The Chocolate Chip Cookie and I

I seem to have this thing for cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, to be exact. There is almost nothing as wonderful as biting into a nice, warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie, right out of your own oven. The sweet aroma fills the house with a certain hominess, and, dipped in milk, the cookie is the perfect companion to a favorite book or walk about the lawn. I prefer my chocolate chip cookies quite soft, and, if I’m feeling adventurous, with a bit of pecans added to the batter as well. Ah, pure bliss. =]

Below is our favorite recipe. We found it in the Martha Stewart “Cookies” book.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375^ F. Whisk together (we use our beloved Bosch mixer =] ) flour and baking soda in a bowl. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add salt, vanilla, and eggs; mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Mix in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through until edges are golden brown but center is still soft, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool on sheets then transfer to wire cooling racks, let cool completely. Stores in an airtight container for up to a week.

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I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! We are blessed if we have them around for more than a day or so! =]
~Courtney

Magic Milkshakes

This afternoon, we are whipping up one of our favorite summer recipes as a Sunday treat! These no-ice cream milkshakes taste almost exactly like a Wendy’s Frosty:

Magic Milkshakes
1-1/2 to 2 cups ice water
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1-1/2 trays of ice cubes, as much as you can spare
2 tablespoons corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purposes

Place all of the ingredients into the blender, including the oil and the non-stick spray. Use less water for thicker milk shakes and more water for shakes that are easier on your blender motor. The blender should be about 3/4′s of the way full. Place the lid on. Process for a full 2 minutes, then pour into cups and serve. Makes 4 – 12oz servings.

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To create different flavor blends, you can increase the milk powder for creamier shakes, add coffee for a mocha-type shakes, etc. This is a *very* versatile milkshake. Enjoy! =]

~Courtney

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla (or Vanilla Extract)

Preheat oven to 350^ F. Mix all ingredients together very well, until completely blended.

Next, roll walnut sized balls and place on cookie sheet. After you have rolled all the balls, use a fork to criss-cross a design on top of the balls, lightly pressing down so that it looks like really small squares.

Bake until set, 8-10 minutes. Cookies will not look done when they are ready. If you bake them too long, they will be really crunchy or burnt and definitely not very good! :)

Let cool on cooling rack until set. Make 1 dozen cookies.

I can usually have a batch of these whipped up in less than 20 minutes, bake time included.

Variations:
I have been known to add M ‘n’ M’s, nuts, or chocolate chips to these for variety.
You can also make Peanut Butter Blossoms by baking these, and pressing a Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each one. They make wonderful holiday cookies! :)

Enjoy!

Gingerbread Men

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/3 c. water

Directions
Preheat oven to 375^ F. Cream butter and sugar thoroughly with electric mixer. Beat in molasses. Blend all dry ingredients. Alternately add blended dry ingredients and water to the butter sugar mixture. Dough will become stiff, so that last dry addition may need to be blended in by hand. Work dough until it is smooth in consistency. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Careful though, too much flour makes dough dry and hard. When dough is easy to work, you’re ready to roll it out and make gingerbread men. If your not going to make your gingerbread men right away, wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate. Refrigerated dough will keep for a week, but be sure to remove it 3 hours prior to rolling so it softens and is workable. Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out gingerbread men. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cooling racks.

Magic Milkshakes

1-1/2 to 2 cups ice water
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1-1/2 trays of ice cubes, as much as you can spare
2 tablespoons corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purposes

Place all of the ingredients into the blender, including the oil and the non-stick spray. Use less water for thicker milk shakes and more water for shakes that are easy on your blender motor. The blender should be about 3/4’s full. Place the lid on. Process for a full 2 minutes. Pour into cups and serve. Makes 4 – 12oz servings.

You can increase the milk powder for creamier shakes, or add coffee, candy, or whatever else you fancy into this very versatile milkshake!

Chocolate Oatsies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
In a saucepan bring sugar, cocoa, margarine, milk, and salt to a rapid boil for 2 minutes.
Add quick cooking oats, peanut butter, and vanilla; mix well.
Working quickly, drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper, and let cool. Sometimes I pour the entire mixture out and slice when cool. These are one of my family’s favorite recipes! Enjoy!

Roll Recipe!!

We experimented with a new dinner roll recipe last night. These rolls are not only gorgeous, but they are super easy to make!
Here is the recipe:


Ingredients


1 package active dry yeast (or 1 Tablespoon)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

About 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Cornmeal (used to keep the dough from sticking to pan)

1 egg and a splash of milk (or water can be used)

Sprinkle fine sea salt

Proof the yeast using the first 3 ingredients.

Mix for about 2 minutes and then remove from bowl and knead for about 5 minutes by hand.

Transfer dough to bowl, cover with tea towel and let rise for about 40 minutes – the dough should rise slightly.

(The dough has risen)

Remove dough from bowl and cut the dough into four equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a small sausage-shaped roll (about 8 inches long). Cut each roll into four equal pieces.

Form each piece into a ball by rolling it between the work surface and the palm of your hand, slightly cupped, bringing the seamed edges under or on the bottom. Place balls on a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Be sure to space your rolls about 2 inches apart.

You can also form the balls into knots by rolling them out into sausage links and then make a half knot and place on the baking sheet.

Cover with damp cloth and let rise again for about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Mix 1 egg and splash of milk (or water) and lightly brush each roll with the egg wash.

Place baking sheet in the oven and bake rolls until golden brown – about 12 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the rolls to a rack to cool – this will allow the air to circulate under and around the bread to ensure a nice crust.

Quick Tip:

Keep an eye on your rolls towards the end of cooking time. You may need to turn your pan around to provide even cooking or browning.

Enjoy!

Courtney