April 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dear friend Ellen in Ca. makes the best, chewiest chocolate chip cookies! She'd bring them over and they would never last very long in our house. She showed me how to make them, but I never could make them like she did. Her trick was to use cold butter, which is opposite of what most recipes tell you to do.

Now that there are miles and an ocean between us, I've had to try and find a recipe that could stand in as a substitute. I came across this highly rated chocolate chip cookie recipe (I love reading recipe reviews) and thought I'd give it a try. They were described to come out just the way I like them, chewy and crisp on the edges. Yum!

This recipe calls for melted butter??? The recipe doesn't require the dough to be refrigerated and it was very soft once mixed. I actually put mine in the fridge for 2 days, because I've heard or read that it really brings all the flavors together. These were pretty darn good!  I used dark and white chocolate chips, nuts would be good in them too.

Cookies made by a friend always have a special sweetness about them. These made me think of my dear friend :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gourmet October 2003 at Epicurious

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter with sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Lightly beat 1 egg and add 1 3/4 T of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just blended, stir in chips.  At this point, I refrigerated the dough for 2 days, the recipe doesn't call for that.

Scoop 1/4 c batter for each cookie, 3 inches apart and flatten mounds with a moistened palm of your hand.  I just used a tablespoon to form balls and they were plenty big.

Bake until golden, 13 to 15 minutes.  12 minutes was the magic number for the smaller cookies.

Cooled cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.  Mine won't last 3 days :)

April 20, 2012

FFwD: Coconut Friands

This was a really easy cake to make.  Today was one of those multi-tasking days and I managed to put these together while making dinner.  They reminded me more of a macaroon than a sponge cake. Very nice, and who doesn't love a bite sized cake!

Happy Friday!

April 17, 2012

TWD: Lemon Loaf Cake

Growing up, my Mom was never a baker. But, when the urge for cake hit you could bet money on what she would make, Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines lemon bundt cake. My brother and I still tease her to this day that while our friends Mom's made chocolate cakes, cookies & brownies, we had box lemon bundt cake with powdered sugar glaze.  Memories.

It's still her favorite dessert and if I lived closer to her, I'd run this cake over to her. It was delicious! My family dove into it before I could even whip up Mom's famous glaze.

I baked my cake for 55 minutes and the toothpick came out clean everywhere except in that little bump on the top. But, I didn't want to dry out my cake trying to bake that last little bit. What causes that to happen? This was a really easy cake to make and will definitely reappear in our house.

See that little gooey spot?  Looks like a Twinkie.

If you'd like to try out this weeks recipe, check it out on one of the hosts blogs. Truc at Treats or Michelle at The Beauty of Life.

April 16, 2012

Baltimore Crab Cakes

While I don't live in Baltimore, I do live in a place where fresh crab is equally as abundant.  And crab cakes are just one of my all time favorites.

These crab cakes are full of crab and flavor, delicious!  On the advice of one of the reviews, I mixed the egg with the crab and let it sit while I got everything else ready.  I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to divide out the crab which gave me 13 crab cakes.  Put them in the freezer for 10 minutes before dipping them in the breadcrumbs.

Before the final breadcrumbs

Before going into my mouth!  These were sooooo good!

from Bon Appetit on Epicurious.com

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (I didn't have this and it was fine)
1/2 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped (used a whole chili)
1 pound lump crab meat, picked over
1 1/4 c panko breadcrumbs, divided (used plain)
1 tablespoon chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons oil

Whisk first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add crab; fold to blend.  Stir in 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, chives, salt and pepper.  Divide into equal portions.  Form each into 1" thick patties.  Refrigerate or freeze for 10 minutes.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat cakes in remaining crumbs.  Fry until golden brown and crisp, 3 - 4 minutes per side.

I served the crab cakes with a Lemon Aioli.

from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together.

April 13, 2012

FFwD: Sardine Rillettes

I knew this was not going to be a recipe that my family or myself would be able to embrace. So, I made this one at work in what I call my test kitchen :)

Instead of cream cheese I used fromage frais, which is similar in taste but less dense than cream cheese. The cream mixture tasted pretty good before I added the sardines. Once they hit the mix I'll have to say I was not a fan. I don't like fishy fish and sardines definitely fall into that category. It was very easy to make and was enjoyed by most that tried some.

Hope everyone had a great Easter. Now that I've reintroduced chocolate and dessert back into my diet, I have to admit I'm a chocoholic. If it's in the house, it will eventually find its way into my mouth. I'm letting my children eat more chocolate than I normally would just to rid the house of all the chocolate bunnies, chicks and eggs!

April 6, 2012

FFwD: Asparagus with bacon

This was another short and sweet recipe.  I've done bacon with green beans forever, funny I never thought of doing it with other green vegetables.  We enjoyed the two flavors with a nice, juicy steak.  Great side dish!

Hope everyone has a very Happy Easter... mine will be happy and full of chocolate and dessert!!!

April 3, 2012

TWD: Pizza Rustica

This was one that took some explaining to my family. "What are we having for dinner?" they ask, "pizza rustica", I say. Then we went over what that meant and what it was... still all they heard was pizza. Out of the oven my little pizza pie came and everyone was like, "I thought we were having pizza"! No one ever listens to me.

The crust was very quick and easy to make as was the filling. I added about an ounce of spicy pepperoni to the filling mixture. I was surprised that the sweet pastry went so well with the creamy, savory filling. Very nice dinner and a yummy lunch today.

This weeks TWD recipe was selected by Emily at Capital Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home.  Check out their blogs and all the others Baking with Julia at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Happy Baking!