Saturday, February 21, 2015

THE Chocolate Chip Cookie

When I think of dessert, I think cookies. They have always been my favorite. More specifically, chocolate chip cookies are my FAVORITE. All caps was needed to try to convey my love for the chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookie. As a little kid, I used to basically support Nabisco with my consumption of Chips Ahoy cookies. It wasn't until later years that I realized I was eating a glorified cracker. The cookie is so dry that sandy crumbles of them would fall overtime you try to take a bite and the flavor was good but sort of flat. That's when I started trying every chocolate chip cookie recipe I could get my hands on until I found the one that was PERFECT for me. Some people like crispy cookies, some like puffy ones, but I happen to love chewy ones, which is what this recipe will produce. Give them a try, i'm sure you will not be disappointed!

recipe slightly adapted from

You will Need:
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (i like to use a mix of dark and light)
1/2 granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in one teaspoon hot water
1 3/4 cup flour
Chocolate chips

Melt butter and then add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend in the sugars for about 3-5 minutes. During this time the sugars really get incorporated into the butter and develop the flavor so don't be afraid to let your mixer run for the few minutes! Add in the egg and egg yolk one at a time and blend until fully incorporated. Next, blend in the vanilla. Add the dissolved baking soda and salt. For this, i just microwave a small bowl of water for about 20-30 seconds and add a tsp to the baking soda, stir, and then mix into the dough. Then, slowly add flour until JUST incorporated. Then, by hand fold in about 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, you can add more or less depending on your preference. Next, refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days. I like letting my dough rest for a day or two in order for the sugars to really develop but it is not necessary. The 30 minutes is needed though to ensure that the cookies do not spread into a flat mess once in the oven.

When you're dough is ready, scoop rounded balls onto a prepared cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 9-12 minutes. I like to take mine out just as they are turning golden brown to ensure a gooey center.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homemade Candy!

Valentines has just passed and I'm sure you've indulged in your fair share of chocolate. But what's better than the store bought candy that's been sitting on store shelves since summer? Homemade candy of course! When I first decided to make candy I'll admit I was a little nervous, and under prepared. Anyone that's interested in making candy, caramel in particular, know it can be a daunting process. Caramel is described to be so hard- and dangerous to make. With it's bubbling cream and burning temperatures it can scare off even the most daring of bakers. But that was until I discovered this easy recipe and gave it a shot. I don't even own a candy thermometer but this recipe came out fabulous. The recipe, found on was so easy to follow and delicious.

Here it is:
Shortbread Base:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick softened unsalted butter

Combine the dry ingredients until fully blended. Mix in softened butter until the consistency of wet sand forms. Press the dough into a lined 9 inch pan. Bake for about 15-20 minutes (mine took 18) at 350. remove from oven and cool.

Now, make the caramel. You will need:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TB unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt

Heat sugar in a medium-large pot until it cooks down to a dark amber liquid, stirring occasionally. Make sure your pot is large enough to contain the cream once it is added and bubbles up to avoid spilling over. If you have a candy thermometer, clip it on now. Add the cream, SLOWLY, I wore oven mitts while adding it as to not get burned by the splatter. Heat to 248 degrees or until the mixture is smooth and a medium-dark amber color. It will also begin to smell like caramel. Stir in the butter and salt until smooth. Carefully pour the caramel over the cooled shortbread cookie base and let set for 1 hour. Cut into desired amount of bars, or into fun shapes. Dip into 12 ounces of your favorite type of chocolate. Enjoy!