Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

WalnutChocCookies

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup (totally optional, but adds a touch of chewiness that I like)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F. Add your brown sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl of your mixer. Melt your butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then add it to your sugar. Beat for 3 minutes or so, until well combined – the mixture should look like wet sand. Add in your egg, beat fully, then add in your egg yolk, and beat until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Beat in your your corn syrup (if using) and vanilla.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to your dough, beat to combine, then add in the rest, and beat to combine, being careful not to over-mix your dough. Fold in your chocolate and walnuts.

3. Roll your dough into 2-tablespoon sized balls and place them about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes or so, until golden and mostly set but not browned. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on your baking sheets for 5 minutes or so, before moving them to another surface to cool completely. These will keep well, covered in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days. These cookies will also freeze well for up to 3 months.

Recipe originally posted on Munchies.com.

Lemon Blueberry and Ricotta Pancakes

lemon-blueberry-and-ricotta-pancakes-1

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • maple syrup and butter for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  2. In a smaller bowl whisk together the vanilla extract, milk, eggs, ricotta cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and gently whisk until well incorporated. Stir in the blueberries.
  4. Pour about half a ladle onto a medium hot griddle and cook for 3 minutes, until the edges start to firm up. Flip the pancakes and finish cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Serve hot with maple syrup and butter.
Recipe Notes

This recipe will yield about 18 small to medium pancakes. Nutritional information assumes 3 pancakes per serving and does not include maple syrup and butter.

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.

Recipe originally posted on JoCooks.com.

Spicy Sichuan-Style Soup with Pork, Lettuce, and Soft Tofu

 

spicy-pork-soup

Ingredients

300 gm coarsely minced pork
80 ml (1/3 cup) each
Shaoxing wine and soy sauce, combined
1 tbsppeanut oil
20 gmginger, finely chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tspcoarsely ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbspchilli bean paste
1 litre (4 cups)chicken stock
2 tspcornflour mixed with 1 tsp water
1 bunchChinese chives, finely chopped
500 gmsoft tofu, cut into large cubes
small lettuce (baby cos or butter), leaves separated

Method

  • Combine pork and half the Shaoxing and soy mixture and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan over high heat, add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add Sichuan pepper and pork and cook until pork is starting to brown (5-10 minutes). Add chilli bean sauce and chicken stock, remaining Shaoxing and soy, and bring to the boil. Stir in cornflour mixture to thicken the soup, then bring back to the boil.
  • Add chives and tofu to soup and stir gently until tofu is just warmed through (1 minute). Divide lettuce among bowls, then pour in soup and serve.

Original recipe from Gourmet Traveler.

Strawberry and Apricot Crisp with Pine-Nut Crumble

strawberry and apricot crisp

Check out Martha Stewart‘s recipe for this Strawberry and Apricot Crisp with Pine-Nut Crumble.

INGREDIENTS

CRUMBLE

  • 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for baking dish
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 ounces pine nuts, toasted (1/3 cup)

FILLING

  • 4 apricots, pitted and cut into sixths (about 2 cups)
  • 12 ounces strawberries (about 15), hulled and halved, or quartered if large (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt

SERVING

  • 1 pint strawberry ice cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all crumble ingredients in a medium bowl and massage together with your fingers until butter is incorporated and mixture forms small clumps. Refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 1/2-inch shallow round baking dish or pie plate. Combine all filling ingredients in another medium bowl. Transfer to baking dish and top with crumble. Bake until bubbling in center and crumble is browned, about 40 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

Gingerbread House Tips

Matthew Lodes, the executive chef at the stylish Rose Bakery in New York City, does not mess around when it comes to gingerbread. Lodes, who is also a classically trained pastry chef, spends each Christmas season building towering gingerbread houses that take months of sketching, test runs and long hours in the kitchen. These are not the cardboard-like gingerbread houses that you find in your local supermarket: Most of the candy is made from scratch, the gingerbread is fresh and aromatic, and the houses are incredibly sturdy. Here, the gingerbread master himself tells Food & Wine how it’s done and shares his essential tips to help you make your most impressive, centerpiece-worthy house yet.

gingerbread-house

When it comes to the gingerbread: to buy or not to buy?
It’s absolutely important to make your own gingerbread. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it gives your house a unique, personalized touch. Unless, of course, you want to buy one from me!*

How do you prevent your homemade gingerbread from baking into a giant blob?
When you roll out your gingerbread, let it rest for a few hours—ideally, overnight. Then bake it at a low temperature, say 300°. This way your gingerbread won’t rise and will keep its shape. If the gingerbread does become misshapen, you can pull it out of the oven halfway through baking to trim the edges with a serrated knife. Then return it to the oven to finish baking.

