Cookies, Dessert

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are so many recipes out there that claim to be THE BEST. That definition is so different for everyone, especially when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. Some people say that chilling is mandatory, or cake flour, or nuts…the list goes on and on. In my opinion, this is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have tried to date. There is no chilling, no super fancy ingredients, but there are a couple steps in here that I feel make this recipe stand out. One is the extra egg yolk. The other is the 4-5 minutes of beating before you add the dry ingredients. I did add about 25 grams more flour to compensate for being at altitude and I have included the US measurements in case you don’t own a food scale. I did weigh my ingredients so keep that in mind when you try this. Recipe and photo courtesy of janespatisserie.com.

  • 175 g (1 stick + 6 tablespoons) butter
  • 225 g (1 1/8 cup) light brown sugar
  • 100 g ( scant 1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300 g (2 cups) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 325 g (2 1/2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375.  Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Melt the butter slowly until it is fully melted, leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Once cooled, beat in the two sugars until they are thoroughly combined. With a stand mixer, add the egg, the egg yolk and vanilla and beat the mixture for about 4-5 minutes on a medium speed or until the mixture becomes much lighter in color, is smooth, and has increased in volume. (I literally set a timer for this so I made sure I beat it for long enough.) Add the dry ingredients and beat again until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, portion the cookies onto the trays and bake the cookies in the oven for 10-12 minutes for softer cookies; 14 minutes for soft/crunchy cookies. I rotate my pans halfway through baking to make sure it bakes evenly. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the pan for 1 minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Entree

Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken Burritos

I always up for trying a new slow cooker recipe and this one was really good. I especially liked the cheesy sauce that goes over the top. Perfect for a cold winter night. Recipe and photo courtesy of barefeetinthekitchen.com.

Chicken Filling:

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Burrito Ingredients:

  • 6-8 flour tortillas or 12-16 corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted green chile or (1) 10-ounce can
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons light flavored olive oil

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose or brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Place chicken in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover with lid and cook on low for 3-4 hours. When the chicken can be easily pulled apart, shred it and toss it in the juices in the crockpot. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl, add 1 cup of shredded cheese, and the green chile. Stir to combine. Scoop the chicken mixture into the tortillas, about 3/4 cup of filling fits nicely in each flour tortilla. (About 1/3 cup of filling fits easily in the smaller corn tortillas.) Roll them up and place them snugly into a baking pan. Brush with olive oil. Bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. While the burritos are in the oven, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking and simmering until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add the sour cream and the remaining cheese, whisking until smooth again. Pour the sauce over the crispy burritos.

30 minute meal, Entree

Taco Spaghetti

The best thing about this dish is that it can all be made in a single pot. It combines two of my favorite foods, tacos and spaghetti. My family is pretty sensitive to spice so next time I’ll use mild Rotel but other than that I loved how easy and delicious this dish is. Recipe and photo courtesy of damndelicious.net.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1 (10-ounce can) Rotel
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add ground beef and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; stir in taco seasoning. Drain excess fat. Stir in Rotel, tomato paste, spaghetti and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes. Remove from heat and top with cheeses. Cover until melted, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with tomato and cilantro, if desired.

 

30 minute meal, Entree

Crispy Garlic Parmesan Crusted Salmon

I’m making an effort to incorporate more fish into our dinners and this recipe was a huge success. My six year old even asked for seconds. It is my favorite kind of recipe, quick, delicious and a crowd pleaser. Recipe and photo courtesy of cafedelites.com

  • 2 pounds (1 kg) side wild salmon fillet
  • 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon fillet, skin side down, on the baking sheet. Set aside. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/3 teaspoon pepper (or to taste).  Mix the ingredients together until the breadcrumbs absorb the butter (about 40 seconds). Pour the mixture over the salmon, pressing it into the top until the fillet is completely covered. Lightly spray salmon with cooking oil spray for a golden crumb. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet), until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked and flakes easily with fork. Serve with your choice of vegetables.

