Category Archives: walnut

(Not quite) Teddy Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

Standard
(Not quite) Teddy Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

I take pride in my chocolate chip cookies.  I have a tried and true recipe I’ve been using for years and have “perfected”.  But, I’m allowing this blogging experience to take me out of my culinary box, so I gave this recipe a go.  Plus, I thought my kid would get a kick out of teddy bear shaped cookies, and I figured, how hard could that be?  Man was I wrong… the day will go down in history as the “Amorphous Blob Cookie Disaster of 2013”.  I dried my chocolate stained tears and sheepishly reached for my cookie dough scoop.

The flavor of the cookie is actually really good.  Definitely a more crisp, versus chewy cookie.  Worth a try in my opinion – and maybe you’ll have better luck with attempting a shape (and if you do have success and would like to rub salt into my wound and post it here, I’ll understand…)  Good news is, a chocolate chip cookie is never a bad thing to have around, no matter what it looks like!

chocolate chip cookie

The Recipe:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

The Process:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Place the flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix.

3.  Place the butter, shortening, and sugars in a separate mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes until combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

4.  Break the egg into the bowl and add the vanilla.  Mix at medium speed for about 1 minute.

5.  Add about half the flour mixture and blend at low speed until incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well blended.

6.  Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix at lowest speed until evenly distributed in the batter.

7.  Attempt to make teddy bear shapes… or give up and spoon tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet.

8.  Bake at 350 F for about 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown.

9.  Remove and let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.

Banana (Chocolate) Walnut Bread

Standard

I think everyone should bake a loaf of this bread right now, just so your house smells as good as mine! 🙂 Great texture and flavor – I have to say, I’m really sorry I’ve never tried all these yummy recipes before!  So far, they have all been amazingly good.  I did add some chocolate chips to my version, because, why not?!?

na Chocolate Walnut Bread

The Recipe (makes 1 loaf):

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese for serving (recipe follows)

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 4×8 loaf pan with butter.

3.  Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

4.  Place the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy.

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat until completely blended with butter mixture.

6.  Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

7.  Peel the bananas and break into small chunks.  Add the bananas, sour cream, walnuts, and chocolate chips.  Blend at low speed until combined.

8.  Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

9.  Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes (I found this was spot on).

10.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes (yeah right).  Turn the pan upside down to allow the loaf to fall out.  Place loaf right side up and let cool another 15 minutes (sure…) before slicing.

This bread was great on its own, but even better with some Cinnamon Cream Cheese.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

I package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar

Classic Fudge Brownies (with a Peanut Butter twist)

Standard

Here’s your pretty standard fudgy brownie recipe.  I added a little “me” twist by swirling in some yummy peanut butter – just to make them that much more awesome.

Fudge peanut butter Brownie

 

The Recipe

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips since I had them on hand)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 teaspoons butter at room temperature

3 eggs

1  1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla (as per usual, I did 2 teaspoons)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup melted peanut butter (optional)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

The Process

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F

2.  Using a double boiler, melt the 1/2 cup butter and chocolate over low heat.  Stir occasionally.  Set aside to cool when completely melted.

3.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×12 baking dish.

4.  Break the eggs into the bowl of your mixer.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes).

5.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated into the sugar mixture.   Add half the flour and mix at low speed until mixed in.  Add the remaining flour (and optional walnuts) and mix until blended.

6.  Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish.  If using the peanut butter option, melt 1/4 cup of peanut butter in the microwave.  Place a dollop of peanut butter at each corner of the pan and 1 dollop in the center.   Using a knife, swirl the peanut butter in an “S” shape from top to bottom, and then side to side.  The tops of these brownies turn out a little light, so the pretty peanut butter swirls got a little lost unfortunately.  But they still tasted amazing!

7.  Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

8.  If you can…allow the brownies to cool for 15 minutes before diving in.

Choco-holics unite! 

Rainy Day Cinnamon Raisin (Walnut) Bread

Standard
Rainy Day Cinnamon Raisin (Walnut) Bread

It’s an awesome cloudy, semi-rainy day here in Phoenix.  We don’t get many, so I figured I’d take up mother nature and make some yummy Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I’ll be honest – my ten year old self would have never attempted this recipe.  Holy prep-time Batman!  The dough has to rise a total of 3 times, but totally worth it – my 3 year old (and husband) couldn’t get enough 🙂

Cinnamon raisin walnut bread

The Recipe

2 cups milk

1 package active dry yeast

5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 butter at room temperature

1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I added these to the recipe, well worth it!)

The (lengthy) Process:

1.  Pour the milk into the saucepan and place on the stove.  Heat milk over medium heat until it steams and bubbles form around the edge.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

2.  Place the yeast, 5 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix.  Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the cooled milk. Stir until a stiff dough forms.  Add in additional flour if needed.

3.  Flour a clean work surface.  Remove the dough and place on floured surface, sprinkle a little additional flour on top.

4.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, and then form into a ball.  The book goes into a length description about kneading, again, I’m going to assume we’re all adults here, if we’re not, here’s a great tutorial 😉

5.  Pour the oil into a large mixing bowl and spread around with a paper towel.  Place dough in the bowl and turn once to coat in oil.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot.  Allow dough to rise for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size)

6.  Remove the dough from the bowl and punch down.  Shape back into a ball and allow to rise (yet again) for 30 minutes.

7.  Rub some butter into the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans (about 4″x 8″).

8.  Place 4 tablespoons of the butter,  the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon into a small mixing bowl and combine.  Takes a little effort, but it eventually comes together.

9.  When the dough has risen for the second time, sprinkle a clean surface with flour and move the dough to the surface.  Using your hands, flatten dough into a rectangle as thin as you can get it.

10.  Spread the butter mixture onto the dough, and then sprinkle with the raisins and walnuts (if using).

11.  Starting along one edge, roll the dough as tightly as you can (should make a very pretty spiral in the center).  Cut the dough in half to make 2 loafs and place seam-side down in the buttered pans.  Cover with the kitchen towel and (you guessed it) let the loaves rise for (another) 30 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 F.

12.  Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter onto each loaf.  Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes.  They give a great tip and say to bake until the bread sounds hollow when you lightly tap on it.

13.  Remove bread (don’t forget the mitts!!) and tip each loaf over to allow it to slide out of the pan.  Cool on a wire rack.

They suggested serving thick slices with cream cheese – but I though, why not take that a step further?  Enter…cinnamon cream cheese…oh yeah.  Seriously, you have to try it.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

I package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar

Best rainy day ever!