugar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

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I do love my white china.

The Boy has always loved white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. But this time copious amounts of brown sugar will be involved – and no white sugar.  But I think that’s my favorite part of cookies is the brown sugar. It gives a bit of depth to a cookie.  I love a toll-house chocolate chip cookie, but to be honest, if I made it without the semi-sweet chocolate chips, I would still love it just as much, just because of the brown sugar taste. I always use light brown sugar. It is just a thing for me. You can always add a little molasses to it if you want to deepen the flavor.

I do think now I will be on the prowl for a brown sugar cookie. You know, something you roll and stamp out, but it might not be crisp like white sugar cookie. It might be a bit softer, but I’m sure it could really be tasty. That would really be nice, or amazing – yes, I am guessing amazing.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, of course)
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (mine were salted, I saw no other kind – salt is never a bad thing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment – as usual.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

Using a cookie scoop+, space cookies on sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes turning the pan half way through. The cookies should be set in the middle and gold on the edges.* Cool a couple minutes on baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Baking Bites

Notes: * The original recipe had a longer time, but this is what worked for me.

+ How does one know the size of a cookie scoop? I have no idea, but this random tool seems to work out well for me. I’m guessing (totally guessing!) that is a smidge over a tablespoon, but to be honest, I am so not sure about that.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

So it is common knowledge that I like to bake for my friends and family. I also, kinda, use them as a) Guinea pigs, and b) ways to get me out of a baking rut or to try something different. I figure it is a fair exchange. You guys get cookies, or some such thing, and I get out of a cooking/baking rut. And hopefully some honest opinions. At least I hope so.D&D_1235

So a friend told me last weekend that she had a craving for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and since I haven’t made them in donkey’s years I decided to go for it. Added bonus: The Boy loves these too – so it is a double win.

This recipe makes approximately 5 dozen – plenty to share with everyone. But let us just see how many it really is. Me being me, I do keep count of things like that.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp salt
11 oz bag white chocolate chips (Ghiradelli, of course)
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Blend in flour mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the  baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden on top, 10 to 12minutes. Cool on the sheet about 3 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Ghirardelli – the back of the white chocolate chip package – duh.

Okay – so this was 69 cookies – never a bad thing, in my opinion. But, dear lord, macadamia nuts are amazingly expensive. I had no idea  how much they had gone up. So my 12 ozs of salted macadamia nuts (Publix brand – which is a great brand by the way) was $10. O holy crap. Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of them, besides make more white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. Must come up with something different. Otherwise that is a bit meh.

I do think that there was a Martha Stewart tart recipe that had macadamia nuts in them. It is the greatest Martha Stewart book ever, in my opinion, Martha Stewart Pies & Tarts. Although her Christmas book is right up there with it.