Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I joined yet another group: The Cookie Carnival. It is basically the same idea as the Daring Bakers only with cookies. Every month we get the same cookie recipe and we all try it out and blog about it. I figured this would be a good group to join because I bake cookies every month for Operation Baking Gals anyways and I'm always looking for new cookie ideas.

The cookie selection for November was The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Regan Daley's book "In The Sweet Kitchen." This made a ton of cookies. I send a few to my brother in college, a few to solider in Iraq, and still had six leftover for my hubby who always complains that I make all these cookies and he never gets any. The verdict: This cookie definitely lives up to its name!!! I'm not normally a Chocolate chip cookie fan (because I'm a weirdo who likes the more unusal cookies out there!), but these were amazing!!! My husband was deeply impressed. I imediately added this cookie to my index card of recipes. This will definitely be a staple cookie that use in Operation Baking Gals every month...and for my hubby...when he's been nice to me. ;-)

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temp

  • 1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract

  • 3 cups plus

  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 16 oz. flavorful bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

    2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

    3. Using your hands, shape knobs of dough about the size of a large walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Stagger the rows of cookies to ensure even baking. Bake 12-15 for smaller cookies, 14-17 for larger ones or until the tops are a light golden brown. If the cookies are neither firm nor dark when they are removed from the oven, they will cool chewy and soft.

    4. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If somehow they don't get inhaled immediately, they may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to one week.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Another Blog Award

    I recieved another blog award from Cristine of Cooking With Cristine. She rocks of course! The The Premio Arte y Pico Award comes with rules but I don't mind. I would love to pay it forward.

    They are:

    1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.

    2. Advertise name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

    3. Each award-winner, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

    4. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

    5. Share these rules.

    I would love to pass this award on to the following blogs:

    Shao of Friedwontons4U

    Lynsday and Pam of Baking For Our Troops

    Arlene of The Food of Love

    Mary of Alpineberry (This woman is the one who inspired me to start my blog and join the Daring Bakers!)

    Susan of Operation Baking Gals (My favorite charity baking group!)

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    November's Cheese of the Month is....

    Sorry this is so late! My daughter had a bad reaction to some meds she was taking, so it has been a crazy week!!!

    I decided that this month that I would allow my fellow cheesians the change to vote. It looks like we have tie, though! So, I guess I'm the tie breaker. I decided to go with Mascarpone, because I found some in my local grocery store and it was actually a lot cheaper than I though. I also never made anything with it before, so it will truely be a challenge. Thanks for voting and make sure to vote for next month's cheese too!

    Remember that you can always make more than one dish and make anything from desserts to soups to dips to anything your heart desires! Please don’t forget to e-mail me when you are done.

    Don't forget that I've added some Cheese Sites that you might find helpful or, at the very least, interesting at the bottom right side of my blog. If you find any links you will like to add just e-mail or leave a comment here and I will add it.If you have any other suggestions just let me know!

    What is Cheese of the Month? Go here to find out:

    Good luck fellow cheesians! I look forward to reading about your delicious creations!

    Cheddar Cheese Results for October

    Sorry this is a little late! My daughter had a bad reaction to Amoxicin (spelling?) she was taking for an ear infection. So, it has been a rough week. She's fine now, but now we have to be careful about what meds she takes in the future.

    Last month, I chose cheddar cheese. I decided that ANY type of cheddar would do. I figured that gave people a lot of options.

    This round I had two people participate, which was very exciting! Everyone made something wonderful and delicious.

    Fellow Cheesian Number One: Cristie

    I was pleased to get an email from Cristie of Edible Antics-Having Fun With Food. Which is a tiny web store that sells gourmet foods made by Wisconsin artisans and small businesses. She's from Wisconsin and couldn't pass up participating because, as she puts it, "cheese is something we Wisconsinites LOVE!!!!" Her entry was Ham, Broccoli, and Cheddar Cheese Quiche. I absolutely adore quiches. I use to eat them once a month when I worked as high school teacher. The teachers would all come together and make all kinds of goodies for breakfast. Someone always made a quiche and I just fell in love! The one Cristie made sounds DIVINE and yet amazely simple.

