Monday, August 22, 2016

Bleeding Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my very favorite chocolate chip cookies!  I personally think they are the very best, and most delicious when eaten while they are still warm (or reheated in the oven for  few minutes).  I call them bleeding chocolate chip cookies because the proportion of chocolate to dough is amazing, and by using a good quality chocolate that pools when it melts instead of staying in "chip" form, the cookie if warm (as it should be) will "bleed" melty, glorious chocolate when the top of the cookie is gently pressed.  It's pretty much chocolatey amazing-ness!


Bleeding Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (220 grams-I always weigh my flour for this recipe)
8-ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut with a serrated knife into roughly 1/2-inch chunk
Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 360°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butters and sugars with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.  Add the baking soda and kosher salt and beat to combine.  With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. When the flour is halfway absorbed, add the chopped chocolate and mix until the remaining flour is incorporated.

Scoop dough into mounds (I use a big scoop, probably close to 1/4 cup dough).  Space the dough mounds evenly apart on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with flaky salt.  Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown, but still very gooey and soft inside.  Let the cookies cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring them to a cooking rack.

Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen and originally from Not Without Salt

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Almond-Crisped Peaches

It's peach season and we've been eating fresh peaches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Every year this happens and every year I look forward to it.  Allred Orchard's opens their fruit stand and boxes of Red Haven peaches (the first peach of the season) fill their store front and in turn fill my refrigerator.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved peach cobbler.  I remember my mom making peach cobbler when I was growing up and stealing a bite from the corner of the pan as it emerged from of the oven, bubbling and golden brown.  That bite would be so hot that I'd puff out my cheeks and quickly tilt my head from side to side to keep the burning hot peach from settling on my tongue and burning the daylights out of it. I remember my mom filling bowls with that steaming hot cobbler and topping it with a rather large spoonful of sweetened whipped cream that quickly melted into all the nooks and crannies of the cobbler.  It was so good and so comforting.

These almond-crisped peaches quickly brought back all those peach cobbler memories as I pulled the baking sheet from the oven and couldn't resist immediately topping the corner peach with lightly sweetened whipped cream and taking a bite that made me puff my cheeks and quickly tilt my head from side to side.  Oh man, it was so good and so comforting!


Almond-Crisped Peaches

4 ripe peaches, halved and pits removed
1/3 cup whole almonds
14 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oven to 350°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place fruit cut side up on baking sheet.  In a food processor, pulse almonds and sugar together until coarsely ground (with a few pebble sized pieces left).  Add cinnamon, salt, and butter, pulsing the food processor until the ingredients are just blended.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon into the center of each peach, then press the mixture flat, as if you were icing the tops of the peaches.  (If there is extra almond mixture just add a little more to the top of each peach.)

Bake for 45 minutes (baking time varies with peach size), or until the top is brown and crisp and you can slice through the peach with ease using a fork or spoon.

Serve warm with a large spoonful of lightly sweetened whipped cream.  (For breakfast the next morning I ate the leftover peaches with lightly sweetened plain yogurt.)

Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Friday, August 12, 2016

Kale Chopped Salad + Peaches (and a whole lot of other goodness)

Sisters are the best!  I am one of six girls (+ three brothers) so there definitely isn't a shortage of sisters in my family.  About a month ago I was lucky enough to have my sister Stephanie who lives in California come and visit.  She brought along her two boys while her husband stayed in California to work.  A week before she came I started planning out a few of my favorites (food of course) that I wanted to eat with her while she was here.  Cocoa crispy crunch, chocolate olive oil bread with ricotta & honey, black ice cream with salty sprinkles, homemade frozen yogurt, butter chicken and homemade pita, flatbread pizzas, and a few of my favorite kale salads quickly filled my list.  I was giddy with excitement both to see her and to feed her!

For lunch one afternoon, we filled white salad bowls with lightly dressed chopped kale, red onion, charred corn, fresh peaches, avocado, baby pea sprouts, feta cheese, and sweet and spicy sunflower seeds.  While we were eating, her "mmm's" confirmed that she loved this salad as much as I did.  It's so great having sisters who love and enjoy food as much as I do.



This is more of a list of ingredients that you can use in the amounts you want rather than an exact recipe.  The dressing will make more than enough for a couple of salads.  The dressing is also delicious with this salad. 

Kale Chopped Salad + Peaches

1 bunch lacinato kale, finely chopped
Charred corn, cut from 2 ears of corn
1/4 red onion, thinly shaved
Fresh peaches, diced
Avocado, sliced
Sprouts (broccoli, pea, or micro greens)
Feta Cheese

Sweet & spicy sunflower seeds

Dressing

4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon cream
Salt

To make the dressing, place vinegar, honey, and mustard in a small bowl.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified.  Whisk in cream and season with salt.

