Shirley wanted a sweet-and-salty dessert for her bridal shower favors last month, so I made a couple batches of the Potato Chip Cookies that I had brought to her Super Bowl party back in February. I made all the cookies the night before, and dipped them so the chocolate and crushed potato chips would have time to set overnight.
I got the kraft boxes and pink bakers twine from good ol’ Paper Mart, and lined each box with parchment paper so that no grease stains would show through the box.
Joanne created really cute tags for the boxes, and I assembled everything the morning of.
I’m several months backlogged on posts (literally still trying to catch up on Christmas baking), but here’s a little something from February…
I’ve never been a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made them before, but they’re always too sweet for my taste, and they tend to be redundant after a while. Feeling intrigued by the “Ad Hoc at Home” Chocolate Chip Cookies I made last December in Seattle which used two kinds of dark chocolate, I decided to give it a go again with my own taste buds in mind.
I like cookies the same way I like brownies – slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I found a recipe for Martha Stewart’s “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies”, and decided to give it a whirl for Valentine’s Day. I added a wee bit more salt than what Martha’s recipe called for, and also added a cup of pecans which complimented the chocolate and cookie dough nicely. I also used two different levels of dark chocolate, rather than the combo of milk and dark that Martha recommended.
Here’s my take on Martha’s recipe:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (53% dark)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (65% dark or higher)
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Mix in dry mixture just until incorporated; fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
3. Drop dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in 2 rounded tablespoons, leaving 2 inches around each cookie (trust me – they will spread). Refrigerate 1 hour – this is necessary for the chewy outcome of the cookies!
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, 17 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
This is definitely my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I love the crispy outside and chewy center, with the rich dark chocolate chips. It’s definitely not too sweet, but not bitter at all since it still uses relatively low levels of dark chocolate.
I’m proud to say I’ve been getting a little braver with my baking and improvising a lot more. I’ve done it with cooking, but I always hesitated to do the same with baking since even the slightest bit too much or too little of something can throw a dessert’s chemistry off and completely change the texture and sometimes even the flavor. Most of my experimenting has come with flavor rather than texture as of late.
I sourced the recipe for these cookies from Emeril, but I like my sweet-and-salty desserts a bit saltier so I adapted the recipe as such:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1/2 cup finely crushed potato chips (I used Kettle Sea Salt potato chips smashed in a baggie with my hands)
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
Chocolate and potato chip dip finish (optional)
1 cup crushed potato chips (used a food processor to crush finer)
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil (butter will work too)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar until lightly and fluffy with a dough blender. Two knives will work too, as I made these at a friend’s and had forgotten to bring my pastry blender. Mix in the vanilla and salt until smooth. Add the pecans, 1/2 cup crushed potato chips and flour together and mix until just combined.
2. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoon-sized mound of dough and form it into a small, firm ball. Roll the ball in the remaining sugar until coated. Place on prepared baking sheet and slightly flatten the cookie balls. The cookies only spread a wee bit, so they only need to be about an inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough.
3. Bake cookies until lightly golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to cool on a wire rack.
4. If dipping in chocolate, melt chocolate with oil in the microwave (do a few 30-second increments) or in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Dip half of each fully cooled cookie in the chocolate, and sprinkle with pulverized potato chips. Let dry and set on a wire rack.
I probably slightly overdid the salt between using salted chips and adding more salt (I used a full teaspoon originally) than what Emeril’s recipe called for, so I dipped them in bittersweet chocolate and then sprinkled crushed potato chips on top. They were looking a little on the plain side any way, so it worked out nicely!
Melody was my Sho-Yu secret santa this year and got me this fabulous Martha Stewart miniature cake stand. I’m very excited to be using it to show off my latest edibles!
Let’s be real – the holidays are a time to “be merry”. Translation: skip the gym and go to happy hour, or reward yourself for going to the gym by gorging on extra cookies or extra carbs or extra beer…or all of those combined in one sitting. Thanksgiving in particular is the biggest day of the year to throw any diet rules out the door.
I did a dessert for last year’s Annual IMAX Thanksgiving potluck amidst the peak of my obsession with pumpkin. and really wanted to mix it up for 2012. I decided to be “that person” and contribute something healthy via a colorful salad for an otherwise really beige spread of Thanksgiving foods between the carbs, the turkey, the pies, etc. Bernie and I had eaten at Slanted Door during a work trip in San Francisco a couple of months ago and had their grapefruit and jicama salad. I fell in love immediately – each bite presented something different with all of the different flavor combinations.
This is what I wanted to re-create:
I also must say that I am really excited that I now know how to make candied pecans, thanks to this recipe. Who knew all it took was sugar and a little bit of oil? Oh, the simple things.
It took about 3 hours to chop, slice, and mince the various veggies into small pieces, and then to peel everything away to get to the grapefruit segments, but it was soooo worth it. I tossed the jicama and carrots in a wee bit of oil, and didn’t put any oil in the dressing. As a result of this, hardly any dressing was needed since it’s so strongly flavored sans oil.
The recipe I found on Little Eater made a HUGE batch of the salad… larger than any big container in my house could fit, so I had enough for a couple of lunches the next couple of days. I wanted some extra protein beyond the candied pecans to go with my lunch/dinners, so I eyeballed/taste-tested a chicken marinade made out of lime juice, a little brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and freshly grated ginger. The chicken stayed really moist throughout the baking process, even though I didn’t use any oil.
Note, too, that the recipe on Little Eater calls for chopped mint leaves. Cilantro actually goes better with this salad. I really love this salad. Here’s the end product!