Bakery Style Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 18 cookies.

Ingredients: Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 1.56.20 PM

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugars for about one minute. Then, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix briefly, just until there are no flour clumps left. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.
  4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325 degrees, making sure you have the racks in the middle of the oven.
  6. Scoop ¼ cup of cookie dough at a time and roll into balls. Then, tear the balls in half by pulling gently on both sides. Smush the two halves together again, but this time have the lumpy, torn sides face upward. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the cookies have plenty of space to spread.
  7. Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating half-way through, or until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden, but the center of the cookie still looks soft and just slightly under-cooked. Let cool on the baking sheets until the cookies are firm enough to remove.

*Recipe adapted from Host the Toast

 

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

This is officially my favorite brownie recipe. They’re so rich and decadent, and apparently they’re a Katharine Hepburn family recipe.

I made them even more decadent by adding walnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with foil, then butter and flour the foil. (Note: These brownies stuck pretty badly for me – their only downside – so don’t skimp on this!)
  2. Melt together 1 stick butter and 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate and then remove the saucepan from the heat. I used a double-boiler for this step, but it’s not necessary.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in 1 cup sugar, then add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat the mixture well.
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt until just combined.
  5. Stir in the walnuts and the chocolate chips until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into your baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies*

Apple Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

Topping

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (Note: I used Honeycrisp)
  • 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (Note: I make my own buttermilk by mixing milk with lemon juice)

Directions

  1. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Make sure your apples are sliced and ready to go.
  2. For the topping: In a small saucepan, melt butter on low heat. When it begins to bubble, whisk in the brown sugar. Continue to stir until smooth. Then, leave on heat for about 2 minutes until it begins to bubble. Stir, then remove from heat and allow to briefly cool for a couple minutes. Layer the sliced apples and cranberries into the dish and pour the butter/sugar overtop. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
  4. Make the cake: In a medium bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together until combined. Set aside.
  5. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy – about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed together, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Whisk or beat the 2 egg whites until thick and foamy, about 3 minutes. Fold into cake batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and thick.
  6. Spoon or pour batter over the apples/cranberries and bake for 40-44 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the very middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for exactly ten minutes before inverting onto a large serving dish or cake stand.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 2 days, and warmed up in the microwave before serving.

*Recipe adapted from Cranberry Apple Upside Down Cake

Apple Cake

Ingredients Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.21.50 AM

  • Butter for greasing pan
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • cups sugar
  • eggs
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced apples (I used Honeycrisp) 
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts and raisins and stir until combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before lifting out.

*Recipe adapted from Teddie’s Apple Cake

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Ingredients IMG_5250

For the crust:

  • 8ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)

For the pie filling:

  • cup packed brown sugar
  • eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • cup canned pumpkin purée
  • cup heavy cream

For the pie topping:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • pinch sea salt 

For the whipped cream:

  • cup heavy cream 
  • 3/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Start by making the crust.

  • Break the gingersnap cookies into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the melted butter and pulse again until combined.
  • Press the mixture into a 9- or 9.5-inch pie pan, making sure that it goes up the sides.
  • Put the crust in your refrigerator for 20 minutes and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Once the crust has chilled, bake for 15 minutes, set it on a cooling rack, and turn your oven up to 350 degrees.

Next, make the pumpkin pie filling. You can do this while your crust is in the oven.

  • Dump the brown sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves into a bowl and whisk it together.
  • Add the pumpkin and cream and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the filling into the crust, cover the crust (the crust ONLY!) with tin foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

While your pie is in the oven, prepare the topping.

  • Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl

After the pie has baked for 30 minutes, take it out of the oven and sprinkle on the topping. Then, bake for another 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Take your pie out and put it on a cooling rack until it’s at room temperature. Then, cover it loosely with saran wrap and chill it in the refrigerator overnight so it sets.

The next day, when you’re about ready to serve your pie, take it out and bring it to room temperature.

While it’s sitting out, you can make your whipped cream.

  • Put all the whipped cream ingredients into a stand mixer and beat until high peaks form.