Sweet and Spicy Sunflower Seeds

3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and toast sunflower seeds until just fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the salt, cayenne, and brown sugar and toss them around until the sugar is hot enough to stick to the seeds, 8-10 minutes.  Place sunflower seeds on a piece of parchment paper and spread out in a single layer to cool.

Recipe slightly adapted from
Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Black Ice Cream and Salty Sprinkles

I love ice cream and the thing that makes me REALLY love ice cream is the toppings.  I love toppings!  On a scoop of vanilla my favorite is sliced bananas, hot fudge, roasted almonds, and lots and lots of salty sprinkles.  (Peaches in the summer comes in at a close second, but chocolate will always win first place in my book). 

If I know I'm going Baskin Robins, I'll bring a baggie of salty roasted almonds to put on my ice cream (don't worry, I don't bring hot fudge).  And along these same lines, I also bring a baggie of granola when I'm planning on eating an acai bowl because you can never have enough granola.  I know...I'm a nerd.

I first came across salty sprinkles near my last birthday.  I made myself a banana split for lunch and covered it in salty sprinkles.  (I think it should be a rule that everyone should eat a banana split for lunch on their birthday.) 

Salty sprinkles are a mixture of raw sugar, toasted sesame seeds, and vanilla flaky salt and I promise you they are addicting, like really addicting.  They take a bowl of ice cream to a new level and make ice cream sundaes crazy good!  (I may just start carrying a small container of them with me (along with my baggie of almonds) just in case I stop for ice cream.)

Oh and this black ice cream is amazing!  So, so, so good!  I love it so much that I've made it four times already.  Melissa of the Faux Martha out did herself with this recipe!


Black Ice Cream

3/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup black cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (Califia)
14-ounce coconut cream (not coconut milk)
1/4 cup Lyle’s golden syrup

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, black cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, and espresso powder until combined.  Slowly pour in the almond milk while whisking to combine.  Add coconut cream and gold syrup to the sauce pan and whisk to combine.

Over medium heat, bring mixture to a simmer.  Allow mixture to simmer for about 3 minutes, whisking continually.  Remove from heat and pour mixture into a high-powered blender.  Blend on high for 30 seconds. 

Let mixture cool to room temp and then refrigerate to cool completely, preferably overnight.

Freeze in your ice cream machine according to your manufacturer’s instructions.  Once churned place ice cream in freezer to completely set up.

Recipe slightly adapted from thefauxmartha

Salty Sprinkles

4 teaspoons flaky vanilla salt (I use seeds from 1 vanilla bean for every 4 teaspoons of Maldon salt and blend together with the tips of my fingers, taking care not to completely crush the flaky salty.)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Combine everything in a small bowl and mix to combine.  Store in a jar.

Recipe from Food 52

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Bread

I first stumbled upon Ashley Rodriquez's olive oil bread recipe last year, early fall.  I've made countless loaves and I have a hard time saying no to a slice (or two, or three).  Each bite of warm bread deserves a small chunk of cold butter in my opinion. 

Not long before Christmas, I made the mistake (the very delicious mistake) of adding chopped bittersweet chocolate to the dough and it was life changing (and belly expanding).  Preston and I ate a slice every morning for a week straight.  We would lightly toast it and then smear homemade ricotta drizzled with vanilla bean honey on each and every bite (the more the better).  Oh my!  It was perfection!  (We even shared a slice with the washing machine repair man who was fixing our washing machine a couple days before Christmas.  Ugh!)

This afternoon I started planning my mama's birthday breakfast because this Thursday is her birthday.  I'm always looking for an excuse to have my family and friends over to share a meal and a birthday is always a good excuse to gather those I love around my kitchen table.  Not long after I started making plans my mama sent a text to me with a birthday request for homemade ricotta cheese and just like that, dark chocolate olive oil bread (along with a side of the requested ricotta cheese) quickly made its way onto her birthday breakfast menu. 

Happy Birthday Mama!  May this coming year be filled with all kinds of wonderful!  I love you with all of my heart!


Homemade Olive Oil Bread

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, honey, and water.  Stir to combine and let rest for 5 minutes, or until yeast begins to foam.  Add the olive oil, flour, and salt and stir to combine into a shaggy ball.  Place shaggy dough ball on a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute until dough is smooth and a round ball forms.

