Thursday, August 25, 2011

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is such a great cookie! It has a rich flavor, chewy center and a hint of toffee flavor from the browned butter. These really are to die for! I found this recipe on Cook's Illustrated. So, when you are wanting a twist to the regular old chocolate chip cookie, this just might be your answer.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(about 16 cookies)

1 3/4 cups flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 t baking soda
14 T butter (1 and 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1/2 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I like to do 1/2 semi-sweet and 1/2 milk chocolate)
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk together flour and baking soda and set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium high heat until melted.  Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the butter is a dark golden brown and smells nutty (about 1-3 minutes). Transfer the browned butter to a large heat proof bowl and stir in the remaining 4 T butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to the butter and whisk until completely combined.  Add the egg and the extra yolk and whisk again until smooth and no sugar lumps remain (about 30 seconds).  Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk again for 30 seconds.  Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth and shiny.  Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using).  Make sure no flour pockets remain.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces, about 3 Tablespoons each.  Place 8 balls on each cookies sheet and cook them one at a time until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and still a little gooey in the middle, about 10-14 minutes. Cool on a wire wrack

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Turkey Pesto Grilled Cheese

This is not so much a recipe as it is just a concept, but it has become a staple in my life. My favorite is making this on a good Artisan seed bread (I am still looking for the perfect recipe) but my grocery store has a pretty good version.

Turkey Pesto Grilled Cheese

Artisan bread (seed, crusty, french, or whatever your thing is)
pesto (store bought or homemade)
provolone cheese
herb roasted turkey (I LOVE the Castlewood brand from Sam's club)
Fresh tomatoes

Take two slices of GOOD bread, slather each side with pesto.  Add cheese and turkey.  Now put butter on the outside and grill it on a hot griddle until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. (I like to put a lid over the top of the sandwich, it helps the cheese to melt).  Once it is all melty, remove from the griddle and add that fresh tomato!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Strawberry-Lime Cream Cake

The one (and ONLY) good thing about having another birthday is getting to make a cake and eat it too! Or in this case having my husband make my cake! I am seriously loving berries and citrus right now so when I saw this cake over at My Kitchen Cafe, I knew it was meant for me! We modified it a little bit. Here is the original and here is what we did...

Strawberry-Lime Cream Cake
(12 servings, or less if you are like me and need more for yourself!)

white cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 t vanilla
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.  Line the pans with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom and then grease the parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the buttermilk, butter and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.  Add egg whites and  beat for 2 more minutes.  Scraping the sides as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs on it.  Do NOT over bake, this will cause the cake to be dry.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen the sides with a butter knife and remove the cakes from the pans to cool completely.

Strawberry Syrup/puree
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
4 T sugar
1 t lemon juice
combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth

Lime Cream:
4 limes, for 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Zest and juice the limes into a medium bowl.  You should have about 1/2 cup of lime juice.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Add the whipping cream and beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble to the cake, cut each cake in half horizontally making 4 cake circles. Place one cake circle on a cake plat and top with 1/3 of the berry puree.  Next, put 1/4 of the lime cream over the berries, spreading to within 1/4 inch of the edges.  Place another cake circle on top and repeat until all the cake circles are used.  Top the cake with the remaining 1/4 of the lime cream and garnish with fresh strawberries and lime slices.  Chill the cake for 1-2 hours before serving to let the cake set up.
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