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Archive for October, 2010

Thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies, with oreo version

Bake for 14 minutes! Even if the dough was frozen. It doesn’t seem like they are done, but they firm up. Only cool on the pan for 3-4 minutes. These cookies are absolutely amazing if they are baked correctly. I made chocolate chip oreo chunk cookies with half of the dough, and they are possibly my favorite cookie EVER. As long as I don’t overbake! Luckily, the trick about putting some bread in the storage container or bag works well. I used the thick and chewy chocolate chip recipe and just followed the amounts of add-ins (oreos, white chocolate chips, and milk chocolate chips) from the other recipe. Really the only difference between the two cookie recipes is 2 tbsp of flour. I think 7 oz of brown sugar is a little too much, I could only squeeze 6.5 oz in my measuring cup and even that was overflowing. I like the technique of measuring out 1/4 cup of dough and ripping it in half. I got 30 ish cookies, which is more than it says. It was probably because the dough with the oreos had a lot of mix-ins. And I didn’t even use the full (halved) amount! I added some eggless cookie dough to a few of the cookies (you can see it in the picture) but it just takes away from the chewiness of the cookie.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Source: Baking Illustrated, page 434)

Makes about 18 large cookies.

These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

Chocolate Chip Oreo Chunk Cookies
adapted from LiveFire

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk, semisweet, or dark chocolate chips (whatever your preference)
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (not too crushed – use your hands, not a food processor; about 15-20 Oreos)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (or 310 degrees F for convection). Grease and or line your cookie sheets.

2. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

3. Mix the sugars and melted butter just until thoroughly mixed, then add egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until just blended – don’t over beat!

4. Stir in the Oreo chunk, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips by hand. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a greased and/or lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies and heat of your oven. The edges of the cookies should just start to be turning golden.

5. Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool a bit when removed from the oven (this is important as they fall apart if you move them too quickly). Once they cool a few minutes, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on their size.

Cornbread dressing

I have a winner! I will definitely be making this stuffing again. My first stuffing was good, but I prefer this one. It adds roasted mushrooms (which I will be making by themselves as a side sometime soon), and cornbread. I used half white bread, half cornbread cubed and toasted slightly. This stuffing had less sausage, similar seasonings, and WINE. I added some garlic as well, 2 big cloves. It didn’t have celery, which I didn’t even miss. Next time, I would add dried cranberries because I loved them in the first stuffing. I also would cook the apples in the sugar a little bit longer to better caramelize them. Once again, my measurements were not exact, but I made about 1/4 of the recipe and it stuffed my round casserole dish. If Jacob hadn’t eaten an insane amount, it would have served 4. I don’t know how much chicken stock I used, but I just stir and add until everything is moistened and there is no liquid sitting at the bottom of the bowl. I left out the tumeric and didn’t bother to sub anything for it.

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples (Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces, weight White Button Or Crimini Mushrooms
  • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 4 cups Cornbread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • 4 cups French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • 4 cups Artisan/crusty Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • ½ pounds Italian Sausage
  • 2 cups Diced Onion
  • 5 whole Granny Smith Apples, Large Dice
  • 5 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low (very Low) Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
  • ½ teaspoons Turmeric (more To Taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Rosemary, Leaves Minced
  • ½ teaspoons (additional) Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Fresh Parsley, Minced

Preparation Instructions

Allow diced bread to sit out on cookie sheets for several hours or overnight, until dried out.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Wash mushrooms thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Toss in a bowl with canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mushrooms will be very coated, but that’s good! Divide mushrooms between two sheet pans and roast in the upper half of the oven for at least 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting. Remove from oven when mushrooms are deep brown. Set aside.

In a large skillet, crumble and brown sausage over medium high heat. Remove sausage from skillet and set aside. Without cleaning the skillet, add in diced onions and brown for five minutes. Increase heat to high and add diced apples, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Decrease heat to medium and pour in wine (be careful if you’re using an open flame). Stir and cook to reduce liquid by half, about two to three minutes. Pour apple/onion mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to medium heat (again, without washing) and add thyme, turmeric, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Heat for a few minutes, then set aside.

Add bread to a large bowl, then add browned sausage, mushrooms, and apple/onion mixture (and juice that might have accumulated.) Next, add broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared not to use all of the liquid according to your taste.

Check seasonings at the end and add in minced parsley. Pour into a large baking dish (I used an iron skillet) and bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. (Or you can stuff the turkey if you’re into that kind of thing.

Buttermilk cornbread

Very good and moist. It didn’t need anything added to it, but I couldn’t resist adding a little honey. It’s ok, because I decreased the amount of sugar to 1/3 cup so it wouldn’t be crazy sweet.  I baked for 25 minutes at a slightly lower temp, and it was almost too long. One more minute and it wouldn’t have been such a good cornbread. This recipe is extremely popular (almost 2,000 reviews!)

