Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cookies for Doc!

A few weeks ago, I picked K up from daycare and kept her because D was on call.  When I got her, she was a little fussy, so I asked her if she wanted to make cookies. 

She immediately perked up and said "We'll make cookies for Doc! (my dad)"  I just went along with it.  Well...she really thought that my parents were going to show up.  "Where are Doc and Allie?"  When I told her they were at their house she kind of pouted and said "But we made cookies for them!  When are they getting their cookies?!"  Poor K!  I think they're coming soon, though, and we'll make some cookies for Doc then!  :-)  The cookies we made this time were an attempt at making Levain bakery cookies. 

Now, I've never been to Levain bakery but I have seen many different "clone" recipes and the cookies all look great!  So, I decided to try the out.  They were really good.  I did mostly small cookies but did try two big ones.  D wondered why I made so many "bite sized" cookies!  :-) 

They weren't really cakey but not chewy either.  K had a hard time waiting on them to cook but eventually got her cookie and enjoyed a great bedtime snack...in cookie pajamas because "they match the cookies!"

Levain Cookies adapted from Plain Chicken
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add  eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch. Gradually add the flour, mixing just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans (if using).

If making small cookies, scoop by tablespoons and place on baking pan.  Cooke for 12-13 minutes.  OR to make large cookies, divide the cookie dough into 12 equal parts.  Roll into balls.  Place cookie dough balls in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove from freezer and place 6 cookies on each cookie sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool 5 to 7 minutes on the cookie sheets. Enjoy!

The freezing, I think, really made a difference in the large cookies...may try this method again with other cookies.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crock Pot Chili

The other day, D said that he thought we should have chili soon...in the 90 degree MS weather!  Ok, I can do that.  So I went in search of a crock pot chili.  I found several good looking ones and we will be trying them. 

We started with a pretty classic looking recipe.  It called for ground turkey but of course D wanted ground beef...we compromised and did half and half.  I honestly think that in this venue you wouldn't be able to tell much of a difference.  Then just add some beans, onions, chiles, and tomatoes. 

Simple and good.  K ate it up!  D liked it...deemed it too "brown."  I think he was tasting the chili powder.  Might decrease that some next time and add some red pepper or jalapenos for spice.  We all enjoyed it and I'll probably make it again...though D says I never make the same thing twice.  :-)

Crock Pot Three Bean Chili from SkinnyTaste
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground turkey - I'd use 90/10 - you could use all turkey
1 small onion, chopped
28 ounces diced tomato
16 oz. tomato sauce
4.5 oz green chiles, drained (I used about 7 oz.)
15 oz. chickpeas (garbanzo beans), undrained
15 oz black beans, undrained
15 oz. small red beans, undrained
2 tablespoons chili powder

Brown turkey in a medium skilled.  When cooked through, drain fat off.  Original recipe says to cook onion with mean...I missed this and just added onion to crock pot...worked fine.  Put mean and all remaining ingredients in crock pot. Stir well.  You can put this together the night before, store in the refrigerator and then put the "bowl" in the electric portion the next morning, and go.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours (or low for 12 hours).  Top with cilantro and cheese.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, D....er, Harry...er, Gimme a Break!

So, even though I was late on my plans to make a cake for D while on call, this cake was right on time.  I invited some of our friends over for dinner last week with plans to make this cake...and not plans for supper at that time!  We ended up having a yummy Mexican casserole (that we'll probably do again) - I'll post that soon.  The cake was one I had seen a while back.  You just make your favorite chocolate cake recipe (and this one is a GOOD one, surprisingly), ice with chocolate icing (again...a good recipe!) and line the edge with kit-kat bars and top with M&M's.
YUM!  Now, chocolate is NOT my favorite but D loves it...and this was his birthday cake...so chocolate it was.  I didn't want to use a boxed cake and, surprisingly, couldn't find a recipe in many of my cookbooks.

The recipe I used actually came from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. D got this for me for Christmas...one of our first movies together was Harry Potter!  This is a very moist and chocolate-y cake...even a little tempting to me!
The icing was from AllRecipes and turned out great.  I used it because the description said that many people had deemed it their "favorite frosting."  It is more dark chocolate tasting but very good...actually what I prefer.  The just decorate it with the candy!  A fun and yummy cake.  It was mentioned that this could be made to match the season by using the seasonal colored M&Ms.  Fun.  Hope you try and Enjoy!

Harry's First Birthday Cake from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temp
1 cup sugar (I think I did half sugar half splenda)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray two 8 inch round pans with baking spray (Pam with flour - awesome!).  Whisk together the water, cocoa and coffee.  Set aside.  In a bowl for electric mixer, cream butter, sugars until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Add the cocoa mixture and mix well.  Stir in the flour and baking powder.  Scrape the bowl well.  Pour evenly into the prepared pans.  Place pans into oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Do NOT overbake.  Remove immediately and allow to cool completely.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting from All Recipes
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.

Kit-Kat Cake from Recipe Girl
Bake your favorite chocolate cake.  Ice with your favorite chocolate icing.  Edge the cake with snack size (NOT mini) KitKats (I used 36 single ones and needed about 2-3 more).  The pour M&M's on top of the cake.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Happy Birthday, D!!!

Last Saturday was D's birthday.  Unfortunately, he was on call in the ICU all day.  I had plans to make him a cake and take it up there but....best laid plans.  After going out for dinner, I started not feeling great and woke up Saturday morning with fever.  Yeah...probably not the best idea to make a cake and take it with a fever!  However, I was better by Sunday...and made a cake to take to work.  D loves cookie cakes...so I went in search of a cake recipe.  I found the cake recipe on Anna's site...the perfect place to look for cookie recipes.  This one was perfect, though it did overflow my cookie stone.

 Anna recommends using a lipped pan or making your own lip with aluminum foil.  I didn't do this and my oven suffered for it.  Ha!  The icing recipe is from Erica.  White chocolate icing....um, yes!  By the end of the day...the cake was gone.  D said he enjoyed the cake.  He was afraid it was going to be the first year that he didn't have a birthday cake!  Does that sound like something I'D let happen!?  I think not!  Happy Birthday, D! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake adapted from Cookie Madness
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (11 1/4 oz)
1/2 tsp baking soda
 4 oz butter and 1/2 cup shortening for 1 cup total
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 bag semi sweet regular or miniature size chocolate chips (2 cups)

Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a 12 inch round pizza pan with a circle of parchment or non-stick foil. Alternatively, you can make your own pizza pan by molding non-stick foil into a giant 12 inch circle.
Mix flour, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
Cream butter and both sugars by hand or with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. When well mixed, add flour mixture and stir until blended Fold in chocolate chips.
Put all the batter in the pan and press it into a circle. Stop the circle about 1 ½ to 2 inches from the rim.
Bake on center rack for 32-35 minutes or until cookie is golden around edges and appears set.

For white chocolate frosting: adapted from Diana's Desserts (through Erica's Sweet Tooth)
4 oz white chocolate baking squares
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp butter, softened

To prepare frosting: melt white chocolate in a double boiler and then allow it to come to room temperature. In an electric mixer, beat softened butter until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla. Stir in the cooled chocolate. Chill frosting in refrigerator until stiff enough to pipe.