Sweet & Spicy Cookbook

The ladies at Ruche created a wonderful Thanksgiving Dessert Cookbook which I was honored to have my Red Velvet Brownie recipe featured in the magazine. For this and other yummy recipes, click on over to the cookbook — I can’t wait to try the chocolate chiperoos on page 23!

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Recipe | Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I will admit that chocolate chip cookies aren’t really my thing which surprises even me because I love just about any sweet you put in front of me, except chocolate that is.  I am not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, but nonetheless, I am not a chocolate lover.  Unfortunately for my husband, this means I often forget about his favorite cookie, the old fashioned chocolate chip cookie (I tell ya, he is a basic guy that is easy to please in the kitchen!).

So when I read about these chocolate chip cookies on Cupcakes and Cashmere’s blog, I knew I had to try them at least for his sake right? While the 24-36 hour wait time may be a bit discouraging, if you are anything like me and must eat one right away, the batter makes plenty to pop a few in immediately and honestly, I didn’t really notice the carmely difference the original recipe talks about. Lastly, if you don’t have the bread flour, cake flour, or patience to wait 24 hours for the batter to rest you can always try these which we made during our trip to Bodega Bay which were almost equally as good – I made Ry decide which he liked better 🙂 (Notes: For the Epicurious recipe, we did not melt the butter as stated in the recipe, only used 1 6oz bag of chocolate chips because they were $5 a bag at the general store, and cooked for 13 minutes at 375 degrees and they turned out excellent as well).

But, if you are up for the challenge of waiting, feel free to try these cookies and maybe you can have one happy husband like mine!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Published: July 9, 2008

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt.

Directions
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.


Recipe | English Toffee

I now have a new favorite dessert to make going into the holiday season and I couldn’t be happier! Despite not being a “chocolate” person, I have always been a fan of toffee – more specifically, I have always been a fan of stealing my Mom’s Almond Roca hoping she wouldn’t notice. {Bad news about having so many siblings in the house is that when everyone takes 1 or 2 the jar disappears quickly}. This toffee is just like I hoped it would be: buttery, crunchy, a soft touch of chocolate, and coated with yummy almonds.

English Toffee
source: adapted from Paula Dean & Melissa Scheffel

Ingredients:
1 cup almonds
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make the roasted ground almonds:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Grind 1 cup of whole raw almonds using food processor with ninja slice attachment. Spread almonds on cookie sheet and place into oven for 5 minutes. Rotate and shift almonds halfway through baking. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the toffee:

Line 9×13 pan with foil. Lightly butter foil to insure easy removal. Put butter, sugar, and water in a heavy pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a bubbling boil, stirring constantly with spoon. The mixture should feel like whipped marshmallows and will start to darken and turn the color of carmel. This should take approximately 10 minutes. Add vanilla and remove from heat.

Evenly spread into foil lined pan. Sprinkle lightly with a few ground almonds. Let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and after 5 minutes spread the chocolate around. Sprinkle with remaining roasted almonds and press lightly. Refrigerate until firm. Cool completely and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Tips:
Because not everything turns out as planned, my first batch was a disaster and the sugar separated from the butter! Now what I thought?! Despite googling several tips, I was unable to bring the mixture back to a marshmallow state and had to scrap it. However, I picked up a few tips which I implemented in my next attempt and I am happy to report that my second try turned out marvelously.
* Do not change heat drastically, if at all. In my first try, I was turning the heat up, down trying to get to a perfect medium-high. Whatever you deem medium-high to start, just keep with that for the entire cooking process.
* Continuously stir, don’t let toffee mixture sit – not even for a few seconds.
* Do not over cook. Take off once the mixture has turned the color of carmel.
* Use a spoon that can handle high heat. I used a wooden salad serving spoon the first time. The coating on the spoon blistered up.
* This stuff is HOT, so be careful.