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Category Archives: cookies

An Acceptable Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Koslicks (Koslick is my maiden name) are notorious cookie snobs. Your cookie better not be too hard, too lemony, too crumbly, too chocolatey, or not brown-sugary enough. I have never been able to make a cookie that is worth their caloric intake…until now.

I believe I have found the holy grail of ingredients… Cornstarch. Cornstarch?! In a cookie?! I finally found the recipe to appease even the most sensitive Koslick cookie palate. And today, I will share it with you. See below.

Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (or whichever you prefer)
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. I use my stand mixer for this… and one of the reasons why I love this recipe so much is that you can make the dough using only one bowl! So next you want to…..
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Then add the chocolate chips.
4.  I roll my cookies into one inch balls and place them close together on a baking sheet. You can fit quite a few on one baking sheet since they puff up rather than spread out when they are cooked. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how large of a pan you use. I used a sheet-cake size, so I can literally fit this entire batch in my oven all at once. Which is amazing. Start to finish the cookies take me about 20 minutes. Makes approximately 36 cookies.

*Recipe comes from http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com/, which she adapted from Anna Olsen, Food Network Canada.

In a Sequined Christmas Blouse

We took down our trees today. I know it’s a bit late, but we were waiting for snow. The snow came down early this morning…

and the trees followed.

While we tried to not be nostalgic, I couldn’t help but think of the season when the most delightful part of each day will be choosing from the manor’s menu–boiled ham sandwich or beef goulash.

The holidays will arrive and my children will draw from a hat to see who will feed me and the unlucky grand-kids will cry, “Do we have to?!”

I will sit in the manor lobby in my sequined Christmas blouse and wait. I imagine I’ll wait for at least forty-five minutes before I see an angry-looking relative.

All year long I’ve been looking forward to a festive dinner and I’m given an hour or so to choke down my rations while no one even attempts to talk to me. I don’t even get a peek at the Christmas tree.

I’m back in my room again before I know it and it’s time to choose breakfast–honey bun or runny eggs. Neither. Thanks.

To lighten the mood, I went with something terribly easy for someone in such a mental state–chocolate chip bars. And chocolate can be so comforting.

The recipe comes from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book. These chocolate chip bars are just right.

Jim Fobel’s Chocolate Chip Bars

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour                                            1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                                 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened                     6 ounces of chocolate chips

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour an 11 3/4-by-7 1/2-inch pan.

2. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Beat together the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.

4. Combine the wet with the dry and fold in the chips and nuts ( I omitted the nuts).

5. Spoon the mix in to the pan and spread it out evenly.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I baked for 18).

7. Place the hot pan on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

8. Cut the bars and eat them.

Happy Winter. Enjoy the soft centers and the chewy edges.

Stress

I’ve noticed a trend. When I become stressed I often do one of two things: I cut my hair or I bake.

Maybe three things. I’ve been eating a lot of frozen gingerbread lately.

There’s not much more chopping that can be done to my hair (I did my last “trim” using a fingernail clipper), so I turned the oven to 375.

The spring semester is beginning next week, so I made raisin bread, a large pan of sandwich bread, and some whole-grain apple walnut bread thinking that I would freeze it so we wouldn’t starve before commencement in May. But we ate all of that before I could take any pictures and…I don’t know. I didn’t feel like making a post about it. Maybe I don’t have a good attitude. Maybe it’s all of that gingerbread getting back at me or maybe I need more vitamin D. Maybe I need to get more sleep.

I’ve decided to share a cookie experiment with you. I’m calling it an experiment because I like the results, but I wonder if something else could be done to it. Dip it in chocolate? Make it a thumbprint cookie and add a caramel center?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did. I think it makes a nice cookie. My taster said that it tastes old fashioned and modern. He said that he doesn’t really have a grid for it.

Praline Nut Cookies

1 1/2 cups of pecans

1/4 cup walnuts or almonds

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

8 tablespoons of butter, softened

1 egg

2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375. Take a couple of cookie sheets and line them with parchment. Throw the nuts in a food processor and pulse until you get nut crumbs, but not nut powder. Combine the nuts, sugar, butter, and egg in a mixer and beat for a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the mixture. When the mixture is fully combined, use a small ice cream scoop to spoon out the dough and roll into small spheres. Place the spheres on the sheets and lightly press them down. Sprinkle the dough lightly with brown sugar. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes.

What do you think?

Quakes and Cookies

It took a moment to realize that it wasn’t sleep-deprivation. The room was actually moving. My first thought was that the neighbors were digging something up. But the whole hundred year Victorian was moving. The house that I thought was indestructible was trembling. Oh no.

At the time of the shaking, I was trying to coax my toddler into a nap, while changing my infant’s dirty diaper. This was no small feat. Now, add an earthquake to that and you’ve got next to impossible.

So imagine me in my spit-up and poo-laden Mom-garb, running down the stairs with a baby in my arms, a phone in my hand, and a toddler in tow, the whole time looking about frantically waiting for a wall to cave in.

We reach the first floor and Sophie goes for her Snow White high-heeled slippers (why, Disney?! why?!) and Asher takes the first small object he sees.

I’m trying to get through to Josh’s cell phone and the college where he works while Sophie’s clomping around and Asher’s whimpering. I see, from the window, that the neighbors are fine and going about their daily business as if nothing happened. The chandelier in our dining room is still swaying.

