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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Five Star Chocolate Chip Cookies

Absolutely the best, most delicious chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted! The recipe is from the Land o' Lakes website - I think I will use this recipe forever!

I used both white chocolate chip and semi-sweet chocolate chips from Ghirardelli, plus about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. The recipe suggested 8-10 mins. for the baking time but as I like cookies a little bit munchy, I baked them for somewhere between 10-12 minutes.

I halved the recipe and it made over 30 cookies.

Ingredients 1 1/2 cups Land O Lakes® Butter, softened 1 1/4 cups sugar (used about 1/4 cup less) 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (used about 1/4 cup less) 2 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 (12-ounce) package (2 cups) real semi-sweet chocolate chips

About 3/4 cup of lightly crushed nuts (used pecans) Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Place cookie rounds in the fridge for about 1/2 hour before baking - this prevents too much spreading.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets.

They do not spread much, thank goodness - the dough is quite heavy and I gave it time in the fridge before baking, about 30 minutes. The result is a nice dome shaped cookie with a firm consistency.

A huge success with my group! Now I will make a batch, also using different kinds of choc. chips, for Easter Sunday as we are invited out to a nice dinner.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Honey Nut Brownies - Tuesdays with Dorie

I am looking forward to sampling these brownies tomorrow. They are baking right now. I don't usually bake with honey that much but it seems to be a very good variation for brownies. I halved the sugar in the recipe as I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted; I thought they would be too sweet with the whole quantity of sugar listed.

Suzy of Suzy Homemaker has the recipe on her blog. It was a great choice. Thank you, Suzy.

The next day:

There are so many delicious brownie recipes in Dorie's book and this is another one. So far I have four TWD brownie recipes that are favorites - the Brrrrr.ownies; the Quintuple Chocolate; the French Chocolate; and now the Honey Nut . This weeks dessert was an absolute rave with my group - the whole tinful disappeared before noon. I loved the somewhat softer, cakey texture that the honey created and yes, there is very definitely a strong taste of honey, clover honey to be precise. I think one could get very creative just selecting different flavors of honey. My choice to halve the sugar worked just fine as the sweetness level was perfect. For bittersweet chocolate I would use the full amount.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Citrus-Sunshine Muffins - Tuesdays with Dorie

A bit late - it will have to be Fridays with Dorie for this week. Things got a bit hectic these last couple of days.

What a lovely muffin recipe! For this time I used the plain batter, without any fruit added; however, I think this muffin will adapt to a lot of fillings - dried berry fruits, nuts or bits of dried apricot would be ideal.

They were a rave at work and I just love the somewhat coarse, bouncy texture and the light citrus flavor. I sprinkled some confectioners' sugar over the tops just before setting them out. Definitely a favorite.

Lauryn of "Bella Baker" selected these muffins for TWD this week.
Citrus-Currant Sunshine Muffins
Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups AP flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup moist, plump dried currants (I did not use currants this time.)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular sized muffin tin or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange is strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the orange and lemon juices, lemon extract, melted butter and eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough - a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Fold in the currants. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quick and Delicious - Lemon Cookies

These delightful cookies are from the Land O' Lakes website. The batter is an all-in-one and I only needed to use my small electric beater; no bother with cleaning the stand mixer afterwards.

They can be glazed with lemon/water/confectioners' sugar glaze. I left them plain for this time as they are "traveling" and I don't want squished glaze. They are really good just plain.

The Land O' Lakes site is filled with delicious possibilities and I am going to indulge myself now by surfing through it again to pick out favorities.

Here is the recipe:
Lemon Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup LAND O LAKES® Unsalted Butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Heat oven to 400°F. Combine all cookie ingredients in large bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Meanwhile, combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl; stir until smooth. Frost warm cookies with glaze. Sprinkle with additional lemon peel, if desired.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Corniest Corn Muffins - Tuesdays with Dorie

I ate the bottom half before I realized that I hadn't taken a pic, so hence the muffin top only. I took these to work - the reviews were 50-50 in favor/not so good.

Three of us thought they were really good; the other three (including me) were not overly keen on them. There is too much cornmeal in the recipe for my liking, one cup of cornmeal to one cup of flour. This gave the muffins a gritty, mealy taste. I checked out a couple of other recipes and the ratio of cornmeal to flour was much smaller - 1:2 in one case and 1:3 in another (Ina Garten's in Food Network used 1:3). I think I will try this next time.