Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Image c/o Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Liza Jernow.

Does the world need more Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes? Yes, yes, it does! 

“Our 11 Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes,” a compilation by Margaux Laskey for the The New York Times, is now saved on my computer because, Hon, you can bet I’ll be working my way down the list. I tried the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, attributed to Ruth Wakefield, the 1930’s inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, who ran the Toll House Inn, a popular restaurant in eastern Massachusetts, with her husband.

Using an ice pick, Wakefield broke a semisweet chocolate bar into little bits, mixed them into brown-sugar dough, and the chocolate chip cookie was born. In 1939, she sold Nestlé the rights to reproduce her recipe on its packages (reportedly for only $1) and was hired to write recipes for the company, which supposedly supplied her with free chocolate for life. This recipe is very close to Mrs. Wakefield’s original (hers called for a teaspoon of hot water and 1/2-teaspoon-sized cookies), and the one you’ll still find on the back of every yellow bag of Nestlé chocolate chips.

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups/12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield:  approximately 5 dozen

Passover Apple Cake

Passover starts Saturday, March 27, 2021 and the entire holiday is focused on food! There’s what we can’t eat:  bread and anything that can rise bread-like, such as corn. And there’s what we can eat:  matzah, better known as crunchy cardboard (unless it’s soaked in eggs and milk and fried into Matzah Brei). Recipes that turn matzah meal, cake meal, and other Passover products into something edible–maybe even delicious–are coveted and shared. I substituted flour for matzah meal and converted an Apple Cake recipe to Pesadich, the term for food that’s allowed during the holiday.

If I have time in between cleaning out my fridge and cabinets and cooking for the holiday, I’ll post more recipes.

Hag Semach or Happy Holiday, Hon!

To make enough Apple Cake for 12 people, I tripled the ingredients, listed below, and added two batters-worth to a bundt cake pan and one batter-worth to the recommended 8″ x 8″ cake pan so that there will be enough dessert for 12 people.

Passover Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I divided this into 3/4 cup granulated sugar to be mixed with eggs and 3/4 cups combo granulated sugar and brown sugar to be mixed with spices.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (It may have been redundant to add this, but I had it in the house, so figured why not?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 5 medium apples, such as Golden Delicious or Crispin, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
  • 3/4 cup matzo cake meal (I ran out of matzo cake meal, so I added rice flour to make up the difference.)
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the center. Lightly spray an 8-inch-square glass baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. (I used a metal, square baking dish.)
  2. Mix together walnuts, 3/4 cup sugar (combo granulated and brown sugar), nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom, and clover in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat eggs on medium speed until well combined. Slowly beat in remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until mixture is thick and foamy. With the mixer running, slowly pour in oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in matzo cake meal.
  4. Pour half of the batter into prepared cake pan. Add a layer of apples (just add them haphazardly), sprinkle raisins and half of the walnut/spice mixture. Pour remaining batter in pan. Top with remaining apples and sprinkle remaining walnut/spice mixture over apples.
  5. Transfer cake to oven and bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the baking dish very slightly and topping begins to caramelize, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven and let stand for several hours until completely cool, before cutting. Keep cake covered tightly with plastic wrap for up to 2 days, as the flavor improves with age.

Yield: Makes one 8-inch square cake.

Hamantashen–Easy Recipe

Raspberry, apricot and chocolate Hamantaschen

The Jewish holiday of Purim may have ended, but I’ve only just started baking Hamantaschen! It may seem surprising, but I am a Hamantaschen newbie and there are many more flavors I’d like to try. How do apple, lemon and Nutella filling sound? For the holiday, Oheb Shalom Congregation hosted an online baking class for the Hebrew School kids. I took the opportunity to clean off my counter, dust it with flour, and get rolling!

What’s your favorite filling?

Easy Hamantaschen

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature (Margarine may be substituted to make cookies parve.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange juice (iIf you don’t have OJ, lemon juice will work.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • any flavor of filling such as jelly or chocolate chips (Tip: pie filling may have a bit more body, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

Directions:

  1. With hand or stand mixer, mix together butter (or margarine), egg, sugar, vanilla, and orange juice (or lemon juice).
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Roll out dough on a floured board to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut into circles. Fill the circle with approximately 1 teaspoon filling and pinch dough into triangles around the filling. Place on cooking sheet. (Tip: Collect extra dough and combine for more cookies.)
  4. Bake at 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. 

Yield: Depends on size of circles. I used a juice glass as a cookie cutter and made 30 cookies.

Valentines Day Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookie recipe + royal icing = the perfect Valentine’s Day cookies! Happy baking, hon.

(Tip–This recipe makes a large amount of cookie dough. You can make all of it or use half and freeze half.*)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to butter/ sugar mixture in increments until the flour mixture is completely incorporated.
  3. Chill mixture in fridge for about one hour then let sit on counter while you prepare the surface you are using to roll out the dough.  
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Roll dough to desired thickness and cut into shapes. Bake cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper but you may bake them directly on your ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown.