Josh gets a hold of me and explains the situation and tells me that they aren’t expecting anything more, to which I reply, “Good. That was plenty for me.”

God was gracious and the kids ended up in their beds and actually slept.

There was an earthquake and what did I do? You’d think I would hug my children, write my will, burn my journals, or sign up to give blood, but instead I tied on my apron and hit the kitchen. And it wasn’t to make up that emergency box of non-perishables. I was going to make madeleines.

A madeleine is a classic French tea cookie that’s more like a dainty cake than a Chips Ahoy.

I felt that a French cookie would be appropriate on such a day. Paris is one of my favorite cities and I’ve become interested in its baked goods.

A crispy baguette, a clump of old cheese, and a bottle of table red and you have a lovely meal and you can get those items anywhere. We had a fantastic baguette from a gas station once. Imagine that.

The madeleines took two shots and I ended up combining two recipes to get exactly what I wanted in look, texture, and taste.

This is what happened with Trial 1.

The butter was too hot in the pan and overcooked the edges of the cookies. Also, the oven temperature was too high and the time too long.

And this is what happened with Trial 2.

These looked better, but were lacking in flavor.

From the trials, this is what I would do to make a madeliene:

Madeliene

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs (at room temperature)

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

lemon zest from 1 lemon

You’re going to need two madeliene mold pans with 12 madeliene molds in each (or you can do mini madelienes, but you’ll need to reduce the cooking time).

Melt the butter in the microwave and then allow it to cool.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Whisk those dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until you have nice, high peaks (this will take about 5 minutes). When you lift the beaters you should get a steady stream of thick goo.

Zest a lemon with a grater.

Then, you need to beat the vanilla and lemon zest into the egg mixture.

Sift a bit of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and gently fold in using a large rubber spatula. Repeat this with the rest of the flour mixture.

Put a spoonful of egg mixture into the butter to lighten it and whisk. Pour the butter mixture into the egg mixture and fold in. You need to be gentle so as to not let the batter sink in.

Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Scoop the dough into the molds, allowing the dough to mound at the middle of the mold.

Bake for about 8 minutes. Watch your madelienes carefully. They can over-bake very quickly and you’ll get some tough cookies.

Remove the pan from the oven and flip over onto a clean surface.

Move the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool thoroughly.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Madelienes are best the first day. You can store in an air-tight container up to 2 days, then freeze any remaining cookies.

The evening of the quake we enjoyed fresh madelienes and hot tea on the porch. We were given another day.

A Birthday and A Baby: A Sweet Story

Like anyone, Erica is complex. She can be soft and teary-eyed or wild and unashamed. (I can hear her shouting “Woo-woooo!” as I write.) She’s a beautiful person with a sweet tooth and a taste for the good stuff–chocolate.

And she just turned twenty-five.

Her husband needed a cake for her. A small, simple one for a casual dessert party.

We went with three layers of our wonderfully moist and deliciously decadent chocolate cake, our tasty vanilla buttercream frosting, and rich chocolate coating.

We chose antique rose for the base color and chocolate browns for the decoration.

Erica's cake

The cake was simple, yet elegant–very much like Erica.

Happy Birthday, Erica.

Speaking of birthdays, there’s a little baby coming soon. Baby Job is due to arrive on October 1st to parents-to-be Allie and Adam. Maddy Lu made the dessert table for Allie’s baby shower.

The menu was as follows:

miniature red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, miniature moist mocha cupcakes with cappuccino frosting, miniature vanilla cupcakes with blueberry buttercream frosting, chocolate peanut butter cake pops, blueberry pinwheel cookies made with our very own blueberry preserves, soft gingerbread drop cookies, and sugar cookie cut-outs.

Congratulations, Allie and Adam. We look forward to meeting you, Baby Job.

Birthdays and babies–lovely, lively parts of life.

Now, onto peach preserves…

It’s strange, but I’ve begun to feel naked without my apron on.

A Toyota to Tom’s River

We packed up the Toyota and clink-clanked our way to Tom’s River. We could have hired a horse and carriage. A horse and wagon would have been more like it, actually. The clinking was the vase in the back and the clanking was from my practically strutless car. Why did we take it?

It seemed like a good idea at the time–just like the instant mashed potatoes and chocolate covered strawberries at midnight. Oh and Life cereal to get some whole grain in there. I heard later that Jessica was having a turkey hotdog on sliced bread with salad at that hour. I think she did far better than me even though she argues that there was an excessive amount of garlicky dressing on her salad. Boo-hoo. Slightly sweet cereal with powdery potatoes or hotdog and salad?

I did have strange dreams that night involving mashed potatoes and the letter V.

V is for Victoria. Victoria is getting married and Maddy Lu had the honor of putting together a dessert table for her bridal shower. The dessert menu was as follows:

fudgy mocha cake pops, miniature raspberry-lemonade cupcakes, miniature boston cream cupcakes, blueberry bread skewers, lemony sugar cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries.

And yes, we piped V on the strawberries and on the cookies.

Now, do you understand why I was eating chocolate covered strawberries at that hour and having nightmares about the letter V?

We had a great time setting up the sweet table. And I hear they had a great time eating our foods.

Love it.

Happy wedding, Victoria.