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Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

14 Apr

Stress baking is a real thing. Every time something comes up that I should be spending my time on, I spend it on baking instead. Term papers, washing the car, midterms, packing to move, finals, wedding planning… My friends/roommates/coworkers love this. I love this. Trader Joe’s probably loves this. (I feel like I am there every day for butter or milk or chocolate.) Seriously though, baking is my de-stress. How can you be anxious, nervous, or stressed when soft centers, melty chocolate, and lightly crunchy edges of fresh warm cookies are coming out of the oven to comfort you?

These cookies are even better than plain chocolate chip cookies. They taste like a delicious cookie with a warm mug of tea wrapped up inside. Perfection. I may try them again using chai tea and spices. Or maybe turn to tropical coconut oolong tea with white chocolate chips… Sky’s the limit guys…

Finally using my new 'baking superpower' mat!

Finally using my new ‘baking superpower’ cookie mat!

Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

(verrrry slightly tweaked from here, a blog I love)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon loose leaf earl grey tea
4 tablespoons milk, hot
2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of cardamom
pinch of nutmeg
½ cup butter (1 stick), room temp
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup chocolate chips (dark or bittersweet are best, but semi-sweet is fine)

Steep 1 teaspoon of the earl grey in a small mug of the hot milk for 15 minutes. While the milk is steeping, grind the remaining tablespoon of tea in a clean coffee grinder until powdered. Or a mortar and pestle if you still live in the stone ages like me… Set both aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, ground tea, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg until combined. Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and the milk (strained) and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until a smooth dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, leaving about 2 inches of space between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the pan before moving cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

♥k

Happy Jewish Holiday!

2 Dec

In honor of my Jewish friends over the week of Thanksgiving, I made challah.

Also because I saw the recipe posted on the blog of King Arthur Flour.  I could not resist!

I quietly mentioned it to the bf. His ears perked up. And we were off on an adventure to get delicious honey and eggs. It was a hard choice, but we went with a local wildflower honey over the orange blossom. Though I wouldn’t put it against us to make this amazing bread again with the orange blossom honey just to taste the differences.

Image

So here is my (slightly sped up) version of classic challah… Still takes around 3-4 hours.

1/2 cup warm water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast
*plus one egg for the glaze

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until mixed and knead until dough is soft and smooth. Cover and let rise 1 hour in front of the fire (or two hours) until doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough and shape into 4 6-inch logs on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each dough log to 18-inches long. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Pinch ends together and braid as desired. Tuck the ends under and transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise 45 minutes in front of the fire (or 90 minutes) until very puffy. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk together the last egg and 1 Tbsp cold water. Gently brush glaze over entire loaf. Place that cookie sheet on top of another to insulate the bottom. (This will prevent over-browning.) Put in the oven for 20 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil and bake another 20 to 25 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. Cool on a rack for as long as you can til enjoying it slathered with butter and more honey if you can stand it.

♥ k

Wild Turkey

23 Nov

I honestly didn’t think of this being festive until I typed it. Wild Turkey Bourbon = turkeys at Thanksgiving. Totally laughed out loud. But for reals this leads to a delicious recipe.

Wild Turkey Bourbon

While perusing the imterwebs a twin stumbled upon this recipe. Then there was a coupon and a sale resulting in the purchase of bourbon. And to top it off we are all fans of chocolate and bourbon. Here is my rendition. Happy baking!

Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Crinkles

3/4 cup Flour
1/2 tsp  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Bourbon
2 Eggs (room temp)
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Extra Granulated Sugar and Powdered Sugar (for coating cookies)

Mix 'um up

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.
Melt and combine the bittersweet chocolate, butter, and bourbon in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes.  Gently whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined.
Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Cover and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).

Bake my lovelies

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with foil or parchment.
Pour the granulated sugar and confectioners sugar into two separate small bowls. Form the chocolate cookies into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the regular sugar, and then roll in the confectioners sugar to coat.  Place on the baking sheets spaced about 1-inch apart.
Bake for 8 minutes then rotate the cookies sheets and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Cookies should still be slightly firm on the edges and fairly soft in the centers. Don’t overbake.
Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan until firm enough to handle then transfer to a cooling rack.

Delicious!

These cookies were taken to brighten the evening of musicians stuck in rehearsal and friends-of-friends working the night shift at our favorite pizza joint. Huge hit. And the ones left out for roommates vanished right away. Cannot wait to make these again!

