Chocolate chips are meant to be celebrated! Enjoy this deliciously chocolatey morsel with this quick and oh-so-easy recipe to treat yourself.
Can you believe it’s National Chocolate Chip Day! Yay o yay!
Since chips are one of the things that are always in my pantry, I’m so happy to celebrate this deliciously chocolatey morsel. There are soooooo many dishes that use chips, I can hardly decide which ones are my favorite.
Here are just a few:
Shall we start with the hallowed cookie? Chocolate chips are the favored add-in for chocolate chip cookies. But don’t stop there.
Any chip works, as do nuts and dried fruit.
Mini-chocolate chips are perfect in coffee-dunking biscotti.
Chips are great on an ice-cream sundae bar.
Let’s mix these chips into brownies and bread, like chocolate chip banana bread.
Sprinkle a handful of chips into your homemade trail mix or bake them into your granola bar.
Just a few chips add a great bit of fun to your dessert bread pudding.
Ohhhh, and you can melt chips into things.
I once won a chili cookoff when I added dark chocolate chips to my chili base.
You can make a super mole sauce by adding in some chocolate chips. Chocolate and spice are everything nice!
Melting chocolate chips produces a rich chocolate fondue or a fabulous fudge sauce. Speaking of fudge sauce.
How easy is this?
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a deep pot over low heat.
2. Add 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk.
3. When the butter melts and the mixture is warm, remove the pot from the heat and stir in 2 cups of dark chocolate chips.
The result is a richly, chocolatey mound of chocolate fudge sauce that you can use to top ice cream, smush in between two cookies, spread onto a pretzel, or just dip your finger into when you need a dose of chocolate. It’s all good!
Those that have tip-toed out of their bubble have plenty of tales to tell, and this one is about a little (Italian) cookie. Click to skip to the recipe
Those of us that have tip-toed out of our bubble to enjoy a restaurant meal have plenty of tales to tell.
Mine is about a lovely restaurant in Tequesta called EVO. Chef Erik Pettersen has a stellar reputation that reaches beyond our quiet community. He specializes in authentic Italian fare just like his mother Nancy envisioned. The restaurant has won awards noting the transition from her local farm-to-table dinner fare to the “EVOlution” of Chef Erik’s fine dining.
Let’s just say it’s a real treat.
Like many restaurants, EVO has adapted to the current situation by spacing indoor tables and adapting outdoor space to accommodate as many safely-distanced tables as possible. The dinner we shared with two other (bubble) friends was simply delish!
But what impressed me most came after the main meal.
Here’s the deal: When I finally get to a lovely restaurant, I ABSOLUTELY chow down on everything put in front of me.
The olives, the shavings of Parmesan cheese; the fresh, warm bread dipped into a saucer of olive oil with EVO written in balsamic vinegar. Yes, written in balsamic vinegar!
And then, not yet full, and still excited to be OUT, I order. I order a copious amount of food and swallow each bite with a fair amount of delicious wine.
By the time I finish the last bite from the plate, I feel pretty darn good. Dessert menus are offered, and we all decline (Gluttony is for closets, not outdoor dining tables, after all).
Then, the waitress brings out two small plates of Italian cookies. These teeny, little buttery bites are just sitting there…on the table…in front of me. Well, who can resist? Certainly, not me!
In an attempt to tamper down my desire for restaurant dining, I decided to bake these cookies at home, hoping that if I had them at my fingertips, then I wouldn’t feel the need to make dining reservations.
Well, that didn’t work. I have a reservation at EVO tomorrow night. 😉
But these home-baked cookies are fun to make, fun to dip in chocolate, and fun to dust with sprinkles. Just a great little bite!
Italian Butter Cookies
Serves: Makes about three dozen 2-inch cookies
Time: 30 minutes
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 2 sticks
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the machine and add the confectioners’ sugar. Mix in the sugar on low speed working up to medium speed. Stir in the egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Stop the machine and then add the flour, stirring it in a little bit at a time.
Spoon about a third of the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in about 2-inch lengths about 2-inches apart. Continue until all the cookies are on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are just beginning to turn golden on the edges, about 8 minutes. Cool the cookies on a rack.
Place the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Melt the chocolate using 30 second intervals until soft and smooth. Dip the ends of the cookies into the chocolate and dust with your favorite sprinkles.
For true Italian butter cookies, you can use the star tip to pipe. But for fun, you can use other tips to create your favorite shapes. If you’re in a hurry, use an ice cream scoop to mound cookies onto the baking sheet and flatten to form circles.
If you are choosing a Halloween costume and moving on from your sweats and pj’s you may have turned a corner during this crazy 2020. Bawdy parades and close-quarter parties of the past may not be in vogue this year, but, hey masks are all the rage… right.
I’ve seen all sorts of socially distanced candy transfers and in-car Halloween parade plans. Some neighborhoods are allowing door-to-door tricking while others are suggesting at-home treats.
I for one, feel the young moms out there need some sort of normalcy in the first holiday of this upcoming season. I hope you get it.
Whether you’re socially distanced, staying at home, or just driving around the neighborhood, I do have an easy, delicious treat for you and the kiddos.
These simple cookies are easy to make, FUN to decorate, and easily packable for handing out.
Make the best of this Halloween weekend. And enjoy the treats of the seasons!
Pumpkin Spiced Melt-a-Ways
These cookies are so much fun to make that you will want to make them for any and all occasions. Just vary the spices in the dough, the flavor of the sugar and the color of the sprinkles to make them your holiday go-to!
4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature (that’s a whopping 12 sticks!)
