Double Chocolate Cookies

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I’ve come to the conclusion that most people want to eat better or the best version of something they grew up eating.  This is why I try to stick to just improving the basics until they are the best.  Don’t even get me going on the “basic” chocolate chip cookie.  Sure, I tailor the best item to the recipient – I know my dad wants a buttery cookie to have with his espresso and my husband is always going to say the gooier the better.  However, I feel confident that regardless of your preferred flavor/texture profile, this cookie will exceed all expectations.  First of all, they are huge.  The recipe is not lying when it says that it makes 9 cookies.  Also, I have a major sweet tooth and i cannot eat more than one.  One is so satisfying.  And if you just need a nibble, half is pretty dang satisfying too.

This lovely recipe came from Blue Bottle Cafe (awesome coffee – seriously if you are on a coast, go) and was published by Joanne from Eats Well With Others.  She has a fabulous blog and I thank her for giving me this recipe.

A few notes about the recipe.  It makes HUGE cookies.  9.  That is no joke.  Just do it.  Each one is like eating a chewy, soft, chocolate dream.  It’s the chocolate cookie that will live up to expectations.  Which brings me to my next point: USE QUALITY COCOA.  Don’t use that garbage from the dollar store and expect these to turn out well.  Same for the chocolate pieces.  I have found that chips are fine to use, make sure they are quality.  At a minimum, I use Ghirardelli.  Usually, mo’ money, better chocolate.  Finally, you can triple this recipe, but any bigger than that, your artisan stand mixer from Kitchen Aid cannot hang.  Tripling is pretty intense for it as it is.

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I can’t stop writing about these cookies.  I just watched Billy Eichner and his manic energy inspired me. Just know that everyone loves them and they are the best.  Make them for your cookie trays for Christmas or make them for the nice firemen down the street.  Be nice to each other and do something for something for no reason other than love.

Oh yeah, and these cookies were what I made for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. You get some pretty awesome cookies from awesome bloggers (Michele at Alwayz Bakin’, Erika from Nommable, and Melissa from Ice Cream Inspiration) and you donate money to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  What could be better?

Blue Bottle Double Chocolate Cookies

Yield: 9 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup natural cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp good quality coarse salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

 

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla to the bowl, beating on medium speed, until well-incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again for another 30 seconds.
  4. Scrape down the bowl and then add the flour mixture. Mix on low until combined and uniform in texture. Scrape down the bowl and add the chocolate. Mix on low until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350F.
  6. Divide the dough into 9¼ cup portions and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or two) at least two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Chocolate Krantz Cake

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I was turned onto this bread about a year ago when I read this post.  The gorgeous photos alone were enough to intrigue me and the description sounded lovely.  I actually endeavored to make this yeasted cake last Christmas, but in the mix of too much going on, I didn’t have the time to devote and it was abandoned.  Then, my lovely mother in law gave me a copy of Jerusalem (I may have hinted strongly).  Oh what a book it has been.  I have been cooking out of it for the past 2 years and still don’t think I have scratched the surface.  If you enjoy cooking and trying new flavors, please give it a whirl.  It is the best.

Onto this cake (bread). I didn’t grow up eating Chocolate Babka, but this is what that is.  Think, giant cinnamon roll in loaf form with chocolate instead of cinnamon.  To make this into french toast would really take it over the top.  The instructions on the post that I linked above are perfect, so go there and follow along. It’s more time consuming than difficult, and a lot of the time is resting time.

One note, this doesn’t travel super well.  It’s a pretty delicate bread, so I would keep it local for savoring.  This is a perfect bread to make for special people in your life for Christmas or any other holiday.

Coconut Chocolate Toffee Cowboy Cookies

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Cookies and Christmas.  It’s like football and dip.  Movies and popcorn.  Champagne and celebrations.  Good news for you, today is the reveal of the Great American Cookie Swap, so the internet is awash with fabulous cookie recipes to make your Christmas celebration complete.

The premise of the Great American Cookie Swap is pretty simple, donate a small amount to Cookies For Kids Cancer and receive the names of three lovely food bloggers (is that what I am?) to send a dozen cookies and receive 3 dozen cookies from three other food bloggers!  I received one dozen spicy oatmeal raisin cookies from Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe,  one dozen cornmeal and olive oil  biscotti from Cheryl at Crazy World of Cher, and Pfeffernussen from  Simply Sweet Justice.  YUM to all!

