Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m on a cookie kick. It started last Sunday morning when I woke up to the sound of little girls shouting outside my window. “Girl scout cookies! Girl scout cookies! $4 a box!” It realllly made me want to start my day with a thin mint. But I have more self control than that. I held off until about noon, bought 4 boxes of cookies and then decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies. If you are ready to take your chocolate chip cookie to the next level, you need to add sea salt to the mix. Both in the dough and sprinkled on top  – sea salt delivers on flavor. In a big way. These cookies are also the perfect blend of crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Cookie nirvana. IMG_4353IMG_4352

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Heat oven to 360°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Beat in sea salt and baking soda until combined, then the flour on a low speed until just mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each mound with sea salt. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Let the cookies rest for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Snickerdoodles

I never got on the snickerdoodle bandwagon. Once I learned that the cookies had no actual Snickers in them, I wasn’t interested. Why would someone ever choose a sugar cookie with a little cinnamon on top over a chocolate chip cookie? And furthermore, why hasn’t anyone baked a cookie with actual Snicker bits in it? I’ve got to get on that. I decided to be an equal opportunity cookie lover and baker and give snickerdoodles another shot. As I sampled a warm snickerdoodle straight our of the oven, I honestly felt like someone was giving me a warm hug. Delightful. Buttery. The perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar. I’m not saying it’s better than a chocolate chip cookie- that’s blasphemy. But, snickerdoodles, you won a place at my table and in my heart.

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Snickerdoodles

From Smitten Kitchen

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Form balls of dough with your hands and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

 

Popcorn Party Mix

Sure, you can open up a bag of store bought party mix, pour it into a bowl and serve it to your guests. Or, you can make your own customized, crunchy, savory party mix that people will devour. Just you and your TV on Sunday night for The Oscars? No problem. This bowl of deliciousness will keep you company during the show and happens to love a couture gown.

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Popcorn Party Mix

From Smitten Kitchen

3 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp popcorn kernels
1 cup peanuts
2 cups waffle pretzels
1 cup broken-up bagel chips
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp mustard powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Heat oven to 250°F.  Heat olive oil over high heat in a large pot and add in your popcorn kernels, cover with a lid.  Wait for all the popcorn to pop and when the popping begins to slow down, remove pot from heat and dump your popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Add in the nuts, pretzels, chips or crackers to the popcorn.

Place butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Melt the butter and keep cooking it, stirring occasionally until it begins to turn a golden brown.  Remove from heat, and whisk in worcestershire, sugar, spices and salt.

Pour butter mixture over popcorn mix and toss well until all the ingredients are coated. Spread out the popcorn mix on a large baking sheet or two if needed. Bake for 45 minutes. Let the mix cool completed before storing.

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Locked & Loaded Nachos

I like to think of myself as a nacho artisan. I’ve come a long way from my microwave nacho days where I would take a humble bag of tortilla chips, some taco sauce from a jar, shredded cheese and zap it in the microwave. Years later I took my nacho game to the next level by topping my nachos with fresh tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream, sliced green onions and black olives. Today, I am proud to say I have reached new heights in my nacho career. Game-winning, crowd-roaring heights – just in time for the Super Bowl! I present to you my Locked & Loaded Nachos. Tortilla chips (from Whole Foods…I told you I was not messing around) are topped with the finest and freshest ingredients on this earth. Black beans pureed with sauteed fresh garlic and red onion and then hit with little bit of lime juice. Fresh tomatoes diced to perfection and mixed with jalapenos, red onions, vinegar and cilantro. Guac. And the finishing touch – sliced jalapenos and radishes. Oh and artfully piped sour cream. Does anyone know a skilled nacho conservator by the way?

 

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Locked & Loaded Nachos

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Black beans

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Guac

  • 1 avocado
  • half a lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Chips and assembly

  • sturdy tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • sour cream

Heat olive oil over medium heat and add in red onion and garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes until the onion is soft. Transfer onion mixture to a food processor and add black beans, lime juice, and ¼ cup water. Season with salt and pepper and process until smooth.

Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro and vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine avocado, lime juice, salt, pepper and red onion. Mix until smooth.

Preheat oven to 425. On a sheet pan, lay out your tortilla chips and top with dollops of the bean mixture and shredded cheese. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with guac, pico de gallo, sliced jalapenos, radishes, and a drizzle of sour cream. Devour. They’re insane.

Banana Pancakes

Confession time. I seriously effed up a simple pancake recipe a couple weeks ago. I know, I know,  I am the flipping Fresh Princess – it’s shameful, really. The recipe was from a bloke named Jamie Oliver and had three simple ingredients – flour, milk, and an egg. And yet. They were flatter than a Bachelor contestant’s personality. Dense and flavorless. Bad pancakes are plain old sad. So what went wrong? Well, the recipe called for self-raising flour for one thing – what the heck is that? Apparently it’s a thing in the UK. Thanks to Google, I now know that “if you’re looking to replace selfraising flour in a UK recipe then you need to add 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to every cup of all-purpose flour.” I’m sticking with Ina next time, sorry Jamie. Or Mark Bittman. His Everyday Pancake recipe is just as simple and quick as Jamie’s recipe, but it has the secret ingredient… baking powder! Add whatever fruit you love, a drizz of maple syrup and your Sunday morning just went from flat to fluffy in no time.

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It doesn’t get any more all-American than a stack of pancakes against a giant calendar backdrop.

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Everyday Pancakes 

From The New York Times

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more butter for cooking
  • Fruit of choice, I like bananas (optional)

Mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add in your dry ingredients and melted butter to the egg and milk mixture and mix until combined. Batter will be pretty thick and lumpy. Add more milk if you want to thin it out a bit. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Melt some butter – about a teaspoon or two in your frying pan. Ladle in your batter and top with fruit if desired, cook for about 2-4 minutes a side until golden brown. Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven. Top with maple syrup and fresh banana slices.