Brush a little olive oil inside the empty mixing bowl and place dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Once doubled, place dough on a lightly floured surface and press dough into a rectangle.  Spread half of the chopped chocolate and fold in both sides like you are folding a business letter.  Press gently into a rectangle again and sprinkle with the remaining chopped chocolate.  Fold again as you would a business letter and then tuck sides under, forming dough into a ball.

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil and allow to rise again for 30 minutes, lightly draped with plastic wrap to cover.  Just before baking, sprinkle with flake salt.

Bake for 30 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Remove bread from oven and brush loaf of bread with additional olive oil if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from Live.Love.Lux

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Soft Pretzels

These soft pretzels were pretty much all Preston (I helped with the boiling water part of the recipe).  He had these soft pretzels on an end of the year field trip to Sundance Resort and loved them.  He came home with soft pretzels on the brain and a recipe in hand.  It only took a couple of days before he was in the kitchen using yeast for the very first time.  I love how brave he is in the kitchen. 

The first round of proofing the yeast, the water was too warm and didn't survive.  The second time around a foamy mixture meant success.  Together we rolled the dough into long ropes and Preston skillfully demonstrated the art of twisting a pretzel into the traditional "pretzel" shape for me. 

Moments after they were pulled from the oven and bathed in salty, melted butter, we devoured them.  The cinnamon sugar ones were a hit, but I'm a sucker for a warm, soft, buttery pretzel dipped in a generous amount of mustard. Mmmmm!

After our bellies were filled and our fingers were covered in butter (and cinnamon sugar), Preston conveniently left for a golf tournament leaving me with a sink full of dishes and a counter covered in flour, butter, and empty cookie sheets.  But, the mess was completely worth it.  I love watching him get excited about being in the kitchen (with the added bonus of a warm, soft pretzel of course).
 

Soft Pretzels

3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups of water
2/3 cup baking soda
Coarse salt
Melted butter

Place water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer.  Let rest 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.  Add the flour and butter and using the dough hook, mix on low speed until well combined.  Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is soft and glossy, about 5 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl and let dough sit until doubled in size, about 45-50 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease.

Portion the dough into 4-ounce balls.  Using your hands roll each piece of dough into a long rope.  Take the ends of the rope and form a U-shape.  Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U to form the shape of a pretzel. 

In a large pot combine 6 cups of water and baking soda and bring to a rolling boil.  Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds.  Remove from the water using a flat spatula and place on baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush warm pretzels with melted butter.

Recipe slightly adapted from Sundace Resort

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Our Favorite Buttermilk Pancakes

Growing up I was always more of a French toast kind of girl.  Hot French toast smeared with so much salted butter that it melted in pools.  A heavy dusting (aka spoonful’s) of powdered sugar would melt into those pools and create its own frosting.  I remember it always tasted so much better when my mom would fix it and cut it up into small squares for me.  (The middles squares that were heavy on the butter and powdered sugar were always the very best.)

Today, my 37 year old self still loves French toast (especially when it's made with Kneaders chunky cinnamon bread), but pancakes have won a place in my heart. 

I would say that most often I make whole wheat pancakes.  I love a good whole wheat pancake...a lot.  I have a couple recipes that I really love and are my go to recipes.  But, these buttermilk pancakes from America's Test Kitchen have quickly become a family favorite and are definitely the most requested pancake in our house.  They are perfect for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast and are also perfectly acceptable smack in the middle of the week when you can't seem to get a pancake craving to quit (speaking from experiecne). ;)

I think these pancakes are best served with a mound of sliced bananas and homemade cream syrup (my sister Savannah would agree).  Preston and Noah like theirs with cream syrup or a great deal of butter that begins to melt as soon as it hits the hot pancakes and then is sprinkled with granulated sugar (using a heavy hand).  Stella dots her pancake with blueberry’s once we pour the batter on the griddle and Todd isn't particular. 

These pancakes may not be the healthiest breakfast, but they sure make a delicious one!   
 


Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (and by sift, I mean whisk because I'm lazy).  In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients: pour in buttermilk mixture and whisk gently until just combined.  The batter should remain lumpy and a few remaining streaks of flour is ok.  Do not over mix.

Heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium heat.  Using a pastry brush spread a thin layer of vegetable oil over the bottom of the pan or griddle.  Add batter in 1/4 cup mounds to the pan.  Cook until bubbles begin to appear evenly over the surface and the bottoms are golden brown.  Flip pancake and cook until second side is golden brown.  Serve immediately with warm syrup and lots of sliced bananas.  Repeat with remaining batter, using the remaining oil as necessary.  

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook