Archive for December, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cookies with White Chips

I love any excuse to bake cookies and the holidays are the perfect excuse.  I’m trying not to go overboard this year. Rugelach and ginger cookies are already sitting in my freezer.  So I decided to bake a rich chocolate cookie.

In the past I’ve made a wonderful rich chocolate chip cookie that is labor intensive and kind of messy.  I’m really not up to all that work so I came up with a simpler version with all of the richness.  I’ve also decided to change it a little by adding white chocolate chips.  For the chocolate I used Ghirardelli brand.

This recipe took no time at all to put together.  And the hour the dough sat in the refrigerator gave me time to work on other tasks. The most difficult part of this recipe is not eating the raw dough which is delicious!

 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces 60 % cocoa chocolate chips (or bittersweet)
  • 11 1/2 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (or vanilla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter (or melt in the microwave)

In large bowl whisk eggs, rum, cinnamon, and sugar until thick; stir into melted chocolate mixture a little at a time so the eggs don’t scramble

Stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Mix in white chocolate chips and walnuts.

Cover bowl and refrigerate from 1-3 hours.  Take out of the fridge and drop by heaping teaspoons onto a baking sheet

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 10-12 minutes until there is a shiny top but still seems soft in the middle

~enjoy~

Advertisements

Fresh Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies & Tea

Those of you who follow my Facebook page know that I have been in search of candied ginger.  nearly as easy to find as I thought.  Plenty of candied fruit for those awful fruitcakes but no ginger.  It’s ridiculous, but it got me thinking.  Since I’m a true lover of fresh ginger, there’s no reason to purchase a processed candied version to make some good cookies.  I’m flexible so I searched for a good fresh ginger cookie recipe and then tweaked it to my ownl taste.

As for ginger tea, it’s the simplest thing to make.  Boil up some water, add a 1/2 inch slice of fresh ginger and some honey or agave nectar.  It’s so easy and delicious, and your house smells lovely!  I try to drink this tea often because of ginger’s health benefits.  I use it for its anti-inflammatory proponents but it’s also great for gastrointestinal issues and protects against certain cancers.

I actually have a Zingiber Zerumbet  plant also known as Shampoo Ginger growing in my backyard.  It’s pretty much a long stalk with large leaves growing out of each side.  The picture seen is not of my own since our last cold front hurt it and it’s not too pretty.  I’ll be bringing it inside today before the next cold spell which is due in a couple of days.  As it get’s larger it’s supposed to grow cones that produce a milky liquid that is used in some regions as a shampoo.  The liquid itself is also known for its health benefits.

On to my cookies, they are a little time-consuming because they have to be refrigerated for an hour before baking.  However, it is a simple recipe which can be adjusted for personal tastes.  Personally, I don’t care for spices such as cloves or powered nutmeg so I kept this a basic ginger cookie.  Feel free to add more spice if desired.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar or a combination of both (I combined)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Beat ginger, butter, vanilla and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in honey/agave and egg mix well.
  3. Gently fold in flour mixture until just combined, add chocolate chips. Chill for 1 hour
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  5. Roll dough into 1  inch balls
  6. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
  7. Bake until edges start to brown and the centers are soft, 10-12 minutes
  8. Let stand on cookie sheets 1 minute and remove to racks to cool
  9. Dust with confection sugar

~enjoy~

Traditional Potato Latkes

I can’t believe it’s the fifth night of Hanukkah and the first time I’ve made potato latkes this holiday!  Sadly, the whole family wasn’t together but we had an enjoyable time.  Last year I veered from the traditional recipe and went with Southwest Sweet Potato Latke’s.  This year I stuck with a very traditional recipe.  I got it from http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm.  I really like this site, they’ve got some really great info that’s quite comprehensive.

I give my ancestors a lot of credit.  Making latkes before the invention of a food processor must have been an incredible task.  Hand grating several pounds of potatoes is a lot of work.  My mother remembers her grandmother standing in front of the oven frying up fresh batches of latkes while the family enjoyed them.  We always wanted my mom at the table with us so she would pre-cook them and keep them warm in the oven.  Not quite as good of a taste but a better family experience.

With my guilt I did not even invite my parents over. Up until the last-minute I wasn’t even sure if anyone would be home to bother cooking them.  I also wasn’t sure what time we would eat.  With that said, Mom if you’re reading this, sorry!  Also, Ariel if you’re reading this, there’s some leftover’s in the fridge for you and Geoff.  Stop by and grab them!  For my non-Jewish readers (most of you) this me living the phenomenon known as Jewish Guilt!

In my house we celebrate everything.  While deciding this was latke night we were also contemplating our Christmas dinner.  One holiday just flows into another.  When the kids were little there was plenty of gifts to go around.  Many were practical items such as pj’s or toiletries but always fun to have something to open.  This year everyone is grown and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to buy.  My parents, husband and I have decided no gifts.  I’m so happy with this as I am trying to minimize and get rid of stuff.  At the same time I am trying to recognize what I truly need and stick to purchasing with care.

For my kids, I would like some fun relaxing shopping trips where they can pick what they want/need and hopefully we will simply enjoy the time spent together.  In the past I have taken the items bought together, hid them (sort of) and wrapped them for either a Hanukkah or Christmas gift.  If I was lucky the forgot I bought it and were excited for something they barely remembered, or they feigned surprise which was just ridiculous.  I’m hoping the new tradition of just hanging out together and having a fun shopping trip works out well.  It’s much less work and stress for me and the kids don’t have to wait for their gifts.  Ultimately, for a non religious person as myself, it’s all about time well spent together.

Since I haven’t deviated at all from the original recipe I am pretty much cutting and pasting right from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday7.htm, video and all.

Makes approximately 12 palm-sized latkes

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzah meal (flour or bread crumbs can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each salt and black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • vegetable oil
Watch in full size on YouTube

Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid to avoid stringy fly-aways). Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on how well you drained the veggies). Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well. (don’t taste the batter — it’s really gross!). Don’t worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Flip when the bottom is golden brown.

Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce. They reheat OK in a microwave, but not in an oven unless you cook them just right.

Me again, personally I only reheat in the oven, I don’t like them microwaved at all!!

~enjoy~