Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSCF0007Sometimes the classics are the best.  I’ve had a real sweet tooth all week and since I don’t keep much snacky food in the house, it has gone relatively unsatisfied.  Assuming that any dessert I make at home will be (relatively) better for me than the uber-processed and preserved store bought variety, I made these extremely satisfying cookies.

Original recipe courtesy of Martha Rose Shulman’s New York Times column.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking soda.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the sugars and salt.  Mix on medium until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add egg and vanilla extract on low speed, beat about 15 seconds.
  6. Add flour mixture on low speed until fully incorporated.
  7. Add chocolate and mix.
  8. On a parchment lined (or those great silicon baking sheets) cookie sheets drop dough about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Orange Moroccan Cake

I was looking for a light cake for an early January birthday, nothing too decadent after a season of chocolates and truffles and sugar cookies, and perhaps something with seasonal citrus, and hit upon this dessert: Orange Moroccan Cake. [There’s a much fancier orange layer cake linked on my Wish Page, but I didn’t have time to bake that one today.] Leftovers also go splendidly with a cup of coffee in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • zest from 1 or 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease cake or bundt pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat together eggs and sugar until thick.  Gradually beat in the oil.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt (I sift these ingredients first, but that’s not 100% necessary). Then add orange juice (fresh squeezed is best).  Beat until smooth.
  4. Mix in the zest and vanilla.
  5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

Coffee & Spice Cookies

This recipe is courtesy of my mother-in-law.  I have not quite mastered these cookies, but I will keep trying as they are my husband’s favorite.  His mother, of course, makes them perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening or butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of cold coffee
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Mix together the shortening/butter, eggs, and brown sugar.
  3. Add the cold coffee.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  5. Mix everything together.
  6. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies, so you may very well want to halve it.

Healthy Muffins

Baking, they say, is a science, but in this case it’s more like a healthy science experiment.  These muffins are forgiving; stick to the general ratios and you will create a moist, sweet, and guilt-less snack.

I have been juicing (hence fewer recipe additions because many more of my meals are in vibrantly colored liquid form), but I hate the waste from juicing.  Juicers, if you are unfamiliar, separate the fiber and pulp, gathering the mushy, processed mess in a separate container. Some people compost this fiber, but I live in an apartment building without composting or an outside area, and I felt terribly guilty throwing out all this perfectly good bi-product. And then I found a recipe for these muffins! Melissa Clark’s original recipe does not involve juicing at all, she has you grate fruits and vegetables, but I found that a little adjusting produced excellent fiber-ful muffins and solved my juicing bi-product problem.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (be generous when pouring, a little more flour is useful if your ingreidients are very moist)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 apple juice (preferably freshly juiced and not store bought, cider would also work)
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 generous cup (or a bit more) of juiced fiber / pulp.  This is where you can mix and match (science experiment, not exact science).  I usually include about 50% greens (spinach and kale are my go to) and 50% sweet stuff (apples and carrots work well). The original recipe called for butternut squash, parsnips, zucchini, and beets.  Generally, I use whatever is on hand.  When I’m saving the fiber from juicing, I make sure that the fruits and vegetables are really, really clean before juicing, remove stems, seeds, etc., and then freeze the bag of fiber until I’m ready to bake.  Honestly, most of the I’m not 100% sure what precisely is in the muffin, but they always come out moist and delicious.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease mini muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, honey, sugar, apple juice, and fiber pulp.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Fold in the raisins.
  5. Fill muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.

These muffins stay really well.  Pop them in the fridge and they’re good for about a week.