la cocotte staub

Just bought myself this beautiful little baby for a once in a lifetime deal at Williams-Sonoma:

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It was only proper that I make a delicious meal that I’ve always wanted to make but never could because I never had a stove and oven safe piece of kitchen equipment. And by always I mean since I saw the recipe on the cover of this month’s Cooking Light that I bought last week!

Meyer Lemon Chicken:

  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves, halved crosswise
  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (turns out my 4 qt pot wasn’t quite big enough for all that chicken so I saved my thighs for my next crockpot recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and seeded (My grocery store didn’t have Meyer lemons, which probably should make or break the recipe, but I still thought it was delicious!)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces pitted Castelvetrano olives (I just used any italian whole pitted olives available)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves

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My favorite lesson from college was getting all my things in place before I start…aka “mise en place”. I have to admit, I don’t always do it. But when I do, I’m always soooo glad I did. So first I measured everything out (and chopped and diced and grated….)

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Then I started cookin’! Preheat your oven to 400° . Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; coat with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan, skin side down; cook 6 minutes or until skin is golden brown and crisp. While you’re waitin’ for that chicken to brown and crisp, pour yourself a glass of your dry white. ESPECIALLY if you already set up your mise en place….you deserve that wine, friend.

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Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 165°. i think I left mine in for closer to 15 just to be sure and it was still the perfect amount of moist! (My least and most favorite part of this recipe s that you don’t really need an oven proof skillet to make it. That’s awesome because  can tell all my friends about this dish and tell them to just cook the chicken in a casserole dish in the oven while you continue to prep the potatoes in the pan you used to sear the chicken! But not so awesome because I wanted my first meal in my beautiful new piece of kitchen to be a super special recipe that I wouldn’t have been able to make  without it 😉 In fact, you may save yourself a solid 20 minuets by putting the chicken in the oven while you start the following steps on the stove….

Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Discard pan drippings (do not wipe pan clean). Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add potatoes to pan; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.


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Cook potatoes 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove potatoes from pan.Add lemon slices to pan; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Remove lemon from pan.

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Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and chopped fresh thyme; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. MMMM how I wish you could SMELL that deglazing.

DSCN4955Return potatoes and lemon slices to pan. Add 2/3 cup stock, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 2 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Combine remaining 1/3 cup stock and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture and olives to pan; bring to a boil.

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Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice and butter, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat; sprinkle with parsley (I left the parsley out because I still live like a college student and didn’t want to spend the money on it…it was still tasty!)

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It looks almost JUST like the magazine…RIGHT?!? (Just let me think that, friends) Anyway, I just finished the leftovers as I write this and it may have even gotten better with time! More Cooking Light recipes to come! Especially with chicken 🙂

Have a happy weekend to all!

Besos,

KEK

How to tell your neighbor you’re sorry you crashed their car….

…Make him the chocolate cake recipe that comes with your fabulous Kitchenaid stand mixer:

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2 cups all-purpose
flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 squares (1 oz each)
unsweetened
chocolate, melted
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Chocolate Cake
Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Add shortening, milk, and vanilla. Attach bowl and Flat Beater to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl.
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Add eggs and chocolate (melt chocolate first).
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Continuing on Speed 2, mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to Speed 6 and beat about 1 minute.
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Pour batter into two greased and floured 8″ or 9″ round baking pans.
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Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, or untiltoothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
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Cool10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Frost if desired.
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CLEAN UP! So you can use the mixer to make the amaaaaazing buttercream frosting recipe from the manual, too!
1⁄4 cup butter softened
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lowfatmilk
2 cups powderedsugar
Place all ingredients in large bowl. Beat on Speed 3for 30 to 60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy
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Then frost your cake! I cheated and made 2 cakes out of this one…It should be a two-layer cake, but I had to occasions two bake for: car accident forgiveness and 5 month anniversaries (because I’d forgotten the other 4)
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Happy five months to my BF and happy hoepfully-not-having-to-pay-your-deductible to my neighbor!
More recipes from my beauteous mixer to come, amigos!
Besos,
KEK

My first crockpot experiment…B+ at best

If you knew me before I met my actual boyfriend, you would know that I considered Jack Daniels to be my boyfriend. So when I was looking for a cheap and easy recipe to try out in my new crockpot, I chose the Jack & Coke pot roast recipe (since I obviously had jack on hand). It turned out alright, could have been more flavorful and moist. But it was pretty good for the first recipe I tried! The boyfriend didn’t mind it either (the real one).

