January 15, 2009

Chocolate White Chocolate/PB Chip Cookies

My manager asked me if I would mind making a dessert for a homeless dinner she was volunteering at and I happily obliged!   Then, about an hour later, Steve asked me to make cookies for his team for their "monthly birthday celebrations" where they usually bring in a sweet treat.  Looked like I was going to be busy!

I wanted to a cookie that I thought most people would like, but also something unique.  I found these on the Food Network website and they sounded simple and tasty.  Of course, they are a Barefoot recipe.  The original recipe calls for chunks of white chocolate, but I opted to do one batch with white chocolate chips and the other with peanut butter chips.  The "test" audiences liked the peanut butter option better, but both were really moist and rich cookies.

The size I made the cookies (which were kind of big-ish), each batch made around 2 dozen.

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup good, unsweetened cocoa
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds good white chocolate coarsely chopped (I used a 16 oz. bag of white c.c. and peanut butter c.c.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and 2 sugars together until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the vanilla, then the eggs...1 at a time, and mix well.

Add the cocoa and mix again.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and slowly add to the chocolate mixture on a low speed until just combined.  Fold in the chopped chocolate or chips.

Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper using an ice cream scoop or rounded tablespoon.  Dampen your hands and flatten each dough ball slightly.  Bake for exactly 15 minutes (the cookies may seem underdone...but that is OK)  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

With my new trusty Kitchen Aid mixer at my side, I can now make all kinds of sweet treats! Although, I prefer to make them and give them to others at the moment! This one seemed somewhat healthy and simple, so I thought I would make Steve a sweet treat on Sunday night.

This pound cake was so easy to make and was very yummy. I got the recipe from my Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics cook book.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at cool room temperature (which means, leave it out for about an hour)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup, but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finishing mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife through the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out and place on a baking rack to allow it to cool completely.

January 4, 2009

Recipe Manager!

On Friday at work, Steve told me he bought us a present but I would have to wait to get home to get it.  I was really curious as to what it could have been and I never expected what it actually was!  He bought us this software called 'The Recipe Manager".  It manages recipes, had some pre-existing recipes already in it, creates shopping lists based on recipes, measurement equivalents and most importantly for me, calculates nutritional value for the recipe you make!  

It is going to take a little bit of manual set up to get it going, but I am excited to start using it.  Now, when I post a recipe, I can also post the nutritional information with it!

January 1, 2009

Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin

One of my co-workers directed me to a blog she had recently found where she got the recipe for an amazing pork tenderloin. As I was checking it out, the most recent entry was for a Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin and I was immediately interested. I love Cauliflower and goat cheese and this sounded simple enough...and we had all the ingredients in house, except for the veggies and goat cheese. We decided to make it for our "stay at home" New Years Eve dinner last night and it was YUMMY! It went really well with the filets Steve made for us. It was a great way to ring in the new year!

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 green onions, chopped
3 ounces goat cheese, cut in small pieces (we could only find the Provencal flavor goat cheese crumbles and it really added some great flavor)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Add cream to a small pot with the garlic and bring to a simmer
  3. Turn off the heat and let the cream infuse and cool for about 15 minutes
  4. Toss the cauliflower, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, green onion and lemon zest in a shallow casserole dish (I used a 9x13 because that is all we had)
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Strain the cream over the cauliflower and top with the pieces of goat cheese. Add another grind or two of pepper to the top.
  7. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the sauce has thickened slightly and become golden around the edges.
  8. Remove from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

When I first got my Kitchen Aid mixer a few days ago, I was so excited to think about all the sweet treats I could make in it.  What would be first?  Brownies?  Coconut cupcakes?  Scones?  Then I started thinking about the wedding dress I need to fit in for the fast approaching date of May 9!  I opted to make treats for our 2 weiner dogs instead.

I got this recipe from a fellow Knotties blog...her dog Vernon gave his "woof"of approval and so did Olive and Dexter last night!  I was going to get a bit concerned if even our dogs didn't eat my baking!

1 1/4 cup of milk
1 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tablespoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flours and baking powder in large bowl.
  3. Mix milk and peanut butter in a large bowl until smooth (I used my mixer with the paddle attachment)
  4. Gradually stir flour mixture into wet ingredients
  5. Knead dough by hand, adding small amounts of milk if the dough is too dry.  (I used the dough hook attachment on my mixer)
  6. Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface to about 1/8 - 1/4", and cut into shapes with desired  cookie cutters
  7. Bake on cookie sheet for around 12-15 minutes (ours took around 13-14 minutes), the consistency when done is a cross between a cookie and a biscuit.
They do not rise a lot during baking, so you can place them fairly close together on the cookie sheet.


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