Archive | Cooking RSS feed for this section

Sunday Sweetness: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

13 Nov

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

You’ll notice that we’re making cookies today. You’ll also notice that the title of my blog is ‘Realist Mom’. In the interest of staying true to my “real life” of a “real mom” commitment to you, my fabulous readers, I’ll tell you that I initially made carrot cupcakes that absolutely sucked. You know what’s even better? As with my other baking tragedy, I served them to company. (Sorry, Connor and Katie!) They were so bland and wet and gross, that after taking her first disappointing bite, Beans announced “You can NOT blog about these, Mom. They’re guh-ross!” So, yeah, I was feeling good about my baking prowess.

These cookies, though, they are delicious enough to actually redeem last night’s cupcake cataclysm. So sayest the Beans. That’s particularly surprising because I sort of improvised the recipe – and you all know, I do NOT improvise when I cook for the sake of everyone involved.

You could take this recipe and swap out the chocolate chunks and peanut putter chips for nuts and white chocolate chips or whatever you were in the mood for. Then we would all be improvising.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies.

1-1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
2-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-2/3 c (10 oz pkg) peanut butter chips
1-3/4 c (11.5 oz pkg) chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the 1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water, stirring until completely melted. Once melted, set bowl aside and allow chocolate to cool to room temperature, but not harden.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy and light. Beat in the melted chocolate and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chunks.

Scoop the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets by the level 1/4 cup, spaced 2″ to 3″ apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cookies will be set but still moist in the center. Let cookies sit on cookie sheet for a minute or 2 before transferring them to wire racks to cool.

Trust me, these are worthy of you – unlike those cupcakes.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

What’s the worst result you’ve ever gotten baking?

If you like this post, check out the rest of my Sunday Sweetness posts!


Sunday Sweetness: Pumpkin Apple Bread

16 Oct

Pumpkin Bread

I’m a hoarder. Of canned pumpkin. Right now, there are 8 cans of pumpkin in my pantry – and I (gasp) didn’t even have a coupon. It goes back to the year there was a pumpkin shortage right around Thanksgiving and you couldn’t get a can of pumpkin to save your life.

The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009.

There’s something about the fall that absolutely necessitates baking something with pumpkin that preferably includes nutmeg. It smells so delicious baking that it allows me to feel like a domestic goddess – if just for a moment. So having enough pumpkin is really important.

This recipe comes from The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl. It’s delicious. And, as a bonus, the recipe makes two loaves so you can share one – which makes me feel even more domestic goddess-y. The bread is so moist and the cinnamon streusel topping adds just the right bit of crunch. Honestly, when doesn’t cinnamon streusel make things better?

Try this recipe. You will thank me – I promise.

Pumpkin Apple Bread ingredients

Pumpkin Apple Bread  (Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

Makes 2 – 9 x 5 inch loaves

For the bread:

3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsps baking soda
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 – 15 oz can of solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped (2 cups)

For the streusel:

1 tbs flour
5 tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs unsalted butter, softened

Butter 2 loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the streusel: Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together with your fingers until it looks like coarse crumbs.

To make the bread: Sift together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Fold in apples. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Sprinkle half of the streusel on each loaf. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Pumpkin Apple Bread - streusel topping

Allows loaves to cool, and then turn out onto rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

We generally eat this by itself but if you’re feeling really wild and crazy, try serving it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you try this – let me know – or, even better, post a picture on Facebook!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sugar or No Sugar

25 May

Yesterday was one of those crazy days where everything takes longer than you were planning. I went for a run – that took longer than I expected, got some unexpected phone calls, and then had a lunch meeting which also ran long. And you know, the puppy, and all the time sucking that comes along with him. It was all good, but it just throws my day off – and I’m not that great a planner to begin with.

I had planned to make sauce this Sunday, like I try to do every week, but I got kind of crazy with all the yard work and the kids and the rain…

My mom made sauce every Sunday when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn. The second apartment we lived in was in a very Italian neighborhood, so everybody made sauce on Sunday. In fact, the next door neighbors made their own wine in barrels. They even stomped their own grapes. The grandmother of the family, a stout woman who lived with them, was always dressed in black with her white hair in a little bun – mourning her late husband, was the “stomper.” It was quite a sight.

For busy moms, a big batch of sauce can be a lifesaver. I can get at least two meals, if not three from a single batch and the sauce can also be frozen for use later on as an last minute dinner. Plus, a good sauce is something to be proud of.

Like almost any classic dish, everyone has their own twist on how they make it. My grandmother always used a bay leaf, my aunt lets hers cook for hours and my mother always cooked hers with pork. Me, I put sugar in my sauce. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, but I think it makes the sauce taste delicious.

Pasta Sauce:

olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
3-28 oz. cans of tomato puree
1-28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (plain)
1-28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbs dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tbs sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Add fennel seeds and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. I cook them until I can smell the fennel. Add garlic and onion, cook until onion is translucent, about 6-8 minute, stirring occasionally. Add puree, diced and crushed tomatoes. Stir. Stir in the basil and oregano. Taste and add sugar. Alternatively, you can add the salt and pepper first, and then the sugar. Just be certain to keep tasting. Once you’re satisfied, bring the sauce to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes or longer, depending on how thick you like your sauce. Serve over pasta!

You’ll notice I have no picture of the final product. That’s because I didin’t actually get to eat it. Instead, I was at a movie night with some girlfriends – if you haven’t seen Bridesmaids, I highly recommend it. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

I have a meatball recipe I can also share. If you’d like it, let me know in the comments!