Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies or, Dear God, Why Change a Good Thing

Ahh, the humble chocolate chip cookie.  Probably everyone’s favorite go-to cookie.  Simple, delicious, easy to make.  Until this recipe, I would always use the recipe on the back of whatever brand of chocolate chips I had bought.  And, wouldn’t you know it, they are all pretty much the same.  So, when I came across this recipe in a Food Network magazine, I decided to give it a try.

I shouldn’t have messed with what I had perfected.

What You Need:

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 ¾ cups packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

And Here’s What You Do:

  1. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together into a large bowl.
  2. Beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low.  Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.  Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges but still soft in the middle, about 12 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.  Makes 30 cookies…

And Here’s What Happened:

I’m actually not sure what happened.  The recipe calls for chilling the dough for at least an hour to make it nice and cold so it won’t spread out during baking.  That’s not what happened at all.  The uniform little dough balls spread out so much that when I pulled the sheets out of the oven, they looked like Frisbees.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in a recipe.
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So, the taste really isn’t bad, and they are quite chewy.  They just look like a train wreck.  So, instead of giving in to complete frustration, I decided to rename them.  Behold, Chewy Chocolate Chip Discs have arrived!  Or, Paula Deen Butter Discs!

Scott ate two right off the sheet before he handed down his verdict.  He said they were ‘ok’.  Of course, I’m interpreting this as man-speak for “I’ve had much better, and she’s made much better, but I’m afraid of having an emotional woman on my hands so I’ll stick with something safe to say.”  He also commented on how oily they were.  Granted, it uses more butter than I normally use in recipes, but I was trying something different.

Just don’t expect me to make them again.

And for those of you wondering, the banner at the top of this page is what my cookies normally look like.  Yes, those are a previous batch of chocolate chip cookies made by me.  Using a different recipe, of course.

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Peanut Butter Buttons

Peanut butter cookies are not my favorite, although they are tasty and I wouldn’t say no to one if it was staring me in the face.  But, up against the mighty chocolate chip master, or the chewy loveliness of oatmeal raisin, sadly the humble peanut butter cookie would be left in the dust.  I think I found a solution to that.

Behold, my first attempt at GLUTEN FREE BAKING!!! Or as I like to refer to it, “There ain’t no flour in them thar cookies.”

What You Need:

1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

¼ tsp baking soda

And Here’s What You Do:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat all ingredients in a large bowl until fully incorporated.
  3. Drop level teaspoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 ½ inches apart.  Bake until the cookies are puffed and starting to lightly brown on the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

What I did:

I have to admit, I thought it was a full cup of brown sugar in the recipe, until just now when I reread the recipe.  And that is what I used.  Yeah, for as much reading as I do, apparently I have problems reading recipes!

Anyway, I used crunchy peanut butter.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I used generic Walmart brand peanut butter, although my faith in humanity is seriously crushed after visiting there on a Saturday afternoon to get it.  Just don’t do it, people.  Save yourselves the mental anguish.

I was so in love with the way that these little cuties were turning out that I doubled the recipe and made more.  I’m a taster when it comes to baking.  I have an idea of what batters and dough should taste like at certain stages, and it helps me to make a metal checklist of what ingredients I have put in.  So, I taste as I mix.  This was some of the tastiest dough I have ever come across!  I know you’re all thinking, “Ummm, ewww!”  But when you’ve tasted as many batters and doughs as I have, they all start to taste alike.  And this was definitely one that I could not wait to get in the oven!

The dough was a tad bit on the ‘gooey’ side, with a hint of graininess from the brown sugar.  Not nearly as ‘dry’ as most cookie doughs.  I know, it sounds odd.  But, if you are familiar with making cookies, then you know what I mean.

Moving on, I did rounded teaspoons instead of level.  Sure, they were slightly bigger than the original, but I’m trying to keep a man happy, and no man likes to eat a cookie roughly the size of his thumbnail.  Great news is, the original version of this cookie is reported to have 33 calories per cookie.  I figure mine around 50-60 calories.  Still not bad for a cookie!

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I made them two days ago.  Scott’s already gotten through half of them.  Dang men and their fast metabolisms…

Needless to say, they are very chewy and lovely.  Not terribly sweet, just the right amount.  And I really don’t mind that they are small.  It’s the perfect amount of cookie.

I’ll post pictures soon. Penelope, or iPen (my new iPhone) has a bit of an attitude and she’s being stupid right now.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Butterscotch Blondies

I love brownies so much that I thought that I would give blondies a try.  Eh, I wasn’t impressed with the results.

What You Need:

¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ cups butterscotch chips

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

 

And Here’s What You Do:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13x9x2 inch baking pan

Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until creamy.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add in butter mixture, beating until well blended.  Stir in butterscotch chips and nuts, if desired.  Spread in prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.  About 36 bars.

What I Did:

The batter for these looked a lot more like cookie batter than brownie batter.  Hmm…Of course, not ever having made blondies, I don’t have anything else to compare it to besides brownies.  So, to give it a little more moisture, I added two big spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff.

