Chocolate Fudge Chip Cookies

I am, as I mention on a regular basis, not a huge chocolate person, but this looked like something everyone I know would like, so I decided to go for it. It falls in line with my “brownie” cookie phase that I have been working on for the last 6 months or so. While not a “brownie” cookie itself, the flavors will be similar and best of all, I have everything on hand to make it. My favorite kind of recipe. It helps that my freezer is mostly stocked with unsalted butter and chips of all flavors. Freezers are wonderful things … especially when you are cheap like me and buy things on sale that you will use later. Chocolate is not cheap, so I try to make sure to get the very good stuff on sale and then store it properly. Butter, another thing that is not cheap, is the same for me. I don’t really know what I would do if I ran out – to be honest, I can’t remember that ever happening. Guess that’s how you know you are a baker. I really like being a baker.D&D_1926

This is another Trisha Yearwood recipe, but I think I would try it no matter whose original idea it was. I’m pretty sure the Boy will be all over it. Hopefully all the choco-holics at the office will enjoy them as well.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
6 ozs  semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ozs white chocolate bar, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt over a piece of waxed paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together butter and both sugars until combined. Add eggs, one at a time and incorporate. Add flour mixture and just combine – do not over mix. By hand, mix in the walnuts and both chocolates until just combined.

Drop a 20 scoop of dough on baking sheet. Bake, turning the pan half way through, until cookies are set, about 12 minutes. And do it again and again until your are done. Yep.

Source: Trisha Yearwood
12 June 2017

Notes: Mixed up and baked up really easy. I let the dough sit in the fridge overnight so all I had to do was bake when I got home from work. I like to do this – mix one night – bake the next. Or alternatively, get dry ingredients together one day and then finish and bake the next day – especially for cakes. I learned this from my mom because she used to mix all the dry ingredients for banana nut bread that she made by the dozens for Christmas presents.

 

Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies 

I am typically not a fan of no bake cookie things, excepting Rice Krispie treats, but I thought to give this a go. It reminds me of something completely random my mom made me as a child – one day, I will try to explain it, but I am sure it will not make any sense to anyone but me. That said, these are flavors of my childhood excepting the cornflakes. I think they are kind of cute in their on strange way.

D&D_19561 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups corn flakes

In a large saucepan, add sugar, then spray measuring cup with vegetable spray and add peanut butter and light corn syrup. Cook over medium to medium high (depending on your cooktop) until the middle of the mixture starts to boil. Stir constantly so sugar and peanut butter don’t burn. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cornflakes until evenly coated.

Spray a #20 disher with vegetable spray and scoop and drop on to waxed paper. Do this quickly before the mixture sets up. Let cool on waxed paper for 30 minutes. Store at room temperature.

Thoughts: These are super sugary. But in small doses are good. Hope The Boy and my test kitchen at the office enjoy them.

I think they work because corn flakes have, pretty much, no flavor.

And the votes from my test kitchen are in and they are very positive. I do wonder what this might be like with, wait for it, pretzels.

17 June 17

Source: www.spendwithpennies.com/peanut-butter-cornflake-cookies/

Summer Solstice, oh wait, nope. 

Well, it is officially the longest day of the year – but we will never know that because we’re sitting under days of rain from TS Cindy. I don’t know what the official mark is in inches right now, but when it is over it should be an interesting number. There is localized flooding, and our roof leaked – likely because of the odd angle the wind was blowing the rain – and it’s just crappy and dreary. So, there we are – no longest day of the year.
That said, the Summer Solstice is really just the beginning of the end. After that, every day gets just a little shorter. Until we do it all over again at the winter solstice.  When the days start to get longer.

Odd that the summer solstice makes me slightly depressed but the winter solstice makes me happier, but this year in particular the summer makes me sad – it does. Damnation. But at least I don’t have to wear a hat and worry about the sun for a few days. Somehow that is not does not really make me feel much better.

I think the rain will last at least one more day. Hopefully it will make me sleepy tonight and I will not have to put up with leaks in the closet or those damn tree frogs at 4:30 in the frigging morning. Steve needs to kill them, and I cannot believe I am saying that because I do not like to kill really green strange frogs, but last night – lord have mercy. Let us all hope tonight will be better.

So here is our life …

Blueberry Muffins

I am not a usual fan of self-rising flour. I mean you can make self-rising flour out of all-purpose flour is you want to – not too difficult. But I went ahead and made the “investment” for this recipe. I always keep frozen organic blue berries in the freezer and thought this just might work really well. We will see how I modify this recipe – in my head some lemon zest should be involved, but since is the first time I have made this recipe, I will be true to it.  Or try to. And then at some point in the future, maybe, modify it.

D&D_18702 3/4 cups King Arthur unbleached self-rising flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare the muffin pan by lining them with papers, then spraying the papers with non-stick baking spray; this helps release the muffins from the papers. Whisk together the flour and sugar over a piece of waxed paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring until the flour is moistened; it will be a bit lumpy. Quickly and gently stir in the blueberries. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full; sprinkle muffins with sanding sugar.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven, and allow them to cool for 3 to 5 minutes in the pan. Remove them from the pan and serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

29 May 2017 – These were easy to make, but somehow they were on the dry side. Need to investigate because I like a recipe where I have everything on hand, but I wonder what I need to do for a more moist muffin.