1/9 of the pan is 284 calories, if made as written.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread (All Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Bolognese sauce

I had my doubts when this was simmering. I thought I went a little overboard on the wine, and I was worried the beef would taste bland because I’m not a huge fan of beef only red sauces. But after adding a little extra milk, water, and S&P towards the end of the (never ending) two hour simmer, I was definitely surprised. It was so rich and flavorful. I could smell the delicious smell outside of my apartment for several hours after dinner. My subs were yellow onion instead of red onion, and no worchestershire sauce. My measurements were all over the place too, I just eyeballed everything because I was basically cutting the recipe by 1/3.

I browned the veggies for 10 minutes and browned the meat for about 10 minutes too, salting at each step. I took some ideas from Anne Burrell’s bolognese sauce recipe, which is a lot more work and the cooking time is almost doubled. No thanks!

Ryan’s Bolognese Sauce (Pioneer Woman)

8 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 1-½ cup Grated Carrots
  • 1 whole Large Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil Flakes
  • 1 can (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup (to 2 Cups) Red Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 cans (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

Throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Roasted acorn squash

It’s nice to experiment with some fall veggies, which I don’t eat much of. Today it was acorn squash. I roasted it cut side down at 400 for about 25 minutes, then flipped it and spread 1/2 tbsp of butter on each half (which I ended getting rid of some of it), with some S&P, brown sugar, and sage. I baked for another 30-35 minutes, but it was ready before that. I was just waiting on the rest of my meal. The squash is done when the flesh is easily pierced with a knife. I liked mashing my squash up with the butter and seasonings. I added a little cinnamon to my half, and I liked it. Just a little though!

Baby pumpkin whoopie pies

Pumpkin pie just doesn’t do it for me. But I love pumpkin desserts, and these whoopie pies have been screaming at me to make them for weeks. I made my cookies with my teeny cookie scoop, so they are really small and cute. They were totally awesome! It seemed like a lot of spice when I was mixing the filling, and I was right. Luckily, it doesn’t go overboard. Just don’t add any extra! The maple was a little hard to pick up on in the final product. But, these are perfect little treats for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a Monday night when I’m home by myself and feel like baking. They keep for several days in the fridge.

When assembling the pies, pick cookies with flatter tops to serve as the base, or your pie will topple over.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling (Brown Eyed Baker, Peabody, and originally from Baked)

Yield: About 4 dozen assembled whoopie pies (will vary depending on how large you make them – half of the recipe made __ small whoopie pies)

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.

7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.

8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Blackened chicken

It’s sad to admit, but the reason I went out and finally bought a grill pan was because I was making this dish. I wanted to grill my chicken instead of cooking it in the skillet. My last chicken breasts tasted great, but the harsh heat of the skillet dried out some of the chicken. So, yay, now I have a grill pan. I cut the chicken breasts in half and brined them. I used a blackening seasoning I got from central market after tossing the chicken in a tiny bit of melted butter. Everything I did paid off, because the taste, texture, and moistness of the chicken was perfect. My chicken breasts took maybe 6 minutes total. Not really sure. It’s ok to take them off of the heat in the 150s because their temp will rise when resting. I didn’t make the entire sandwich in the recipe, but I followed most of the directions.

There is another blackening seasoning recipe on All Recipes that looks awesome.

Blackened Chicken Sandwich (Serious Eats)

Serves 4 for sandwiches, 2 if it’s just the chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 8 ounces each
  • For the brine:
  • 1 quart ice cold water
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • For the rub:
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch disks and skewered horizontally
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Sriracha mayonnaise
  • 4 club rolls
  • Type of fire: direct
  • Grill heat: high

Directions:

  1. For the Brine: in a small, shallow bowl whisk together the the water, salt, and sugar until the solids are dissolved. Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally. Place the chicken breast slices in the brine and refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the rub. In small bowl, mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Brush the chicken slices lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle evenly with the spice mixture. Flip the chicken over and repeat. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to grill.
  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grate. Brush onion slices lightly with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Grill onions and pepper, turning occasionally, until peppers are completely charred all over and onions until charred on both side and slightly softened, 5-8 minutes total. Remove from grill and place pepper in a paper or Ziploc bag and seal. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes, remove skin and slice into 1/8-inch strips. Remove skewer from onion and separate into individual rings.
  4. Place chicken slices on grill and cook over high heat until first side is blackened, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and place slice of cheese over chicken and grill until second side is blackened and chicken is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 3 minutes. While the chicken is resting, place rolls on the grill, cut side down, and grill until lightly browned. Remove from grill, spread top side of bread with Sriracha mayonnaise and assemble sandwich with the chicken, onion rings, pepper slices, and lettuce. Serve immediately.