Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

A few years ago I saw Ina Garten (I love her!) make cookies similar to these and I tried them out and decided they needed just a little tweaking. I usually don’t mess with her recipes because they are usually right on the money (and this one wasn’t bad to begin with), but it just needed a little something and it was one of those you could easily play around with!

In my version I added more chocolate, less flour, less vanilla and less salt. Sometimes I even like to stir in a cup of coconut and some Macadamia nuts along with the white chocolate for a tropical treat, but any way you bake them, they won’t stay around long. They’re delicious!

What You’ll Need:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of dark brown molasses sugar
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup of cocoa
1 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
4 – 4 ounce Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream butter, sugars and eggs until smooth. Add cocoa and mix until completely incorporated. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and add to chocolate mixture. Mix until flour is just mixed. Add white chocolate and stir to mix.

Drop dough by large tablespoon full onto a baking sheet that is lined with a Slat. Bake for 12-15 minutes and remove from the baking sheet to a cookie rack to cool.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Notes: As I mentioned in the introduction you can easily add things into this dough. Nuts would be a nice addition, as would chocolate chips along with, or in place of, the white chocolate. Mint chips or even peanut butter chips would also be delicious! There is no wrong answer when it comes to cookies. Mix it up and make it your own!

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Ganache And Cherries

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Ganache And Cherries

When we got Guinness for Saint Patrick’s Day cooking we had to buy a 6-pack since they wouldn’t let you buy just one. We’re not really stout drinkers (or beer either) so I still have 5 bottles in my fridge. My sister sent me a link to a Chocolate Stout Cake made by Smitten Kitchen and I thought it looked like something I might want to play with and I did just that. I tweaked the ingredients a little, added some cherries and voila…Yummy Chocolate Guinness goodness! Seriously this cake is scrumptious! You must try it!

Now I’ve got 4 bottles of Guinness left…I wonder what Guinness Hush Puppies or battered fish would taste like? And I also want to try Murphys Brown Bread and Guinness Ice Cream recipe, but I may just have to go try it in person too when we’re there in October/November. That takes care of two more bottles. Maybe I’ll just have to make a few of the recipes twice! 😉

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1 cup of Guinness
2 sticks of butter
1 cup cocoa
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of dark brown natural sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt Guinness, butter and cocoa over medium heat. Bring to a slow boil and cook until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally to ensure no scorching. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a large bowl mix flour, sugars, baking powder and sea salt and set aside.

In a small bowl beat together sour cream and eggs. Slowly add cooled chocolate mix to sour cream mixture stirring constantly to ensure that the eggs do not curdle and the mixture is mixed thoroughly. Add to flour mixture and stir until just mixed. Pour batter into a Bundt pan that has been sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake for 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted into cake come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before turning cake out onto a large plate. Let cake cool completely.

What You’ll Need For the Ganache:
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of half and half
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar

Melt chocolate chips and sugar in half and half until smooth. Pour over the top of the cooled Chocolate Guinness Cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Ganache

Note: I would have liked to have served fresh or frozen cherries with this cake, but for some reason I didn’t have any in the fridge or freezer, which is totally unlike me. I did however have a can of light cherry pie filling that was still in date, which was totally unlike me, though I don’t remember buying any, so I used that instead. If you wanted to make a cherry topping you could cook 2 cups of cherries with 1/4 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to thicken a bit. You could also top the cake with fresh whipped cream, but I didn’t have any of that on hand yesterday either. Not a stellar fridge or freezer day for me yesterday to say the least! 😉

Egg Salad

Egg Salad

So now that Easter is over what do you do with all those boiled eggs? Well Deviled Eggs are always a good choice, or you can use them in Potato Salad or even Tuna Salad, but the King of all egg recipes is Egg Salad. I developed this recipe a few years ago after wondering what Egg Salad actually was. I had never had it before. This take is not as heavy as some, but it’s delicious none the less. Eat it on bread, or in a tomato…You can’t go wrong either way!

Note: I do NOT advise making anything with Easter Eggs that have spent hours out of the fridge. We color eggs, but don’t hide them, so they go from the pot, to the fridge, to the dye and back to the fridge. If your eggs have been out in nature for several hours or more waiting to be hunted, especially if it’s warm, then don’t cook with them.