    Ham, Broccoli, and Cheddar Cheese Quiche

    Single pie crust
    1/4 cup onion, diced
    1 cup broccoli - I use frozen, cut-up broccoli that I thawed in the microwave
    1 cup ham, cubed or diced
    1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
    1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (any favorite cheese will do)
    3 eggs, slightly beaten
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    1. I buy the prepared pie crust unless I happen to have homemade handy. Spread pie crust in pie plate.
    2. Chop onion and ham.
    3. Thaw and drain broccoli if frozen; wash and chop finely if fresh.
    4. Put onion, then broccoli then ham in pie crust.
    5. You want the ham juice to drip down over the veggies.
    6. Meanwhile, put 1/2 and 1/2 in medium sauce pan and heat over low to medium heat until a thin skin forms over the milk/cream.
    7. Stir in grated cheese. When cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in the beaten eggs.
    8. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper.
    9. Line the oven grate with tin foil in case the quiche over-flows. Put the pie crusts filled with meat and veggies on the foil. Pour the cheese, egg, and milk/cream mixture into the pie crusts.
    10. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes.

    You can read all about her adventure on her blog:

    Fellow Cheesian Number Two: Christine

    I was pleasantly pleased to hear from Christine of Cooking with Christine. I've been following her blog for quite some time now and glad that she was able to participate this month. I was also surprised to learn that she made an Apple Cheddar Pie, which was surprising because I was just thinking about when I got her e-mail. You can read all about her adventures here:

    After reading her account, I will definitely gives this one a try sometime!

    Apple Cheddar Pie
    Recipe from Emeril Lagasse (BAM! HEE HEE!)

    • 2 pie crusts
    • 3 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 1/3 cup plus
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • Pinch salt
    • 1 cup 1/2-inch cubes medium cheddar cheese (4 1/2 ounces)
    1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
    2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two portions.
    3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one-half of the crust to a 12-inch circle and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing gently to fit.
    4. Roll out the second half of the crust to a circle and set aside.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and toss to coat the apples.
    6. Add the cheese and spoon the apple mixture into the prepared pie pan.
    7. Arrange the second crust over the fruit.
    8. Trim the edges to a 3/4-inch overhang, fold under the two crusts, and crimp the edges of the crusts together to seal the dough.
    9. With a sharp knife, cut a decorative pattern of slits into the top crust.
    10. With a pastry brush, brush the cream over the top crust and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the top.
    11. Bake until the crust is golden and the juices begin to bubble, 45 to 55 minutes.
    12. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serve warm.

    And finally here is what I came up with: Baby Bell's Smokey Cheddar is Better Soup! My daughter LOVES smoke cheese. A few months ago, I bought Wisconin Cheddar Soup from local deli/restaurant in our area. It way too smokey for me, but she LOVED it. She was licking the bowl clean. So, I figured this was a good change for me to try and make a copy cat version of it. My daughter, being the crazy picky 1 1/2 year old that she is, doesn't eat enough veggies. So, I added some veggies to this soup. She, of course, LOVED it! This soup was slightly spicy but my daughter loves spicy (I ate a lot of hot wings near the end of my pregnancy!).

    You can use half to one pound of cheddar if you like. It depends how cheesey you want it. I bought a block of smoked cheddar that was almost a pound. (It's not as much as it sounds) It was like $7, though. So, I won't be making this every week, but definitely as a special treat. It makes a lot, too. So, I froze some of it for later use. I also used deli ham, but I think next time I might try bits of a ham steak. I just happened to have deli ham on hand. The veggies added a nice touch and was a great way to sneak in some veggies. This soup was quick to make too. This soup gets five dancing cheese guys out of five.

    Baby Bell's Smokey Cheddar is Better Soup

    • 2 1/2 Tbsp Butter
    • 1/2 C Shredded Carrots
    • 1/2 Celery, finely chopped
    • 1/2 Medium Onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 C Green peppers, seeded and finely chopped
    • 1/2 C Deli ham, torn into small pieces
    • 1/2 C Flour
    • 2 TbspCornstarch
    • 2 C Chicken broth
    • 2 C Milk
    • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
    • 1/2 Tsp Dry mustard
    • 1/2 Lb. Smoked Cheddar Cheese, grated
    • Salt/Pepper, to taste
    1. In a large heavy kettle, melt butter or margarine; add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, and ham.
    2. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.
    3. Add flour and cornstarch; cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
    4. Add broth and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened.
    5. Add milk, paprika, cayenne and mustard.
    6. Stir in cheese gradually, stirring until cheese is melted.
    7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.