Chocolate Chip Cookie with Walnuts

Who can say no to homemade chocolate chip cookies? Certainly not me. I may be known for my baking, but among my friends and family, my chocolate chip cookies are legendary. They’re requested to be made all the time. Even days later these cookies will still be soft and chewy. There’s only one kind of chocolate chips I use and they are the Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. I’ve been using their recipe for as long as I can remember and I add one additional ingredient to the recipe. If you don’t like nuts or are allergic, you can omit them from the recipe. But if you’re a nut lover, make sure to add the walnuts. I’d also like to try making these with chopped pecans in the future.

Also, after I take the cookies out of the oven, I leave them on the tray for 2 minutes prior to moving them to the wire rack. Enjoy!

Yield: 7 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups (12 oz. bag) Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in chips and walnuts.

4. Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Once cookies are out of the oven, leave on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer them to wire rack to cool.

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

This year I decided to give baked goods as a gift. On Sunday I spent mostly all day making chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter blossoms – if you love chocolate and peanut butter, this is the cookie for you. This is one of my husband’s favorite cookie. In the past, every Christmas his sweet grandmother (we miss you Granny M) would make him a batch of these cookies. For the past few years I’ve tried making them but something never turns out right with the dough. The cookies get too hard or they don’t have enough of a peanut butter taste.

I finally found the right recipe and they turned out beautifully. The cookies were soft and delicious the next day. Hooray!

Thanks to BrownEyedBaker for sharing this recipe.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

48 Hershey Kisses

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup peanut butter (use creamy)

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. Set oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap Hershey’s Kisses.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.

4. Gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter mix. Stir after each addition until well blended.

5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar in a small bowl. Place on cookie sheet about 2-inches apart.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Once out of the oven, immediately press a kiss into the center of each cookie and remove cookies to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Chocolate Soufflé

On Sunday night, I attempted the art of making a chocolate soufflé. I found a pretty easy recipe to use that makes 2 soufflés. One for me and one for my husband. It was a lot simpler than I thought. My concern was that it wouldn’t rise and to my surprise, when they came out of the oven, they rose. So I did a little victory dance in my kitchen. Unfortunately after a few minutes, the soufflés did deflate, but I read an article online that assured me it was okay for it to do so.

Once I tasted the soufflé though, there was no doubt in my mind that this was a success. The inside was creamy, smooth and the chocolate melted inside your mouth. I will for sure be making this dessert again.

Oh, and I didn’t make a special sauce or anything for the soufflés. The flavors were already spot on that I didn’t find it necessary to add more to it.

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

2 egg whites

pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon)

pinch of cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease 2 8 ounce ramekins (I used 7 oz and it worked perfectly fine). Coat the ramekins with cocoa, tapping out the excess

2. In a large bowl, over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and remaining butter. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Whisk in the yolks, one at a time, until smooth. Set aside.

***You can easily separate your eggs by hand or by using an egg separator. If you are doing it by hand, crack the egg open over a small bowl (without letting the yolk fall through), and tip the yolk from one half shell to the next until it’s cleared of all egg whites. If you don’t want to do it by hand, use a separator. Egg separators are fairly cheap and work effectively. I got mine from the local hardware store for under $3.

3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar, salt, and cream of tartar until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Gently fold the egg-white mixture into the chocolate. Spoon into the ramekins – do not overfill, just fill it as close to the top of the ramekin. (NOTE: You can make the soufflés up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

4. Bake until puffed and set. About 20 minutes if you don’t refrigerate. About 25-30 minutes if you refrigerate prior to baking. Serve immediately.

It’s not the best picture, but I got a pic after it deflated.

Glazed Brownies with Mint Cookies

This past summer, a couple of people at work challenged me to make brownies topped with Girl Scout’s Thin Mint Cookies. Genius idea, right? So I told them, I would accept their challenge and I went on a brownie recipe hunt. I’ve always made brownies from a box mix, so I wanted to prove that I could make them from scratch. So low and behold, I found a simple enough recipe from The Food Network website – it’s not a fancy brownie from any of the big name stars featured on there, it’s a solid recipe that got good reviews. So I said, why not?

I am pleased to say that the brownies turned out excellent. And since I couldn’t find any Thin Mint cookies, I used Oreo’s Mint Fudge Cremes. Not only did the brownies look good, but they were very satisfying. It’s not too strong in the mint flavor, so those that aren’t big fans of mint will enjoy it.

During the holiday season, mint is one of my favorite flavors to work with – so I wanted to share this recipe. You’ll impress your family, friends, and co-workers if you bring a tray of these to a holiday party. Enjoy and bon appetit!

INGREDIENTS for BROWNIES

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½  teaspoon baking powder

¼  teaspoon fine salt

10 oz. finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate (I used Baker’s Chocolate Squares)

2 oz. finely chopped unsweetened chocolate (I used Baker’s Chocolate Squares)

½  cup unsalted butter

2 cups white sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

INGREDIENTS for GLAZE

6 oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate

½  cup heavy whipping cream

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT

Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies or Oreo Mint Fudge Cremes – 1/2 box of cookies, chopped

DIRECTIONS

1. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper, with edges hanging over the sides (for easy lift out of pan), lightly butter

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl (like Pyrex glass bowls). Fill a sauce pan with water and simmer over medium-high heat. Once water is simmering, turn off heat. Set bowl on top of sauce pan and whisk until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir chocolate mixture in and blend evenly. Add dry ingredients and stir just until blended. DO NOT OVER MIX.

5. Pour batter (the batter will be thick) into pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into brownie comes out coated with a fudgey crumb. Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack.

6. While brownies are cooling, make glaze. Put chocolate in medium bowl. Boil heavy cream and pour over chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then stir.

7. Pour glaze and spread evenly over the brownies. Add the chopped cookies on top. Let brownies set at room temperature.

8. Once cooled, lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into 24 squares.