Thursday, August 29, 2013

Biscoff No Bake Cookies

Yeah. We're on a cookie kick here.

In fact, I've now dedicated a whole Pinterest board to 'Cookies and Bars'.

Pretty big commitment for someone who's a fail whale when it comes to baking cookies.

But it's okay! I'm an awesome possum at no bake cookies, and now, I have another variety of oatmeally yumminess to add to my repertoire.

Biscoff. No bake. Cookies. Excuse me while I weep with joy.

Have you had Biscoff Spread? Think peanut butter, but made with cookies. 

And the tears of angels.

It's delicious smeared on apple slices. It's delicious on a spoon. It's delicious morning, night, and noon.

Sorry. I've had a lot of coffee today.

So, enough with the weird rhymes and onto the recipe!

Biscoff No Bake Cookies
adapted from Shugary Sweets/Cooking Classy
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats 
1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat, melt together butter, sugars, milk, salt and cinnamon, stirring frequently.

2. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to boil untouched for 45 seconds.

3. Whisk in Biscoff and vanilla, then remove the pan from the heat.

4. Fold in oats, stirring gently but quickly until fully coated.

5. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper and allow to cool thoroughly before enjoying.(Trust me- you'll want to allow the oats time to soften and take on all of that yummy sugary flavor.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've finally found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love.

More importantly...I can actually make these.

See, when it comes to baking, cookies are my nemesis. They never turn quite right... too crunchy,  too bland, too under-baked...never a success.

This recipe restored my faith in baking cookies.  If I ever become a mother,  my children will know the joy of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies bake up big,  with a crunchy exterior and a chewy middle, and bonus! the recipe uses melted butter instead of softened butter,  so for those of us who rarely plan ahead (aka me) this truly is the perfect cookie recipe.

Give it a try!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8¾ ounces)
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a  stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Pour the browned butter to a large bowl and stir the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted.

3. While the butter cools slightly, whisk together flour and baking soda in a separate bowl.

4. To the butter, add sugars, salt, and vanilla and whisk until fully combined. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds.

5. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.

6. Gently stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Scoop the dough into 8 even portions (balls should be about 3 tablespoons each) and arrange them 2 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. (You'll have enough for 16 cookies/2 baking sheets)

6. Bake one sheet at a time, until the cookies are golden brown but still puffy, and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Place the baking sheet onto a wire rack and allow cookies to set 5-10 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Store in an airtight container to preserve the crunchy, chewy, chocolately, toffee goodness.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dishwasher-proof Sharpie Mugs

I had pinned the Sharpie mug project on Pinterest some time ago, but I never wanted to try it after reading so many stories of disappointment.

The Sharpie would wash off in the dishwasher.

The Sharpie would wash off from a hand-rinse.

The Sharpie would wash off if it was looked at the wrong way.

Well. Maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. 

But then I found an 8 pack of metallic Sharpies on clearance for pocket change, and I knew that I had to find a way to make the Sharpie stay!

Teheh. I made a rhyme. 

Moving on....

Here's what you do!

Step One:
 Ignore my very dirty oven.

Step Two:
 Gather your supplies: a plain mug (cleaned, and perhaps given a wipe down with rubbing alcohol),  Sharpies in the color of choice, and a steady hand. (I missed that    last one, as you can tell from my  wonky lines....)

Step Three:
 Draw your design! There are endless possibilities here. Get creative!

Step Four:
 Place mugs in oven, and then turn your oven to 425 degrees and set a timer for 1/2 an hour. When  time is up, turn your oven off but keep the mugs inside until completely cooled.

Step Five:
 Allow mugs to sit for a day before washing.

Viola! Sharpie mugs with staying power!

I have the most wobbly hand in the world. Sigh....


Thursday, August 8, 2013

The World's Most Moist Roast Chicken with the Crispiest Skin

I wish there was more to say about this chicken other than the following:
"Oh lordy."
"Oh wow."
"Give me more now."
"Why is the chicken gone already?"
"Make another."
But this is a straight-forward roast chicken that doesn't need all of the regular culinary description fluff. The flavor is pure, the meat is moist, the skin is potato chip crisp.
No 'elements of rosemary and notes of thyme'.
No 'subtle spice and just a hint of sweetness'.
Just damn good chicken flavor.
If you knew what this chicken tasted like, you would make it tonight.
You should make it tonight.
Though...if your oven is dirty, it might smoke up your house something awful, but that just means you can disarm your smoke detectors and enjoy drinks out on the patio while dinner is in the oven!
Simple Roast Chicken - by Barbara Kafka
Follow these directions precisely and, as my sister would say, 'error on the side of caution with doneness'. To cut down on the smokiness, I like to cover the bottom of the baking dish with sliced red potatoes. The juices and fat from the chicken, couples with a generous sprinkle of salt and black pepper, make for some delicious potatoes. They'll get rather soft, so scrape them all into a bowl and mash lightly for a side dish of rustic smashed potatoes!
5- to 6-pound chicken at room temperature, wing tips removed
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1. Place rack on second level from bottom of oven. Heat oven to 500°F (or for convection, reduce to 450°F).
    2. Remove the fat from the tail and crop end of the chicken.                
    3. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon, garlic, and butter, if using. Season the cavity and skin with salt and pepper.
    4. Place the chicken in a 12 x 8 x 1 1/2-inch roasting pan breast side up. Put in the oven legs first and roast 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear. After the first 10 minutes, move the chicken with a wooden spoon or spatula to keep it from sticking.
    5. Remove the chicken to a platter by placing a large wooden spoon into the tail end and balancing the chicken with a kitchen spoon pressed against the crop end. As you lift the chicken, carefully tilt it over the roasting pan so that all the juices run out and into the pan.
    Optional: Pour off or spoon out excess fat from the roasting pan and put the roasting pan on top of the stove. Add one cup stock or other liquid and bring the contents of the pan to a boil, while scraping the bottom vigorously with a wooden spoon. Let reduce by half. Serve the sauce over the chicken or, for crisp skin, in a sauceboat.