Tag Archives: Classic

Butterscotch Cookies

This Butterscotch Cookies recipe is perfect to make ahead. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in the holiday craziness between work, home, traffic (specially if you live just outside the city) that baking takes a second place. So, to avoid that, I like to make my cookie doughs ahead of time and freeze them.

Last year, I decided to start prepping for the holidays since mid November. This year I am a little behind, but tomorrow will be cookie dough making afternoon. I baked these delicious cookies on Christmas eve, in the early morning hours. To defrost them properly, I took them out of the freezer and into the fridge the night before.

Since they are still hard enough to make it slicing easy, I recommend turning the log on its side each time you slice. This will prevent you having cookies with a flat side. When I baked them, my entire house was smelling heavenly, a perfect way to start off Christmas eve!

Kitty

Butterschotch Cookies

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Classic Brownies

Well, it seems to be working… all those afternoons in the kitchen with Kristen baking cookies, cupcakes, cakes, pancakes, etc. apparently have made an impact on her.  She is starting to ask for cooking sessions out of her own motivation.  A few weeks ago, she organized her first family gathering inviting her aunt, uncles and grandparents over for coffee and cupcakes.  I let her prepare the (cake mix) cupcakes all by herself (under my supervision for chaos control).  She was so proud of herself!… and so were we.

On one of her requested baking sessions, we wanted to make brownies.  I reached for the brownie mix in my pantry, only to find that it had expired.  Brownies from scratch it is, then.  I searched for a few recipes and decided to go with the one from Smitten Kitchen, I didn’t want any surprises and Deb’s recipes haven’t let me down.  What I liked the most about this recipe, aside from being a good classic brownie recipe,  is the tip for using aluminum foil to cover the pan before you add the batter!  I will do this every time from now on, it made getting neat squares easy.

Be sure to test for doneness before removing the brownies from the oven. If underbaked (the toothpick has batter clinging to it) the texture of the brownies will be dense and gummy. If overbaked (the toothpick comes out completely clean), the brownies will be dry and cakey.

Helga

Chocolate Brownies

Classic Brownies

Recipe from  Smitten Kitchen

 Ingredients:

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Procedure:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar.
  5. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve.

Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Not Your Usual Chocolate Chip Cookies

The classic cookie, chocolate chip.  After they are baked, I like to put mine in the microwave for a few seconds so the chocolate chips get soft and creamy, washing them down with a tall glass of cold milk is quite an indulgent snack.

I always learn new things when I am cooking, and for this recipe I found out that the type of sugar you use makes a difference in the texture of the cookie.  Using regular sugar results in a crispier, crunchier cookie and brown sugar results in a chewy, softer cookie.  Personally, I prefer the crispier type, so I changed the recipe.   You can try ¾ cups regular sugar and ¾ cups brown sugar for a softer cookie, or try all brown sugar for a really chewy version.

Did you know that chocolate chip cookies came to be, by accident?  In 1930, dietician Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977) and her husband, Kenneth, purchased a Cape-Cod style house halfway between Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts, just outside the town of Whitman. The house, built in 1709, had once been a “truck stop” of sorts, where travelers could rest, change horses, have a nice meal, and pay any necessary tolls for using the road. Ruth and Kenneth soon turned their new home into a lodge, “The Toll House Inn.”

Ruth’s skill in the kitchen, particularly at baking and making mouthwatering desserts, drew in visitors from all over the northeast. One of her favorite recipes, which dated back to Colonial days, was for Butter Drop Cookies.

One version of the recipe called for Baker’s chocolate, and, finding herself without, Ruth chopped up a bar of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate and added the tiny bits to her dough. The chocolate was supposed to melt and spread through the dough. It didn’t. That day in 1937, the history of chocolate chip cookies began.

Source: Facts About Chocolate

Helga

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Meringue Frosting

I remember when I was a kid, my grandma Lucy would make this delicious Italian Meringue. I was only allowed to help at first, and then just watch from a distance, that’s when she would heat the sugar and honey to soft-ball stage. Then came the fun part. Grandma didn’t make it often, as it took plenty of time to prepare… and she would make two recipes: We all loved it!

Italian meringue is prepared by the addition of sugar syrup made by heating sugar and water (and sometimes the addition of glucose or corn syrup to stabilize the crystal structure) to the soft-ball stage (240 °F) to egg whites whipped to soft peaks. The sugar syrup cooks the egg whites, heating them well past the 140 °F needed to kill salmonella and any other potentially harmful bacteria. The syrup and egg white mixture is then whipped until cooled to around 100 °F.

The vanilla cake I prepared is a variation of the Lemon Cake I posted back in April. I have to say that between that frosting and this one, I take this one a thousand times over. The other one is meant to be eaten that same day, as this one can last a few days… and a little extra tip, the left over frosting, place it in a bowl and put it in the fridge with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. You won’t resist the temptation to grab a spoonful of it!

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake

Yield: 16 Servings
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  4. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  5. Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides.

Cook’s Note: Reserve the egg whites left over from the cake for the frosting. If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute plain yogurt or sour cream (not fat-free).

Italian Meringue Frosting

A Foodies’ Kitchen Original recipe
Enough to heavily frost a 2 layer 8-2 inch cake

Ingredients:

5 egg whites
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
*You’ll need a Candy Thermometer

Directions:

  1. First, lets set our workspace and tools: Make sure your mixer bowl is clean and dry, no drop of water on it so the egg whites can form their soft peaks. Next,. move your mixer next to the stove. It will be much more easier for you to add the hot syrup to the egg whites mix bit by bit.
  2. Bring sugar, water, and honey to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook, undisturbed, until syrup registers 240 °F (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. The sugar syrup cooks the egg whites, heating them well past the 140 °F needed to kill salmonella and any other potentially harmful bacteria.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk whites with a mixer until soft peaks form, about 10 minutes. This depends on your mixer. The best way to test it is to remove the bowl from the mixer and tilt it to the side slowly, and if the egg whites hold their place they are ready to use.
  4. Check on your syrup and make sure it stays under the softball stage. For this, I just leave the saucepan on the stove and reheat it when needed.
  5. Reduce speed to low, and add hot syrup to your egg whites by the spoonful. I use a small ladle. Make sure that each spoonful gets mixed before adding the next. Clean up the sides of the bowl from time to time. Do this until all the syrup has been mixed with the egg whites. The amount of meringue will rise, so if you want to make two recipes, make it one at the time.
  6. Let it cool for about 5-6 minutes, since it will be warm (you’ll be able to feel it from the bowl) before you start using it on your cake.
  7. After it cooled down a bit, frost your cake!
Note: You’ll find that you’ll get some extra help in the kitchen with this frosting. My dad volunteered to clean out the whisk from the mixer!

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting

Classic Vanilla Cake and Italian Merengue Frosting