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound chuck roast – beef, venison, antelope, elk – whatever you’ve got
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pint canned carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces Coke – no diet stuff here
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels or other Whiskey or Bourbon

Instructions

  1. Place crockpot liner in crockpot
  2. Add water and 1 Tablespoon of onion soup mix
  3. Place half of the onions in crockpot
  4. Add garlic
  5. Salt and pepper all sides of the roast and place in crock pot
  6. Add carrots and the rest of the onions
  7. Pour remaining onion soup mix over roast
  8. Add Coke and Jack Daniels
  9. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours

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Tips for next time: Brown that chuck before putting it in the crockpot! I also may have added an extra 1/4th of jack (and I still wished I’d put a little more in). The mashed potato addition was also key! It added a lot to the dish (as did the Jack&coke cocktails we made with the extra coke!!)

Stay tuned for better crockpot recipes! For now, learn from my mistakes…and let me know if you’ve tried any great crockpot recipes recently!

Besitos,
KEK

Spanish Sundays #2 (a bit delayed)

Spanish Sundays #2 (a bit delayed)

Sorry for the lack of posts…this was a graffiti painting outside the school I went to in Granada. It means “without insanity, there is no love.” With a tumultuous week, or lets face it…6 months…I thought it was appropriate to reflect on all the people that love me and all the things and people I love in return. After all…what’s life if it isn’t a little loca?!

My deepest apologies

So terribly sorry, my 12 followers!

I know it’s everyone’s excuse, but these holidays have been just crazy between work and family and traveling! But I have good  news… the only things I got for christmas are KITCHEN RELATED! Which is great, because I’ve been all kitchen-ed out after that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake I made for my dad’s 60th birthday… I’ve needed some inspiration!

Good thing I got a crockpot and an amazing KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!

So now, my friends…I need your help.

WHAT shall I make first in my new crockpot or stand mixer?!

It’s snowy, so I’d love to make something homey and hot in my crockpot tomorrow.

Also, I may or may not have gotten in a car accident with my neighbor’s car while moving it to switch spots in our lovely tandem parking situation (to my defense, it was not my fault and I live on a shitty busy city street). So I  need to make something in my new stand mixer that says  “I’M SO SORRY SOME IDIOT HIT YOUR CAR WHILE I MOVED IT 10 FEET DOWN THE ROAD! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!” so I can bring them upstairs with me when I bring the filled out police report…

Thoughts? Ideas? Recipes? Let me know! I need some cheering up in my kitchen tomorrow to forget about this silly accident 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough CAKE. Enough said.

So terribly sorry it took me so long to post…I’ve spent the last two weeks making this cake!! (kidding, but seriously…it felt like it took 2 weeks)

Last weekend my dad turned the big 6-0 (He’d kill me for telling you all that) and my family threw him a huge surprise party. He’s a sneaky guy so we were all worried he’d figure it out before the big day, but alas, we succeeded in the surprise part of the party. We even flew in his sister from Michigan, his mother from Pittsburgh and my sister from San Francisco. The second surprise of the night was my cousins from Madison and Chicago joining the party 5 hours later!

ANYWAY, my contribution to the party was to bake an epic cake. Now, my dad is the king of chocolate. The man puts butter on his Oreos for goodness sake. So I had found Kelly’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cake on her Something Shiny blog about a year ago and had been saving it for a special occasion. What better occasion than the Chocolate King turning sixty!!! (See the recipe here! http://www.somethingshinyblog.com/2011/10/chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-cake.html)

The cake may have felt like it took forever to make, and it may not have looked as pretty as Kelly’s, but here was the final creation (candles and all):

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Want to learn to make this delicious cookie dough filled and buttercream frosted AMAZINGNESS?! Fortunately for you I documented the 235987876 steps involved!

