Chocolate Chip Cookies: The recipe is in my head!


The well-used recipe

I have a whole recipe box full of recipes for all kinds of cookies, but 99.9% of the time when I’m baking cookies, I choose my tried and true chocolate chip. I’ve made these cookies so much that I have the recipe memorized – no need to get out the battered and grubby-looking  recipe card, although I sometimes do just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. This recipe is adapted from the original Toll House Cookie recipe  (what do toll houses have to do with cookies anyway?) that appeared on the back of the Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chip package 37 years ago. One of my modifications was to add extra chocolate chips, because, let’s face it, that is the REAL reason why we eat chocolate chip cookies. This makes a large batch of cookies, unless you eat too many samples of the dough during baking. (Yes, I know the FDA, CDC, NAACP and FAA do not recommend eating raw cookie dough. But c’mon – is there anyone who doesn’t do this?)

1 1/3 cups Crisco or other vegetable shortening, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons water

Cream together the above ingredients with a large mixing spoon. 

Then add:

4 large eggs

1 1/2 packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounce packages)

Mix well. If you like to have nuts in your cookies,  add those now as well.

Add the chocolate chips before adding the dry ingredients - much easier to mix in!

Add the following dry ingredients,  adding about half of the ingredients, stir, then add the rest:

4 1/2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

After dough is thoroughly mixed, drop by tablespoon-full onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.

Use a tablespoon or a cookie dough scoop.

Bake 375 degrees Farenheit for 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Cookies will puff up and appear to be underdone when removed from the oven. Allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheet a few minutes to finish baking, and they will be soft, but completely done. Enjoy.

Yum!

 © Huffygirl 2011

Passing on a family tradition: the family pasty recipe


Mom, the original pasty maker, with her first-born son.

Here’s my mother-in-law’s recipe for Cornish pasties, with my modifications. It works best to make pasties with a team: one person rolling out the dough, the other person filling the pasties.

 

 

Crust:

2 cups all-purpose  flour

1 teaspoon salt

a pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) baking powder

2/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco or similar)

1/2 to 2/3 cup cold water

Place dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor with the standard chopping blade. Add shortening. Pulse food processor until shortening is mixed in, to the consistency of thick cornmeal. Do not over mix! Pour cold water through the chute while pulsing processor, until dough begins to form a ball. Remove dough, divide into two balls, wrap in wax paper and set aside.

Meat filling:

sirloin steak or round steak, about 1  1/2 to 2 #, cut into 1-2 inch cubes  (I use sirloin)

1 small onion, cubed

5-8 red-skin potatoes, washed or peeled,  and cubed

6-10 large carrots, scraped and cubed

1-2 sticks of regular margarine or butter

salt and pepper

In bowl of food processor with standard chopping blade, pulse the meat and onion until finely chopped. Set aside in large mixing bowl. Repeat with most of the carrots,  and most of the potatoes, adding to the meat mixture. Stir the meat mixture with a large spoon. Add more carrots or potatoes until the mixture looks like a good balance of meat to potatoes and carrots. 

On counter or table, set up the following  work areas:

Dough area: pastry cloth with rolling pin and rolling pin cover;  flour,  pie dough balls, sharp knife

 Filling area: wax paper or cutting board; fork, knife, margarine, salt and pepper, and small spatula

Two-three large cookie sheets covered with parchment paper

My first-born son at work in the dough prep area.

With sharp knife, cut each pie crust ball into 6-8 pieces, depending on how big you want the pasties to be. Roll out each piece into a circle; fold in half and pass to the  filling area. Do not knead or over-handle dough, or it will become tough and dry.

At filling area, unfold dough. Fill one side of the dough with the meat filling; cut one pat of margarine and place on top of filling; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold dough over to form a half-moon shaped pie. Fold up crust edge against the pasty.  (You can trim excess dough with a pizza cutter if there is too much, but I don’t). Poke 6 times with fork; use spatula to transfer to cookie sheet.

Pasty dough with filling.

Bake pasties at 350 degrees farenheit, for about 60 minutes. Crust should be lightly browned. Makes 12-15 pasties. Enjoy!

The finished product. Yum!

© Huffygirl 2011

A non-recipe recipe for non-recipe cooks: Slow-bake beef and vegetables


Because of food allergies, recipes at my house are pretty simple. A lot of cooking I learned from my mom, who had few recipes but made simple, traditional meals, adding ingredients “until they look right.” I recently came up with this no-fail recipe for beef and vegetables that is easy and can be adapted to one’s tastes. Why no fail? Amounts don’t have to be measured – just

Place meat in the bottom of the pan, cover with vegetables. (Photo: Huffygirl)

estimate and throw in what looks right. You can bake it at a lower temp and longer if you need to be away for the afternoon, or higher and quicker if you’re short on time.

Ingredients:

1-2.5 pounds of beef, either sirloin, round steak, chuck or shoulder roast, depending on the size of the group you wish to feed and the time you have available. Sirloin is the quickest cooking time

Frozen, cut green beans about 1 cup

Baby carrots, about 1 to 1  1/2 cups

Celery, about 2-3 stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces

4-6 unpeeled red skin potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2-3 cups water (may use part beef broth and/or wine if desired)

2-4 small onions, whole

spices to taste preference : I used 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper, and

Sprinkle seasonings on top. (Photo: Huffygirl)

a sprinkling of oregano and thyme, about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon each. Other spices you might like are rosemary, tarragon, garlic, or a splash of dijon mustard.

Secret sauce ingredient – Williams Sonoma Beef Demi-glace, about 2-3 teaspoons

Corn starch for thickening – 1-3 tablespoons depending on amount of liquid

Place the meat in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Cover with the vegetables, potatoes and onions.

Sprinkle seasonings. Pour in 2-3 cups liquid – enough to moisten everything, but does not have to be covered.

The secret ingredient (Photo: Huffygirl)

Add the secret sauce ingredient to the water. Place pan uncovered in oven; bake at 300-325 degrees for half an hour; cover with lid and bake an additional 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the beef, until everything is done. If you want the sauce thickened into gravy, add 1-3 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup of cold water about 30 minutes before serving. Serves 3-6 people, depending on the amount of meat used.

Add bread and ready to eat! (Photo: Huffygirl)

Variations: For a southwest flare, add 1/2  to 1 cup of salsa. May use sweet potatoes in addition to or instead of white potatoes. May add any kind of vegetable that you like that will tolerate long, slow baking. May vary oven temperature depending upon how much cooking time you have available. If you need to be gone for the afternoon and leave it in the oven unattended, may go as low as 275 to 300 degrees. Or put it in a crock pot for the entire day on low.

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