I changed it up a little by decreasing the amount of butterscotch chips and replacing it with chocolate chips.

 

Reaction:

I didn’t like these much.  I’m not sure if it was the butterscotch chips, or what it was.  Scott claimed that they were good, but it did take him longer to finish the batch than normal, so I don’t know if I completely believe him.  His boss at work loved them, so perhaps this will be a recipe that I pass on to her.  If anyone wishes to try this recipe, please feel free.  I don’t think that I will retain it.

Apple Oatmeal Raisin Bread – Wholesome Breakfast in a Bread

Bread is such a great thing to make.  I think I feel the most satisfied when I have a golden loaf fresh out of the oven.  Unlike bread that uses yeast (like most sandwich bread), quick breads are much easier and faster to make.  No rising, no proofing, no kneading, punching, or making sure that your yeastie beasties don’t die.

I had a lot of apples that I needed to use, so I found a recipe for fruit bread that you can mix and match ingredients in.   The concept is the same as banana bread, just with apples.

What You Need:

1 cup shredded apple, squeezed dry

¾ cup rolled oats

½ cup raisins

1/2  cup sweetened coconut

1 ¼ cups flour

¾ cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

½ cup cooled melted butter or vegetable oil

½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon citrus zest (optional)

 

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter one 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix together until just combined.  Spread in the pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool 30 minutes in the pan on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

What I Did:

I followed the recipe, but the batter seemed like it was a little bit dry.  Out came the sour cream for two more tablespoons! After that, the batter was a tiny bit wetter than I liked (cause you know me, I usually swing from one extreme to another when it comes to baking), and I was praying that everything would turn out ok.

After its stint in the oven, the loaf was lovely and spongey.

The really cool thing about this recipe is that you can mix and match your ingredients.   The cup of apples can be substituted for banana, zucchini, carrots, or pears and you can put in a mixture of anything you want – nuts, chocolate chips, oatmeal, dried fruit, etc.  Just don’t use more than 1 ¾ cup of the mix-in ingredients, and no more than ¾ cup of nuts.  I used oats, raisins, and coconut, but use your imagination to see what you can come up with!

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Scott liked the bread, and it was a welcome snack at any time of the day.  The bread was pretty moist until the last slice was gone, so I guess that I’m glad that I added that extra sour cream.  I really like having this bread in the morning since it kinda tasted like a bowl of oatmeal in a bread.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Vanilla Salted Peanut Cookies

Have I been doing a lot of bars and brownies lately?  Yep.  So, we’re back to cookies this week.  I wasn’t sure about these when I first found the recipe, but the recipe used ingredients that I already had, so I wasn’t going to question it too much.  Plus, the combination of what is used in the cookies was intriguing…

What You Need:

¾ cup Shortening

2 cups packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup dry-roasted peanuts

½ cup raisins

½ cup flaked coconut

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl beat shortening on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar, baking soda and salt.  Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in flour.  Stir in oats.  Stir in peanuts, raisins, and coconut.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Let stand for 2 minutes on cookie sheet.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes 60 cookies.  Yeah, right.

What I did:

I didn’t change anything about the recipe.  I like that this recipe uses oats (I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  Next week won’t be any different, be warned) because they add a certain chewiness to any recipe.  And really, who doesn’t love a chewy cookie, or anything for that matter?

The batter was very ‘wet’.  Of course, you say.  Batter is supposed to be wet!  Yes, and no.  This batter was runny.

However, that was before the addition of the nuts, the coconut, the raisins, and the oats.  So, if you end up making this, don’t be worried that the beginnings of your batter looks suspiciously like a smoothie.  I promise, it will bulk up like a meathead on steroids.

Speaking of nuts, I wouldn’t recommend using any other type of peanuts besides the dry-roasted.  Salted peanuts would cause the salt/sweet balance to be off, and cause your flavors not to mesh well.  You could probably omit the salt altogether if you can’t find dry-roasted and had to use salted peanuts.  And I would definitely use unsalted butter for this recipe.

And parchment paper.  Believe me, you won’t regret it.

I love how all recipes say “Drop by rounded teaspoonful”.  Really?  I think I know of one person who consistently makes cookies that small.  (Marie, you know who you are.  Your chocolate chip cookies are delightful!)  While I can maintain some resemblance of self control, I can’t seem to get the size of my cookies under control.

Plus, I’m not making them for me.  When I did make them as small as the recipe called for, Scott ended up eating twice as many at a time.  So, I make them slightly bigger than the recipe calls for.  I think I got 35 cookies out of this batch. Which brings me to…

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Two days after I made these, they were half gone.  While cooling, the aroma drifted upstairs and woke Scott up from his coma-like sleep.  I think he was halfway through his second cookie before he finally woke up enough to realize he was downstairs.   I gave some to my boss (who also has a notorious sweet tooth), and his eyes lit up like I’d given him a million dollars.

Scott’s already trying to get me to make more.  I told him that wasn’t the point.  I can’t make the same thing week after week!  How boring would that be?

Until next time,

Peace, love, and cupcakes!