Source: King Arthur Flour

I really need to read reviews before I make a recipe – lots of people substituted melted butter for the oil. I will certainly do that next time. I will say though, the berries, at least did not all sink to the bottom and that was a blessing.

The Boy really liked these and that is enough for me.

 

My thoughts on the Cracker Challenge – yep, that sounds slightly weird. Geh.

After the 2012 cracker challenge, I decided to make the ultimate cheese cracker – my own version. I took the following things into consideration: ingredients on hand, time to mix, log or flat, dough handling, time to chill, spice. nuts. flavor, crispiness, cost to make, and it all culminated in an all around winner which was – Parmesan Rosemary Walnut Shortbread.Will make that again, because I really love them. Because growing fresh Rosemary is simply easy – just put it in the garden in a place  that gets lots of sun, but not too much water – read: no sprinkler system.

D&D_1476That said, I took the best qualities from the 5 recipes I used and developed this. I think this just might be my first real recipe on my own – although with a little help. I do freelance in cooking, but baking is a completely different animal.

The cracker challenge sat for a while (until 2016), but now we are going to make my ultimate cracker and see if/how it measures up. I am not growing Rosemary – damn it. But we shall manage. Will soldier on. That is what I do. It is June 2016 and I cannot sleep, so this is what I decided to do. I’ll wear it proudly. It is June 2016 and I cannot sleep, so this is what I decided to do. I’ll wear it proudly.

6 ozs all-purpose flour – yes, we are measuring by weight – why else do I have the damn scale? Thank you Ruhlman.
2 ozs grated cheddar – plus just a bit because that is what I do.
2 ozs finely grated Parmesan – it really seems like a lot but in reality it is not, mostly.
1/2 tsp cayenne – I think next time – more, yes, please – more.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, but not too finely
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 ozs (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2” pieces
1 egg yolk, with just a smidge of cold water

First thing, I chop the walnuts in the food processor and since everything else is going to be mixed in there, it is no big deal. Remove the walnuts.

To the food processor, add the flour, and cheeses, cayenne, walnuts, pepper and whir around a bit. Then add butter. Once that is combined, add the egg and water to the top of the dough and just pulse until it comes together. Then add the walnuts back in. Will not be long to come together.

Dump out on waxed paper and press together and then shape into a couple of logs. Chill overnight or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the logs in 3/4 inch slices or there abouts. Just try to make the slices very similar to each other. That way they bake the same way. It takes about 12 minutes to bake them, but you need turn them half way through. You want the edges slightly gold and the same with the bottom. That really is as far as you want to go in the baking these cheese crackers.

Hood got a bit of cheese, but the cracker rolls are in the fridge and ready to be baked and in my head, they will be good because the dough was not damn bad.

Nota bene:That is something I have learned – if the dough does not taste good, neither will the cookies or crackers.

 

 

Shortbread with chocolate chips and toffee bits

I am a huge fan of shortbread. I mean, come on, it is basically a butter cookie and then you are going to add chocolate, but even better (!) – toffee chips. Yes – I did just say that – toffee chips. Damn skippy. I think next time it will just be toffee chips. That sounds like a breakfast cookie to me. Lots of things sound like breakfast cookies to me though, so I probably should not be trusted at this point. D&D_1448

1 cup unsalted  butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted – must be sifted
1 teaspoon  vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips – or however much you want – just saying
3/4 cup English toffee bits, such as Heath (the ones without chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Sift together the flour and salt on a piece of waxed paper. Cream the butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add the vanilla, and then add the flour mixture. By hand, mix in the chocolate chips and toffee bits.
With a cookie scoop, drop cookies onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake until the edges are just starting to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes, turning the baking sheet half way through – it is just a thing I do. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container, like one does with all cookies.
Many thanks to Farmgirl Fare for the excellent recipe. I do love the banners for that site and then there are pictures of donkeys. I always though I would have a few donkeys, but I just do not think it will work out now. That said, I think I could pull off having a mini donkey and say it was a German Shepherd Dog. Totally  – could pull that off.

Chicken Salad

D&D_1467

Simple Chicken Salad

I seem to keep failing at chicken salad. I am not sure why, but this time, I really thought I got it. But to be honest, chicken salad is so pedestrian. I mean, pretty much any idiot can make it. That just makes me feel like a bit of an idiot because it does not seem to work for me.

All that said, this was pretty damn good chicken salad. Too bad I could not enjoy it like I wanted to.

I have no idea how my mom made chicken salad. One of the million of things I did not ask her – this seems to be a theme. Guess that is what happens when someone you love dies unexpectedly. So you just have to forge you own way in the world. Suck it up and deal.

I poach a chicken breast or two* – usually two and then add the usual suspects: celery, peeled of course and then minced, a few (3) chopped boiled eggs, some shallots – minced, parsley also minced, a little Duke’s Mayonnaise, Dijon mustard. And if I am feeling really frisky some sweet pickle relish. None of this is anything my mother EVER did. But this is pretty cool in the grand scheme of things.

My lovely mother-in-law makes great chicken salad and it is just the way I like it – with grapes and nuts, but the MotH does not care for that. Either way, this one is pretty damn good.

I guess this is another one of my non-recipe recipes. I do seem to have quite a few of them. But when I think of it, that does not seem to me a bad thing

*I could have poached the chicken with bay leaves and peppercorns and garlic, but I save the chicken water for Hood, so I go simple so I can give him a treat. What dog does not love chicken water? Um, none.