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Chocolate Chip Cookies of a Lifetime

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Going along with this weeks earlier post on tea time and scones, morning coffee is not the same without something sweet to munch on. Sure I can go with drinking a cup of coffee after I’m done with my cereal, but a nice bit of sugar right before I leave the door sometimes gets me through the harder times of the day. These cookies are perfect for that. Chewy and gooey and made in less than an hour, I couldn’t ask for me.

Granted, I’ve made chocolate chip cookies before, however, I’m still searching for the perfect, and the best recipe possible. The one that should be my go-to recipe for birthdays and potlucks and lonely Saturday nights, and I think this might be it.

Cookies taken directly from The Little White Kitchen

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Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or hard margarine), room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • 2 eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla (i love vanilla)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (you can also add nuts, toffee bits, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I n a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until fluffy (making sure your butter is room temperature really helps the process go smoothly). Add both eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix in your vanilla.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix together your flour, salt and baking soda. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls (about 3 inches apart) onto your cookie sheet (do not grease the cookie sheets, but feel free to use parchment paper if you don’t like to wash pans afterwards).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies and whether or not you like them well done)
on the center rack of your oven.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks (do not try to remove the cookies at this point or you’ll end up with a gooey mess).

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Let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheets and then remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

Eat the cookies whenever you need a pick me up, or the world gets you down.

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What I Did for Valentine’s Day

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I’ve had quite an eventful weekend. This was the first weekend where I forced myself to do homework, tons of homework, after work  and throughout the week, instead of waiting for the weekend. This was because Friday, February 15 was my Valentine’s Day. I haven’t had a chance to really hang out and see Boyfriend the past three weeks or so. And I know there’s a chance I won’t be seeing him this weekend either (thanks odd work schedule). So we decided to be indulgent, and extravagant, and lovey-dovey (sort of), and have a Valentine’s Weekend.

Not so much because we’re lovers of the holiday (and I’ve read plenty of blog posts about how Valentine’s day should be every day, and why should men assume that they can be awesome this one day, and completely romantic and the rest of the time be completely ignorant in the ways of love) but because we haven’t seen each other in a long time, and we haven’t been alone in a long time, and just, couple-y, therefore Valentine’s way the perfect excuse to go over the top.

That being said, I was so happy with how our plans turned out that I, sadly, didn’t take many photos (being so lost in the many moments). My apologies. I did take a few photos. And I hope to be better in the future about it, however, there are recipes that I made (even though two photos are missing), that were completely amazing, and I can’t wait to make them again!

But first, say hello to my three new Otto fishes. I could only get a shot of two at a time, so you’ll have to imagine the third 🙂

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First recipe up, is this lovely Molten Chocolate Cake. 

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This was my first time making this recipe, so I followed it to the T, except for used two larger ramekins (to serve two, obviously), and adjusted the cooking time to 15 minutes. The original recipe follows.

