Monday, June 28, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt

Mmm...they're in the oven right now...and they smell FABULOUS. Oh, timer, let me go check...

Yup! Taste fabulous too! And I totally just burned my tongue and fingers on hot caramel...but it was so worth it.
I found this beauty of a recipe on this really cute site:
It's by this cute little couple who cook together. Aw. They have some amazing looking recipes, and so many cookies I want to try (like these Lime Meltaway Cookies, and the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies.) I think I will be checking it quite often.

I loved how amazingly simple this recipe was.

A great quick cookie for when you're just craving chocolate and salted caramel...which I just happened to be.

Also, I thought it was going to be messy and sticky from the way the batter looked, but it was perfect. Didn't even stick to the pan.

They have a wonderfully soft and chewy texture, and a great deep, rich chocolate taste. The sea salt adds a lovely bit of pizazz in my opinion, but if that's not your thing, you can just leave it off.

I used sour cream instead of yogurt, because I never have plain yogurt, and because I think sour cream is divine. It's just good, people. And anyway, my philosophy is, if you're going to eat a chocolate caramel cookie, why cut calorie corners with yogurt? I mean, seriously.

The only down side was that the recipe only made about 15 cookies for me. Of course, maybe that's a benefit, since there's no way I can even begin to justify how quickly I'm going to consume them...

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (I used dark cocoa)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Soft caramel, rolled into little balls (I used Peter’s caramel)
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF; line 2 baking sheets with baking paper, lightly coated with cooking spray. I used Silpats! Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Wrap the chocolate dough around the caramel balls. Place balls on cookie sheets and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World meet The Diet Buster...

Allow me to introduce to you the most delicious and devious cake known to man. It is dangerously addictive, and impossibly delicious.

It's perfectly dense, with a beautiful, slightly crisp crust.

But it's real danger lies in the fact that it is so very versatile. You can eat it for dessert, you can eat it for breakfast (it's soo good for breakfast), you can eat it for a mid-afternoon or even a midnight snack. Devious.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups of butter, softened (bad. bad bad bad. but sooo good.)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened (again. horribly wonderful.)
3 cups of sugar (I give up...)
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbs vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addiction. Stir in vanilla. Spoon batter into a greased and floured bundt or tube pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 35 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in a center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
If desired, you can garnish with whipped cream, berries, etc. Personally, I like it best in all it's simple, plain, unadulterated glory. : )

PS- you might want to grab yourself a new belt the next time you're me, it's inevitable. ; )

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World's Best Chicken Salad

I am about to introduce you to your new favorite Chicken Salad. Trust me. It's A-mazing. It could be the simplicity of the mayo/worcestershire/lemon juice dressing. It could be sweetness of the sundried tomatoes. Or, it could be that bacon that snuck in there

Let me share a few tips I've learned in making's best cold. So, what I've learned to do, is cook everything the night before, then throw it all together right before we're ready to eat. The flavors definitely marinate the more they sit together, so it's best the first time around, but also makes great leftovers. They just get a little stronger flavor. I also usually just boil the chicken and cook the bacon in the oven (I am cursed when it comes to frying bacon...I can't do it. So, I've learned to bake it. I usually just lay a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a baking pan with sides and put the bacon on in one layer. Then I just toss it in the oven at 400. I check it after about 15 minutes, flip the bacon, and cook it a few minutes more until it's done. It takes longer than a pan, but it's sooo much less frustrating. And totally just as bad for you, so no worries there. ; )
Finally, when I'm mixing up the dressing, I usually just wing it and taste test it with a small piece of chicken until it tastes just right.

Tomato Bacon Chicken Salad

3 cups of chopped/shredded, cooked chicken breast
5 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (I used the kind packed in oil)
3/4 cup mayo
1 tbs parsley
1 tsp lemon juice
A dash (or two...or three...I like mine saucy. But start with one and see how you feel) of worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

First, whisk all but the chicken, tomatoes, and bacon together for your dressing. Toss in the bacon, chicken, and tomatoes. Mmm. Serve with crusty bread, crackers, or just plain.