Monday, February 05, 2018

Chocolate Fudge Snowflake Cookies

Here's the recipe for the delicious chocolate cookies that I served at my daughter's Snowflake Dinner Party.  These are a chocolate lovers dream cookie with deep chocolate flavor but with a delicate texture.   I tried a few recipes and many used cocoa instead of melted chocolate.  This recipe was my favorite and it is one with melted chocolate.  Rolling the raw dough in granulated sugar before rolling it in confectioners sugar is the key to getting the white topping  to adhere to the cookies.  Here's to a new favorite cookie at our house and they are quite pretty, too!  
All dressed up and ready for the "Think Pink" Bake Sale!
Chocolate Fudge Snowflake Cookies
Adapted from several recipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I prefer Callebaut)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To prepare cookies for baking: 1 cup confectioners sugar AND 1 cup granulated sugar

Use a whisk to mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place the chopped chocolate and butter pieces into a medium heatproof bowl and place bowl into a wide skillet of barely simmering water.  Stir frequently until the chocolate is almost completely melted and mostly smooth.  Remove the bowl from the skillet and stir in the espresso powder.  Set aside. See method here.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with both sugars and vanilla extract until combined (no lumps of brown sugar remaining). Stir in chocolate mixture with the whisk or a large spatula. Using large spatula fold in the flour mixture until just combined. 
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator or up to 3 days. (This is important - the dough needs time to rest and chill.)
Set racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place granulated sugar into a bowl and place confectioners sugar into another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-tablespoon balls, drop each ball into bowl of granulated sugar and coat completely.  Next drop coated ball into the confectioners sugar and coat completely. Arrange 12 balls evenly on each baking sheet, then place remaining dough back in the refrigerator. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until puffy. Cool the cookies on the pans for a couple of minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Store the cookies in an airtight container up to 5 days.  These cookies freeze beautifully.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Claire's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are the perfect starting point for a dessert cookie platter.   This picture is from my daughter's Snowflake Dinner Party!  Chocolate Chip Cookies are your favorite, right?  They are certainly my favorite cookie so I am always trying new recipes.  I have perfected my recipe (I think) and I am sharing it here today.  I love a very crunchy, chocolate-filled cookie.  Here is my updated recipe - enjoy.

Claire's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 sticks unsalted butter (softened – must be at room temperature, not cold)
½ cup dark brown sugar (packed)
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4  cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Hershey’s)
1 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips (I use 60% Ghiradelli)

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl with a fork – set aside.
Mix butter and sugars until smooth and creamy– scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla mix in just until incorporated – scrape bowl again - do not over mix. Add flour mixture on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Refrigerate dough overnight or up to 3 days.  This is important!  The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator. 
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using medium scoop (about heaping tablespoon size) put 12 scoops per baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Time for the dough to "rest" in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Snowflake Dance Dinner Party (again!)

This time the party was for my youngest.  The last Snowflake Dinner Party was four years ago.  I just now compared menus and (Snowflake Dinner Party 2014) they are quite similar.  When planning your menu choose tried-and-true favorites.  You are sure to win the hearts of your guests!  This year was just as fun and delicious as four years ago.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Celery Root Soup - A New Family Favorite!

Another easy and delicious recipe for you!  Replace butter with olive oil and it is Vegan-approved.
This is a new favorite at my house with both my vegetarians and meat-lovers.  My kids were especially impressed with the delicious and delicate flavor of this soup.
If you don't count the salt and pepper it is only 5 ingredients - butter, leeks, onions, celery root, and water.  Enjoy!

Celery Root Soup
Adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue 75

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into thin half-moon slices, rinsed thoroughly, and drained
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups water (add more or less depending on desired thickness of soup)
1 teaspoon kosher salt; more to taste
1-1/2 lb. celery root (about 1 large)
Freshly ground black pepper
crème fraiche, diced avocado, fresh herbs, sliced almonds, etc. (optional toppings)

In a large heavy-based pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, onion, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly golden but not brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the celery root with a sharp knife (expect to slice quite a bit off the exterior as you trim). Halve the peeled celery root lengthwise and cut each half into 1-inch-thick wedges. Cut each wedge crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 5 cups.  Add the celery root, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to the leeks. Cover and cook until the celery root is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check occasionally; if all the water cooks off add another 1/2 cup water.) Add 4 cups water, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook another 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.  Purée the soup (with a hand blender or in a stand blender) to a very smooth, creamy consistency. To serve immediately or return to pan to keep warm   Ladle into bowls and enjoy with or without toppings!
OR Let cool completely and then store in the refrigerator for up to two days.  This soup also freezes beautifully.  When reheating the soup:  If it’s too thick, gradually thin it with as much as 1 cup water.  Taste and add more salt as needed.