First, gather up all your ingredients for all the aspects of the cake: the homemade cookies (I just ended up using the tollhouse recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag), the cake itself, the cookie dough balls for the middle of the cake, and the out-of-control-delicious buttercream frosting. It ends up to be a pretty big pile of baking accessories:

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So I may or may not have taken my first vacation day of work since July to bake this cake…I was not messing around. I started the night before by baking the cakes (mostly because I was afraid I’d mess them up and I wanted the morning to re-make them if i had to). So let’s start with the cake! Here’s what you’ll need

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups self-rising flour*, sifted
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavoring
*An easy substitute for self-rising flour is to add 1-1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt for EACH cup of flour.

First, preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, set up your 9 inch pans (you’ll need two!). I traced around the bottom of each pan onto parchment paper and cut a bit inside the line to make a perfectly fitting circle (which I’d never done before but it helped my cake come out of the pan SO MUCH more than any other tricks I’ve ever tried)

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Then, spray those bad boys with some cooking spray. THEN, the best tip, is to sprinkle them with flour while tapping the bottom/edge of the pan with the heel of your hand and rotate the pan  to better distribute the flower (so not one little annoying part of the cake sticks and ruins EVERYTHING IN LIFE)


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Next, use your electric mixer to beat the cream and butter until they are fluffy (which may take a few minutes, especially if your mixer is dying like mine)

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As usual, add your sugar! Cream it well until you’ve been mixing for about 8 minutes. Again, my mixer was dying on me throughout this project and I had to add 2 or 3 minutes until it was mixed and fluffy

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Add your eggs, one at a time! Beat it well after you add each egg and keep scrapin’ those edges to incorporate all that buttery sugary goodness.

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Next, unless you’re smarter than me, you gotta make up that flour mixture for your fake self rising flour. If you are smarter than me, you did it before you started mixing and had the proper “mise en place” (everything in it’s place, as we said in cooking school) Remember, it’s 1-1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt for EACH cup of flour.

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Now, add that flour mixture and milk to your eggy goo and alternate adding them, beginning and ending with that flour. Once you do that, you can add that vanilla and butter flavoring (I didn’t have any  because I’m cheap, if I’m being honest with you all)

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Once your mixture looks like the above poorly-lit photo, grab those 9 inch pans and scoop half into each. Level the batter (here’s a new trick!) by holding the pans 3 inches from  the counter and just DROPPING them flat onto the counter. It’s noisy and my roommates definitely hated me as I popped these into the oven at midnight on a Thursday, but it really leveled my batter. It also eliminates any air bubbles in the batter!

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Bake those babies for 30-40 minutes, my oven is not built for gourmet crazy cake baking so mine were in there for more like 45 minutes even at 350 F. Cool them in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen it from the cake (or the other way around, whichever way you see it) Then cover the top of the cake with the cooling rack, hold it tight to the pan, and flip that baby over so it lands right on the cooling rack. If you sprayed and floured the pan, they should come out pretty flawlessly like mine (surprisingly) did!

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So once those guys turned out okay (and my stress level officially decreased), I went to bed and slept like an angel. Little did I know I had 4 more hours of baking to go…

I woke up around 8AM the day of the partay and starting baking my cookies! As I previously mentioned, I just used the toll house recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag because I know how to make them, and I know my dad likes them. Kelly’s recipe called for some AMAZING sounding cookies, which you should check out on her site if you want to make some seriously delicious chocolate chip cookies, but they required some refrigeration, which my procrastinating self didn’t notice until I read the recipe the day I needed the cake to be completed. If you’re better prepared than myself, though, try her recipe! Or use your own favorite cookie recipe. I made about a dozen larger cookies to put on the sides of the  cake and about 2 dozen smaller cookies (using the baby chocolate chips) for the top of the cake. Here’s the toll house recipe for you if you want to use that!  http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18476/original-nestl%C3%89-toll-house-chocolate-chip-cookies/detail.aspx

I’ll list the ingredients for you below in case you’re making your grocery list 😉

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

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First  split the batter so that I could use half for the big cookies and half for the baby cookies! Then I just baked them as instructed and watched that week’s episode of Dexter while they baked 😉

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I probably could have made the big cookies bigger and the little cookies smaller, but they were good enough. Onto the cookie dough!