The day after decorating, my gingerbread house is always a big, naked cookie surrounded by a pile of candy. Tips for making it stick?
Absolutely. I always add a bit of distilled white vinegar to the royal icing—it aids in hardening. A lot of people skip this step.

What about candy—any favorite decorations?
In the past, I’ve made a lot of the candy myself, but in all honesty, it’s a pain. Candy-making is dangerous; coming into contact with cooked sugar is painful and the pain can last for hours. Not to mention, the scar it will leave!

My suggestion? Just buy it. The key to picking your candy is in the size. I like small candy so that you can fit more details onto the house, such as Skittles and Tic-tacs. They adhere nicely to the icing and the small size shows how much work you put into it. I also enjoy sticking with the traditional seasonal colors for candy and I’ll occasionally dye my royal icing, as well. Another favorite ingredient: nuts. Whole hazelnuts, almonds and pecans add nice texture and walnut halves make for great mini-wreaths!

What is the most extreme gingerbread house you’ve ever made?
The biggest one I’ve ever made was four feet wide and three feet tall; however, it had to go in a narrow space, so it was only nine inches deep. It was tricky because I had to carry it up two flights of stairs. My only tip for transporting a gingerbread house is to hold tight!

Food & Wine: Rose Bakery Gingerbread House
© Matthew Lodes

So we all want to know: Any gingerbread house epic fails?
Luckily, I’ve never had a major disaster, but one time I was doing an all-day demo at Williams-Sonoma and my tempered chocolate roof didn’t want to cooperate—chocolate and hot lights do not mix well. To make matters worse, a chocolatier friend of mine from Spain, Ruben Alvarez, was there to watch me. He understood the situation, but that didn’t stop my roof from almost collapsing in front of the whole audience!

 

Article published in Food&Wine.

Holiday Cocktail: Reindeer Tracks

 

reindeer-tracks

Ingredients:

2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
Splash of Cream

2 Chocolate cookie wafers

Directions:

Rim a martini glass with crushed up chocolate cookie crumbs and set aside. Shake Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka, hazelnut liqueur, Crème de Cacao and cream over ice and pour into the martini glass. Dust top with more chocolate cookie crumbs.

DIY Holiday Centerpieces

Check out these easy at home center pieces and table top ideas to add some elegance and warmth to your dinner parties, wine tastings, or holiday gatherings. 

 

cp1

 

Similar to the “Popcorn Keneral Candles” we shared with you last month, this centerpiece is a unique way to use some food items you may already have in your cupboards. Buy a candle that will fit into your cynical container leaving about ½ an inch from the glass all the way around. Simply slide a cookie stick around the candle, leaving no gaps. To finish it off, wrap twine at least 4 times around the glass and tuck the end into place, or tie a bow. You could also change this look a bit by trying it out with candy cane sticks and red ribbon on the outside!

http://designdininganddiapers.com/2012/05/simple-tips-for-decorating-on-a-budget/

 

cp2

 

This elegant centerpiece is the ultimate “reuse” project! You are going to need some old jars, long stem flowers, lace, and ribbon. Assemble the band for the jar before attaching it to the jar. When using one width strip of lace, find a decorative ribbon that matches with the party’s colors and hot glue it onto the middle of the lace strip. When using two smaller strips of lace, glue the edge of both lace strips onto the sides of your favorite ribbon. One the band is assembled, just glue the edges onto the jar and let dry. Feel free to mix it up a bit and alternate ribbons and/or widths of lace strips.

http://designdininganddiapers.com/2012/05/simple-tips-for-decorating-on-a-budget/

 

cp3

Comfort, warmth, and elegance, and nature are all wrapped up in this simple centerpiece. You do not have to use your fancy cake stand for this, buy a cheap one from a local store (as long as it has a nice foot to stand on!). Place a cluster of candles around the center of the stand by making a small circle around one candle placed in the middle of the stand, using about 7 candles in total. These candles can be in holders, or not, it is up to you! Alternating between one large pine cone and a piece of evergreen, place the decoration alongside the corners where each candle meets another candle.

http://carolinacountryliving.blogspot.com/2011/01/simple-winter-centerpiece.html