Recipe: Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve been meaning to try Jacques Torres’ famous cookie recipe for quite some time now, and decided to finally give it a go. It was kind of annoying having to buy cake flour, bread flour and chocolate disks when I typically have AP flour and regular chocolate chips on hand, but honestly, it was all worth it.

These cookies are amazing. My go-to chocolate chip cookie, for sure. Don’t cheat when you make these though. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours before baking. Seriously. Do it.

Makes about 18 cookies.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 ⅔ cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (Note: I substituted about 1/2 cup of chocolate disks for chopped walnuts) 
  •  Sea salt

Directions

  • Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  • Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

 

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Hearty Vegan Beanless Minestrone

I love minestrone, but I usually wind up picking around the beans. That’s what’s great about making my own: no beans to pick around! Of course, if you like beans, add ’em on in. I won’t stop you. Honestly though, there’s so much going on in here that they’re not even necessary. The swiss chard gives it a rustic heartiness that’s great for winter.

This soup can be prepared vegan if you opt out of the Parmesan cheese on top.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 bunch swiss chard: ribs removed and chopped, leaves torn into pieces
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5-2 cups small pasta (e.g. elbows, shells)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

In a large pot, saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes until soft, then stir in tomato paste.

Add swiss chard (ribs and leaves), whole peeled tomatoes (with juice), 8 cups of water, salt, and all-purpose seasoning. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes.

Bring the soup back to a boil and mix in the arugula and pasta. Boil for 5-10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with grated Parmesan if using.

Honey Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Jalapeño Cauliflower Rice | Paleo / Whole30

My partner is giving the paleo diet a try for a month, so I’m on a mission to find delicious meals to cook for him. Here’s my first one. It was super easy to make and he loved it.

Disclaimer: If you are strict paleo/Whole30, you may want to review the ingredients to confirm that they’re in line with your diet. As I’m new to this method of cooking, it’s possible that some of these ingredients aren’t strict paleo/Whole30 approved. 

Servings: 4-5

Ingredients (Cauliflower Rice)

  • 1 crown cauliflower, chopped then blended into rice-sized pieces for about 7 seconds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
  • Juice from half a lime

Ingredients (Honey Garlic Shrimp)

  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1.5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil)
  • 8 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

To make the honey garlic shrimp:

  • Combine the honey, coconut aminos, ginger and garlic and stir well. Cover the shrimp with about 1/4 cup of the sauce and marinate in the refrigerator, setting the rest of the sauce aside for later. (Note: I marinated the shrimp for about 2 hours, but you can do anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours.)
  • When the shrimp is almost done marinating, make the cauliflower rice (see below)
  • Place broccoli florets in a small bowl, sprinkle with a few teaspoons of water and steam in microwave for 2 minutes
  • Remove the shrimp from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy duty skillet and heat over high heat.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet and sear on each side until browned, about 1-2 minutes per side. (Note: I did 2 minutes per side, flipping after each minute.)
  • Add the broccoli to the pan and drizzle with the remaining sauce (Note: You may not need to use all of it.)

To make the cauliflower rice:

  • In a large bowl, mix the blended cauliflower pieces and the coconut flakes
  • In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat
  • Add the cauliflower and coconut flake mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until it’s throughly heated through
  • Remove from burner and stir in the almond milk and jalapeños. Squeeze in the lime juice.
  • Set aside until the shrimp are ready

To assemble:

Scoop a generous helping of cauliflower rice onto a plate, topping with 4-5 shrimp and several pieces of broccoli. Spoon some sauce from pan over the shrimp for added flavor.

*Recipe adapted from: Easy Honey Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli*

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore with Rice

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Photo Credit: Cafe Delites

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless chicken thighs, bone-in
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (or 8 cloves)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 10 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup pitted black olives
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons each freshly chopped parsley and basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 oz.  red wine (Note: I used Pinot Noir)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 7 oz. Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spiciness)
  • 2 cups dry white or brown rice

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone. (Note: I cooked mine on high to save time.) Add in the mushrooms in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Season to your tastes.

Cook rice according to package. Serve chicken cacciatore over rice.

*Recipe adapted from Chicken Cacciatore* 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

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I’ve been on a mission to find healthy crockpot recipes to make for my fiancée, who is not a vegetarian. I find that if I make him a crockpot meal over the weekend, there’s enough leftover for him to eat it all week. He said this is one of the best beef stews he’s ever eaten.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound small white potatoes, halved
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine (Note: I used Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

Directions

Toss the beef with the paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook undisturbed until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, turning the beef as needed, until mostly browned, about 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the beef to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker; add the potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and onions and stir to combine.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, thyme, caraway if using, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking; continue simmering and whisking until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.

Pour the gravy into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours OR 4 hours high + 1 hour low (Note: I do the later to save some time). The meat and vegetables should be tender.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

*Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Beef Stew*

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scone Bread

The original recipe called for currants instead of chocolate chips, and it’s not that I dislike currants or anything, but if I have a choice of using chocolate in a recipe, I’m using chocolate. I happen to really love chocolate and cinnamon together, so this was a no-brainer for me.

Ingredients

For the streusel filling:

  • tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • tablespoon heavy cream

For the bread:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of loaf
  • tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cocoa powder (or cinnamon) 
  • cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing on dough
  • large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. For the streusel: Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the cream to make a streusel. This is not a chunky streusel. It’s more of a sugary blend. Set aside.
  2. For the bread: Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a parchment-lined 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer and stir to combine.
  4. Add the butter and stir for about 1 minute. You want to retain some small pieces of butter. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the chocolate chips with the cocoa powder. Add to the flour/butter mixture, and toss lightly.
  6. In a large measuring cup, place the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into flour mixture. With a dinner fork, fold the wet ingredients into the dry as you gradually turn the bowl. It’s a folding motion you’re shooting for, not a stirring motion. When dough begins to gather, use a plastic bowl scraper to gently knead the dough into a ball shape. If there is still a lot of loose flour in the bottom of the bowl, drizzle in a bit more cream, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
  7. Transfer the dough ball to a generously floured board. Pat dough into a 6- by 14-inch rectangle.
  8. Now the fun part. Please refer to the photos on the original recipe site for reference. Cut the rectangle into 12 equal pieces. Brush with cream. Sprinkle streusel on 6 pieces. Flip a non-streuseled piece onto a streuseled piece and continue to build the layers. It’s easiest to transfer the layers to the pan in sections. Lay them in the pan, like a sideways lasagna. Continue layering until fully assembled. Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar. (Note: I didn’t end up using all of the streusel.)
  9. Bake on the center rack for about 50 minutes, covering with aluminum foil of the final 10 minutes. Loaf is done when a cake tester comes out clean. Make sure to poke it into a cake layer and not a streusel layer.
  10. Let cool 15 minutes and serve warm. Either rip the bread apart with your hands or cut into slices.

*Recipe adapted from Cinnamon Scone Bread*

Zucchini Lasagna Boats

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Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • A couple tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 5-10 mini mozzarella balls, sliced thinly
  • A couple basil leaves, sliced
  • A couple tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the zucchini, leaving about a 1/4-inch. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan and Italian seasoning.
  4. Brush both sides of your zucchini halves with olive oil and place side by side in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
  5. Scoop your ricotta mixture into the zucchini halves and top with salt and pepper. Top with marina sauce.
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and place mozzarella slices on top. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and put it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until mozzarella is melted and zucchini is tender.
  8. Remove from oven and top with sliced basil.

Polenta Cakes with Pico de Gallo

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Makes about 3-4 small servings. Can be served as an appetizer, a side or an entree.

Ingredients

  • 1 18-oz. tube polenta, sliced 1/4-1/2-inch thick
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • A few tablespoons chopped cilantro (adjust to your preference)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • A few tablespoons quick-pickled shallots
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in pan over medium-low, then pan fry the polenta until golden brown (about 5 minutes on each side).
  2. While the polenta is pan frying, mix together your pico de gallo. In a medium-sized bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, lime juice. Mix and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. When your polenta is ready, remove it from the pan and place on a couple piece of paper towel to blot the oil.
  4. Arrange your polenta slices on a plate, sprinkle with shredded smoked Gouda, and top with pico de gallo. Finally, top with quick-pickled shallots.

Seitan Tacos with Ancho-Lime Sauce

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Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup water

Tacos:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1  8 oz. package cubed seitan
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 6 6-inch soft corn tortillas, warmed
  • Shredded lettuce for garnish
  • Salsa for garnish
  • Guacamole for garnish

Directions

  • To make sauce: Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To make tacos: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add seitan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 4 minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat. Stir in cumin and chili powder.
  • Assemble the tacos: Smear some of the ancho-chili sauce on the tortilla, then top with lettuce, seitan/onion mixture, guacamole, salsa and cheese. You can switch up the order, but that’s the order I prefer.

*Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times*