Archive Page 2

27
Feb
10

the best one-bowl chocolate chunk-pecan cookies

H and I were watching a movie a few weeks ago when I started craving chocolate chip cookies.  I needed a fast and easy recipe; no way was I going to wait for the 36-hour chocolate chip cookie.  I found a recipe for one-bowl chocolate chip cookies in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.  The 36-hour chocolate chip cookies are still my favorite (hands down), but these were perfect for a quick cookie, with little clean-up required afterwards.

toast the pecans

stir granulated and dark brown sugar into melted butter

stir in salt, vanilla, and eggs until smooth

stir in flour, baking soda, and baking powder into batter

just until incorporated and a soft dough forms

fold in chocolate chips and cooled toasted  (chopped) pecans

mmm…cookie dough

use a 2-ounce scoop to measure out the dough

place dough balls on a baking sheet

Ok, there is some waiting time for this cookie – but only 45 to 60 minutes.  I washed the dishes and watched more of the movie during this wait.

refrigerate until firm

place 6 dough balls on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees

enjoy!

The Best One-Bowl Chocolate Chunk-Pecan Cookies

Modified slightly from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Makes 18 Large Cookies

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until they are warm and fragrant, 6 to 9 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until completely melted.  Using a large wooden spoon, stir both sugars into the melted butter.  When combined, add the salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Stir until smooth.  Stir the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into the batter just until incorporated and a soft dough forms.  Carefully fold in the chocolate chips and cooled toasted pecans.

Use a 2-ounce self-releasing scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out the cookie dough.  Place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, 45 to 60 minutes. Toward the end of the chilling time, return the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chilled dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets.  (The recipe said to put 9 cookies per sheet to allow for spreading; I only put 6.)

Bake until the cookies are crisp and golden around the edges, but still a little soft in the centers without being gooey, 15 to 18 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool slightly.  Using a large metal spatula, tranfer the cookies from the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool to room temperature.

Stored in airtight containers, these cookies will keep for 2 days at room temperature.  They can also be frozen for up to 2 weeks.  You can prepare the cookie dough balls and, after they are chilled, store the unbaked cookies in the freezer for up to 1 month.  The cookies can be baked straight from the freezer, but will take a few minutes longer.

(I still have some dough balls in my freezer for when we get chocolate chip cookie cravings.)

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27
Feb
10

where to begin?

It’s been so long since my last real post that I don’t really know where to start.  I’m still working on a new header and it looks like I might have to go back and fix some of my previous photos to work with the new template (yeah…we’ll see if that happens).  Unfortunately, since it’s been so long, I can’t remember what some of the stuff is that I made and took photos of.  Oh well, I’m going to post them all anyway.

I’m planning on posting recipes now – not all of them, but a few here and there to make things more interesting.  H said that people don’t want to just look at food photos, they want to know how to make them, too.  True.  I look at a lot of baking/food blogs and I love it when I can get some recipes.  My first one, which I’ll post later, will be of some chocolate chip cookies I made a few weeks ago.

Well, I have tons to show you, so I better get started. (I promise, this ‘months of recapping’ won’t be a yearly thing…)

June 2009

pineapple upside down cupcake

vanilla cupcake w/ chocolate glaze and sprinkles

July 2009

This is a birthday cake I made for one of the older ladies at church.  I can’t remember what kind of cake it was or how I made the buttercream :(.  The flowers look kinda funny because this was my first time trying to make roses this way (not the way I learned at my Wilton class).  For these flowers I took a small ball of fondant, pressed it into a petal shape and layered it.  It wasn’t the best time for me to experiment, but I thought it would be easier than it turned out to be.  My fondant was way too soft for this.

happy birthday!

banana bundt cake w/ lemon glaze

the lemon glaze was a surprisingly nice contrast to the banana flavor

My friend asked me to make some bridal shower cookie favors for her friend’s bridal shower.  The theme was orange and purple.

T + J cookies

pile of wrapped favors


Since it was a bridal shower, my friend also asked if I could make a cake just for decoration.  Well, between the two of us, H is usually the designer/sculptor so I left it to him.  His idea was for an open gift box overflowing with bras and panties (geez, I’m embarassed to even write those words on my blog, but just remember – BRIDAL SHOWER!).  The idea seemed ok.  I imaged some classy/elegant lingerie spilling out of this box…and then I saw his creations starting to come to life and my eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.  They were more like Frederick’s of Hollywood than Victoria’s Secret.  Ahhh!!!!!  I am laughing as I write this, but I vividly remember how mortified I was.

Be warned that the following photo may be considered PG-13.  I tried to take the photo from the most “conservative” angle.   I don’t want to explain this cake, but I’m afraid if I don’t you’ll just be examining everything and getting the wrong idea.  Up front is a stacked heart G-string (I never imagined I would be writing that word), to the right is a white one, and the shiny orange thing on the right is supposed to be some leather thing.   I wanted there to be something (anything) classy on this cake so I had him make the pearl necklace.  Are you blushing yet?

H is GREAT when it comes to things he knows about (cars, kung fu panda, thomas the tank engine, etc.), but let’s just say that next time there’s a request for a bridal shower cake, I’ll be doing the designing.

Rated PG-13

Continue reading ‘where to begin?’

23
Feb
10

***Under Construction***

I’ve been working on organizing all my baking photos from the past 9 months…it’s scary how fast the time has gone by. I feel like I owe it to my blog (and to you) to start with a fresh new look.

