CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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Chocolate Chip Cookies are probably one of my most favorite things to bake and eat just like a lot of other people. It was one of the first things my mom taught me how to make, which may be why they are one of my favorite things to bake. I didn’t always enjoy baking, especially when I was little and just learning. I grew to love it more as I got a little older.

Her recipe uses all shortening, which I love dearly. However, this time I wanted to try something new. I used 50% shortening and 50% unsalted butter… Let me tell you something, these are my absolute best chocolate chip cookies! I was so happy when I took them out of the oven. I always wait 10 minutes to try one after I take them out so I don’t burn my mouth but still get to enjoy them while they are warm. These cookies were so thick and chewy. The chips were still melty. They were a little taste of heaven.

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The recipe normally yields about 4-5 dozen. My mom had asked me to make a giant pizza size cookie for work the next day. Whenever I make one of those, I’ll usually get about 12-15 cookies after I fill the pan. It’s important to leave about an inch from the edge of the pan so the cookie dough doesn’t go over the sides. I learned that lesson the hard way the first time I made it. NEVER use the whole batch of cookie dough in the pizza pan.

As you can see the cookie will spread and fill in the pan. The pizza pan I used was 12 inches in diameter.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugarChocChipCookie1

2 eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% like I do in all my other recipe posts.)

Toasted walnuts or pecans can be added if desired.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
  3. Cream the shortening, butter, and both sugars in the mixing bowl using the paddle attachment.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl in between.
  5. Add the vanilla. Then slowly add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
  6. Scoop cookies onto ungreased cookie pans or line with parchment. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly, golden brown. The pizza size cookie will bake about 15-17 minutes. Watch it carefully once 15 minutes have gone by.

 

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I know you will all enjoy these cookies!

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Buttermilk Banana Walnut Muffins

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Buttermilk Banana Walnut Muffins…and maybe some chocolate chips! Buttermilk is one of my favorite ingredients. Almost every time I use buttermilk in a recipe, I love it! It always creates a very moist product.

I love banana muffins, banana bread, and banana pancakes as long as they are made with fresh bananas and not with artificial banana flavor. In college, I learned that I love banana and chocolate paired together. So now most of the time you will find some chocolate chips in my banana pancakes.

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These muffins are very moist and light. They are packed with banana flavor and trust me the chocolate chips and walnuts only enhance them. You could make these muffins plain with no nuts or chocolate chips, but I think they are much better with them. They give nice texture and extra flavor. I’ve never tried this before but just had the thought, roasted pecans might be really good in these instead of the the traditional walnuts. Something I’ll have to try next time I make them!

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Ingredients

½ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softenedBananaMuffin2

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (approximately 2 medium)

1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2 cups All Purpose Flour

¾ cup buttermilk

1 cup chopped walnuts, roasted

½ cup Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop walnuts and roast for 3-4 minutes in oven or toaster oven.
  3. Using a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars.
  4. Add eggs one at a time. Mix until combined.
  5. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.
  6. Combine the dry ingredients: AP flour, baking soda, and salt. Add slowly to the wet ingredients.
  7. Add the buttermilk and walnuts (and chocolate chips if desired). Mix until combined.
  8. Scoop into muffin pans. Fill about ¾ of each muffin cup. Top with additional walnuts and/or chocolate chips if desired. BananaMuffin4
  9. Bake for about 15-25 minutes depending on your oven. Yield 16-20 muffins. (I made 17.)

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If you’re a banana lover like me, you’ll love these! Enjoy!

Cherry Almond Biscotti

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Cherry Almond Biscotti anyone?

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This is a picture of the Cherry Walnut Biscotti with fresh orange zest and juice that I made for my Pastry 101 final. Judges and other people gobbled them up, and I only had a couple to take home. I had to make five things total and most of it was all gone at the end of judging. My tabled included: Cherry Walnut (and orange) Biscotti, Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies, Cranberry Orange scones, Almond Milk Bread, and a Peanut Butter Pie with crushed peanuts and pretzels and a drizzle of ganache! It was a great couple of days and I was very happy with how everything turned out!…and people’s feedback.

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This recipe is for a Cherry Almond Biscotti. It’s one of my favorite flavor combinations! I also have a good recipe for Cherry Almond Scones that you can expect this summer. It uses fresh cherries and is quite amazing!

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Biscotti means “twice baked.” Both bakes are equally important but the second one is a little trickier. You don’t want to underbake it or it won’t be crunchy. On the other side, if you overbake it the second time then it will be so hard that you can’t even bite into it.

Ingredients

¾ cup granulated sugarCherryAlmondBiscotti5

2 eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. milk or lemon juice

1 ½ tsp. Pure Almond extract

½ tsp. Pure Vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup slivered almonds

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. water

Granulated sugar

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine ¾ cup granulated sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment or use hand mixer.
  3. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until thick and pale yellow in color. Add oil, milk or lemon juice, almond and vanilla extract
  4. Mix for 1-2 minutes or until well mixed. Combine flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to egg mixture. Add the cherries last.
  5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide it by weight or by eye in half. With lightly floured hands, shape into two, 8 inch by 2 inch logs. Place 3-4 inches apart on greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Flatten the logs a little.
  7. Combine the egg white and water and brush onto logs. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Let cool on baking sheet 10-15 minutes. Try cutting slices. If they are cracking badly or breaking apart, let cool for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Cut logs diagonally into ½ inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut-side down on baking sheet.
  10. Bake a second time for another 8-10 minutes and then flip the slices. Bake another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. They may need an additional 5 minutes or so. For the second bake, it was almost 30 minutes before I took them out of the oven.

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Garnish the biscotti by drizzling or dipping in white chocolate. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or on its own.

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***To make the Cherry Walnut & Orange Biscotti, replace the milk with 1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed orange juice. Add 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest instead of the almond extract and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. Replace the almonds with chopped walnuts.