Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer: a visit with our nieces!

The past few weeks our (soon to be) 15 year old niece Gillian was visiting with us.  She lives a 5 hour drive from us so for the past few years she has stayed with us for a week or two in the summer.  

We usually bake something together while she is here, and this time was no exception.  The first evening she was here I was getting this post ready so needless to say she wanted to make cookies.  Instead of chocolate chips, we used Reeses Pieces and Mini Reeses - the results were delicious!   
 

About a week or so after Gillian arrived, her parents and little sisters Ella (6) and Aline (3) arrived for a visit!  The little girlies loved helping me water my garden while they were here:


We took them for an fun afternoon at our local spray park where they had an absolute blast - especially Ella who laughed with glee every time the water splashed her! 


On one of her last nights here we had a crazy downpour of rain.  It came down hard and fast, and in less than an hour we had just under 50 mm.  As you can see, the street outside our house flooded like crazy.



We made the most of the rain and all piled into the car and drove through puddles for a bit - good times all around! 

I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far!  It's hard to believe it's coming to a close soon - I'll be loving each and every moment leading up until the very last day!  

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies



Here is my August recipe for The Hinton Voice.

[Ok, so these cookies are amazing.  They are literally the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever had in my life (sorry Gramma, if you are reading this - your Ginger Sparklers are still my #1).   These cookies do what a good chocolate chip cookie should - they stay soft for days after you bake them – if they last that long that is.

I've seen “secret ingredient” (aka pudding mix) cookie recipes floating around for some time now.  Each claims to be the best cookie ever, but that's a pretty bold statement to make.  Now, having tried incorporating vanilla pudding into my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, I know it truly is a star.  The second the pudding mix hit the cookie dough batter, something magical happened. The delicious smell that wafted through my kitchen was simply incredible.  Not that I tried copious amounts of dough or anything (ok, so I might have), but it tasted just like birthday cake batter – likely due to all the vanilla goodness.

When I took the cookies out of the oven I was initially met with skepticism.  They were really puffy and just didn't quite look like they had finished baking.  Having burned cookies before after making this assumption, I took the pan out of the oven anyway and thought I would see what happens.  Sure enough, as soon as they cooled they were the perfect shape and consistency!  In fact, I had a really hard time keeping my husband away from these cookies long enough so that I could take a picture of them.] 

Recipe makes 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients
1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup golden brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1-2 tsp vanilla extract)
1-3.4 oz package vanilla pudding mix
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp coarsely ground sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1-2 good quality chocolate bars (my favorite is Lindt)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Fold in eggs and vanilla until well incorporated.  Mix in vanilla pudding mix (be prepared for your kitchen to start smelling like heaven at this point).

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Coarsely chop chocolate bars and add to batter along with chocolate chips.  Mix until just incorporated.


Drop cookies by heaping spoonful onto baking sheet (12 cookies per pan fits perfectly).  For more uniform looking cookies, roll dough into a ball first.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned.  Cookies will look quite soft but they will firm up as they cool.


Allow cookies to cool on pan until slightly firm (about 5 minutes), then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. 

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 - Nutritional Info (per cookie) -

Calories - 97   Fat - 6    Carbs – 10     Protein - 1   Fibre – 1


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