Yield:  Whole recipe makes approximately 4 dozen cookies, depending on cookie cutter size.

Royal Icing

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of meringue or dried egg white powder (I used the brand Deb El and a product called Just Whites.)
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, optional (note: adding vanilla adds flavor but tints the color of the icing)
  • food coloring, optional
  • sprinkles, decorating sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat all ingredients 4 to 5 minutes
 by hand.
  2. Stir in optional flavorings.
  3. Tip: Cut icing in half, keeping one half white and adding a couple drops of food coloring to the other half. Thin icing, if needed with extra Tablespoons warm water. Decorate as desired.
  4. Let icing dry. 

*After I defrosted the second half of the dough, I had to knead it a few minutes before I could work with it.

 

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Bite-Size Pumpkin Pies!

Thanksgiving tradition in our home calls for Apple and Pumpkin Pies so, in addition to baking Mini Apple Pies, I baked bite-size Pumpkin Pies. Referencing Sally’s Baking Addiction, the recipe below combines hers and mine. Shhh–don’t tell. I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving to try one. Hon, it was delicious!

Warm holiday wishes to you and your family.

Before baking and after.

Tips:

  • Grease or line mini muffin cups in two 24-count mini muffin pans.
  • Use a 2.5 inch cookie cutter or a 1/3 cup measuring cup to cut dough into small circles.
  • Sally’s Baking Addiction says, “These mini pumpkin pies are dough heavy– lots of crust in each bite. The filling really has to stand out, so we’ll use flavorful brown sugar and extra pumpkin pie spice.”
  • SBA also suggests using a touch of black pepper. “No one will know it’s there– all they’ll taste is a delightfully spiced flavor.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 unbaked pie crusts (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 (16oz) can cooked pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
  • small pinch black pepper (optional – see note)

Directions:

  1. Prepare pumpkin pie filling by beating 2 eggs, then adding remaining ingredients and mixing thoroughly.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Roll pie crusts to 1/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 2.5-inch cookie cutter (or 1/3 cup measuring cup), shape mini crusts. Re-roll any scrap pieces of pie dough as needed to cut out the circles.
  4. Place the small circles of dough into greased or lined 24-count mini muffin pan(s). Press the dough flat into the bottom of the crevice and up the sides.
  5. Evenly spoon cold filling into each unbaked crust, filling to the top.
  6. Bake mini pies until the center is just about set and edges are lightly browned, about 21-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. If greased well, the mini pies pop right out using a spoon to scoop them up. Cool, then serve at room temperature or refrigerate until chilled and serve cold. Filling deflates a bit as they cool.
  7. Cover leftover pies tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes:

Store any leftover Mini Pumpkin Pies in the refrigerator for up to 5 days OR wrap, freeze, and defrost at a later date.

Yield: 48-50 mini pies

Mini Apple Pies

Thanksgiving Looks Different This Year!

Searching for a way to serve the holiday meal in a safe, individualized way, we’ve ordered take-out and soup containers, baked easy-to-serve desserts, and will be gathering outside on our front porch. You’d think forming mini pies in a 12-count muffin pan would be easier than rolling out dough for regular-sized pies, but it took way more time. Thanks to Live Well, Bake Often for the recipe. The results will be worth it!

Happy baking, hon! And hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pie crusts (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped apples, approx. 6 (I used a combo of Granny Smith and Gala.)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • dash of cloves and touch of honey
  • optional, egg yolk for egg wash and decorator’s crystal sugar or some other decoration

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Roll pie crusts to 1/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3.5-inch cookie cutter (or a cup) cut out 12 circles from the pie crusts. Re-roll any scrap pieces of pie dough as needed to cut out the circles.
  3. Place each circle of pie crust in each cavity of a standard 12-count muffin pan. Gently press the dough down and around the sides, making sure the dough fits snuggly in each cavity of the muffin pan. Transfer the muffin pan and any leftover pie crust dough to the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the chopped apples, sugar, flour, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, and ground nutmeg, cloves and honey until fully combined. Remove the muffin pan from the refrigerator and evenly distribute the apple pie filling between all of the cavities in the muffin pan (about 2-3 tablespoons per mini pie).
  5. Remove the extra pie dough from the refrigerator, cut out your designs for the tops of the pies, and place them on top. (Tip: For criss-cross pattern, no need to weave– lay 3 to 4 thin strips in one direction, then 3-4 thin strips in other direction.)
  6. Optional: Brush egg yolk on tops of pie to enhance golden color. Sprinkle decorator’s sugar on top. On the mini loaf pan pies, I sprinkled sugar snowflakes.
  7. Bake at 425°F for 20-25 minutes or until the pie crust is lightly golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the mini pies from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes:

Store any leftover mini apple pies in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving. OR wrap and freeze pies and defrost thoroughly before serving.

