Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dad's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe {after trying several} in the book "The search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie". I think it's a great thick, soft cookie. I love the different chips. I have listed the ingredients in the order they need to be added. There are certain recipes, mostly in baking, you will find that I am a extremely particular in how they are to be made. I have tried to explain why they must be done that way, so that you achieve the best possible result. Always, make sure you use BUTTER and REAL vanilla extract, it makes all the difference in the world!

Makes about 8 1/2 dozen cookies.

2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 c. flour
3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 c. milk chocolate chips
2 c. chopped pecans {optional}

Cream butter, sugars, baking soda & salt until fluffy and butter is completely incorporated {no chunks}. Do not overmix - doing so at this point will make your cookies flat!
Add eggs & vanilla. Add flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Once again do not overmix - doing so at this point will make your cookies tough.
Add chips and nuts. Using a cookie scoop, make balls and gently flatten somewhat on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Bake until slightly brown around the edges and it looks "set".

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hawaiian Haystacks

Here's a classic dish, but the sauce is a bit richer than usual. I call it the "fancy" style! A definite favorite in our house.

4 c. cooked, diced chicken
2 c. cream of chicken soup
1 soup can full of milk
16 oz. sour cream
1 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. celery salt
1 Tbsp. onion powder

Heat mixture through on medium low heat. Serve over white rice.

Top as desired:
Cheddar Cheese
Sliced almonds
Chinese noodles
Green onions
Black olives
Green bell pepper

Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is one that has been requested to post. It's a good one!

Note: the recipe calls for egg noodles. You can certainly purchase them, I like to make my own - which are simple but take a little more time (maybe 15-20 minutes). I use the recipe for egg noodles out of the Betty Crocker cookbook, and mix it on the Kitchenaid.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Parsley

12 oz. egg noodles
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
1 lb. white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream
4 cups cubed chicken
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

For the topping: Mix melted butter, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and parsley together in a bowl.

For the filling: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 Tbsp. salt and noodles, and cook until nearly tender. Drain and set aside in colander.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat in your now-empty, large pot. Add onion and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and cook until mushrooms begin to brown, about 7 minutes.

Stir in remaining 4 Tbsp. butter until melted. Add flour and stir until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in broth and sour cream, and cook - not letting mixture boil, until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in chicken, noodles, parsley, thyme, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer mixture to a 3 quart baking dish. Top with bread-crumb mixture and bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Super Soft Pretzels

This recipe is a version like "Auntie Anne's Pretzels" you see in the mall. Whether or not they taste like them, they are delicious! A hit every time I make them!

Makes 12 pretzels

1 3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
5 2/3 c. All-purpose flour
1 1/3 c. powdered sugar
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 cups warm water
1/2 c. baking soda

Cinnamon Sugar:
1 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon

or Pretzel Salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let is sit for a few minutes.

In the Kitchenaid, with a paddle, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Switch to a dough hook and add water with yeast and vegetable oil. Mix for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Dough will be nice and smooth when done. Place dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until double in size.

When dough has risen, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Make a bath for the pretzels by combining 4 cups warm water with the baking soda. Stir until soda is mostly dissolved.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 12 even portions. Roll each portion on a flat, non-floured surface until it is about 2 1/2 feet long. Pick up both ends of the dough and give it a little spin so the middle of the dough spins around once. Lay the dough down with the loop nearest to you. Fold the ends down toward you and pinch to attach them to the bottom of the loop. The twist should be in the middle.

Holding the pinched ends, dip each pretzel into the bath solution. Blot pretzel on a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Arrange pretzels on a baking sheet that is either lined with a Silpat mat, parchment paper, or sprayed with Pam. If you want salted pretzels sprinkle with Kosher or Pretzel salt.

Bake the pretzels for 4 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around, and cook for another 5 minutes.

For cinnamon sugar pretzels, immediately brush them with butter, and coat them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Beef Stroganoff

This is a favorite of mine, and has been since childhood. I love how quick and easy it is. This is my own recipe, adapted from one in "The Joy of Cooking".

3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups beef stock, heated to a simmer

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk constantly to prevent lumps for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add beef stock, whisking constantly. Set aside and keep warm.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Then add:

1 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs. beef tenderloin, top loin, or roundsteak - trim fat and cut into strips

Cook quickly, stirring and shaking the pan, until evenly browned, 1-2 minutes. When browned, you can remove the onion if you desire. I like to leave it in.

Add the broth mixture to the meat - heating it to a boil, and stir until thickened.

Add to meat mixture:
1/3 cup of sour cream
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

At this point I like to add a dash or two of heavy cream. I grew up having it served over white rice, therefore that is what I prefer. But it can be served over noodles as is traditional.