Sunday, May 30, 2010

"The Chewy" (Chocolate Chip Cookies)

From Alton Brown.

Prep: 15 minutes + chilling / Cook: 10-15 minutes
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

These cookies are thick, dense, and chewy with lots of chocolate chips.
8 oz. unsalted butter
12 oz. bread flour (~2 1/4 cups)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 oz. granulated sugar (~1/4 cup)
8 oz. light brown sugar (~1 1/4 cups)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs. whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. chocolate chips (~2 cups)

Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, then set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda onto a paper plate.

Pour the butter into your stand mixer's work bowl.  Add the sugars and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract in a measuring cup.  Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using the paper plate as a slide, gradually integrate the dry team, stopping a couple times to scrape down the side of the bowl.  Once the flour is worked in, drop the speed to "stir" and add the chocolate chips.  Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 375 F and place racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions onto parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, 6 cookies per sheet.  Bake two sheets at a time for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack, and wait at least 5 minutes before devouring.

- AB says, "Great bakers weigh their ingredients."  Apparently I'm not a great baker--I looked up his recipe on the Food Network website in addition to reading it out of my Good Eats cookbook and found volumetric measurements.  Those are included in parentheses.  To be honest, I've had better results using the volumetric measurements than when I weigh them.
- I tend to use use semisweet chips and dark brown sugar because I like them better.
- What to do with the unused egg white?  Freeze it in a storage container for use in a recipe that uses more whites than eggs, such as the Hot Chocolate Souffle.
- To tell you the truth, I'm not too particular about using a 2-quart saucepan or sifting onto a paper plate.  I "sift" my ingredients into a bowl by measuring them into a fine mesh strainer and tapping it with my hand.  It gets the job done, though the kosher salt stays behind and just gets dumped in.
- I sort of guess on the size of the cookie scoops.  I've figured out that it's bigger than a cookie scoop and smaller than an ice cream scoop.  (I have the Oneida ones with the hook arm inside.)
- Parchment paper is one of the most wonderful things in the world.  I've always loved it.
- The original recipe says to cook for 15 minutes, but I've found that the cookies get overdone.  Rotate at 5 or 6 minutes (also switching which pan is on the top rack) and keep an eye on them starting at 10 minutes.  Take the cookies out when the edges are just golden.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie

From the Bisquick box.

Prep: 10 minutes. / Cook: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

We recently tried this as a last-minute dinner when I didn't feel like eating (or making) any of the other options.  It's super easy.  I liked it--Matt said it's okay in a pinch.  With the addition of ketchup, mustard, and chopped dill pickles, I thought it tasted very similar to a cheeseburger.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Topping suggestions: ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes

Cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain.  Stir in salt.  Spread in 9" pie plate sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with cheese.

Whisk Bisquick, milk, and eggs in medium bowl until blended.  Pour into pie plate.

Bake 25 minutes at 400 F or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

- I used 80/20 ground beef and half a large onion, which was a cup (I don't know what their idea of large is, but it must not be very big.)
- I think it could use more cheese.
- Without any toppings, a serving ends up being about 315 calories (not subtracting the fat that was drained off).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Sis. Hammond.

Yield: about 4 1/2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter and margarine in microwave for 40 seconds.

Add sugars, eggs, vanilla, salt, band baking soda.  Mix well.

Add flour.  Mix well.  Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips.

Drop into mounds on a parchment-covered cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool on pan for 10 minutes and transfer to cooling racks.

- The original recipe called for 1 cup chocolate chips.
- Added the bit about the parchment.  I use parchment paper for all my cookies--forget greasing and washing cookie sheets!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ranch Chicken

From Bridget Welch.

Yield: 4-5 servings.

My sister-in-law gave me this recipe, and it is so delicious!  To make things even better, it's super easy.
1 lb. chicken
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix

Place chicken in a crock pot.  Mix cream cheese, soup, milk, and Ranch seasoning.  Pour over chicken.

Cook on high for 1 hour and low for 4 more.  (Or cook on low for 6 hours.)

Serve with rice.

- Really, the recipe just calls for "chicken," and so I used four breast halves.  I'm guessing that's about a pound.
- You may need to adjust the cooking time, depending on if you chicken is frozen or thawed.  Mine was semi-thawed, and four hours was just about perfect.
- I only cooked my chicken for 4 hours on low, and it was perfect.  But I have a rather finicky crock pot that seems to cook things faster than recipes typically call for.
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