Sunday, September 26, 2010

baking at night and cookies

Raise your hand if you like to bake at night! This is the part where my right arm would shoot up and my hand would wave around from side to side eagerly. There's something about whisking together ingredients, greasing a cookie sheet, or flouring a cake pan once the sun has gone down that really relaxes me. Since I work five days a week morning to evening, it's always made sense to just break the eggs at night ;) Not to mention that it's been over 90 degrees in SoCal this whole week, so it definitley makes it more comfortable to be around the oven at night.

Now lets talk about chocolate covered raisins. SO ADDICTIVE. You can't just have one chocolate covered raisin! I learned this the hard way after buying them in bulk from Costco. Those little candies have found their way into my heart and stomach in the best way.  I threw some into my cookie batter last night and *oy vey* am I glad that I did! These cookies were out of this world fantastic! Top of the list tasty.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed + 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate covered raisins

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.

2.Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate covered raisins and walnuts.

3. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies two inches apart. Place baking sheets in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 15 , or until the edges are golden brown and the tops look a little undercooked. Allow cookies to sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Yields: 24 delicious cookies

Monday, September 13, 2010

You are welcome

My jeans are usually tight on Monday mornings. I  throw caution to the wind on weekends and don't follow any type of healthy diet or exercise regimen like I would  normally on a weekday, so come Monday morning I always expect my jeans to be a little tighter and I dress to accommodate my temporary pot belly. Today was a little different. I almost called out of work today. Eventually, after an hour in front of the mirror I ended up wearing the jeans but I did pair them with high heels to give my legs that sleek  "I didn't eat cake all weekend" skinny appearance. Eye tricks, ladies. But even after all of that hell, I think that making this cake was, hands down, the best decision that I made all weekend. There is a reason that I ate so much of it. Every bite was a bursting fork full of chocolate flavors and delight. Not only from the cake, but from the gooey chocolate glaze and mini chocolate chips. I love getting a bite with a little chocolate chip hidden away in the mix! This cake is super easy to put together , but it's even easier to scarf it down without realizing. You've been warned.

1 18.25-oz package chocolate cake mix (I used a cake mix with the words "fudge" and "super moist" on the box)
1 3.9-oz package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, hot water, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into bundt pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely.

4 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla

In small, heavy saucepan or microwave oven on medium, melt broken chocolate with butter. Stir frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in milk, syrup and vanilla. When glaze is cool, pour onto cake. Let glaze run down sides. Chill about 10 minutes to set glaze.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heavenly Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other night I couldn't think of what I wanted to bake. Part of me wanted to bake a lovely, rich, chocolate cake..but the other reasonable part that hates the treadmill realized that maybe a whole cake to myself wasn't the best way to go. So my two parts agreed that a cookie would be safe. Sike! I fooled myself. Sure, if I had just baked the cookie neatly and only had one or two before shutting down the kitchen for the night, I wouldn't be in my gym clothes right now lacing up my tennis shoes.  Self control baking isn't my style. From licking the beaters and eating raw dough (I know, I know!) to taste testing the first batch out of the oven and being curled up on the couch at 10pm with cookies and ice cream watching television. You could say that I thew caution to the wind. I should also point out that I  munched on these cookies after lunch on Saturday and again after dinner. I may have had one for breakfast. I'm going to justify my actions by saying that these cookies are so freaking delicious! I've baked (and eaten) plenty of chocolate chip cookies in my day and these ones are up at the tippity top on my list. I think I knew what I was getting myself in to from the beginning. As soon as I read the desciption of the recipe on A Southern Grace, I had a feeling that this was going to be a success. She descibes the cookie as"drool worthy" and "heavenly" and I have to say that if I'm going to take someone's word for a delicious description.. it's going to be hers. Maybe it's because everything on her site seems taste bud successful or maybe because our names are so similar.. or both ;)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from A Southern Grace

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups miscellaneous morsels (I used semi-sweet and white chocolate)

1. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the shortening; gradually beat in the sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and beat into the wet mixture. Stir in the morsels and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes (hardest part!).
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto appropriate baking sheets. For best results, flatten to 1/2-inch thickness with a fork. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until the edges are golden and centers are still slightly underbaked. Let the little pieces of Heaven cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to let cool completely.