Ingredients needed for the cookie dough filling:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 7 ounce sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
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Let me tell you before we even start. Condensed milk? BEST THING BEFORE AND AFTER SLICED BREAD. I’d never used it before, but I am its new #1 fan.
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Okay, so once I got past how amazing condensed milk is, I combined the butter and sugar and creamed it on medium high until light and fluffy (typical)
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Then add that flour, the condensed milk and vanilla until it’s smooth. Throw in the little baby Choc. chips, and throw that guy in the refrigerator for an hour:
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Then, while you wait for that to chill so you can roll it into balls, start your amazing buttercream frosting because you’ll need to let that guy cool for a while.
Here’s what you’ll need for the most heavenly frosting there is:
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp vanilla extract
(I DOUBLED THIS so I had enough to frost the cake! You should, too!)
So this is a bit different from any buttercream I’ve ever made. It’s hot. and then cool. BUT ULTIMATELY DELICIOUS. Measure your flour and sugar and put it in a medium sauce pan. I am silly and used a soup pot so I could use my dying hand mixer to mix right in the soup pot. I obviously don’t have high-class equipment in my kitchen nor do I care what happens to it. #postgradprobz?
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Whisk that sugar and flour together so it dissolves better when you add your milk, which is what you do next! Whisk that, too. Then cook it over medium heat, stirring it constantly. Seriously, don’t go to the gym the week before you make this. Your arms will thank you. Well, they’ll still hate you, but they’ll hate you less than if you did pull ups the Tuesday  before making it.
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It’ll seem like nothing is going to happen. Your arm might think it’s going to fall off, but it will just look like milk for a solid 8 minutes. Then, suddenly, it thickens up…almost to the consistency of that amazing condensed milk! Cook for 2 minutes after it reaches that consistency. Don’t stop stirring! Don’t burn it! Then, take it off the heat, and let it cool completely. c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y. I took a shower, got ready and even rolled all my cookie dough balls before it was completely cool. At least the cookie dough balls are ready!
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Here’s those rolled cookie dough balls you can roll while you impatiently wait for the amazing buttercreamyness to cool
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Once it’s TOTALLY cooled, throw that butter in and whip like a crazy lady! Beat it for at least 5 minutes (again, I did 10 because my mixer was so dead at this point that it was practically just a whisk). Once it’s fluffy and delicious, immediately start frosting because it will definitely harden. And try not to eat too much of it (although I did and I still had extra)
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First, I split some of the batter and put the cookie dough balls in it to put in between the two nummy cakes.
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Get your bottom layer of cake ready (you may have to even off the top with a bread knife but my postgrad kitchen doesn’t have that luxury, so I let the tops of the cakes stay lumpy. My dad has to love me no matter what his birthday cake looks like!) Then throw that cookie dough ball/frosting mixture on top like so:
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AND SLAP THAT OTHER CAKE ON!
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I’m the world’s worst froster, EVER, so I preliminary frosted it and stuck it in the fridge to harden a bit before I completely frosted it.
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After a few swears and a reminder that perfection doesn’t exist, this is how the frosting came out:
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Fortunately, the cookie adding allows you all to be creative to cover up your frosting  job! There is no rules to the decorating, let your little heart decide how to complete this cookie/cake creation! Although just a disclaimer: to get the little chocolate chips to stick to the side of the cake, you do have to throw them at the cake. Literally, throw them. But the chocolate chip clean up is totally worth how awesome the cake looks. 
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Everyone RAVED over the cake at the party, and it was pretty much gone by the end of the weekend. I wish the inside had turned out better looking, but it was still just absolutely spectacular in taste.
A very happy birthday to my Dad (and also my sister, whose birthday was actually on the day of the surprise party!) I had just an amazing weekend, and all the work that I put into this cake was so worth it to see everyone’s happy faces as they ate.
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Please let me know if you try and make this cake and have some more tips for me! I’d love to make it again, but not for a while: so much work for my first vacation day in 5 months 😉
Speaking of work, I’m off to a work party! Happy Saturday to all, and happy baking!
Besos,
KEK

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie PIE: A new Thanksgiving favorite

Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all!