In the meantime, here’s the new addition to our household:

26
May
09

something to hold you over…

I’ve been a bum again – it’s been almost 2 months since I last posted.  I’ve still been baking about once a week, but I’ve been lazy.  I have lots of excuses – allergies (which won’t go away), P90X workout (which is not regularly scheduled either so it’s a poor excuse), and busy times at work (projects and we’re moving to a different building).  On top of that, this past month has been the  c r a z i e s t  because H and I bought a house!  It’s literally been a month since we went out with a realtor to look at some houses “just for fun”.  We’d been looking online for awhile “for fun” and decided we wanted to see the inside of some of the places.  Well, we ended up putting in an offer that day and have been in a whirlwind of house related business since.  My interests almost immediately flipped – Home Depot over Michaels, HGTV over Food TV, and paint/furniture/decor over icing/mixers/cake decorating.  Well, maybe not that drastic.  I’ve still been baking, but haven’t been putting as much time into experimenting,  taking step-by-step photos, or even final product photos. *Sigh*  I’ve felt really bad for neglecting my blog so I thought I should at least post a short little something.

We bought some strawberries that weren’t so sweet so I decided to make a dessert out of them instead of eating them straight up.  I made an angel food cake and macerated the strawberries in amaretto liqueur and a little sugar and also had a convenient (secret) stash of Cool Whip in the freezer.  Here’s to the beginning of summer and to other new and exciting beginnings.  🙂

strawberry trifle

10
Apr
09

Thomas the Tank Engine Cake

H and I made a Thomas the Tank Engine (aka Thomas the Train) cake for a 1st birthday last Saturday.  The Monday before the party I tried to get everything organized so we could work on it in stages.  I printed out a calendar for the week and listed all the tasks we would need to get done each day: make fondant, color fondant, make decorations, make buttercream, etc.  Well, last week work was just as crazy as this week; we weren’t getting home until around 7 and I just felt drained so I had no motivation to do anything.

I showed H how to make fondant on Tuesday so he made 4 total batches on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Each batch weighs about 2.5 lbs. and takes forever to make.  My poor little 5 quart KitchenAid doesn’t have enough power (or space) to mix up a batch so it has to be done by hand.  He was really good at working on the train for a few hours each night whereas I waited until Friday night to make the cake and buttercream.   I didn’t even start until 10 pm!  Needless to say, we stayed up almost all night working on the cake and didn’t finish until right before we needed to leave for the party on Saturday (which has become a typical schedule for us whenever we make these types of cakes).  This was our 3rd 1st birthday cake – I think 1st birthdays are becoming our specialty.

the making of a trainThe cake was a vanilla chiffon cake with strawberry puree and strawberry swiss meringue buttercream.  It was really good –  I liked it more than the perfect party cake I had made the week before.

the cake

The finished cake was adorable.  I loved all the colors.  My favorite part about the cake was the railroad tracks.  At first I wasn’t sure about the color H had made, but I should’ve known better than to second guess him.  The shade of brown went well with the other pastel colors and the tracks were cartoony and perfect.

the details

Even though I was kind of stressing out until the last minute, I had fun making this cake.  I think H enjoyed it too and I know he likes the challenge of trying to create something new.

Thomas the Tank Engine

10
Apr
09

perfect party cake

I’m so glad it’s Friday!  I meant to update earlier in the week, but I was too lazy.  It’s been a long week and I’m super tired but I feel more freedom to keep going because it’s Friday. I’ve already been sitting in front of a computer all day but I really wanted to try to catch up before the weekend.

Two weekends ago H and I hosted a good-bye party for friends who were moving out of state.  I really wanted to make a cool cake for them, but in the end I ran out of time and had to settle on just making a regular cake (delicious but kind of plain in decor).  I made the Perfect Party Cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours.  I’ve been wanting to make this cake for a long time because I had a feeling it would be similar to my favorite cake from Linn’s.

perfect-party-cake

It was a white cake filled with strawberry jam and swiss meringue buttercream.  The cake texture was pretty close to the Linn’s cake but I think I need to work on it a little more.  I think the Linns cake is a little more tender.  I had wanted to at least pipe on the cake but I ended up just having enough time to put some strawberries on it.

perfect party cake

It wasn’t what I had planned, but it was still good.  I also made a filipino leche flan for the first time.  I’ve made flan before but I don’t remember where I got the recipe from; it wasn’t a filipino flan though.  This was so easy to make, but a little too rich.  I’m going to cut down on the egg yolks next time and add vanilla bean and some rum (one of my friends said that his sister puts rum in her flan so I want to try it).

leche flan

It was a fun get together and probably our wildest party yet – we had people over and rocking out with Rock Band until after 11 pm on a Sunday night – that is crazy for us.  🙂

05
Apr
09

brown butter cookies

I experimented with the brown butter cookies 2 more times last month. The second time I made them, I modified the recipe and added some cornstarch. I figured it would make the cookie more tender and also prevent it from spreading out and flattening. The shape of the cookie came out perfectly, but the flavor wasn’t there. It was sort of bland and got really dry.

The third attempt turned out much better. I substituted cake flour in place of regular all purpose flour (H’s great idea) and also added a little more than the recipe called for. The flavor and texture were both pretty good.
brown butter cookie dough
brown butter cookies

These are becoming one of my favorite cookies.  They’re so easy to make, too.  I was pretty happy with this last batch, but unfortunately, I don’t remember where I put my modified recipe.  Oh well, I’m still planning on modifying it a bit so I guess it’s ok.