Sunday, October 25, 2009

Too Much Time on My Hands?

Skellingtons! These were so much fun to make. I'd post the recipe, but it was a new one I was just trying out and I really wasn't that impressed with it.

I thought they looked better than they tasted, although they weren't bad. (They couldn't have been so bad...they're already gone.) It could have been that they were chocolate, and I kept expecting gingerbread. (I'm thinking now that gingerbread is really the only appropriate flavor for cookie men of any kind.)

If I make them again, I'll probably use this recipe which is an old standby from a Good Housekeeping cookbook. The frosting was a packet of ready made Betty Crocker Cookie Frosting right out of the tube.

Gingerbread Men (or Skeletons)
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg from a happy hen
1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream together butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the mixture. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to handle. Roll on lightly floured surface, 1/4 inch thick. Cut with your favorite "man shaped" cookie cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on parchment covered baking sheet. (I love parchment.) Bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my favorite chocolate chip cookies right now. They're chock full of nuts and chocolate, and always turn out soft and chewy. I'm just not all about crispy chocolate chip cookies, although I know that there are many who would argue with me on that point! Unlike other recipes I've made, these seem to do well whether you bake them right after you mix the dough, or wait 'til the next day. If you get tired of baking them (the recipe makes lots) you can always freeze the dough balls and have chocolate chip cookies ready to bake at the drop of a hat!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 sticks of butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar (I use a mixture of light and dark)
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs from happy hens
1 can sweetened condensed milk (regular or fat free)
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups walnuts (I like to mix in a few black walnuts if I have them...they give the cookies a really good flavor.)

Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs and condensed milk. Combine dry ingredients and mix into batter. (I usually sift them together.) Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
I use a cookie scoop and drop generous walnut sized balls onto parchment covered baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until light brown. Cool on rack. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

Chicken Soup!

After two days of cold rain, I needed some comfort food...this chicken soup did the trick. I like my soup with a little zing, so I added lots of pepper. Spicy? Yep! Just enough to chase away the chill!

Chicken Soup with Leeks
3 cups chopped chicken breast
2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 med. onion, chopped
1 parsnip, scrubbed and diced (optional)
1-2 leeks, chopped (discard the tops)
3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 qt. chicken broth or stock
2 cups dry egg noodles (more or less to taste)
Salt, pepper (I used black, cayenne, and white), and garam masala
  • In large soup pot, heat oil over med. heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, parsnip and leeks. Stir well, cover, reduce heat and cook until vegetables are somewhat tender, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes.
  • While the vegetables cook, cook chicken in a little olive oil. I added a few shakes of garam masala and a sprinkle of Kosher salt to the chicken as it cooked.
  • Add chicken, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and stock to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender.
  • You may adjust the amount of liquid by adding another cup or two of hot water or stock as desired.
  • Add egg noodles about 20-30minutes before serving, and simmer until cooked but not mushy. (Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.)
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.

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