November 24, 2014

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, it is difficult to select a favorite recipe.  Sometimes it just depends on the craving.

This is the recipe that began our love affair with chocolate chip cookies! The cookies are slightly crispy with a gooey center.  This is my favorite go-to recipe.  By adding a few ingredients and changing the amount of sugar, vanilla or flour one can create all kinds of delicious cookie recipes.

This recipe is perfect for large batches of cookies that become even better after a few days.  You may not be able to test this theory however, since they have been known to disappear quickly.

Make this recipe and form the cookie dough into huge balls.  Small cookies are delicious, but there is something magical about a gigantic cookie.  The basic recipe can also be used to make wonderful oatmeal cookies.

This recipe is perfect when you are craving chocolate chip cookie dough.  Add an intense chocolate brownie.  Chocolate with chocolate (and more chocolate).  

The following recipe is perfect if you are in the mood for an extra thick, gooey, chewy chocolate chip pecan cookie.  

Whatever chocolate chip cookie dough mood you are in it is guaranteed that a chocolate chip cookie hot from the oven with a glass of cold milk will make an ordinary day seem quite amazing.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, soft
1 cup brown sugar (decrease to 3/4 cup if using dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 package chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Set aside.  (I use bread flour because I make a lot of bread and it is always on hand).

In a large mixing bowl beat butter for about 1 minute.  Add brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix for 1 minute.  Gradually add the dry ingredients (1/3 at a time), mixing in between each addition.  

Stir in the chocolate chips and toasted pecans. (To toast pecans, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about 5-7 minutes or until crisp.  Stir occasionally to make sure they do not burn.)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Pinch off sections of dough into rough balls (about 14 balls) and place them on the cookie sheet.  The balls can be close together.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a second cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Remove dough from the refrigerator and place half of the balls on the new cookie sheet.  Make sure to leave plenty of space in between each ball of dough.  

Place both cookie sheets in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges.  Serve warm.





July 11, 2014

Snickerdoodles


One of my favorite breakfast treats is a piece of toast slathered with melted butter and generously sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

It is almost like eating a cinnamon roll every day for breakfast, but I rationalize that the toast must be healthier since it is not also coated with a layer of frosting.

Snickerdoodles are some of my favorite cookies when I am in the mood for cinnamon.  They remind me of my first baking experiences as a child.

The original recipe had shortening instead of butter, but my thinking these days leans towards eating things that I would also eat plain.  Butter - yes.  Shortening - no.

June 27, 2014

Pecan Blondies


I like to make these ahead of time and then wrap each brownie in plastic wrap.  They are easy to grab for picnics or a quick treat on the go.

They are dense, moist and the pecans add a wonderful crunch.  They are also delicious with macadamia nuts.




June 20, 2014

Pecan Bars

I bought a large bag of pecans from Costco and I have been experimenting with a lot of different recipes.

I love this particular recipe because it is like eating a bite-size piece of pecan pie.  Absolutely wonderful!



June 14, 2014

Father's Day Breakfast

I love any excuse to have waffles or pancakes for breakfast, so why not Father's Day?

I found this amazing pancake mix from Costco.  It is a whole-grain buttermilk mix that has 14 g of protein and 5 g of fiber per serving.

Add fresh fruit, syrup and whipping cream for a wonderful breakfast treat.  (Throw in some bacon and sausage and I think everyone will be happy.)

Enjoy!










Pancake mix from Costco

Everything is wonderful with fresh strawberries!

June 6, 2014

Mini Lemon Cookies

These cookies may be tiny, but they are full of lemon flavor.

They are like mini cakes topped with a delicate lemon glaze.

May 30, 2014

Two Layer Key Lime Pie



This recipe is a combination of my two favorite desserts - cheesecake and key lime pie.

Try to use fresh lime juice in this recipe.  Also plan to let the pie refrigerate overnight before serving.














Two-Layer Key Lime Pie

Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar

Baked Layer
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice or lime juice
3 large egg yolks *

Chilled Layer
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh key lime juice or lime juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

whipped cream for garnish

Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 9-inch diameter deep dish glass pie plate, mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter.  Press crust up the sides and on the bottom of the pie plate.

Bake 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Remove crust from the oven and cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Baked Layer
In a bowl whisk condensed milk, lime juice and egg yolks.  Pour into the cooled crust.
(NOTE:  save the egg whites to use in a recipe like Chocolate Volcano Cookies)

Bake 300 degrees for twenty five minutes or until the custard is set.

After baking place the pie on a rack to cool.

Chilled Layer
In a bowl beat cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice, sugar and vanilla.  Pour over the cooled baked layer.  Smooth the top with a butter knife or the back of a spoon.

Cover and chill the pie until firm (at least 4 hours) but preferably overnight.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream.  Serves 8.


-altered recipe from Dulce

May 23, 2014

Butterscotch Brownies

This is a wonderful recipe that can be changed according to your mood.

Substitute pecans for the walnuts or add chocolate chips in place of the white chips.  For extra crunch forget the chocolate and add extra chopped nuts.

The result is chewy and crunchy with a hint of caramel.  Delicious.





Butterscotch Brownies

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup white chips (Ghiradelli)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Melt butter in a pan over low heat.  Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar just begins to melt.  Remove from heat and cool.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

Add 1 egg and vanilla to the cooled butter, brown sugar mix.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Add the walnuts and the white chips.

Spread dough into a 9x9 inch pan.

Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool before cutting into 12 pieces.


May 16, 2014

Lime Coconut Balls




These lime coconut balls are the perfect finger food for a party.  They are tiny (about 1 teaspoon each) and packed with lime, coconut flavor.

Use fresh key limes if they are available.












Lime Coconut Balls

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 Tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon lime zest *
4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice *
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut, divided
1- 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine graham cracker crumbs, milk, zest, juice and vanilla in a bowl.  Add 2/3 cup coconut and beat with a mixer for about 1 minute.

Add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating until well combined.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Shape crumb mixture into 24 tiny balls (about 1 teaspoon each)  Roll balls in remaining 1/3 cup coconut.

Refrigerate balls in an airtight container.  Good for one day.

*Use Key limes if they are available.


Altered recipe from Dulce

May 9, 2014

Easy Strawberry Dessert

It doesn't get much better than this:  fresh strawberries, sweet whipped cream and vanilla meringues.

This is such an easy dessert to make, especially if you buy the meringues already made.

It is a combination between smashed pavlova and Eton mess.  Whatever you choose to call it, it is delicious.

This is a great dessert for Mother's Day weekend!










Easy Strawberry Dessert

Whipped cream, sweetened with granulated sugar
Fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces
Vanilla Meringues

Delicious Vanilla Meringues
Place strawberry pieces in a large bowl.  Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar on top and stir.  Cover and set aside.

In a bowl whip the cream until soft peaks.  Add sugar as desired.

Crush vanilla meringues into small pieces.  Stir the pieces into the whipped cream.  Add fresh strawberries and stir.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, scoop into small bowls.  Add an additional meringue on the side if desired.

Top with additional fresh strawberries.