4 pieces (squares) Bitter-sweet or Semi-sweet or just plain sweet Chocolate (this is a matter of preference)*
½ cups Butter, chopped into several pieces
1 cup Confectioner’s or Powdered Sugar plus an extra 1-2 Tablespoon for dusting, separated
2 whole Eggs plus 2 Egg yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour
*I actually used chocolate chips, and eyeballed what I thought 4 squares would be. It really doesn’t matter here how much chocolate you use. I think mine was roughly 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chips.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease/spray about 4 custard molds/cups or small ramekins with a non-stick spray and then place them on a baking tray (cookie sheet).The next step requires melting the butter and chocolate. You can use the microwave, in 20 second increments till the butter is melted and the chocolate is softened. Or, you can use a double boiler. (I used the microwave. It’ll look scary with all that butter surrounding the chocolate, at least it was scary for me, however you have to keep stirring, and it’ll all work out).
Add 1 cup powdered sugar then whisk together until smooth.
Add the 2 eggs and the 2 egg yolks then whisk together again until smooth. Stir in the flour till just combined. Divide the batter into the four (or two) ramekins you’re using.
Bake until the sides and top are firm, but center is slightly wobbly and gooey. Let sit for 2 minutes (no more and no less, I MEAN IT), and serve by inverting to a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream.
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Next recipe comes without a photo. This one came from Add A Pinch, and was really an amazing recipe. The only thing I can say I followed was the gorgonzola butter and improvised, to taste, the rest. Below is my rendition of the recipe, but you can follow the link to view the original.
Skillet Steaks with Gorgonzola Butter
2 Ribeye steaks
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provance
1/2 cup cognac
Gorgonzola cheese, about 4 tbsp
4 tbsp butter, softened at room temp
Pat dry the steaks to they are free from blood. Take a fork and liberally stab the steaks throughout, on both sides, and by the fat areas. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the steaks in a ziplock bag and add the cognac. Close the bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, and up to several hours.
Next, season your cast iron skillet* and heat it over medium heat. Take out the steaks and let them come to room temperature (about 10 minutes) while the skillet is heating up. Dry the steaks again, when taking out of the cognac marinade. Do not do this liberally. I did because I was so hungry and in a hurry, and my steaks did not brown as well as I would  have liked.
Place in skillet, and cook about three minuets each side. I started off with two minutes a side, but had to turn mine about two and a half times because they were thick .
While the steaks are cooking, mix the butter with the gorgonzola cheese, and place in fridge, to wait for the steaks.
When the steaks are ready, sprinkle top with herb de provance and let sit for three minutes before plating. When placing on plate add a generous tbsp of the gorgonzola butter to melt and ooze around the meat.
Serve with potatoes, salad, bread, and good wine.
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Lastly, this recipe has been in the making for a while. I added more cheese than the recipe called for and added my own spices to the mix, however, the recipe basics were thanks to allrecipes.com.
This recipe too, was too good to be photographed. I even forgot to photograph this while writing up this post, when eating leftovers. So Sorry!
Baked Ziti
1 lb dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb gound beef
2 (26 oz) jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil flavor)
1 tbsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp herbs de provance
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp grouond garlic and ground onion powders
dash of liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz of provolone cheese (sliced)– again, I used I believe 8 oz, a full Sargento bag of sliced provolone
6 oz of sliced mozerella—again from sargento, and I used the whole bag
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F . Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, and remaining sauce mixture. Top with remaining mozerella cheese slices and grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
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Lastly, I want to say Happy Valentine’s Day again to all those that celebrate or enjoy the lovey stuff that comes with the holiday. The photo above has become a standard dessert treat I’ve been making myself after working out and a light dinner. I’m feeling great and happy, and I must say, nothing makes me feel better than strawberries, chocolate sprinkles, and whipped cream.

The Baking Frenzy

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Well the Christmas holiday is right around the corner, and I suppose you could say I’ve gone a bit mad with the baking. Christmas Eve will be celebrated at Boyfriend’s family home (his cousin’s) to be  exact. I usually bring dessert or some sort of after dinner treat, simply because it’s what I do. Growing up I was taught that the Hostess had to have something for herself, a bottle of wine, some nice cheese, a spa set, etc, and she shouldn’t ever have to worry about dessert.

Well, I have taken care of dessert, and then some!

First, I started off with  some chocolate crackle cookies with frosting and holiday sprinkles and some Ruby Thumbprint cookies, not to mention a new snickerdoodle recipe.

It’s a little difficult to imagine how many people these cookies alone will serve, however I have vanilla cake and chocolate guinness gingerbread ahead! I’m almost positive that I’ve started to crack. But in the most delicious way.

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Chocolate Christmas Cookies with Glaze

1 1/8 cups soft butter (2 1/4 sticks, 18 tbsp)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Topping:
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
candy sprinkles or sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F Line a cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift 1/3 c cocoa powder into the mixture and beat well. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder, and add to mixture. (Optionally, combine everything in a food processor and mix until combined.).

Form 1 tbsp sized balls. Place on cookie sheet at least 2″ apart, pressing down into fat discs. (The dough will be very sticky; gloves may be a good idea.).

Bake 15 minutes. The tops will develop a cracked appearance. Cool 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. (Placing a sheet of newspaper under the rack will help catch drips in the next step.).

For the topping, combine 2 tbsp cocoa powder with confectioner’s sugar, boiling water and vanilla in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat and whisk until smooth. Cool 10 minutes.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of glaze on each cookie, spreading lightly with the back of the spoon, then sprinkle with sprinkles or sanding sugar. Work with 6 cookies at a time so the glaze doesn’t dry out before applying the sprinkles.

