Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chips Galore Cookies

And they mean chips galore. I was surprised by how much we could pack in these cookies! They are absolutely delicious. I prefer them straight out of the oven, but they are still good with milk a few days after. I messed with the "chip" proportions on this because I didn't like some of the things, and others I just didn't have enough of, but they turned out wonderfully all the same. I'm sure that you could substitute pretty much anything you wanted to in the chip part of this. These are huge, rich and satisfying cookies that will certainly be making a comeback next holiday season! Enjoy!
Chips Galore Cookies
by Bennet Barlean from Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Bars

1 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans (I used 1/2 cup)
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semisweet and upped it to 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
3/4 cup English toffee bits or almond brickle chips
3/4 cup flaked coconut
2/3 cup vanilla or white chips (I only used about 1/4 cup)

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hasselback Potatoes

Here is the long awaited savory recipe! I actually forgot to take pictures of the one I intended to put on here, but that's ok. I have seen these recipes on foodgawker a lot and they always looked so good. But my problem is that I always forget to think about side dishes when I make my grocery list. This week however, I remembered and we made these delicious potatoes. To be fair, Brett actually made them. They turned out wonderfully! They were soft on the inside and kind of crispy on the outside. I'm so glad I finally tried this, and you should try it too! Enjoy!

Hasselback Potatoes
6 medium sized potatoes (I used Yukon gold)
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
30g butter (I have no idea how much this is)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Put the potato on a cutting board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals. Arrange the potatoes in a baking tray and insert the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato. Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some salt and black pepper. Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Banana Cream Pie

I am so bummed that I did not take a picture of the inside of this pie and I am sorry for that. Trust me, it is very pretty inside. And delicious. I was so happy with the way this pie turned out. I have come to realize that pie crust is actually very easy if you have access to a food processor. I have used two different crust recipes now that use the food processor and they both turned out beautifully. I know that this pie has a lot of directions, but don't let that deter you! Many people think that lots of directions means that it is complicated, but really all that it means is that it is possible that it will take up a lot of time. I wasn't particularly overwhelmed with the amount of time that this pie took to make and a lot of it can be made ahead. If you're willing to take the time to cook, it can happen. I find that it is actually rather uncommon that a recipe is very technically complicated. Give it a try! Enjoy! And I promise that the next post will be a savory recipe!

Banana Cream Pie
from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the custard
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

3 ripe but firm bananas

1 9-inch single crust made with Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough, fully baked and cooled

For the topping
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sour cream

To make the custard
Bring the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk - this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle - then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. You can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until cold or, if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir occasionally until the custard is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes. (If it's more convenient, you can refrigerate the custard, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.)
When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about 1/4 of it over the bottom of the pie crust - it will be a thin layer. Top with half of the banana slices. Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.

To make the topping
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the sour cream.

To finish
Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard. Serve, or refrigerate until needed.

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing - what you're aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water - add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.
Have a buttered 9-inch pie plate at hand. You can roll the dough out on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. If you're working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic, or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to lift the paper, plastic or cover frequently do that it doesn't roll into the dough and form creases. if you've got time, slide the rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest and firm up.
Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. Alternatively, you can finish the crust by pressing it with the tines of a fork.
Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Transfer the pie plate to a rack to cool to room temperature before filling.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Scones with Autumn Spiced Glaze

I got this recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Baking and Books. The girl who runs the site is interested in much of what I am interested in, and she always writes about interesting food facts. Although she is a vegetarian Jew who keeps kosher, and I am not she gives some awesome recipes. Including these pumpkin scones!
They turned out beautifully and the glaze is just delicious. The recipe makes 6 scones, so it is perfect if you are cooking for two or if you are having a small get together. I ate them for breakfast, but they would be great for a girly breakfast or tea party. For the recipe on Baking and Books, click here. Enjoy! I will be making two recipes today that I will post in the next few days, and one of them is actually a savory recipe!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lemon Meltaways

Brett's request was that I make the Chocolate Caramel Thumprints. These were the ones I chose to make. And they aren't kidding when they say meltaways. They are a crumbly little cookie, which gives the impression that they are melting in your mouth. The frosting is the star of this one. It is lemony and delicious. These cookies take hardly any time, and you can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. They are really pretty too, and would be a perfect addition to a holiday cookie tray. Enjoy!
Lemon Meltaways
from Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Bars

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-3 drops yellow food coloring (optional, I did not use this)

In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy; beat in lemon juice. Combine the flour and cornstarch; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into two 8-inch rolls; wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
Unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon peel, and food coloring, if using. Frost cooled cookies.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

Let the holiday baking extravaganza begin! Last year I tested out several cookie recipes in search of the best to make our Christmas traditions. I found 4 winners: Frosted Brown Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Snowballs, Peppermint Snowballs, and Frosted Chocolate Cookies. This year I am continuing the search. At Brett's request, I began with Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints.
These cookies are not hard to make, but they require time and many dishes. :) But they are delicious! I think we may have already found a winner to add to the collection.
Next week I'll be making Lemon Meltaways, so look out for that post. Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints
from Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans

12-14 caramels
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Roll into 1-inch balls. Beat egg white. Dip balls into egg white and coat with nuts. Place 2-inches apart on greased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 3/8- to 1/2-inch indentation in the center of each ball. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan, melt caramels with cream over low heat; stir until smooth. Using about 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture, fill each cookie. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Drizzle over cookies.
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