Yield: 12 mini pies

Easy DIY Kids Crafts & Recipes: Popovers

The only question I had when serving these light, airy delicious popovers was…Why didn’t I make them earlier? At some point, I’d kept this kid-friendly recipe from a Nick Jr. Family magazine, but had never tried it. Then, when I wanted to make corn bread to accompany Turkey Chili, but had no cornmeal in the house, I came across this recipe. The popovers were a hit!

I also wanted to post my son’s Turkey Chili recipe but was asked not to because, in the event that he enters a Chili Cook-off one day, he doesn’t want his secret ingredients exposed! LOL!

Happy baking, hon!

Popovers
Ingredients:
  • Cooking spray or butter for greasing muffin cups
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk to make this non-dairy.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease 12 regular-size muffin cups. Grease around the top of the muffin cups to prevent the batter from sticking when the popovers rise.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl o high for about 30 to 40 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Crack eggs into a large bowl and mix them with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  4. Mix in the milk, salt, and butter. Add the flour, whisk until batter is very smooth, getting out all of the lumps.
  5. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full.
  6. Bake 15 minutes, then turn down heat to 35o degrees F. Tip: Look through oven window but DO NOT open oven door or the popovers won’t “pop.” Bake another 18 to 20 minutes, until popovers are puffed up and golden brown.
  7. Tip muffin tin over to release popovers. Serve hot or warm with butter or jam.

Yield: 12 popovers

Easy DIY Kids Crafts & Recipes: Gluten-Free Mandarin & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not Cardboard!

I’ve found a gluten-free cookie recipe which yields cookies that don’t taste like cardboard. Hallelujah! I’m not a fan of several recipes from Gluten Free Baking by  Michael McCamley,  but I liked this one. The cookies have an all-over chocolate taste with a hint of citrus that complements the chocolate chips.

Happy baking, hon! 

Gluten-Free Mandarin & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces gluten-free semisweet dark chocolate (or gluten-free chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing (I used margarine.)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cups gluten-free, wheat-free all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten-free unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
  • juice of 1/2 mandarin orange
  • zest of 2 mandarin oranges

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Break or chop chocolate into small chunks and set aside one-quarter of the chunks to top the cookies. (I used chocolate chips so I didn’t break anything up.)
  3. Cream together the sugars and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg. Add flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, chocolate chunks, and the orange juice and zest.
  4. Bring the mixture together by hand, forming a ball, and invert onto a floured surface. Divide into 8-10 circles, using about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough per ball. Tip: The mixture is dry and messy, so I add small amounts of warm water until the batter is mixable. Then, grease hands with vegetable oil, combine ingredients, and pinch out batter to make individual cookies.
  5. Place circles on baking sheet, allowing space in between for each cookie to spread. Flatten each cookie slightly and sprinkle with reserved chocolate chunks or chips.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until just firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool o a wire rack.

Yield:  10 cookies

Easy DIY Kids Crafts & Recipes: Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Perfect for a Picnic
In anticipation of a social distance get together, Hannah and I searched for a cookie recipe that was low in sugar and dairy-free. We came across these “Ultimate Healthy Soft Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” on Amy’s Healthy Baking and switched out the raisins (picky eaters) for chocolate chips. The result? Yummy guilt-free cookies!
Happy baking, hon!
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (100g) instant oats (measured correctly & gluten-free if necessary)
  • ¾ cup (90g) whole wheat or gluten-free* flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (I used margarine.)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120mL) honey or agave
  • ¼ cup (40g) raisins (I used chocolate chips.)
Directions:
  1. Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the agave. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the raisins (or choc.chips). Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet, and flatten slightly. Bake at 325°F for 11-14 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

According to Amy’s Healthy Baking,

It’s extremely important to measure both the oats and flour correctly using the spoon-and-level method or a kitchen scale. Too much of either will dry out the cookies and leave them crumbly instead of chewy.

Instant oats are also known as quick-cooking or minute oats. They come in large canisters, just like old-fashioned oats. They are not the ones in the small flavored packets of oatmeal. To make your own, add the same amount of old-fashioned oats to a food processor, and pulse 10-12 times.

For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free instant oats and a gluten-free flour blend. I recommend the following blend: ½ cup (60g) millet flour, 2 tablespoons (15g) tapioca flour, 2 tablespoons (17g) brown rice flour, and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum.

If you prefer, pure maple syrup may be substituted in place of the honey or agave. You may also substitute ½ cup (106g) brown sugar plus ¼ cup (60mL) of milk. Any milk will work.

For the best results, use fresh raisins. Older raisins will be drier, so I recommend hydrating them first. Add the raisins to a microwave-safe bowl, cover them completely with water, and top with a tight-fitting lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 45-60 seconds. Let the raisins sit and absorb moisture until you’re ready to add them to the dough. Drain them thoroughly before folding in.

Yield: 15 cookies

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