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!!!

 

Brandy Nut Cake

DSCF4489 I love reaching into my recipe box at Christmas time. I know whichever recipe I pull out will have years of history and tender memories attached to it. Such is the case with this beautiful fruit and nut cake. The recipe was shared with me by my dear former mother-in-law Janet. The cake is loaded with nuts, cherries, and raisins, and the apricot brandy gives it such a lovely flavor. Janet and I loved baking together on her visits. The Christmas season we made these cakes was an especially happy one for me. Our family lived in Washington State and we didn’t get visits from our family very often. It really lifted my spirit that they were with us for such a special time of year. There would be a few visits from Janet and my father-in-law Bill while lived there. These visits were cherished and all the more at Christmas time. The children were always so happy to see Mom mom and Pop pop. I remember shopping for all the ingredients at our local Costco. We made so many of these cakes that year that we needed to buy in bulk! I enjoyed chopping the nuts and halving the cherries. My fingertips were a lovely shade of red for a day or two! I loved the raisins and I would sneak a few as we were preparing the ingredients. We decided to make the cakes in little loaf pans to stretch the giving to my friends and church family. Mom would take some home with her to enjoy with family and friends who stopped in for a visit. We did lots of baking that year. After the little cakes, we baked all our favorite cookies. Butter spritz, pecan Sandy’s, jam thumb prints, and sugar cookie cut outs. My children couldn’t wait to eat them! I love the smell of the cake baking in my oven today. I couldn’t be more grateful for those precious memories of that special Christmas visit.

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Brandy Nut Cake

3 Cups coarsely chopped walnuts

1 ½ Cups maraschino cherries-halved

1 ½ Cups raisins

¾ Cups all-purpose flour

¾ Cups granulated sugar

½ Teaspoon baking powder

½ Teaspoon salt

3 Extra-large eggs

2 Tablespoons apricot brandy

½ Cup apricot brandy for wrapping

Combine nuts and fruit; sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder, salt. Add to the nuts and fruit tossing to coat well. Beat the eggs till frothy; then add the 2 tablespoons of brandy. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and nut mixture. Mix well. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When cake is completely cool remove from the pan. Moisten several layers of cheese cloth with the ½ cup of brandy. Wrap the cake in the cheese cloth then wrap in aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator. I have no way of knowing the creator of the recipe. Janet never mentioned where she had gotten it. But I sure think it’s worth sharing. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffin.
Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffin. A comforting Autumn treat.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Lightly beat eggs, add wet ingredients.
Lightly beat eggs, add wet ingredients.
Add melted butter to dry ingredients. Then add the other wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.
Add melted butter to dry ingredients. Then add the other wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups.
Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups.
Drizzle muffins with Maple glaze.
Drizzle muffins with maple glaze.
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

 

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

2 Cups all-purpose flour

¾ up to 1 Cup granulated sugar, if you want a sweeter muffin use 1 cup of sugar

½ Teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ½ Teaspoons baking powder

¼ Teaspoon baking soda

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ Teaspoon ground cloves

1 Cup solid packed pumpkin puree, Libby’s, or organic

¼ Cup buttermilk or evaporated milk

¼ Cup sour cream or plain yogurt

4 oz. Butter (1 stick), melted

2 Large eggs

¼ Cup raisins

¼ Cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Sift the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl; you can use a whisk to sift if you like. Melt the butter and set aside. In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, and buttermilk or evaporated milk. Add the melted butter and wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just to combine the ingredients. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Spoon 2/3 of batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.

Bakers note: I used organic pumpkin for my muffins. If you use Libby’s the muffins will be a darker color.

Glaze

4 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Stir the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, add more of either ingredient to get a not to thick not to thin mixture. Drizzle over cooled muffins.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Chicken with Green Beans and Salad

Grilled chicken with fresh green beans and salad.
Grilled chicken with fresh green beans and salad.

There always seems to be a few nights out of the week that there’s no time to cook a big meal. I’ve been trying to add more vegetables to my family’s diet. My husband Joe and my son Timothy both love this in-door grilled chicken. With the addition of a Boston lettuce salad and fresh green beans the plate is looking way more healthy. This meal only took about 30 minutes from start to finish.  It was delicious and filling. I had plenty of salad and greens beans just in-case anyone wanted seconds.

Cut the ends off the beans and rinse them in cold water.
Cut the ends off the beans and rinse them in cold water.
Drain and add just a little butter, salt and pepper.
Drain and add just a little butter, salt and pepper.
Wash the lettuce and spin dry. Add dried cranberries, a tablespoon of walnuts broken into pieces, crumbles of fresh goat cheese. I used a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Wash the lettuce and spin dry. Add dried cranberries, a tablespoon of walnuts broken into pieces, crumbles of fresh goat cheese. I used a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

For the dressing I used 3 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar, 1tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, and fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste. I put all the ingredients together in a shaker and just shake to combine.

To prepare to chicken I sprinkled Montreal steak seasoning and kosher salt on both sides, and just a drizzle of olive oil
To prepare to chicken I sprinkled Montreal steak seasoning and kosher salt on both sides, and just a drizzle of olive oil.

I use thin boneless chicken breast.

I sprayed my non-stick grill pan with olive oil spray and heated it to medium high.
I sprayed my non-stick grill pan with olive oil spray and heated it to medium high.
I grilled the chicken about 4 minutes per side. The temperature should be 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Let the chicken rest on a plate for a few minutes before serving.
I grilled the chicken about 4 minutes per side. The temperature should be 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Let the chicken rest on a plate for 5 or so minutes before serving.
Let the chicken rest on a plate for 5 or so minutes before serving.
Ready to serve.
Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!