Monthly Archives: May 2015

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

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Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! In honor of the day, I am reposting this from last year. I will also be making my almond chocolate chip cookies later on and will post that as well.  However, for the time being, enjoy an oldie but goodie!

I have been in the mood for home-baked chocolate chip cookies for some time now. I think it might be ever since I read the book The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book: Scrumptious Recipes & Fabled History From Toll House to Cookie Cake Pie by Carolyn Wyman. It’s a really interesting read which contains not only the history of the chocolate chip cookie but, in her opinion, where to get the best ones around the country. Carolyn listed state by state the best places she found. There are a lot of fun facts and stories, she really did her homework – I highly recommend reading it. One thing I may not have mentioned about me, I inherited the love of reading cookbooks from my mother. She would read them as if they were novels and I totally get that.

As far as I’m concerned, chocolate chip cookies have to be the most absolute perfect cookie. They can be a lot of things all at one time: chewy, crispy, cakey, ooey-gooey, sweet, salty, yummy and comforting! With or without nuts, crispy or chewy, dark chocolate chips or chunks, they are so versatile and my all time favorite cookie.

So today I celebrate you. I celebrate you big and small, hot out of the oven, with a tall ice cold glass of milk!

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With one recipe I made them all different sizes yielding different textures and ultimately taste. I made miniature ones that are a one bite cookie and crunchy, then the next size which I baked for less time to yield a chewy cookie and finally larger ones which were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. A cookie for everyone in my house!

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Now for my favorites… of course everyone has their personal favorite. I’ve always been a fan of the original Nestle Toll House. In fact, when my family goes on vacation to Disney World, they know we’re not leaving without having a Toll House cookie ice cream sandwich at The Main Street Bakery. When I lived in NYC and had a tiny kitchen, there was always a bag of Tate’s Cookies (formerly known as Kathleen’s Cookies) in our apartment. They are simply the crispest, lightest and most delectable cookie, you won’t believe they come from a package. I have tried to make them from her recipe, but they don’t come out the same and I’m kind of glad about that. Now when I do have one of her cookies it takes me back to a great time and memory when my girlfriends and I would meet in the park with our babies! Now for my current favorite… drum roll please… my version of Jacques Torre’s Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie. Not such a secret if he let Martha Stewart publish it on her website, or the New York Times! However, I’m betting you didn’t know about it! So let’s keep this just between us! Below is his recipe adapted with a few adjustments. For starters, I cut the recipe in half as the original recipe makes 8 1/2 dozen cookies! I also cut down on the sugar, added a little more salt and vanilla.

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2 sticks unsalted butter softened at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs*
1 – 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon pastry flour
1 – 1/2 cups bread flour
1 – 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound best quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (or combination)
(for mini cookies, use only miniature chocolate chips)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add eggs and and vanilla, mixing well. In a separate bowl add all the dry ingredients. Reduce speed on the mixer and add the dry ingredients a little at a time. Add the chips or chopped chocolate and mix until combined.

For the mini cookies, I used a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon yielding a 1″ cookie. For the next size I used a 1 – 1/2″ teaspoon cookie scoop yielding a 2″ cookie. Place on prepared cookie sheet about 1″ apart for the smaller cookies and 2″ apart for the larger ones. Make sure to keep the same size cookies together on the baking sheet as they will bake at different speeds.

Bake the mini cookies for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. The larger cookies will take about 8 to 10 minutes. If you make what I call jumbo sized cookies using a 1/4 cup (4oz.) scoop for a 5″ cookie, bake for closer to 18 to 20 minutes. Keep in mind, cookies will continue to cook a little more on the baking sheet when you take them out of the oven. And you can adjust the baking time according to the type of cookie you like, more time for crispy, less time for chewy. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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This recipe will makes thirteen  5″ cookies or 4 1/2 dozen 2″ cookies or if you want the cuties like I made, you’ll get somewhere around 300 mini’s! That’s why I did a combination. If I only wanted minis, I would have cut the recipe in half.  Enjoy!

*eggs should always be room temperature when baking. You can put them in warm water for about 5 minutes if you forget to take them out ahead of time. Doing this will help the eggs blend well with the room temperature butter.

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Turkey Lettuce Wraps… Is it a Salad or a Sandwich!

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Turkey lettuce wraps are a great meal when you want to cut down on bread but not on flavor! Just like the next guy or girl, I love a good sandwich. I mean, really love a good sandwich! But sometimes, when the weather is warm, and I want something other than a sandwich or a salad, I’ll make turkey lettuce wraps. They are the best of both worlds and what I prepared for lunch today.

This deconstructed turkey sandwich or reconstructed Cobb salad, is super easy and really great. I had sliced turkey in my refrigerator, fresh baby heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, avocados, and delicious bib lettuce already in my house. It’s very versatile and you can use leftovers like grilled chicken or salmon if you are a pescetarian (vegetarian who also eats fish).

Sliced turkey, chicken or salmon
Bib lettuce
Avocado slices
Russian dressing (find this recipe in my salad section)*
Hard boiled egg (optional)
Fried onions for a little crunch (optional)

Rinse and dry your lettuce well. Spread a little dressing on the inside of a larger leaf. Fill the lettuce with a slice of turkey, avocado, slice of hard-boiled egg, baby tomatoes and roll up like a burrito, or fold in half.

So… is it a salad or a sandwich? You decide! Enjoy!

*You can use any dressing you like. When I make the grilled chicken wraps, I’ll use honey mustard dressing. For salmon wraps I use homemade ranch dressing. Experiment and see what combinations you come up with. Let me know how it goes!

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I just had to post this photo of the heirloom tomatoes! They are really picture perfect and so sweet and delicious! My son is tired of hearing me say they are nature’s candy – but they truly are!