Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chocolate chip perfection

I've been making chocolate chip cookies for the last two weeks. Seriously, I think I've made about five batches, each a different recipe; all in search of the perfect, chewy cookie. After two crispy batches, I turned to the only man I knew to turn to - Alton Brown. :) In his episode, Three Chips for Sister Marsha, AB discusses the different types of cookies: thin (crispy), puffy and what I wanted - the CHEWY!

Alton's recipe was really good and definitely pointed me in the right direction. But it still wasn't exactly what I wanted. So I turned to my Blogger and Facebook friends (special thanks to Frieda!). I got several comments and a few recipes. One of them (thanks, Morgan!) looked really close to what I wanted - except that it used less chocolate chips. So I adjusted that part. :) I took what I'd heard and learned, combined some recipes, and came up with this amazing cookie.

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips


Cream butter, shortening, and both sugars.

Add egg and vanilla. Beat till combined.

Sift flour, soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture in thirds, beating till combined after each addition.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop onto baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 7-9 minutes, until edges barely begin to brown. Let sit on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.

A few notes...this dough may seem a little dry. But trust me, it makes yummy cookies! Start with 2 cups of flour and add a little bit more at a time until the dough holds together well. Bread flour contains more gluten. Gluten = chewiness. If all you have is all-purpose flour, that's ok. The cookies will still be good. If you happen to have all purpose flour and some wheat gluten...add a couple of teaspoons of gluten to the flour mix.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ranch Chicken & Bacon Pasta Salad

Holy cow, yumminess. I made this last night for our ward Christmas party at church - first time making it. I almost didn't need to clean the bowl, it had been scraped so empty! :) So apparently I wasn't the only one who thought it was wonderful!! Not to brag on my cooking - I'm not the one that came up with the recipe. I found it on one of my new favorite food blogs; she has tons of yummy recipes! You should definitely try this one out!!


1 c. mayonnaise (I used light)
1 c. Ranch salad dressing
2 c. frozen sweet peas, thawed and drained (You could use other veggies, but the peas were good!)
1/2 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cubed/shredded (I cook mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder
1/2 lb. diced and cooked bacon
1 lb. pasta of your choice, cooked and rinsed with cold water
1 c. shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella and Swiss)
Salt and pepper, to taste


Combine the mayo and Ranch. Pour over the other ingredients and stir to combine.

I say refrigerate it for a few hours before serving to let the flavors blend. Mmmmm.....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Chow Mein

I found this recipe in one of my Parents magazines a few months back. They had an article on what famous, international chefs fed their kids; this recipe was from Ming Tsai. As with anything I cook, I never follow recipes exactly. So here's my version. :)


1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pkg chow mein noodles (found in Asian aisle at Wal-Mart)
Canola oil
1 Tbsp. chopped ginger (I use 1 1/2 Tbsp pre-chopped, bottled ginger/garlic mix)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions/green onions, sliced 1/8-in thick, white and green parts separated
3 cups packed spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste


Mix cornstarch and soy sauce in a bowl. Add chicken; marinate for 5 minutes.

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cold water after draining. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil on high in a large pan. Stir-fry chicken until almost cooked through, about 6 minutes; remove. Add 1/2 Tbsp. more oil to pan; stir-fry ginger, scallion whites, and garlic until oil is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the noodles, chicken, and spinach and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. (If it starts to look a little dry, add a bit more oil).

Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallion greens if desired.