Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been looking for my special chocolate chip cookie recipe. Everyone has to have their unique take on the old classic right? Change a couple of the dimensions, and bam! its a whole new thing. I tried these last night for a party and the reviews were great!

A few notes on the recipe first. I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips-- I think it makes a big difference. I buy a bunch when I see they're on sale and freeze them until I need em. Second, baking them for 8 minutes is key so set that timer! You may think they aren’t done at this point, but after sitting on the pan a couple of minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack, they will be just right.

My Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (must be room temp!)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (feel free to throw in the whole bag if you like them super chocolate-y…why not?)

Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together in a mixer. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until creamy. Add the vanilla.

In another bowl mix the dry ingredients together before slowly adding them to the creamed mixture. When combined, stop the mixer and add the semi-sweet chips. Mix up and then drop by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Mold them into a ball as best as you can with the spoon for a more shaped cookie.

Bake on 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Take them out of the oven and allow the cookies to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Then, carefully place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Irish Colcannon and Soda Bread

I'm very proud of my Irish heritage and a few years ago I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time in Ireland. While I was there I found a wonderful little cookbook that not only has great traditional recipes, but also has a little bit of a history of each recipe as well.


Colcannon is a mash made of white vegetables, typically served at the midday meal. At Halloween, coins are wrapped in foil and buried in the colcannon for children to discover as they eat. If you're used to a typical St. Patrick's Day dish of Corned Beef and Cabbage, try the Colcannon instead next time. It's definitely worth it, in fact, it's so good you should make it more often than just March 17!

1 medium-sized head white cabbage
2 medium-sized parsnips
3-4 medium-sized onions
8-10 medium-sized potatoes
salt and pepper
1 pint water (2 1/2 cups)
4 oz butter (1/2 cup)

Cut cabbage into four, remove stumps and wash each leaf thoroughly in salt and water. Put four or five outer leaves aside, chop the remaining leaves finely. Wash and scrape parsnips, remove skins from the onions (I also peeled the potatoes). Cut parsnips, onions and potatoes into half inch slices. arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a saucepan, cover with a layer or parsnips, then a layer of onion, the a layer of cabbage; season well, continue layering the vegetables and again season well. Pour water over the vegetables and cover vegetables completely with the outer leaves. Put the lid on the saucepan, bring to the boil and cover; simmer until cooked, 25-30 minutes. Strain off any excess water. Remove the outer leaves of cabbage. Mash the vegetables well, add the butter and mix well. Put into a serving dish. Serve hot with plenty of creamy butter. Serves 4-6.

Soda Bread

1 lb flour (4 cups)
pinch of salt (1/4 tsp or so)
1 level teaspoon breadsoda (baking soda)
10 fl oz buttermilk or sour milk (1 1/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 400F. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Pute the breadsoda into the palm of the hand and work with the back of a spoon to get rid of lumps. (You don't actually have to do this part... it's cool to see how it used to be done though.) Add to the sieved flour and salt. Make a well in the and add the milk. Mix until it forms a loose dough. (I actually had to add about 1/4 c more milk) Mix well and form into a circle; make a cross-cut on the surface and place on a lightly floured baking sheet; put into the oven. The bread is baked when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (about 40-45 minutes). When baked, place on a wire rack to cool.
**Be careful not to over mix the dough because it will become very tough.
**If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice per 1 c milk and let stand for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these for work today, very yummy!

Cream Well:
1 c. butter (room temp)
1 c. brown sugar
¾ c. white sugar

2 eggs (room temp)
1 T vanilla
Cream for 4 minutes

3 c. flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. soda

Blend mixture slowly and thoroughly
Add: 2 c. chocolate chips (I do lots more... probably over 3 cups, but that's me, eyeball it)
Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The BEST Carrot Cake.

As promised to Darlene, here is my carrot cake recipe. Now, before you go and say that you don't like carrot cake, you have to try this one. This recipe has converted many a carrot cake hater, and I'm willing to bet that you'll love it too!

Carrot Cake

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
2 c sugar
1 1/4 c canola oil
4 large eggs
3 c grated peeled carrots
1/2 c coconut

And for those that do love the nuts and raisins,
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 c raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. In a separate bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended. Stir in carrots and coconut. (If using nuts and raising, add them now as well.)

Divide batter between pans. Bake layers about 40 minutes each, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off waxed paper and cool cakes completely.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 bag powdered sugar (to taste)

Blend together. If too thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

**Note - I like to top it with chopped pecans (instead of putting them in the cake).