The Classics

With the million and two holiday recipe options floating around every year, sometimes you just need one go-to that is pretty much always guaranteed to taste great and be a crowd pleaser. I bring you…the chocolate chip cookie. It’s easy, it makes a decent sized bunch, it isn’t super fancy, and hell, who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?

I would love to say this recipe has been in my family for generations (because well, my grandma does in fact use this recipe), however I shall not tell a lie. It is taken from the cookie extraordinaires themselves, Toll House. And well, why fool with something that’s already so good? I present you…the classics:

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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I sometimes like to add things like white chocolate chips and dried cranberries , or coconut flakes to this recipe instead…the base is great for any amazing cookie! I’m giving some to my coworkers as gifts this year…hopefully they’ll like them as much as I do 🙂

Have you made these before? What is your favorite flavor combination?

xo SA

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Three french hens, two turtle doves…

And a roasted duck that tastes love-lyyyyyyyy!

Sorry, had to finish the song hehe.

So at my Friends-giving (the better alternative to Thanksgiving, of course) this year, I assisted my masterful chef friend in making duck for the first time. We followed the instructions to a T, and well, the final product can be seen below. While it takes about a million and two hours to complete (and may not be the best choice for those on a tight schedule with the potential to get hangry–yes, hunger+anger), it’s a great alternative to fancy up your meal if you’re having a few friends over for a relaxing dinner. The recipe she used can be found here.

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Not too greasy, totally moist, and really a great first-time-you’ve-tried-duck experience for the more squeamish eaters. Bottom line, it tastes amazing. Just make it!

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Have you tried to make duck before? Did you like how it came out? Would you try this recipe for a dinner party?

Happy Eating!

xo SA

 

If only we could turn all of our veggies into cake

So after a weekend beach trip that led to a last minute pit stop at a Delaware farm stand, I somehow ended up with a refrigerator full of zucchini. For a week I had it baked, broiled, roasted, toasted, and caked, and I somehow still had some of this veggie left. Before I threw in the towel and forced the food upon my roommates, I realized that despite my weeklong zucchini fest, I still forgot to make my favorite recipe with it: zucchini bread. For those of you who now think I’m crazy, it’s kind of the same concept as banana bread, except you don’t really taste it. It just turns out into this moist yummy breakfasty bread that you will gobble up. Because seriously, this stuff is amazing. Chocolate is theoretically optional in this recipe (and its actually quite good without any chocolate), but who sees chocolate as optional??

Enjoy!

xo SA

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2/3 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (do not substitute natural cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (from 1-2 zucchini), gently packed
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the butter in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl and microwave for one minute, or until just melted. Stir in the brown sugar until completely smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until incorporated. (Be sure to add the eggs after the brown sugar is mixed in, as the hot butter alone could cook the eggs.)
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. It will be very thick.
  4. Stir in the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. (It will still be thick — that’s okay.)
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (save for perhaps a smear from the melted chocolate chips). Let the loaf cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

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“They were crying to get out of the jar… Cookies get claustrophobia too, you know!”

I’ve been dying to do a little baking lately, and I figured a Sunday afternoon would be perfect. Would’ve been better if it was a lazy Sunday afternoon, but alas, busy day or not, baking was completed. As you may have noticed at one of our earlier posts, I like to use locally made jams/preserves in my baking/drinks/cooking…anything, really. Maybe it’s because I for some reason have so many of them? Regardless, expect to see more of these in the future. Next time potentially with a rose petal cake. If anyone has suggestions for things to do with rose petal jam, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to get ideas!

Meanwhile, today’s baking! I was in the mood for thumbprint cookies, and had marmalade lying around. Switched out plain marmalade for lemon, and amped up the cookies with some cinnamon, and we were in business!

My roomies gobbled about a half dozen of them up already. It’s still summery, but I think the cinnamon brings it to be a bit more of a fall-transition cookie (not just applicable to wardrobes! 😉 haha)
Check it out below and let me know what you think.

xo SA

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1 cup butter, sliced (2 sticks)
¾ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 c lemon marmalade

Cream together the butter and sugar, then slowly add the other ingredients (minus the marmalade). Once all mixed, place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Bake the cookies at 350`F for 8 minutes and then take them out of the oven. Make a thumbprint in the middle of each cookie and place a small dollop of marmalade. Then place back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes, or until the cookie is done.

Cheers to that!

You should all know by now that I’m the queen of fun cocktails. Whether they be classics reinvented or something I’ve whipped up out of boredom, I’m always one to experiment with my liquor. Given that my roommate is part Peruvian part Chilean, you should’ve expected this recipe to come sooner or later..
For those of you who have never had the chance to experience Pisco Sours, I highly suggest you do. ASAP. All the ingredients should be found at your local liquor/grocery store, you will just have to dig a bit.

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Some history on the drink for you courtesy of our friends at wiki:

The cocktail originated in Lima, Peru, and was invented by Victor Vaughn Morris, an American bartender, in the early 1920s. Morris left the United States in 1903 to work in Cerro de Pasco, a city in central Peru. In 1916, he opened Morris’ Bar in Lima, and his saloon quickly became a popular spot for the Peruvian upper class and English-speaking foreigners. The Pisco Sour underwent several changes until Mario Bruiget, a Peruvian bartender working at Morris’ Bar, created the modern Peruvian recipe of the cocktail in the latter part of the 1920s by adding Angostura bitters and egg whites to the mix.
In Chile, historian Oreste Plath attributed the invention of the drink to Elliot Stubb, an English steward of a ship named Sunshine, who allegedly mixed Key lime juice, syrup, and ice cubes to create the cocktail in a bar, in 1872, in the port city of Iquique, which at that time was part of Peru. The original source cited by Plath attributed the invention of the whiskey sour to Stubb, not the Pisco Sour. The oldest known mentions of the Pisco Sour are from a 1921 magazine attributing Morris as the inventor and a 1924 advertisement for Morris’ Bar published in a newspaper from the port of Valparaíso, Chile.
Chile and Peru both claim the Pisco Sour as their national drink, and each asserts exclusive ownership of both pisco and the cocktail. Peru celebrates a yearly public holiday in honor of the cocktail during the first Saturday of February. The two kinds of pisco and the two variations in the style of preparing the Pisco Sour are distinct in both production and taste. Thus the Pisco Sour has become a significant and oft-debated topic of Latin American popular culture.

And most importantly, the recipe…

In a blender, mix:
1 egg white
3/4 c sugar
1 c pisco liquor
7-8 large ice cubes

Once blended, add in 1/2 c freshly squeezed lime juice, and blend once more.
(note: the traditional way is to use key limes, however regular ones work just as fine)

Pour in to glasses and add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

each batch makes about 5 servings.

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They look good, right?
If you’ve never had them before don’t let the raw egg white freak you out! You don’t taste it, I promise 🙂

Enjoy!

xo SA