Chocolate Chip Favs

A good chocolate chip cookie is as American as apple pie.  Heck, I’d say chocolate chip cookies and brownies are more American than apple pie.  Seriously, which do you eat more often?  I for one am more likely to eat a chocolate chip cookie than a slice of pie or a brownie.  Nothing to brag about I know, but facts are facts.

Those three basic American baked items are all ones that I am more likely to enjoy if made by somebody else.  I never feel I have quite the right recipe.  However, I have churned out a lot of chocolate chip cookies this past month and have tinkered with the recipe from the Ghirardelli Original Third Edition Chocolate Cookbook 1986 to the point where I can say I really like the result.

I have doubled the recipe and with the fat and flour have decided to go “half ‘n half” — unsalted butter/Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, and white A.P. Flour/King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Cream softened butter & Earth Blance with both sugars.  (I do this in my Kitchenaid stand mixer.) When light and fluffy add eggs and whip.  The mixture does not need to be perfectly smooth.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together 1 cup of each of the flours, salt, cinnamon, vanilla powder, and baking powder (or baking soda). *   The baking powder gives you a fatter, less spread & crispy cookie.  The photo in the tiles about shows the flatter, crispy cookie.

In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips, chopped walnuts – if using, and remaining 4 TBs of flour.

Pour contents of medium size bowl into the creamed ingredients and hand stir until just combined.  Add chip mixture and finish hand stirring.  Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes before scooping onto baking sheets.

Bake scooped cookies for 5 – 6 minutes in a 350F oven before rotating baking sheets and baking for an additional 4 – 5 minutes.  The exact baking time depends on your own oven, size of cookies, and your personal preference.  I find this recipe yields just over 3 dozen cookies and I can bake 3 sheets of cookies at a time in my convection oven.

glass plt choc chip

 

These cookies, on the glass plate, were made with baking powder.  They are fatter, chewier, and less flat & not as crispy as cookies with baking soda.

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Family Dinner Rolls

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I did some baking today for a charity sale that is taking place on Saturday.    Cloverleaf rolls were a tradition at every family holiday meal.  The recipe is one I cherish.  My mom hand wrote it out for me a few years before she died when I had misplaced the copy that was late my Aunt Erma’s.  So I decided to make a double batch of dinner rolls for the baked goods table.

It is a really rich recipe, with eggs, milk, and butter.  I have made it with some whole grain flours, but it really is better taste & texture wise when you stick with all white AP flour.   My aunt and my paternal grandmother always baked with Gold Medal flour.  I mainly use King Arthur flour these days as it is a Vermont company, but I decided to pick up a bag of the lower cost store brand.  The result was as good as any batch I have ever cranked out of my kitchen.  I know because my husband and I split the little extra roll that I baked in a measuring cup.  As you may have noticed in the photo I skipped the time-consuming cloverleaf shaping and made simpler pan rolls.

IMG_8991I am not going to write out all the directions, because it is not that big a deal and now that I have a nice stand mixer I do not do the steps exactly as written.  If you are not confident with the procedure for making yeast rolls you can google any recipe for that.

RICH DINNER ROLLS   double batch

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or honey)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 packages regular Active Dry yeast
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 11+ cups of flour

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Pet Remembrance Day 2014

Today being “Pet Remembrance Day 2014” was brought to my attention by “Under The Oaks… Captures. And A Few Words.”  Her lovely collage of pet photos made me want to dig around to see what pictures I could find.

Many of you know my husband and I share our home with two black cats, Thunder & Lightning.  I found their photos on a Humane Society website only a few days after our beloved Zoe left this world.bye bye zoe

We brought Zoe home from the very same Humane Society a few months after purchasing our first house (the house we are still in nearly 20 years later.)   She was 5 at the time and lived to a very ripe old age of 22 & 1/2.  And her passing was quiet and natural.  She will be in our hearts forever.

HSH z

Zoe is the first pet that  my husband and I shared.

There had been a long gap of living without pets for me until Zoe came along.

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At age 5 I moved in with an aunt and uncle, Erma & Billy,  and a cat named Timmy.

There may be a faded photo somewhere of Timmy, but what I do have is a painting, done on a plain piece of cardboard.  It hangs in my den/TV room.  It was painted by another aunt, Ethlyn.  

Timmy was my friend through most of my elementary school years.  He waited for the school bus with me.  He stayed upstairs in my room when I read and studied after school each day.

There were many cats and kittens on the farm with my parents in my earliest years.  But the pet I remember from that time the most is a border collie named Johnny.  A border collie is not likely to ever be an appropriate pet for me again given my lifestyle, but whenever I see a black and white border collie my memory goes back to Johnny and the great affection I felt for him.  Johnny 001  You can identify Johnny no doubt.  I am the little girl in the wagon.  The woman in the center of the photo is my Aunt Eth, who painted the picture of Timmy.  My dad stands at the left with my baby sister Merrillee, and my half-brother Ronnie is kneeling on the ground behind Johnny, the border collie.

Our pets tell the story of our lives don’t they.  My sister & I are the only ones from the photo still living in this realm.

I hope you have been fortunate enough to have a pet or pets in your life, and that you too are prompted to think back and reflect on what they have contributed to your life thus far.

THE RAVENOUSLY DISAPPEARING WOMAN has also written a post for Pet Remembrance Day.  I recommend it, just click on her blog title to view.