The perfect chocolate chip cookie.
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie – For Father’s Day this year, Noelle and I decided that we would make Michael his favourite chocolate chip cookies. I actually had no idea (after almost 12 years) that he loved chocolate chip cookies so much but recently, after all the cookies disappeared within about a day of making my last batch, he confessed his weakness to me. I’m more of a savoury food person myself but I’ve got to say that these chocolate chip cookies are really quite divine. What makes them so great… they are a little bit crunchy and yet soft and chewy all at the same time. They also have a nice saltiness to them thanks to the kosher salt in this recipe. Give them a try and I think you’ll agree that they’re pretty close to perfect.
Makes about 20 – 22 cookies. Adapted from original recipe here.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips and only 1/2 cup in the cookies photographed above but they definitely could have used more)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional – I love them but my daughter doesn’t so I omit)
- In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon or mixer (I do it all by hand) cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Do not over mix.
- Add the egg, vanilla and salt and stir until combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda and baking powder and stir gently until completely mixed in.
- Add the chocolate chips (and nuts if using them) and stir in just until they are evenly distributed.
- Cover bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop enough dough to make 1″ balls (don’t make too big – I’ve done this and it doesn’t end well 😉 ). Place them about 2″ apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake cookies for 13-16 minutes (depending on the softness you like – I do mine 14 minutes), rotating the pans after about 8 minutes.
- Remove from oven, transfer to racks and let cool.
- The original recipe says they’ll last 4 days in an airtight cookie jar but I have no idea since a batch has never lasted that long in our household.
Easy and tasty no-knead bread
I’m just going to say it… I love bread! Which means I never keep it in my house. If I ever have beautiful artisan bread in my house, it rarely lasts longer than an entire day – yes, I’m ashamed to say that means I can eat an entire loaf in a day.
My talented friend Diane is an incredible baker. She’s always bringing in her stunning loaves of bread into work and taunts the entire office with that warm, rich and delightful fresh baked smell. Myself, I usually don’t have much luck with baking but I thought I’d get some advice from Diane about an easy bread that I may have some success with. Diane suggested a no-knead bread so I came home and looked up some recipes online until I found this recipe on Frugal Living NW. Overall I thought the recipe was great but personally, I like something with a bit more flavour so I added asiago cheese, garlic, rosemary and a touch of oregano to the recipe the next time I made it and it was to die for. Now I make this whenever I have at least a days notice that we’re having company. This also makes a wonderful gift to take when attending dinner parties – always a hit!
Here’s the recipe:
Basic No-Knead Bread
slightly adapted from Jim Lahey’s My Bread
6 cups bread flour (recommended) or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast
2 1/2 t. salt
2 2/3 c. cool water
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; (THIS WOULD BE WHERE YOU COULD ADD ANY EXTRA FLAVOURS OR INGREDIENTS YOU’D LIKE) the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.
- Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
- Generously dust a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with enough flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises; place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Cover with the edges or a second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; flip the dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.
- Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Healthy and nutritious sprouts
For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to make healthier food choices for myself and my family. I’ve learned a lot over that time and continue to pick up little tidbits here and there. Years ago I dated a guy who was a vegetarian and he loved sprouts. Since he always had them around the house I used to make myself cucumber, cream cheese and sprout sandwiches – oh so yummy. I had forgotten all about those sandwiches until recently when I saw sprouting seeds for sale in the garden centre. I bought a few packages of seeds and almost bought a sprouting tray but at the last moment decided against the sprouter which was about $25. When I got home I jumped on to my computer and looked up how to grow sprouts. It turned out they were really easy to start and although the sprouting trays are nice they really aren’t necessary.
Health Benefits of sprouts:
- Rich in essential nutrients including vitamin A, C, B1, B6 and K; Iron, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Calcium
- Excellent source of enzymes
- Contain up to 35% protein
- Very easy to digest
- Great for weight loss, high in fiber and low in calories
How to grow your own sprouts:
Growing sprouts in a jar
All you need is a glass jar (mason jars are great for this), cheese cloth or nylon sock (I had some new ones that I’d never worn), seeds and water. Pour your seeds in the jar and stick your nylon sock on the top of the jar, add water, swirl around and then drain out. Do this a few times just to get rid of any dust or debris. Fill the jar with water so that it’s covering the seeds and then leave it somewhere bright but not in direct sunlight. The following day rinse the seeds again and fill again with water. Do this everyday (usually about 3-4 days) until you see little tails coming from the seeds. At this point, drain as much water from the jar as possible and then just leave it. In a couple more days your sprouts will be ready to eat and enjoy!
Cucumber, cream cheese and sprout sandwich – yum!