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Sanding sugar (I used Apple Pie Spiced)
Fancy Halloween Sprinkles
Makes: 4 dozen 3-inch cookies
Time: 30-Minute Cuisine
Preheat the oven to 300°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2-inch ice cream scoop to portion out balls of dough. Place the balls onto the parchment paper about 3-inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the balls into circles. Sprinkle each cookie first with sugar and then with sprinkles.
Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch and just beginning to turn golden on the bottom about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Take a tried and true biscotti recipe and switch things around to create a tantalizing summer treat, perfect for lazy Summer days that call for lemonade and lounging. Click to skip to the recipe
Do you remember that song by Harry Nilsson?
“Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime
His sister had another one she paid it for the lime
She put the lime in the coconut, she drank ‘em bot’ up….”
Well, in these lazy days of summer, that song started whirling around in my head and hello….. a cookie was born. Now, you might think this a bit strange, but if you’ve been around me long enough, you’ll know that strange is the inspiration for much of my food!
I love biscotti as a mid-afternoon snack. I make myself a latte and dip the cookie right in the cup. But, on a warm summer day, sometimes a latte can be a bit much. So, I settle for an ice coffee or lemonade. These drinks do not lend themselves to appropriate dipping.
So, I decided to summer-up my traditional biscotti. I added a bit of cornmeal to the flour to give it an earthier flavor. Fresh lime juice, zest, and thyme bring in the Italian flavors that I associate with summer. And then….Well, coconut is so tropical that I just had to throw some into the mix. Toasted pine nuts complement all the other flavors while adding richness and voila…a crisp, fully-flavored biscotti was born.
This is just another example of how you can take a tried and true recipe and switch things around to fit your mood. Give these biscotti a try and let’s see what you think.
“Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning…. woo….”
Lime Coconut Biscotti
These biscuit-like cookies are crisp, crunchy, and full of Italian flavors. They are the perfect afternoon snack with a glass of chilled lemonade or even better…. how about as a late-night snack with a flute of limoncello!
3 ounces pine nuts, about ½ cup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Zest of 2 limes, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 stick
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice of 2 limes, about 3 tablespoons, divided
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
Yields: 3 dozen biscuit cookies
Time: 60-minute cuisine
Toast the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat until just golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep your eye on the pine nuts as once they are fragrant, they go from perfect to burnt in a nanosecond.
Place the granulated sugar, coconut flakes, lime zest, and thyme into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
Use an electric mixer to combine the butter with the flavored sugar. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and two tablespoons of the lime juice. Stir in the flour. Add the pine nuts. Divide the dough into two halves, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Form each portion of dough into a log about 3-inches wide and 10 to 12-inches long. Place these onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the logs are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. When cooled, use a serrated knife to cut each log into ½-inch slices and lay cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet back into the oven and bake until the cookies are dry and just crisp, about another 30 minutes.
Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, half-and-half, and vanilla until smooth. When the cookies have cooled, drizzle each one with the glaze.
After the Lysol, tp and hand sanitizers evaporated, certain food staples started to get sparse. I can understand milk and eggs vanishing, but I was somewhat surprised when bags of flour disappeared.
Then, the lightbulb went off. Flour makes bread. Baking bread is all about saving your sanity.
There is something about mixing, kneading, shaping and baking that says, “you’re home, you’re safe, life goes on.”
People who don’t even eat bread, are baking bread. So, bye, bye all-purpose flour! Just as I was thinking about converting to almond or coconut flour for my baking needs, an email from Carolina Ground popped into my mailbox, letting me know they are open and ready to ship!
Carolina Ground, in the Asheville, NC area is a mill that links the farmer, miller and baker. They use a cold stone milling method to grind locally grown grains into several varieties of flour. I ordered (you can too!). The flour shipped, and cookies were my first task.
And then…. as I was deep diving into my pantry, I found half a bag of King Arthur black cocoa. In the new normal and with so much time on my hands, I decided to experiment with my good-old chocolate chip cookie recipe, and modify it into a mucho decadent chocolatey, chocolate chip cookie. Boy did I knock it outta the (virtual) park.
Here’s the magic ingredient that makes ‘em so good: black cocoa and brewed coffee! Together, they bring out the dark chocolatiness of these cookies.
I used Carolina Ground’s Trinity Blend, which is a combination of hard wheat, soft wheat and wrens Abruzzi rye for the flour component. Yes, there’s a hint of orange in these cookies. Which also brings the chocolate flavor forward. It’s a mish-mosh of ingredients that just works!
You can substitute regular cocoa for dark cocoa powder if you like, but again, when you have the time on your hands to fill with baking, why not splurge a little and support our local farmers (and treat yourself) by purchasing from Carolina Ground?
BUT HERE’S THE MOST IMPORTANT “BITE” OF INFORMATION
Take half of the cookies and share them with someone that might not have the time to bake; someone spending their time protecting you and me!
Ridiculously Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
30 minute cuisine
2 cups flour (un-bleached all-purpose is fine)
½ cup black cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried orange zest
2 cups shortening (don’t judge!)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup brewed coffee
1 teaspoon orange flavoring
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 (12-ounce package) dark chocolate morsels, about 2 cups
Preheat the oven to 375°. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the shortening with the sugars until fluffy. Mix in the eggs, coffee and orange flavoring. Mix in the flour in three additions. Mix in the oats and then the chocolate chips.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a medium (about 2-inch) ice cream scoop to measure batter onto the sheet. Use your immaculately clean fingers to flatten the cookie dough balls into disks. Bake until the top of the cookies spring back when touched, about 12 to 14 minutes.