I was watching a cooking show a few days ago on the cooking channel. The host was making delicious sandwiches with French baguette. I found myself day dreaming of a favorite outing with my children. When we lived in England we would go into town on the weekend. Our destination was the High Street in Reading. There was a lovely coffee shop that sold scrambled eggs and bacon in a French baguette. The baguette was lightly toasted and spread with soft butter. Then freshly scrambled eggs and bacon were stuffed inside. The tasty sandwich was wrapped in parchment so you could manage to eat and walk around the High Street and window shop. My children loved this sandwich with the exception of my youngest son. Timothy was not a fan of eggs but he loved bacon. His sandwich was buttered and stuffed with just bacon. I still make it with just bacon for him to this day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I just love baking homemade pie. It is such a satisfying feeling. When I slip the pie into the oven I can barely wait for the sweet aroma to permeate the air throughout my home. My favorite summer pie is blueberry. I’ve been patiently waiting for that little container full of blueberries that say Hammonton, NJ I love that they are local. I wouldn’t dare bake my pie without these fresh berries, and I’d never bake this pie any other time of year. I’m day dreaming in the cold winter months of baking the pie. It’s the anticipation that makes it even sweeter on that first bite. I will be sharing this pie with my Mother-in-law Helen. She is turning 89 years young on the 23rd of June. I happen to know that she too loves blueberry pie.
4 heaping cups fresh blueberries
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¾ cup of pure cane sugar, or granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Place washed berries in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir sugar, lemon juice and zest, cornstarch, and salt. Combine the mixture with the blueberries stirring gently to coat. Pour the blueberry mixture into a prepared pastry crust. Tuck dots of cold butter into the berries. Top with your 2nd crust. Flute the edges of the pie. Cut a hole in the center for an air vent. Then cut slits in the top of the pie around the circle. Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes. Please don’t skip this step; it gives you a flakier crust. Use whole milk with a pastry brush to wash the top of the crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a 375 degree oven until the crust is golden and the pie is bubbling in the center. About 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely. I cool my pie for 3-4 hours before cutting into the pie. After cooling my pie I refrigerate it overnight. I love it ice cold. You can serve the pie room temperature as well.
Double crust pastry
2/3 cup solid shortening, very cold
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
*For a sweet crust add 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
In a medium bowl stir the flour and salt with a whisk. Add the shortening and cut in using a pastry blender till the mixture resembles tiny peas. Add the ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time mixing with a fork until the dough starts to form a ball. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead just to form a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
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.
Boil the milk and stir the rice in. Return to a boil. then simmer 50-60 minutes until the rice is tender.
Add the milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly.
Bring the pudding back to a boil.
Pour into a serving dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!
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.