 

Slice up the pie and serve with a (large) dollop of whipped cream!

*Recipe adapted from Food52*

Apple Cinnamon Almond Galette

It’s official. I’m galette obsessed. 11145041_10103403647105720_1303689990609025138_n

For the Dough:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar + more for sprinkling on before baking
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg
  • A small amount of heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Sliced almonds to decorate the edge of the crust (optional)

For the Filling

  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup almond paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

First, start out by making the crust.

  • In a food processor fitted with the flat paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar and salt. In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, then add enough cream to make 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.
  • Add butter to flour mixture and mix (on a KitchenAid mixer, which is what I use, this is Speed 2) for about 30 second to 1 minute. Make sure you don’t over-mix it. You want the mixture to stay crumbly and the chunks of butter to be about the size of peas.
  • Drizzle 1/4 cup of the egg and cream mixture into the bowl and stir (Speed 1) until it starts to come together but is mostly large crumbs. (Reserve the remaining egg and cream mixture for later.) Mix in lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Put dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it together to make one uniform piece. Flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for about two hours.

Assemble the galette.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the disk of chilled crust on a floured surface and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes so that it’s not too hard for you to roll out.
  • While your dough is sitting, mix the apple slices, cinnamon, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Once your dough has warmed up a little bit, roll it into a 12-inch round, then transfer it onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Note: Try your best to make sure there aren’t any cracks where the filling can leak through.)
  • Spread the almond pasted onto the dough, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. (Note: Be careful as you’re spreading it that you don’t tear the crust. If it doesn’t spread well, you can sort of just press it down into place. It doesn’t have to be perfect!)
  • Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop almond paste, overlapping slightly. Again, leave a 1 1/2 inch border. Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating if needed to hold it in.
  • Brush the pastry with the leftover cream and egg mixture, then sprinkle it with sugar.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden.

Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

*Adapted from Fruit Galette Recipe, Almond Paste Recipe, and Apple Galette*

Triple Berry Vanilla Bean Galette

galette2This was my first time making a galette. The beauty of a galette, from what I learned today, is that even if it’s not the most beautiful thing in the world, it’s still delicious. Here’s what the New York Times has to say:

The appeal of a galette lies in its rusticity. Its juices can leak, the pastry can tear, the filling can singe at the top; it doesn’t matter. As long as you’ve used good fruit or vegetables for the filling and real butter for the dough, it will bake up into something golden brown and utterly gorgeous, the kind of pastry you’re happy to whip up anytime, not just on special occasions.

Thanks, New York Times. This makes me feel better about the fact that mine did in fact leak. But in all honesty, in spite of its “rustic” appearance, this turned out damn good.

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar + more for sprinkling on before baking
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg
  • A small amount of heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 – 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped (Note: You can use less or more depending on how strong you like the vanilla flavor to be. I use about 1/2 bean and it gives it a hint of vanilla without being too overpowering.)

Directions

First, start out by making the crust.

  • In a food processor fitted with the flat paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar and salt. In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, then add enough cream to make 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.
  • Add butter to flour mixture and mix (on a KitchenAid mixer, which is what I use, this is Speed 2) for about 30 second to 1 minute. Make sure you don’t over-mix it. You want the mixture to stay crumbly and the chunks of butter to be about the size of peas.
  • Drizzle 1/4 cup of the egg and cream mixture into the bowl and stir (Speed 1) until it starts to come together but is mostly large crumbs. (Reserve the remaining egg and cream mixture for later.) Mix in lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Put dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it together to make one uniform piece. Flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for about two hours.

Assemble the galette.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the disk of chilled crust on a floured surface and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes so that it’s not too hard for you to roll out.
  • While your dough is sitting, mix all the ingredients for your filling into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Once your dough has warmed up a little bit, roll it into a 12-inch round, then transfer it onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Note: Try your best to make sure there aren’t any cracks where the filling can leak through.)
  • Pour the fruit filling onto the dough, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating if needed to hold it in.
  • Brush the pastry with the leftover cream and egg mixture, then sprinkle it with sugar.
  • Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the filling bubbles up and the crust is golden.

Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

*Adapted from Fruit Galette Recipe*

Chocolate Cream Pie

This is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. It’s incredibly rich and decadent.

Note: This takes a little over 8 hours to make, which includes letting the pudding mixture cool for 2 hours and letting it all chill in the fridge for 6 hours. Fortunately, it held up just fine over the next few days, so what I’ll probably do is make it a day ahead of time.

Ingredients

For Crust

  • 1 1/3 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (from about 26 cookies such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers) (NOTE #1: I used Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams and they worked perfectly! NOTE #2: To make this recipe gluten-free, use Annie’s gluten-free Bunny Grahams.)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For filling

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 5 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), melted
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For topping

  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together crumbs, butter, and sugar and press on bottom and up side of a 9 or 9.5-inch pie plate (1-quart capacity). Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes, and cool on a rack.

Make filling:

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks in a 3-quart heavy saucepan until combined well, then add milk in a stream, whisking. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 1 minute (filling will be thick).

Force filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in chocolates, butter, and vanilla.

Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely, about 1.5-2 hours.

Spoon filling into crust and chill pie, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.

Make topping:

Just before serving, beat cream with sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spoon on top of pie.

*Recipe adapted from Chocolate Cream Pie*

Blueberry Peach Pie

The perfect summer pie.

Crust Ingredients:blueberry (1)

▪ 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
▪ 1/4 teaspoon salt
▪ 3 tablespoons sugar
▪ 1/4 cup room temperature vegetable shortening
▪ 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
▪ 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

Filling Ingredients:

▪ 2 lbs. peaches, peeled and sliced
▪ 1 pint blueberries
▪ 1/4 cup sugar
▪ 1/2 lemon, juiced
▪ 3 tablespoons cornstarch
▪ 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
▪ 1 egg, beaten with a drizzle of water
▪ Sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Directions

Begin by preparing the crust, because it will need to refrigerate for a little while.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.
When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare the pie filling by peeling and slicing up the peaches, washing the blueberries and tossing the fruit with the sugar, lemon, and cornstarch. Let this sit until the dough is ready.

After the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, take it out of the fridge and, on a floured surface, roll each disk out into an 11-inch circle. Carefully transfer one of the circles of dough to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing it down into the pan and trimming the edges if necessary. Flute the edges of the crust using this technique.

Scoop your pie filling into the pie shell with a slotted spoon, leaving behind any of the liquid that has accumulated in the bowl so that your pie won’t be too runny. Drop the small cubes of butter on top of the filling.

Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out enough pieces of the second half of the pie crust to cover the filling. Dip a pastry brush into the beaten egg and brush each of the stars with an egg wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. It cooked for 55 minutes in my oven.

Tip: To prevent the edges of the pie from burning, place a tin foil pie shield over the edges of the pie about halfway through the cook time. Directions here.

*Recipes adapted from Paula’s Perfect Pie Crust and Peach-Blueberry Pie*

Blueberry-Lemon Pie

My go-to blueberry pie recipe.

Crust IngredientsFullSizeRender (11)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup room temperature vegetable shortening
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 cups (about 2 1/4 lbs.) of fresh blueberries, rinsed and stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for thickening)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter (unsalted), cut into small pieces

Directions

Begin by preparing the crust, because it will need to refrigerate for a little while.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Gently mix the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl.

After the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, take it out of the fridge and, on a floured surface, roll each disk out into an 11-inch circle. Carefully transfer one of the circles of dough to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing it down into the pan and trimming the edges if necessary.

Transfer the filling to the chilled bottom crust of the pie pan. Dot with butter pieces. Roll out remaining dough to the same size and thickness as the first and cut into 1/2-1 inch strips to assemble the lattice crust. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator to chill until the dough is firm again, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the unbaked pie from fridge. Brush the top with egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more or until juices are bubbling and have thickened. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving.
Tip: To prevent the edges of the pie from burning, place a tin foil pie shield over the edges of the pie about halfway through the cook timeDirections here.
 
*Recipes adapted from Paula’s Perfect Pie Crust and Blueberry Pie.