Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

I went to a Christmas Cookie Exchange the other day that my friend and boss Brook, held with her friend Hillary. It was such a fun event! I especially loved the 2 boxes of cookies we took home to have at the house. I think I had a cookie for breakfast for about a week!

These are the Dream Dinner Girls! Brook, Jane, me and Krista! We all love to cook so this was particularly fun for us!
 Brook is so creative! She sewed these bird ornaments as favors for each guest.
 The cookies!! Yum!

I am not a baker. One because Jeffrey will not eat sweets, two because I do not have the space to bake in my kitchen and three because something bad usually happens when I bake! I decided to go with a cookie that I had made before. It wasn't very "Christmasy" but at least I knew it tasted good. I made these in September when I went to help my mom on a catering job. Of course I didn't read the instructions until the day before the party and I had forgotten that you are supposed to let the dough chill for 24-36 hours before baking. I just let them chill overnight and I guess they turned out right. I cut this recipe in half because it makes a lot of cookies. It already had weird measurements, so now it has even weirder measurements. Sorry to make it difficult!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup minus 1 Tb cake flour
1/2 plus 1/3 cup of bread flour
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp course Kosher salt
1 1/4 stick of butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tb of brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tb sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (1 bar)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (1/2 bar)
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
course kosher salt for sprinkling
Use a grater or potato peeler to grate the unsweetened chocolate. This part takes forever, but it makes the cookies really pretty.
I swear this is only 1/2 a bar of chocolate. It expands!
Jeffrey was helping me take photos that night. Here is a photo I thought I would post to show you how small my kitchen is. I can't remember why that chair was there, but it is backed up to the oven. I really think I would enjoy baking more if I had a bigger space to spread out!
Chop the semi-sweet chocolate bar into chunks.
Sift together flours, salt, baking powder and soda.
Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy.
Beat egg into the batter.
Add vanilla.
Slowly stir flours into batter until just blended.

Use a spoon to fold chocolate into batter.

Spray Saran wrap with some Pam and wrap the cookie dough. Refrigerate 24-36 hours. I didn't have 24 hours so I only chilled it overnight.
Remove the chilled dough and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I use a mini scooper that is 1 Tb to form the dough into balls.
Place on cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle each cookie with kosher salt. I know it seems weird, but it really gives an extra punch that makes these cookies really yummy!

Bake for 10-12 minutes.
This recipe made 35 small cookies. You could make them bigger if you like. 
Merry Christmas everyone! We are in Odessa enjoying my family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peek-a-Boo Eggs

She is here! Baby Sarah came Sunday morning at 8:00. She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and is the most precious little thing! I was sooo excited that she came before I left. I called Meg today because I just couldn't wait to get over there. They brought her home this afternoon and I went over to bring her a crown. Sarah means princess so she needed her first crown!
 Papa Will is in love with his little girl! So adorable!
 Megan is doing very well. God blessed her with an easy birth and a perfect child, what more could a mother ask for!

 Yeah! Sarah and I will have many play dates to come.

I thought this blog post fit perfectly after seeing the new Lewis family....
I credit my mom with most of my cooking skills, especially my recipes! But, some of my favorite childhood memories are cooking breakfast with my dad. Many Saturdays started with my dad, brother and I cooking breakfast. We would stand on a chair and actually do the cooking! I think this is why my brother and I love to cook so much. We were introduced very young! We used to make homemade hash browns and sometimes green scrambled eggs, like from Dr. Seuss. Peek-a-Boo eggs were also a big hit. I love them and have started making them for Jeffrey. Can you believe he had never heard of them!

Peek-a-Boo Eggs

1 egg
1 slice of bread
cooking spray
salt and pepper
optional: jam

Use a cup with a smaller hole (or a small circle cooking cutter) to cut a hole out of the center of the bread.
(sorry I was planning to take more pictures the next time I made this, but I didn't get around to it...)
Butter both sides of the bread and the hole of of the bread.
Melt about 1 Tb of butter in the bottom of a skillet. If you have a non-stick skillet, this is the time to use it. If not you may also want to use some PAM to keep the eggs from sticking.
Place the bread in the skillet, two pieces were actually too big for my skillet, but if you want to try it go ahead.
Crack the egg in the center of the bread.
Cook for a minute or two on medium.

Carefully flip the bread. If you do not have a non-stick skillet, lift the bread and spray the pan with PAM again before flipping it.
Cook for another minute and move to a plate.
Season with salt and pepper. Then spread your favorite jam thinly on the bread around the egg. I know it sounds weird, but it tastes really good all together! I think I know what I am making for breakfast in the morning!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade Chicken Broth

I have been to many fun Christmas activities this past week. That is why I have had little time for blogging. Last year Jeffrey and I went to a Christmas concert that was put on by the church that hosts my Bible Study Fellowship class in Pasadena. It was so good that I have been looking forward to it for a whole year. Of course the 3Bs wanted to go too, so we planned an evening with our husbands to go with us to the concert. One by one the boys dropped out, so I told Jeffrey he didn't have to go either and we made it a 3Bs girls night, sooo much better! The concert was great, then we went to an amazing restaurant called La Grande Orange. I will have to make their famous Brussel Sprout Salad for the blog, it is incredible. We had a blast as usual! That was the last night with just 3 Bs, next girls night will include sweet baby Sarah! Megan is due very soon, I can't wait!

After pulling the meat from the Rotisserie Chicken and using it to make Holiday Leftover Handpies, I decided to use the bones to make my first batch of Homemade Chicken Broth. It is a long slow process, but without much work. I used the broth to make my favorite Italian Mushroom Soup and it was sooo much better! I am going to need to make this again to use in my next batch of soup. 

Homemade Chicken Broth
bones from a whole small chicken 
1/2 onion
3 celery stalks
1 carrot
2 garlic cloves
2 sprigs parsley
1 tsp black peppercorns
small bunch basil
2 tsp dried Thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

Chop celery, carrots and onion into large chunks.
 Stir together all ingredients in a stock pot.
 Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat covered, for 2 1/2 hours.
 Use a cheese cloth over a collander and strain into a bowl.
 Slowly strain all the broth.

 Refrigerate for several hours then use a spoon to skim the fat from the top.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hand pies made from holiday leftovers

One week until we are headed home! I am so excited to see my family! 

This recipe is great for holiday leftovers, or if you make a roasted chicken and mashed potatoes for some reason... I didn't have leftovers, I made it from scratch and it was well worth it! SOOO Yummy!

Holiday Leftover Handpies

1/2 cup chopped chicken or turkey (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup green beans
1/2 carrot, grated
1 Tb chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning (I used Montreal chicken seasoning)
1/8 tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg
pie crust
sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Make mashed potatoes or buy premade mashed potatoes. I have heard that Trader Joe's brand is very good...not surprising!
Shred carrot, chop parsley and rosemary.
I used frozen green beans. Chop or break apart into smaller pieces. Then microwave if frozen.
stir together first 10 ingredients
yummy mashed potatoes!
Stir mashed potatoes into mix.

Unroll pie crusts and use a rolling pin to flatten it out
Use a bowl to cut out 4 circles of pie crust. This bowl ended up being too big. I used a smaller bowl for the rest of the pies.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture onto each circle, fold in half and press edges together to close pie.
Repeat with the other pie crust (now you will have 8).
I used the remaining pie crust pieces and rolled them back out to make at least 2 more circles.
Put pies on baking sheet. 
Beat egg and brush over each crust.
Sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on each pie. 
Bake at 400 for 15-18 mins.
They are very yummy as leftovers too!