My Favorite Cookie

Growing up my dad referred to me as the cookie monster. I LOVE cookies, specifically chocolate chip cookies. I have made every single version of chocolate chip cookie you could imagine – the Toll House Recipe, Mrs. Fields’ alleged recipe, countless recipes from blog posts, the Food Network and of course the infamous $250 Neiman Marcus recipe. They are all good, but there is always something missing – maybe a little more brown sugar, less flour, more eggs, no oats and so on.

One day I Binged the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe and clicked on the link to Neiman Marcus and I stumbled upon their cookie recipe, but it was not the one that is the legendary myth. This recipe had much more brown sugar and less oats. OMG, these are SOOOOOOOO good! I never, ever will look for another chocolate chip recipe again. Seriously, these are the best!

I have altered the recipe slightly from the original version by changing the cooking time and omitting the espresso powder. If you love chocolate chip cookies, you must try this recipe. Here it is:

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 T. sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.

3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart and roll into a uniform ball. Bake for 9 minutes. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

One Way I Plan To Be More Organized In 2010 – Weekly Meal Plans…

So I hope that this resolution will stick. I have been sick as a dog and stuck in bed, so I was able to get a jump start on this resolution by perusing some old issues of Cooks Illustrated as well as log many hours of Food Network time. So, here it is below. I must say that not only does it sound great, but when I went to the grocery store this afternoon, my bill was just over $50. Now, $50 for me, is amazing! Generally I can’t walk into a grocery store without leaving with at least $100 of loot, so this just might be an economical resolution as well…Bravern here I come! For those of you not in the Seattle area, the Bravern is an amazing new shopping establishment complete with a Neiman Marcus, Sur La Table, Louis Vuitton and Anthropologie.

OK, so enough with the rambling, here is the weeks menu:

Tuesday, December 29th: Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
Wednesday, December 30th: Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Red Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Thursday, December 31st: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We are partying with friends tonight!
Friday, January 1st: Black Bean and Chorizo Enfrijoladas
Saturday, January 2nd: Prawn Gratin with Angel Hair Pasta
Sunday, January 3rd: Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Orzo and Green Beans

So, last night I made the Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken. It was good, however in my case I used fresh, Chinese noodles I found in my produce section and the texture was mushy. Next time I will stick with regular spaghetti noodles as I think they will hold their shape better. Other than that, I would definitely make this again. It is an easy one dish meal, very easy to prepare and has a decent amount of vegetables.

Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
(Please note that this recipe is made to be enough for two people. If you want to make it for more, I would double it.)

Ingredients

Sauce
2 ½ T. soy sauce
1 t. sesame seeds
2 T. peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. light brown sugar
1 ½ t. grated, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
½ t. hot sauce
Hot water

Noodles
1 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/3 lb. dried spaghetti
1 T. toasted sesame oil
½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, grated
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 T. chopped, fresh cilantro

1. Blend all Sauce ingredients until smooth. Add hot water 1 T. at a time until the sauce has the consistence of heavy cream. (I used 2 T. of water for this.)
2. Cook noodles according to package directions
3. When noodles are cooked, transfer to a bowl and toss with sesame oil.
4. Add bell pepper, carrot, scallions, chicken and sauce to the pasta and toss.
5. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!

The Easiest Cookie You Will Ever Make…

I love making cookies and there is no recipe I won’t try. From biscottis to linzer cookies, I have tried and made them all. I have to say that when I saw a recipe for cake mix cookies, I was skeptical but I decided to give them a try and my oh my am I glad I did! With a slight crunch on the outside and a soft, chewy inside, these were delicious and can be made in numerous ways by changing up the cake mix flavor and the candy you decide to put in there. I used M&M’s in my last batch, but next time I just might try some Heath bits or Snickers. Sounds so good, I will have to blog about that later. 🙂

Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, M&M’s or other delicious treat

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, butter and eggs until smooth and well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
3.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

The Love Season

I have been somewhat of an insomniac for years. I am not sure why, but about once every 2-3 months I have a 3-4 night range where I can’t get more than 2 hours of sleep per night. Needless to say it is torturous, but I am able to weather this storm with some good books and during my latest bout, I came by some books by an amazing author, Elin Hilderbrandt.

I love Elin’s books for so many reasons. First, they are what I would categorize as chick-lit, and I LOVE chick-lit. Second, as it turns out, one of the authors favorite past times is cooking, so her books almost always have a surrounding or underlying theme of food. And finally, Elin has a family, so many of her books surround marriage and family issues, both of which I can definitely relate to.

The most recent book I have read from Elin was entitled, “The Love Season.” This is the story of Renata Knox, a 19 year old, newly engaged, college student, who is going to Nantucket to meet her wealthy fiancés parents for the first time. Renata goes to Nantucket with the intention of also visiting her estranged Godmother, Marguerite. Renata, whose mother, Candace died when she was only four years old, has never been allowed to visit her Godmother, who was also her mother’s very best friend. Once a renowned restaurateur, Marguerite sells her award winning restaurant after the death of Candace’s mother and becomes a recluse.

Against Renata’s father wishes, Renata calls her godmother with the intention of finding out the mystery behind her mother’s death and to have many more of Renata’s questions answered. The book spans two days when Renata is visiting the island and includes flashbacks from Marguerite’s past.

I had so much fun reading this book and was mesmerized by the story and by the way the author can so speak about food in such an illustrious manner. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.