Dessert

Cinnamon Cream Puffs

I just love watching baking shows, in particular, baking competitions. One item that inevitably comes up in every competition is cream puffs. Cream puffs are made with a special dough called pate a choux. I have always been intrigued by the preparation method of this dough and finally decided to give it a try.  Although the name and directions look intimidating, it came together really easily!  I will definitely be making these again. Recipe and photo courtesy of barbarabakes.com

Pate a Choux

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

Egg Wash (optional)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Measure flour and set aside. Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat, and quickly stir in flour mixture all at once. Return to heat and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes, or until dough is smooth and forms a ball. Transfer dough to the bowl of an electric mixer, and let cool 5 minutes. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip. Pipe dough onto prepared pans into 1 1/2-inch rounds (1 1/2 inches high). Smooth out peaks and round tops with a moistened finger. Whisk together remaining 1 egg and 1 tsp. water. Brush tops of dough with egg mixture. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375°, and bake 30 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Turn oven off; let shells stand in closed oven 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely.

For the Filling:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream and salt at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pierce the side of each cream puff with a small knife to create a hole. Insert the pastry tip into the hole and fill with cinnamon whipped cream.

Dessert

Lemon Bundt Cake

Maybe it’s the cold getting to me, or maybe I’m just ready for spring, but I’ve been craving lemon desserts. After much searching of the Pinterest, I came across this bundt cake recipe. It came together so nicely and has a wonderful lemon flavor, while not being too overpowering. Make it today! Recipe courtesy of sprinklesomesugar.com

For the Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs lemon zest
  • 2 tbs + 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

For the Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbs lemon juice

For the Lemon Sugar

  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 1 tbs granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Grease a bundt pan very well making sure to really get into all crevices then lightly flour pan. Set aside.

Lightly whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer (if you’re using one) fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs on low until they are thickened and very pale yellow in color. Turn mixer on low and slowly add sugar to running mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Slowly pour in dry ingredients on low speed until combined.

In a small saucepan, heat milk until very hot and butter is just melted. Do not boil and whisk the mixture to help the butter along. Pour into batter and mix until smooth. Batter will be very thin. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 27-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Once done, remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan. Release the sides of the cake with a butter knife to ensure it isn’t going to stick. Turn cake onto a large round platter or cake stand. (If using a 9×13 pan, do not remove cake, just place entire pan onto wire rack so underneath the pan can cool also.) Allow cake to finish cooling until warm to the touch.

While cake is cooling, prepare lemon sugar and glaze. For the lemon sugar, thoroughly mix the lemon zest and sugar together and let it sit for 5 minutes. If you don’t want the lemon zest on top of the cake, push the sugar through a fine mesh strainer, separating the two and discard the zest. If you don’t mind the zest on top of your cake (it will give it a nice pop of color!), then just set the mixture aside.

For the glaze, whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice, using more or less lemon juice as needed to get desired consistency. (I like to keep mine slightly thick so it won’t thin out too much when I serve it over warm cake.)Once cake is cooled down slightly, drizzle glaze over warm cake. Alternately, you can drizzle the glaze over each individual piece being served. Sprinkle lemon sugar on top.

Cake will stay soft and moist for 3 days stored in an airtight container.

 

Dessert, How To

How To: Flaky Pie Crust

This was the second homemade pie crust I have made at Thanksgiving and I was so pleased with how it turned out. I used to be terrified of making my own crusts, but with practice and step by step directions it has gotten much better. Not to mention I truly believe the pies taste better with a homemade crust. This one differs from the other on my site in that it uses shortening and butter, instead of all butter. Next year I’ll have to make a batch of each and see which one I like better. Recipe and photo courtesy of sallysbakingaddiction.co

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and levelled
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). Measure 1/2 cup  of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use about 1/2 cup of water and a little more in dry winter months. Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).

When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Proceed with the pie per your recipe’s instructions.