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Saveur Snickerdoodles

3 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1 3⁄4 cups sugar
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat 1 1⁄2 cups sugar and the butter together in a medium bowl until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes.

Add 2 tsp. cinnamon and the vanilla; beat for 1 minute more. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add reserved dry ingredients; mix on low speed until just combined.

Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375°.

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove dough from refrigerator and, using a 1-tbsp. measure, spoon out 48 portions, rolling each portion into a 1″ ball as you go. Roll each ball in cinnamon–sugar mixture to coat.

Arrange dough balls 2″ apart on 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

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Guinness Gingerbread

1 1/4 sticks 10 (tablespoons) butter, plus some for greasing
1 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s)
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Line your cake pan with aluminium foil and grease it, or grease your foil tray.

 Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan and melt gently over a low heat.

Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. You will need to be patient and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.

Whisk the sour cream and eggs together in a measuring jug and then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter.

Pour this into your cake/foil pan, and bake for about 45 minutes; when it’s ready it will be “gleamingly” risen at the center, and coming away from the pan at the sides.

Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

(I garnished my gingerbread after slicing, with some powdered sugar and pine trees with deer)

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Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies with Glitter (Adapted from Curry and Comfort)

1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
almond meal as needed (about 2-3oz)
Strawberry jelly as needed ( or any jam/ jelly you prefer… strawberry, raspberry, grape, etc…)
Edible glitter (if you have any)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix everything except the glitter and almond meal,  in a large bowl, making sure it’s all well incorporated. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll again in the almond meal. I used a bowl to roll the dough in to make it easier to get the sides coated. The dough is very sticky, so this step isn’t necessary but a nice touch.

Using your thumb or index finger, indent a hole in the middle of the cookie, making sure not to go too low. Fill with your choice of jam/jelly.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Let cool completely (about 15 minutes) before topping with glitter.

Sour Cream Chocolate Coffee Cake for Weekend Mornings

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I’m having more time than usual with Boyfriend and I thought in case we’re going to be hiking, or running like mad men around the block, a burst of sugar in the morning could only help us in terms of energy.

This is were this coffee cake comes in. Not only does it have a full 12 oz of chocolate chips but it’s got over 2 cups of sugar in it (including the topping) and the hearty carbs in the cake part of the coffee cake will surly be a help when we’re out and about. At least that’s what I read happens to carbs and sugars when you’re active.

This is my first time experimenting with it in such a way. Usually, I go to my sofa and watch a good episode of  Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Either way, I think I’ll be happy.

Onto to recipe, which was taken from The Cherry On Top blog. I followed the recipe completely because I’ve never been one to experiment with coffee cakes, and in fact have only made 3 total.

 

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups or 12 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan. If not nonstick coated, cover the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. Alternately mix in sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture until both are used up and the batter is smooth and very thick. In a medium bowl, beat eggs whites until stiff, then fold into batter.

In a small dish, whisk together sugar and cinnamon for filling and topping.

Spread half the cake batter in the bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of cinnamon-sugar mixture and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Dollop remaining cake batter over filling in spoonfuls. Use a rubber or offset spatula to gently spread it over the filling and smooth the top.

Sprinkle batter with remaining cinnamon-sugar and remaining chocolate chips. With the palm of your hand, ever-so-gently press the chocolate chips a bit into the batter. No need to submerge them, you just want to make sure they adhere bit.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

That’s not overcooked cake, I just overdid it on the cinnamon.

 

Sunday Cinnamon Rolls

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This was my first attempt at cinnamon rolls. I have a recipe for the Pioneer Woman’s Maple Rolls but I just felt like before I try her recipe out (that calls for enough rolls to feed the entire parish!) I decided a smaller recipe would be better.

Making the dough was probably the most fun for me. I don’t know how I would have done it without Kermit (my Kitchenaid). In any case, it was soft, and gooey, and sweet and amazing.

The lack of pictures is simply because you can’t really accurately show the dough rising unless it’s in a glass bowl, which I don’t own. Other than that, the kneading is self explanatory. If you’ve made any sort of bread before that required lots of patience and rising time, you’re already half way to knowing how to complete this recipe.

This recipe came from Dulce Dough, and for me yielded about 15 rolls.

