Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Outrageous Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Wow. I made it. I feel a bit like Chevy Chase on Christmas Vacation at the end of the movie when he says, "I did it". Two and a half weeks of a house full of company, orientations for school, doctors appointments, karate lessons, and trips to zoos and amusement parks and a house renovation (we are adding a front porch). We even went through a possible adoption situation on top of all that. It didn't turn out :( but it worked out for the best (the kids were acting out too much to bring them into a family with other kids). I'd be lying my pants off if I said I wasn't a bit relieved when it was all over. Sad in a big way too with missing my brother and especially his kids, but happy to get the house back in order, the kids off to school, and some sanity in my schedule.
To vent some of the stress from our end of summer blast of fun, I baked cookies from a new recipe last night. Talk about your stress relievers; these cookies turned out better than I had hoped! I adapted them from a Martha Stewart recipe, changing some of the ingredients to what I had on hand. If you decide to try these (and I hope you do, they are to die for!), make sure you only bake them for the time recommended, just when they start to crack on the outside and are still soft. Store them in a sealed container and they will stay soft for 2 to 3 days.

Outrageous Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup (8 oz.) semi sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter (I used salted but unsalted works too)
2/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (I used 1/4 tsp. due to using salted butter)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 package of semi sweet chocolate chips (I also threw in 1/2 cup white chips and 1/4 cup Reese's mini peanut butter pieces)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat semi sweet chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals, mixing as needed, until melted. Remove and cool slightly.

In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in the melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chips.

Drop dough in rounded tablespoons on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets for about 10 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Audrey: Do you sleep with your brother? Do you know how sick and twisted that is?
Ellen: Well, I'm sleeping with your father. Don't be so dramatic.
-Christmas Vacation (1989)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Be Right Back.....

Just letting everyone know that I probably won't be able to blog for the next few weeks. My brother is coming home on leave (Navy) from Cuba and will be shipping out back to the war early September, so this will be our last visit for a long while. He is also bringing my niece and nephew so my kids are all beside themselves about getting to see their cousins, who live several hours away.

So, needless to say, with a houseful of company and school starting August 30th, I'm one crazy woman! If I get a chance to sit down, I'll attempt to blog. But I'm hoping that if I don't get a chance until school starts, I will at least have some great recipes to share. My brother loves to cook and I'm sure he has some good ones up his sleeve!

I'll still be reading everyone's blogs so I hope to at least stay in touch.

Enjoy the rest of summer! Soon, we'll all be talking about the fall foliage!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chocolate Covered Popcorn

Talk about your lazy day desserts! Chocolate Covered Popcorn has got to be in the top ten. Yesterday, the kids and I were all lazy bums. No one felt like doing anything. Normally, I don't let the kids watch t.v. during the afternoon, but I made an exception yesterday and suggested a movie. That is when daughter number one decided we needed popcorn to go with the movie. And being my daughter, she of course suggested chocolate popcorn. In no time, we had a large bowl of yumminess!

Chocolate Covered Popcorn

2 packages of Simply Salted popcorn
1 cup (or more to taste) semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (if desired)
1/2 cup peanuts (honey or regular) if desired

Pop the popcorn and let cool. Melt the semi sweet chips in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir as needed. Once melted remove from heat (do the same for the white chips if using).

Place popcorn on an aluminum lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Add peanuts if using. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted semi sweet chips (and melted white chips if using) over the popcorn, covering most of the surface. Using clean hands, toss the popcorn until the chocolate coats most of the kernels. Serve.

"The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves."
-W. C. Fields

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Japanese Rice Balls

My middle daughter loves anime. She watches it, reads about it and draws it. Ad nauseam. It was no surprise to me then when she asked if I would make her rice balls. She had seen characters on her shows eating them and wanted to try them. I found a recipe and got all of the ingredients together. It was surprisingly easy. I did substitute some things, like the fillings. I just could not find "ume" which is pickled plum nor did I think the kids would go for grilled salted salmon, but otherwise we stuck to the recipe. It was fun to make and even more interesting to eat!

Japanese Rice Balls

4 cups of Japanese rice, steamed (I used sticky rice from the grocery store)
8 strips of dried nori (seaweed)
Salt to taste
Recipe fillings- ume, grilled salted salmon, kombu tsukudani
My Fillings- sweet pickles, pepperoni (requested by my daughter- yuk!), pineapple, sweet smoked ham- all chopped to fit inside

Cook rice. After dipping your hands in water, take about 1/3 cup of rice and form a ball, pressing in until the ball is firm. Make a dent into the center of the ball with a chopstick. Place filling inside and cover with rice. Wrap the ball with one slice of nori, pressing firmly until nori forms over the rice firmly.
Serve with teriyaki and other Japanese dipping sauces.

"Success is 99 percent failure”
-Soichiro Honda quotes (Japanese Honda Motor Company Founder, b.1906)