As I said in my previous post, I didn’t have exciting Thanksgiving plans: my family made last minute travel plans to go to Paris over thanksgiving, I was scheduled to work Black Friday and I’ve been “on call” all week for the emergency phone line for my job. Needless to say, I had pretty low expectations for the week,

HOWEVER, it turned out to be just the loveliest Thanksgiving week I could have possibly imagined. And I have a new recipe for you all! I’m still not sure if it’s one of my top 3 favorites, but my boyfriend and I brought it to his family’s Thanksgiving feast on Thursday and it went over quite well! (I’m still not sure if they were just being nice because I’m the “new” girlfriend…but I’ll take it either way).

I had been debating what to bring over to the boytoy’s family Thanksgiving celebration for a week or so. I have never been to anyone else’s family Thanksgiving before, let alone a significant other’s family get-together, so I started to let my recipe anxiety  get the best of me. At one point I had run across Jessica’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cooke Pie recipe…fortunately for me an my restless soul, the boyfriend chose a recipe for me as my anxiety over what to make worsened. And I’m so so glad he chose this recipe to try:

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/10/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookie-pie/

What you need:

2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chocolate chips ( we bought the extra small ones instead of normal size)
1 unbaked pie shell
whipped cream or ice cream

And of course an iphone to document horrible quality pictures like me!

First, we realized the pie crust the boytoy had bought was NOT going to work…fortunately we were at my mom’s and she of course had pie crust laying around. The very first thing I did was pre-bake the crust for about 9 minutes in the oven. To be honest with you, I would probably forgo that step next time, but the kind of pie crust my mom had called for a pre-baked crust for any filled pies. So I set my oven to the directed temperature of 400 and baked the crust as I gathered my ingredients for 9 minutes!

Next, I lowered that oven temp to 325 degrees F as the recipe calls for. Then, I took my cup of butter and melted it before I even started anything mixing. I had read in Jessica’s post that it is very  important to let the butter completely cool once it is melted, so I instructed the boy to melt the butter and then join me in the living room to watch a full 30 minutes of the Macy’s day parade while we waited for it to cool (mostly because if I was in the kitchen I would get too impatient and start mixing while it’s still warm!) You could even do this before you pre-bake your pie crust (if you chose to still do so)

Once I felt that  I couldn’t be anymore patient, we began. First, beat the eggs until they are foamy. I even let the boy do that part

Then, we added in the flour 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 brown sugar until they were well blended! I also measured out the 1 cup of chocolate chips at that time, mostly so  could eat a few 😉

Next, we added the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (sorry, Mom! Cleaned you out of extract), 1/3 cup of pumpkin and 1 tablespoon+teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (which honestly could have probably been 2 tablespoons if you like the pumpkin-y taste to be stronger). Then  I let the boy mix that too;)

Next came the most nerve racking part: the “is it cool enough yet?!” butter. Obviously I took over the hand mixer at this point. As I slowly beat the mixture while adding the melted butter, I was definitely skeptical of the fact that it was supposed to turn into a batter…it 100% still looked like soup. HOWEVER, I very slowly increased the speed of the mixer, and after a solid 5 minutes or so, it miraculously turned more batter-like. I still think I could have beat it at a higher speed for longer, but as you know by my butter-melting Macy’s parade stunt, I’m not the most patient.

It was now time to add the chocolate! I used a little zip-lock trick before I folded the chips in: I threw them into a zip-lock baggy and mixed the flour evenly among the chips so they didn’t all clump together once the pie started to bake! (of course, they still did. I’ll just never have that magic touch)

It definitely started to get grainy-looking, which I’m not sure if it has to do with the  butter’s temperature or what…I was just glad I had something CLOSE to a batter consistency! I poured the batter into the 9-inch pie shell and popped it into the oven for 50 minutes.

Ultimately it needed that extra 5 minutes to solidify the center, and this is where I wished I hadn’t pre-baked that pie crust because it started to get too crispy for my liking. But all-in-all, I think it turned out pretty great!

