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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

I think this is one of the recipes that people have requested from me the very most. It is so easy and delicious, especially your second time :). You don't have to use a rotisserie chicken, it just makes things faster. It says on the car that "I sometimes substitute coconut milk" for the heavy cream . . . but I ALWAYS do. 

I have added asparagus, mini sweet peppers, broccoli, carrots, even potatoes to this curry--it's a no fail!  And, as always, you can substitute kefir for the plain yogurt.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Mrs. Fields' Chocolate Chip Cookies (+ Chocolate)

Though I love my own CCC recipe, sometimes I crave that slight taste of oatmeal that only Mrs. Fields can deliver. This is a not-so-secret recipe that periodically makes the rounds of the Internet, but I like to add extra chocolate to mine. Growing up, these were my favorite chocolate chip cookies . . . and they're still as delightful as I remember.

This cookie dough makes seven dozen and DOES NOT refrigerate or freeze well--the oat flour makes it too dry and it crumbles apart.  So you have to make all seven dozen cookies soon after you make the dough.  Allen's Grandmother (check out her amazing chocolate cream pie recipe) gave me this giant Tupperware container--it's perfect for cookie storage.

I make these cookies when I am going to big family functions and they are gone in an evening.

*(Click the link to my CCC's to get all kinds of cookie-tips)

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Bex Deluxe Triple C's (Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I've always disliked how inundated January is with weight-loss tips and must-have exercise equipment and fitness routines and recommended healthy snacks foods. I subscribe to mostly food/cooking magazines, and the hypocrisy of January's low-fat chickpea salads with lighter dressing is made all the more nefarious by the spate of December's best Christmas cookies EVER recipes, in close-up, full-color photos that essentially force me to don aprons daily and buy butter in bulk. Those marketeers have got my number.

But there's one cookie that I make year-round, never mind the delectable December duress. A cookie I have, in all the modesty I can muster, perfected. I've picked up a few tips here and there: Heather (who can go from zero to cookies in ten minutes) first introduced me to more-brown-than-white-sugar, Morgan and Carson shared an article with invaluable cookie-baking tips, and I picked up on Adriane and Tom's tendency to refer to this great American tradition as "CCC's." These things combined, with my own quest for the perfect see-see-see, have aided in the composition (and completion) of my masterpiece.

Here are the tips that make any CCC recipe even better:
  • Double the recipe. If you're going to take the time for homemade, go ahead and make a lot, because chocolate chip cookie dough freezes beautifully, and it's great to have on hand for unexpected company or a last-minute dessert. (I freeze a dozen dough-cookies per quart-sized Ziploc and feel the security that only chocolate prepearedness can bring).

  • Chill the dough--it keeps it from spreading too thin when it bakes, and is part of what makes the cookie crackle beautifully.
  • Lower the temperature and lengthen the time in the oven, for a softer, more chewy-gooey cookie. A good rule of thumb is to add two minutes for every 25 degrees lower.
  • Always use room temperature butter, and even room temperature eggs (if you remember to set them out in advance). They'll blend better and maximize the amount of air you can whip into the dough, which makes the cookie less dense and more moist.
  • Bake on aluminum, or something shiny--dark pans almost always burn the bottom of your cookies.
  • I change the sugar ratio (which is usually equal parts white and brown sugar) to one part white, two parts brown--makes it a little richer. Mmmmm.
  • I always add whole wheat flour, which gives the cookie some texture and substance, using the ratio one part whole wheat to two parts white (in this recipe, the whole wheat flour is slightly greater than that). Plus, (hello!) healthy!
  • Add more chocolate. Duh. To quote my chocolate-worshiping father-in-law, "I want a cookie with just enough dough to hold the chocolate together." Amen.
I was going to take a picture of myself eating a Bex Deluxe cookie, but candid eating photos never look good (I'm one step behind this Facebooking generation that has somehow mastered the art of photographing oneself flatteringly), so this low-light picture will have to suffice. I added the Lego R2-D2 as a point of reference. You're welcome.

Shout out to Shanna M. for this beautiful photo!!!

PS- If you are in the mood for my other favorite CCC, try Mrs Field's recipe.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Super Soft Sugar Cookies

I just made these for the umpteenth time for Valentine's Day.  I took some plates around to my friends that I visit-teach, and made a huge batch for my kids' Valentine parties at school.  A double batch makes SEVEN DOZEN.  They go so quickly because I always forget how addictive they are: one bite and suddenly there's a pile of crumbs on my shirt and in my hair and a half dozen are missing . . .

Double batch: time to bring out the Bosch
Roll into balls just smaller than a golf ball--20 on each cookie sheet!

I think the pictures speak for themselves.  This is my go-to recipe when I need to take cookies to one of my kids' classes at school . . . or on holidays . . . or when I am craving something delectably sweet . . .

I got these pie/cupcake carriers at Wal-Mart and I LOVE them.
I use three blocks to hold up the second "tier" inside--perfect for
a second grader to carry into school.  Here is a similar product:
Cupcake / Pastry carrier

Sweet Mollie loves to help "clean up"
Sweet Calvin loves to help "clean up" . . .