Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

In my years overseas, I have failed to ever bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie, chewy with a hint of crunch. Even the cookies I've eaten at other people's houses seemed to have the same problems that mine did--lots of spread so they were too crunchy. And then, behold, the perfect chocolate chip cookie literally drops right in front of my face (well, in my sidebar) as I was reading another recipe at Family Feedbag. She even has instructions for making these as a dry mix for gifts at the bottom of the recipe. I tried these out for the Mother's Day getaway my friend and I had this weekend. After all, two moms on a break need some cookies! They were good, in fact, that I made them again tonight so I could share photos with you. Look no further for a chewy chocolate chip cookie that takes very little effort. Even though the recipe says it makes 14-16 cookies, I got about 20 out of the batch using my 1.5 oz cookie scoop (makes 2 inch balls).

I dare you not to eat them all!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt plus a pinch more 1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 3/4 cup/192g butter, melted (warm, not hot) 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the over to 170C/350F. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients from the flour to the sugar and stir really well to combine. Melt the butter and add the vanilla to it. Add the butter/vanilla and beaten egg to the dry mixture. Stir to combine until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Roll into balls (don't flatten them) and keep 2 inches apart on the pan because they will spread some. My oven runs hot, and baking for 10 minutes is perfect. Keep an eye for 10-12 minutes until you see the edges become golden, but the top is still soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Try not to eat them all in one sitting.

Note: To make these egg-free, you can use a mixture of 1 Tbs. ground chia seed or flaxseed plus 3 Tbs. water and substitute the mixture for the egg. I have made them without egg both times since I just happened to not have any eggs in the house.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Treats: Cheesecake Popsicles

Here's another fruity treat that you can use to cool off when the mercury rises. You can use any kind of fruit "topping" for the cheesecake popsicles that would make a good flavor combination.

Capture the essence of this in popsicle!

Cheesecake Popsicles
1/2 cup (140g) cream cheese  or thick drained yogurt
1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
1/2 cup milk
Splash vanilla extract
Squeeze lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen fruit (e.g. strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Graham crackers or digestive biscuits

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients but the cookies in a blender. Blend on high until you get a smooth consistency. After blending, add roughly crumbled crackers/biscuits to the batter, gently folding in so they won't turn into powder. Pour into popsicle molds, ice cube trays, or cups and freeze for several hours.

Notes: If you're using yogurt, use plain yogurt drained over a cheese cloth for 3-6 hours. If you use sweetened yogurt, adjust the sugar accordingly. If you're feeling particularly decadent or up for some fancy presentation, you could use canned pie filling in place of frozen fruit and layer it with the cheesecake mix in the popsicle molds. Not really an option for those of us over here, but any readers in developed countries could try it.

This recipe filled my 6-piece popsicle mold and 2 small disposable cups.