Today is National Bake Cookies Day. Seems to me we just celebrated cookie day. *scrolls back through previous posts and discovers it was Homemade Cookie Day*
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. One can never have too many cookies. Unless one eats too many and one feels ill afterward. Glad that’s never happened to me. Certainly never the still-warm cookies that require taste testing.
This is prime baking season in my house. My fruitcake was baked a month ago and has been “fed” with whisky every Wednesday since. Why Wednesday? Why not?
I’ve baked these chocolate chip cookies twice in the past month. I’ve also baked a test recipe for America’s Test Kitchens, and a batch of Pecan Fingers. Yesterday I baked Swedish Christmas Cookies and a second batch of Pecan Fingers. I predict there’ll be at least one more batch of Pecan Fingers before the end of the year. They’re hubby’s favourite.
I don’t often veer from the tried and true cookie recipes. They’re part of what makes this season so special. A real tree in the corner, a turkey in the oven, and a plate of sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, and Pecan Fingers all combine to make the season bright. <grin>
Do you have foods that scream “Christmas” to you?
National Brownie Day (today) should be celebrated more than once a year, in my opinion. Seriously. Does anyone eat brownies only one day a year?
There are two camps when it comes to brownie texture – fudgy and dense, or lighter and more cake-like. I fall in—both camps. I confess that I more-often-than-not bake a fudgy brownie but I wouldn’t refuse a cakey brownie if offered one. (Full disclosure, I won’t refuse any sweet baked good. And if it’s chocolate there had better be another portion with my name on it.)
Here’s the recipe for brownies I make most often. Actually, this is the brownie recipe in my house. Super easy and super chocolatey. Quite often – ah, most of the time – erm, all the time I put icing on these babies. Vanilla icing is good. Vanilla icing with the addition of finely grated orange zest and a few tablespoons of orange juice instead of milk or cream is even better. (Makes a chocolate-orange kind of flavour – yum!)
Cocoa Brownies (adapted from Bon Appetit)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat over to 325F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a one-inch overhang, pressing firmly into corners, and spray with non-stick oil spray.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. With a spatula or wooden spoon stir in white sugar and cocoa powder until blended (sugar will not melt). Remove from heat, stir in salt and vanilla. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then stir in eggs, beating well. Stir in flour and chocolate chips (and pecans if using). Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until centre is set.
Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. Using edges of foil, lift from pan and cut into squares. Makes 16 (for normal people, makes 8 in our house - ha!).
Are you a fudgy brownie or a cakey brownie person?
P.S. Pre-order links for Love and Turmoil, just in case you’re in the mood for a fun, steamy romance. This book goes well with brownies.
Happy December! How did that happen? said everyone everywhere.
As you read this (provided you’re reading this on Friday) I’m on my way to the mainland for a much- needed haircut. Also to conduct house business, and to visit friends. Hopefully, I’m also celebrating my “winning” of NaNoWriMo. (I’m writing this blog post early so all I can say is if I didn’t “win”, I came mighty close.”
We’re approaching intense baking season, at least in my house. All the seasonal recipes are being dusted off – cookies and cakes and breads.
‘Tis the season to get fatter, fa la la la la, la la, la la.
Ah, but it’s only once a year and we all deserve a treat. Especially after this past year of craziness, national, international, and personal.
Just remember moderation in all things.
In the spirit of sharing, I’m a guest blogger today and am sharing my favourite recipe for sugar cookies. Come visit me at Karen Doctor's blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card. Perfect for holiday shopping, or to buy one of my books if, you know, you want to.
Do you go all out baking for the holidays? Or do you let other people do all the hard work?
I love to cook and bake (news flash!), and I love to try new recipes. So when I got the opportunity to test recipes under development I jumped at the chance.
We subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchens. Two fabulous resources of tested and analyzed recipes for everything from soup to cake. Hubby and I were discussing this very thing with Mum a few days ago and neither of us could recall a recipe from any of the America’s Test Kitchens magazines or cookbooks that didn’t work well and taste great. (They also test kitchen equipment, the results of which I rely on when I need to purchase a new vegetable peeler or food processor.)
They put out a call several months ago for recipe testers and I signed up. Since then I’ve received a couple recipes a month to test if I want. If it’s not something that appeals to me, like shrimp, then I don’t make it. But I get plenty of recipes that do appeal. And, man, are they good.
This past month I tested both an entrée and a dessert. Definitely going in my recipe box. But I can’t share. Keeping the recipes under wraps is my part of the deal. As soon as they’re published I’ll chime in with my five-star reviews.
Where do you look when you want to try a new recipe?