Chocolate Chip Cookies

I rarely bake cookies any more. There’s never anyone at home that wants to eat them. We all seem to be watching our waist. So when an opportunity presents itself I’m right there ready to bake. I love chocolate chip cookies warm out of the oven with an icy cold glass of milk. They need to be soft in the center with a little crispiness around the edges, have semisweet chocolate chips, and be full of walnuts. I usually do half plain, half with walnuts. Not everyone shares my love of nuts. I slightly under bake my cookies; I find that they keep better. I don’t want to bite into a hard cookie the next day. These cookies stay just moist enough, making me feel confident that I can bake them the day before an event. I baked these cookies for a family gathering this past week. When I was leaving the tray was completely empty, which put a smile on my face.

Cream butter and sugars.
Cream butter and sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix to incorporate.
Mix to incorporate.
Add chocolate chips, and nuts if using. Just stir a few seconds to incorporate.
Add chocolate chips, and nuts if using. Just stir a few seconds to incorporate.
Drop on to parchment lined baking sheet I inch apart.
Drop on to parchment lined baking sheet I inch apart.
Cool on a wire rack.
Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup organic pure cane sugar, or granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2-3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (if you love the cookies very chocolaty add 3, I use 2)

2/3 chopped walnuts, optional, or divide batter and make half plain and half with nuts just use ½ cup walnuts in that case.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together the butter, brown sugar, pure cane sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Mixture will be light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix an additional 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture just till it comes together. Add the chocolate chips, and walnuts if using. Mix on low for about 25 seconds, just to mix together. At this point I refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a teaspoon or small cookie scoop place cookies 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotate cookie sheet at the 7 minute mark. I like mine light and just golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

Yields 4 dozen cookies

Store in an air tight container

 

Bakers note: I love to infuse my sugar with a vanilla bean for these cookies. Keep a container on hand for cookies and other bake goods.

I consider room temperature butter to be at least 65 degrees. I give the eggs 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberries! I consider myself lucky to live right near the blueberry capital of the world, Hammonton N.J. The farmers markets are filled with an abundance of these deep blue delicious berries. It is the perfect time to bake my favorite blueberry muffins. I love to make these muffins not just because they are so delicious, but they remind me of my boy’s Justin and Daniel. I found this recipe in a little paperback book I had purchased when they were little school boys. It had all kinds of recipes for lunch and snacks. They ate this muffin like it was a yummy dessert. I would always put butter on it hot from the oven. The recipe gave two amounts for the sugar. I always got away with the lesser amount. My boys just loved the blueberries and the buttery taste. I always added a few extra berries to the recipe. This was a treat we always looked forward to.

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Blueberry Muffins

1¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 – 2/3 cup of sugar (infused with a vanilla bean)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup melted butter

1 cup of fresh blueberries, frozen may be substituted

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs, combine the melted butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Spoon the wet mixture into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon just to incorporate the ingredients. You don’t want to over mix. Gently fold in the cup of blueberries. Line a cupcake pan with liners or grease each section with butter. Fill 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 12 delicious muffins.

Baker’s notes: These muffins are best with the fresh blueberries. You may use oil instead of the melted butter. I prefer the melted butter. You could also add fresh lemon zest. I keep a container of sugar with a vanilla bean stuck in the center to infuse the sugar with vanilla. You may also use regular sugar.

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Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have been making Irish soda bread for many years. I love the smell of this quick bread in my oven. There are not too many bread recipes that produce such quick and delicious results. This recipe is a result of many years of trying different recipes. I believe it has the right amount of moisture, sweetness, and tang from the buttermilk. I also love the mixture of the currents and golden raisins. I have always added the butter cold to the flour mixture and approached this as a scone. By testing my recipe with melted butter I feel the end result may be just as good and a little easier. To add flavor I use pure vanilla extract it has always been my favorite. You could also add the zest of citrus fruit which gives a unique flavor. I love the sweetness of the golden raisins, the currents are more traditional and I love them as well. You could also just use raisins, and some years I add the caraway seed which really gives a depth of flavor. Irish soda bread is basic dough. Your imagination with adding the flavor you love makes it special. I only bake Irish soda bread right on or before St. Patrick’s Day. It is always something special to look forward to and I only serve it with Kerrygold Irish butter. It’s the best!

DSCF5160Ingredients.

DSCF5163Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add the wet.

DSCF5166Stir with a wooden spoon just to combine. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.

DSCF5168Place in you baking pan and cut an X in the top.

DSCF5171Bake 375 degrees 45-55 minutes.

DSCF5184Out of the oven.

DSCF5189Cool just a little serve warm with butter.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten

1 2/3 cup buttermilk

¾ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

½ cup dried currents

½ cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)

Sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl. You could also use a wire whisk to combine the dry ingredients. Make a whole in the center of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Add the currents and golden raisins. Turn out onto a lightly floured board knead just a few times to form a ball. Don’t over mix!! Lightly butter a cast iron skillet or line a baking sheet with parchment. Lightly press the ball of dough. Using a knife make an X in the top of the dough. Bake 375 for 45-55 minutes. Bread should be 205 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Cool on a wire rack serve with softened Kerrygold butter.

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Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding

I am new to rice pudding. I remember my Mom and Dad loving it. They ordered it at one of their favorite diner a lot. Last year I was at a local diner with my daughter, and she asked me if I’d like to share rice pudding with her. I had always been a tapioca pudding fan up to that point. The pudding came to us in a beautiful glass dish topped with a good sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. It was so creamy and the cinnamon seemed to have become one with the layer of pudding it was clinging to. The whipped cream added lightness to the rice which was so tender. I was immediately pleased with this pudding and ate more than my share.  My daughter had discovered rice pudding long before. She was laughing at how much I enjoyed it. I will always love tapioca. But now I have two loves! This recipe was given to me by my good friend Joyce. I was telling her about my new love of rice pudding. A friend of hers had given her this recipe. It was easy to prepare, creamy and delicious, a recipe anyone would love.

Ingredients.Ingredients

DSCF5017Boil the milk and stir the rice in. Return to a boil. then simmer 50-60 minutes until the rice is tender.

DSCF5061Add the milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly.

DSCF5062Bring the pudding back to a boil.

DSCF5074Pour into a serving dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

DSCF5090Top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!

Rice Pudding

6 cups whole milk

¾ cup long grain rice

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup sugar

3 egg yolks beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Rinse a sauce pan with cold water (do not dry it). Pour the whole milk in the pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the rice is tender, about 50-60 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally. In a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt; set aside when the rice is tender stir in the cream mixture (slowly) stirring until completely combined. Return to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a serving dish. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon. Chill 4 hours before serving or overnight. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

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