If you are compiling your “cookies to make” list, I encourage you to consider this Kicked Up Cowboy Cookie.  [Even though at this point in the season, the last thing you need is more ideas on what to make.  I’d take an elf to bake everything while I watch “Love Actually” on repeat.]  After eagerly waiting almost a year to participate in the Great American Cookie Swap, I obsessed over the perfect cookie to send.  I settled on this Kicked Up Cowboy Cookie because it can be a meal.  Oats, Coconut, Chocolate, and Toffee, what else do you need?!   These would be a perfect bake sale cookie too, there is nothing weird in there, just good stuff!

I made these the day before Thanksgiving (always wise to tear up the kitchen the day before a major meal) and basically had cookies for lunch.  Someone had to eat the ugly ones.  One relative had to evacuate the kitchen for fear of eating a full tray.  These are chewy and chocolatey, with enough salt to keep you coming back.  They come together quickly, all you need is some elbow grease to mix in all the ingredients.   These are barely adapted from Former First Lady Laura Bush’s recipe and they are award winning (in my opinion)!

Coconut Chocolate Toffee Cowboy Cookies

adapted from Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup toffee pieces

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened flake coconut

 Directions:

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

Beat in vanilla extract.

Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, toffee pieces, oats, and coconut.  Refrigerate dough for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 


For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. 

Remove cookies from rack to cool.

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

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Halloween and I are at a stalemate.  It is one of mom’s favorite holidays and we really got into it.  I had some pretty cool costumes and most memorable was when I dressed as the tooth fairy.  We always made our costumes from scratch and my mom passed her talents on to me so later, I would sew everything.  Some might find that more tedious, but I loved having control over the process, fit of the costume, and the overall look.  I made some pretty elaborate costumes in college, including Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and Eve (of the fated couple) with hand sewn leaves.  After college, I dabbled in costumes here and there, but with my old age, I have found myself at home (or at the gym!) on more than one Halloween, happy to be snuggled under a blanket and watching something non scary.

Just because I am not in a costume making phase of my life doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy other aspects of Halloween.  This year it took me a little longer to get into the pumpkin baking scene.  This is probably due to the fact that I am living in Arizona and it is still in the 80s here on most days!  However, the siren call of pumpkin finally lured me in and I made this lovely bread.  Let’s not kid ourselves, it is cake through and through.  The recipe I used called for 2 loaf pans but the batter is enough for 1 full 8×4 loaf and a little 4 inch round.  This cake is to die for.  The pumpkin bread is delightfully spicy and the orange favored creaminess of the cheesecake marbling complements it perfectly.  This bread reminds me of the Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes that are a big favorite too!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread

adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 c white sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 egg

zest of 1 medium sized orange

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoons nutmeg

1/8 teaspoons ground allspice

1 c pumpkin puree

1/2 c vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 c white sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter an 8×4 loaf pan and a 4 inch cake round.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar, 1 tbsp flour, 1 egg and orange zest; beat until smooth.  Set aside.

Sift together 1 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

Place pumpkin, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined.  Pour 1/2 of the pumpkin batter into the loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of this layer and then pour on the remaining batter.  Use a butter knife to swirl the pumpkin and cream cheese mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Halloween, ya’ll!

Happy Valentine’s Day Profiteroles

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  It’s a strange holiday, with the forced love and all.  Because I have a work history in food service, you will never find me in a restaurant on Valentine’s Day.  Bless those people who deal with the masses.  We prefer to spend it at home in the lap of luxury, haha!  If you do the same, you may not already have a meal planned for the evening.  If I may suggest something, profiteroles are where it’s at.  You can make them ahead of time, serve them with store-bought ice cream (or whipped cream!!) and chocolate sauce, and who’s the hero now?

These particular profiteroles from Anne Burrell from the Food Network are taken over the top with a bit of cinnamon.   It seemed so easy that I thought I was doing something wrong.  The chocolate sauce is worth whipping together as well.  It comes together easily, while the pastries are in the oven and you won’t be able to resist taking a taste (or three) while you wait.  Use a high quality chocolate and you will be above and beyond what you can find in a restaurant.  Plus, you will be in your pajamas! What could be better?   Happy Valentine’s!