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Behind the scenes.

 

Coconut Brown Butter Cookies

We’re getting closer and closer to that glorious time of the year when diet-monitoring is thrown out the window and calories are consumed with reckless abandon. They don’t call this ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ for nothing. So why not brown an ungodly amount of butter and mix it with sugar, white chocolate chips, sea salt and coconut flakes? These cookies are surprisingly light and crispy and they take on a delightful brown color in the oven. With these in tow at your next holiday bash, you are sure to be deemed ‘cookie goddess’ or ‘brown butter savant’ by your friends. And remember, there’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow  – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
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Browned butter kind of looks like a nice ale – avoid chugging it.

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Coconut Brown Butter Cookies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

 

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Sea salt

4 cups dried, unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. You want the butter to melt, foam for a bit and then it will suddenly turn a darker amber color. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour butter into a glass measuring cup. Add in two tablespoons of water. Chill browned butter in the freezer or fridge until solid.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrape chilled browned butter into a mixing bowl. Add both sugars and beat on medium speed for about a minute. Add egg and beat until combined. Scrape the bowl down and add in vanilla. Add flour a little bit at a time and then add in baking soda. Add coconut chips and white chocolate chips and mix to combine.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and arrange on your cookie sheet leaving a lot of room between each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack.

Blueberry Scones

Guys, I’m bored. I’ve lost my Sunday companion to books. Even the slightest noises – banging spoon loudly against bowl, talking on speakerphone or even discreetly vacuuming can prove to be disruptive to the student. So, I’m quietly trying to keep busy. I went to a spinning class this morning, whipped up eggs benedict, cleaned the sink and then hit a wall. It was only noon! That’s when blueberry scones popped into my brain. I went out to the store to get the ingredients, slaved away baking, aaaand it’s only 1:00 pm. Maybe I’ll hit the farmers market later for more inspiration (activity).

These scones are quite delicious and dare I say healthy? They’re made with whole wheat flour, just 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and some other questionably healthy ingredients…quiet down butter! They’re the perfect summer studying fuel. Antioxidant-rich blueberries (some even call them brain berries) and high-fiber whole wheat flour is just what the mind needs to ace that exam. Eat up, Oliver. This exam will be a piece of cake – or scone.

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Blueberry Scones

From Smitten Kitchen

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup blueberries
2/3 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (or packet) sugar in the raw

Heat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, mix flours, lemon zest, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cold butter and mix into the flour mixture until mixture resembles a course meal. Stir in blueberries, then milk, mixing until large clumps form. Knead dough a bit, but not too much.

Place dough on a floured board and shape into a 1-inch tall disc. Cut into 8 to 10 wedges. Place wedges on a large parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush the tops of each with the egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until scones are golden brown on top.

Apricot Galette

A galette is a rustic free form tart that can be either savory or sweet. She’s pie’s effortlessly chic cousin who jets off to Europe for the weekend. Is she as refined and put together as pie? No. Is she as sweet as pie? Not a chance (only 3 tablespoons of sugar in this whole recipe!). Is she a little flaky? Yes. But, in some ways her simplicity makes her more sophisticated. She’s rough around the edges and gives zero f***’s. Galette, ladies and gentlemen.

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Apricot Galette

From Food52

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick cold butter or margarine
1/4 cup ice water
12 apricots, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons sugar plus extra for the crust
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk or almond milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a pizza stone in the oven.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Using two forks, cut in the butter until the mixture becomes course in texture.  Slowly pour in the ice water, a little bit at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and form into a flat round disk. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the apricots in a bowl with the sugar and cornstarch.

Roll out your dough into a 12-inch diameter circle on a piece of parchment paper. Lay the fruit in the center of the dough arranging artfully. Fold the edges toward the center of the galette. Brush edges with milk and sprinkle the sugar on.

Place the galette on the pizza stone and bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let the galette cool on a rack before slicing.

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Spiced Turkey Burgers

I love when ingredients inspire a meal. Fluffy pitas caught my eye at the grocery store and in an effort to keep things somewhat healthy I grabbed some ground turkey too. Cinnamon, cumin, chopped garlic, and parsley (mint would have been perfect) lend a Greek flavor to the turkey burgers, which I grilled in my poorly ventilated apartment. “My coat smells like turkey,” Oliver said. Oh well, the sacrifices we make for grilled meat. I served the burgers with a quick pickled slaw, Israeli salad, and tehina. Sour pickles and roasted eggplant would have been good too.

photo 4photo 1 (1)photo 2photo 3Spiced Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and divide into four equal portions. Form patties. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill patties about 4 minutes on each side.

Crepes

When I think of crepes, I don’t think of lunching at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, instead I think of my Bat Mitzvah. That’s right, I had a crepe station at my Bat Mitzvah. No gauche chicken nugget bar or candy table — crepes. My classy roots run deep. Side note: my Bat Mitzvah was an elegant brunchtastic affair in a garden setting. Now back to the crepes. This recipe is surprisingly simple and easy to make — all you need is a nonstick frying pan and a spatula. I decided to go savory and threw in some herbs to the batter and sautéed mushrooms and onions to put inside. Crepes are a great brunch alternative to pancakes or omelets. These will have you saying, “holy crepe, these are good!” all weekend long.

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Crepes

From The New York Times Magazine

3 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

pinch of salt

handful of chopped herbs (parsley, dill, mint)

Beat eggs and whisk in remaining ingredients. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add a ladleful of batter to the pan, just enough to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges start to brown, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for about 10 seconds. Stack crepes on a plate and cover with a cloth towel to keep warm until serving.

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