I was a bit nervous for how it was going to look like inside (and obviously taste), but fortunately for me my boyfriend’s uncle showed up with an even sadder looking pie. PHEW, pressure was off 😉

We served it warm by popping it back into the oven for a bit, which made it better than if it had been cold. However, I would suggest not making this pie when you’re bringing it somewhere else…it would really be best right out of the oven and into your belly! But the fact that it wasn’t fresh didn’t matter much once we topped it with some yummy vanilla bean ice cream! I’m sure whipped cream would make it just as tasty.

I was expecting to have to refer to my first post about my happiness project and check off “enjoy failing” as a task of the day, because I thought for certain I was going to show up to my boyfriends’ empty handed and a pie in the garbage at home. Fortunately it was not only edible but pretty scrumptious!  I’ll be trying it again and tweaking a thing here and there…then I’ll let you know what works and what doesn’t!

Until tomorrow my friends,

KEK

It’s almost that time of year…

…it’s almost time for CHRISTMAS COOKIES!

I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, but I do not have an exciting Thanksgiving week so I’m already looking forward to holiday baking season. Plus I’ve wanted to get my first baking/cooking post out of the way and give it a whirl!

I thought I’d share last year’s favorite cookie recipe find: Rosemary Shortbread Cookies.

I found this recipe to be the Grinch of the holiday cookies at each party or cookie exchange: people stare at it’s strange green-ness and turn their noses. But  with a change of heart and a bit of bravery, everyone always seems to come around and rave about the strangely green speckled cookies with it’s savory/sweet combo ALL NIGHT LONG. So give them a chance, and follow along with the below recipe with me!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/rosemary-shortbread-cookies/

Here’s basically all you need to start:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar for decoration

Start with creaming together the 1.5 cups of butter with the 1/3 cup of sugar at a medium speed until that familiar sugar/butter combo is light and fluffy! I happened to be at my mother’s house when I baked these for the first time so I was fortunate enough to have her beautiful kitchen aid stand mixer. I’ve asked for one for Christmas this year and the response was “Heck no…I had to wait 50-some years for one of those babies!” Looks like  I’ll be investing in my own or asking my future husband for one Christmas 2030 😉

After  the grainy-goodness that is creamed sugar and butter is nice and light and fluffy, go ahead and chop your rosemary. You can always do this before you start mixing the sugar/butter, which would probably be smarter. Preparation is something I’m working on in all categories of  my life 😉 No matter when it is that you chop your rosemary, I found that it isn’t life-or-death if they’re not all uniformly chopped (my baking professor from college would hate me for telling you that). I think it gives the cookies a little more character if every few bites has a bigger piece of rosemary.

Next, stir in that rosemary, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 3/4 cups of flour. Mix it on a medium speed again until well blended. The dough turns out quite soft but still firm, more like shortbread (no wonder they’re called shortbread cookies…)

Then, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour!

When the hour is almost up, go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 F, then line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Once your dough is chilled, flour your counter top and roll that dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Then choose your cookie cutter shape! I chose a Christmas tree shape, but I also had made them using a glass drinking glass as a cookie cutter and made them circular shaped (cut me some slack, I was in a college apartment with limited resources…)

Once your cookies are cut to your shape of choice, place them about an inch apart from each other on your cookie sheet. I think part of what makes or breaks these cookies is the sugar on top! Sprinkle the rest of the 2 teaspoons of sugar on top of your shortbread cookies. Or, if you have a sweet tooth as bad as mine, use much more than the recommended 2 teaspoons of sugar to sprinkle on top 😉

Once your cookies are sugared-up, bake them for about 8 minutes in the preheated oven. I know my first batch was a bit thicker than 1/4 inch, so I think they needed closer to 10 minutes. Either way, just watch them until they’re a perfect golden brown around the edges!

Take those bad boys off that hot cookie sheet and cool them on a wire cooling rack. That way they cool more quickly and you can pop one in your mouth just that much faster!

MMM and there they are! I promise, if you can convince your family and friends to try them despite their weird name and strange appearance, they will want the recipe. And they’re so easy to make! I definitely plan on making them again this year and pushing them on my friends and family that didn’t try them last year 😉

Stay tuned for more posts about food and baking! I’ll definitely be in search of this year’s new favorite holiday cookie soon 🙂 OH and let me know if you try this recipe!

Besos,
KEK