What You’ll Need:
6-8 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of mayo
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

Mix eggs, celery, celery seed, salt, pepper, mayo and mustard until incorporated. Serve in a quartered tomato with lettuce or on bread with lettuce and tomato as a sandwich.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

What’s Easter without Deviled Eggs? Everyone has their own twist, this is mine.

What You’ll Need:
12 boiled eggs, cut in half and remove yolks into the bowl of your food processor
1/4 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon of yellow mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of black pepper

In the bowl of your food processor mix boiled egg yolks, mayo, sour cream, mustard, vinegar (I sometimes use white vinegar and sometimes apple cider vinegar…today I went with white), salt and black pepper and process until smooth. Place egg mixture into a large pastry bag with a large star tip affixed. Squeeze egg mixture into the boiled egg whites and chill until serving.

Notes: You can add finely chopped blue cheese into the egg mixture or even Parmesan cheese for two nice variations. You can also sprinkle the tops of each egg with paprika and/or chopped parsley if desired.

Happy Easter Everyone!


Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Bunny Cupcake

Every year for Easter I make a bunny cake. This tradition has become even more fun now that Alexis is here and can help out. This year I decided to make bunny cupcakes after seeing the idea on the Betty Crocker website instead of a big cake. I however made cupcakes from scratch and also my own icing and tweaked their idea more than a little. The resulting creation turned out to be adorable and delicious! What more can you ask for?

Bunny Cupcakes

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1/2 cup safflower oil
1 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Measure oil in to a large bowl. Dump the yogurt/sour cream, sugar, vanilla, eggs and buttermilk in to the bowl and mix well. Stir in baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. Pour batter into a muffin pan that has been lined with cupcake liners. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cupcakes stick done.

Makes 20-24 cupcakes depending on how big you like your cupcakes

What You’ll Need For The Icing:
(This is my variation of Wilton’s classic decorating icing.)
2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Buy a variety that is trans-fat free such as Spectrum.)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of pure almond extract
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tablespoons water (Optional)
Food coloring for tinting (Optional)

Cream together shortening, vanilla and almond. Slowly add sugar and beat until smooth. If needed add water to smooth out the icing. To tint icing add food coloring one drop at a time and mix thoroughly until desired color is reached. For this recipe remove some white icing before you tint the remaining batch so you will have it for your bunny faces.

What You’ll Need For Decorations:
Chocolate chips
Candy dots
Chocolate jimmies
Colored jimmies
Sugar sprinkles

Bunny Cupcake

After the cupcakes have cooled coat each cake with a base coat of icing in the color of your choice. Alexis wanted to do purple, and it was purple when we tinted it, but it turned blue as the icing set. After you have each cupcake covered then using a large decorating tip pipe a white area of icing to be the bunnies face. Take large marshmallows and cut into three circles with a pair of scissors. Cut each circle into half and then press into the colored sugar of your choice and affix into the white icing at the top to make ears. Use two chocolate chips for eyes, a candy dot for a nose, jimmies or licorice for whiskers and colored jimmies for the mouth. Voila! Easter bunny cupcakes!

Easter Marshmallows

Easter Marshmallows

We set out for the grocery store this morning to procure items for our feast tomorrow and Peeps were on my list since tomorrow is Easter after all. When we got there however there wasn’t a single Peep to be found! Never deterred I remember that the Barefoot Contessa made Coconut marshmallows the other day on her show. I decided it wouldn’t be hard at all to take her recipe, tweak it, add some sugar sprinkles and make our own Easter marshmallows! This was the end result and they turned out even better than I imagined! 😉

What You’ll Need:
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup of water
Butter to coat your dish
Powdered sugar to dust your dish
Colored sugar sprinkles

Combine the gelatin in 1/2 cup of cold water in your mixer and let sit while you complete the other steps.

In a medium sized pot mix sugar, corn syrup and water over low to medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolves raise the heat and cook until the mixture reaches 240 F. Remove from the heat and pour slowly into your gelatin mixture while the mixer is on low. Once the sugar liquid is all added turn your mixer slowly to high and beat for 10-15 minutes until the mixture is white, thick and creamy.

While the mixer is mixing coat a 13 X 9 inch pan with butter and then dust with powdered sugar. When the mixture is ready pour into prepared pan and spread out to the edge. You can wet your hands to help with the spreading if you like. Sprinkle with colored sugar crystals of your choice and let sit for 2-3 hours until firm. Cut out shapes of your choice with cookie cutters or simply slice the marshmallows into squares. Store marshmallows in an airtight container.

Easter Marshmallows