Rolls

  • 3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Attach dough hook to stand mixer and in the mixer bowl combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  Heat milk at a low power in the microwave until lukewarm (120°F-130°F). Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter and egg to the flour mixture and mix at a low speed until ingredients are combined, scraping sides of bowl frequently.

Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Spray bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough, pull edges into center, and turn over in the bowl; let rise again until almost double in size (about 20-30 minutes). While dough is rising, combine sugar and cinnamon for filling.

Roll dough into 9″x18″ rectangle then spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over dough and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Roll up tightly beginning at wide side and seal well by pinching edges of roll together. Cut roll into 1″ slices by placing a piece of dental floss under roll, bringing ends of floss up and crossing at the top and pulling the ends in opposite directions, cutting through the dough.

Spray 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray and place rolls in pan a little apart from each other. Cover pan and let rise until double in bulk (about 20-30 minutes).

Bake in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and completely baked through.

To make glaze, combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and vanilla in a small bowl; gradually stir in milk until desired consistency.

Cool rolls for about 5 minutes, then spread or drizzle glaze over rolls and serve warm.

Sick Days and Making Bread

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I’ve been feeling under the weather. Mostly, it’s this little… something, in my throat.  It’s been on and off since Saturday morning, which is why my posting has come to a halt. I had a nice showing of Princess Bride this weekend as well (which will be coming in the following days in form or book vs movie review).

Grand ol’ time!

Back to my original reason for writing this post. I feel so terrible right now, in this very moment, that I actually decided I was too tired, to go grocery shopping tomorrow. I can already feel the exhaustion of a bad night’s sleep (still to come), effect me tomorrow. While I’m hosting dinner for a friend tomorrow, I need something satisfying in the moment, and something that I could justify.

BREAD~

Nothing is more special than making homemade bread. I got my inspiration from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, and it was wonderful!

I thought, I can make this today, and have the oven warm my apartment (though it’s 80 degrees at 9pm in Los Angeles at the moment), and fill my home with the sweet smells of oats and honey, and I can have it for breakfast with butter tomorrow. That’s all it takes for me to jump up off the couch and run into the kitchen, opening cabinets and the fridge.

Adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, or quick-cooking (not instant) oats, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup clover honey, or other mild honey
  • 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat milk

Heat oven to 375°F. Generously coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon oats in the pan. Tip the pan back and forth to coat the sides and bottom with oats; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium bowl, using a fork, beat 1 cup oats, yogurt, egg, oil and honey until well blended. Stir in milk. Gently stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture just until thoroughly incorporated but not overmixed. Scrape the batter into the pan, spreading evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon oats over the top.

Bake until well browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around and under the loaf to loosen it and turn it out onto the rack. Let cool until barely warm, about 45 minutes.

If I could, I’d eat it all.

Lemon Pudding the Old-Fashioned Way

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I woke up today with the urge to do something really nice, and something that dealt with lemons. At first, and for a while, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of having my own recipe for Lemon Curd. I was gonna tweak and combine a few that I’ve tabbed over the days to make my own, perfect for tarts in the summer.

As I was relaying what I thought was good news to Boyfriend, he said he wanted Lemon Pudding. In fact, he was craving it and he’d get himself some of the Jell-O brand (probably tomorrow). Now, I’m not sure if he actually got any, as this took place yesterday, but I was a little insulted at the thought of him buying ready-made pudding.

I’ve been on this kick of “everything homemade” and it’s been great. It’s tasted a lot better and been a lot healthier, too. So as I was going over my Lemon Curd recipe I decided to flip the recipe and make Lemon Pudding instead.

I’ve adapted the recipe somewhat from one that I found on FoodGawker.

Lemon Pudding

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups vanilla flavored coconut milk
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Place sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk to combine the two. Gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. This will take a few minutes so be patient. Add egg yolks, lemon zest, and salt. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, till sauce thickens, about 6-7 minutes so be patient. You’ll know it’s done when it can coat a spoon.

Keep stirring to get the milk and cornstarch incorporated without lumps

7 Minutes Later

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter. Whisk to make smooth, about 20 seconds. Place in jars (about 3-4 1 pint jars). Let cool completely, and then cover with plastic wrap or lid. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight, till set. Serve chilled.