♥ k

Pumpkin Mac&Cheese

12 Oct

Yay for pumpkin month! This weekend the bf and I decided to go with mac and cheese. We love mac and cheese. After some research, the Better Homes and Gardens recipe sounded like a good place to start. Here is our version…delicious!

Pumpkin Mac'n'Cheese

2 cups  dried elbow macaroni (or your favorite shape)
2 Tbsp  butter
2 Tbsp  flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup  heavy cream
1 cup  whole milk
4 oz Fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
15  oz canned  pumpkin
1/4 cup  bread crumbs
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp olive oil
Pumpkin Mac'n'Cheese!
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper. Add heavy cream and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese and pumpkin until cheese is melted and combined. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an un-greased 2-quart baking dish.
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Very delicious with chicken apple sausages :)
Delicious sausages! The fungi was for the boy...

Delicious sausages! The fungi was for the boy…

My notes: This made so much sauce! Totally enough for a whole pound of pasta I think (but you would need a much bigger  baking dish). We added some herbage for extra flavor (thyme and parsley). We also felt this could have used more cheese (cheddar or gouda maybe) and a little less pumpkin.
♥ k

Pumpkin Month!

8 Oct

About a month ago, when everyone really started getting tired of the heat, the lovely bf and I started talking fall. The cool weather, the sweaters, the holidays, pumpkin flavoured things… And we decided then and there to make at least one pumpkin thing every weekend. I picked way too many recipes for one a week so maybe it will be more : )

WEEK 1: Pumpkin Mac’n’Cheese!

We were going to roast our little Trader Joe’s pumpkin, but he looked so cute on the counter. (And we didn’t really feel like putting dinner off an hour plus so we could roast it.) Inspired by this dish.

Pumpkin Mac'n'Cheese

2 cups dried penne rigate (8 ounces)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tblsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pumpkin Mac'n'Cheese!

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.
In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Delicious sausages! The fungi was for the boy...

Delicious sausages! The fungi was for the boy…

*Notes* Next time try with more cheese (maybe cheddar), caramelized onions, less pumpkin (maybe 1 cup), add cooked chicken and vegetables to make into a stand-alone dinner casserole.
We had it with some amazing garlic and wine chicken sausages and simple salad. We drank pumpkin beer also. And had pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin bourbon macarons for dessert. Fall is off to a delicious start…
♥k

Apricot Tart

21 Jun

I went apricot picking with my father. I was down in Southern California to visit with my people after GRADUATING FROM UCD(!). We must have picked a ton! Bags of golden fruit were delivered to all the church people that could stand having so many apricots in their house.

Then…my people scattered. Parents to the East Coast, Twin 2 lives a few blocks away, and the little bro was out adventuring. (He just graduated from high school. So Proud!)

So I rode off to the library on my shiny silver bike to hunt down some recipes. I decided on Apricot Jam and this Apricot Tart. Enjoy!

Crust

5 tbsp butter, room temp
1⅓ cups  flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3-5 tbsp cold water

Filling
⅓ cup sugar
⅔ cup almond meal
4 tbsp butter, room temp
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tbsp flour
1½ pounds fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

Combine the butter, flour and sugar  with a pastry blender until crumbly. Mix in egg. Add water a tablespoon at a time and mix until you can gather the dough into a ball (but not too mushy.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Pitt and quarter the apricots, set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cream the butter, almond meal, and sugar until smooth, add egg, almond and vanilla extracts. Continue beating and add the flour.
Once chilled, roll out the dough and press into a greased tart pan. Pour the almond mixture (frangipane) into the tart shell, using a spatula to smooth. Press the apricots into the frangipane. (I suggest working in a circle from outside to inside (I went inside to outside and it looks a little funny.)
Apricot Tart
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is crispy and slightly browned, and the apricots are wrinkled. Cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Sour Cream Pancakes

22 May

So I had some sour cream languishing in the back of the fridge (starting to think about growing legs and finding someone to eat it) when I remembered hearing about a recipe for sour cream pancakes. Some quick research led to this recipe. A few tweaks and the rest is delicious history.

1 cup sour cream
7 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tspbaking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream with the dry ingredients until just combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla until just combined.

Heat a pan over medium-low heat and melt some butter in the pan. Drop scoops of batter (about 1/4 cup) into the pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip to the other side and cook for another minute. (Pancakes will be a little soft.)

Slather butter and drown in maple syrup to enjoy perfection.

(These keep well in the fridge for a few days. Just pop in the toaster to revive.)

♥k

Sorry for no pictures! They were so tasty that none stayed around to be photographed fresh.)

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