Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

three choc chip muffins

The infamous Lucy Jane woke up this morning and wanted chocolate chip muffins. As a mother who never lets her children down (oh how I wish that were true), I indulged. We actually made them together and it was fun to be in the kitchen with my daughter making breakfast (or dessert, depending on your perspective). We decided to double the recipe so that we could freeze a dozen and use them for snacks in their lunches for the upcoming week.

 

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The secret to these moist, tasty muffins is the buttermilk! You can use whole or regular milk, but these babies texture and taste are best when the buttermilk is used. And since we all are chocolate lovers in this house, I don’t skimp and use the mini chocolate chips. But if you are not into eating dessert first thing in the morning, the mini chips may be a good idea for you. 🙂

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Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • half a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and gently fold together until combined. Scoop batter into a 12 cup muffin tin. Fill the cups close to the top. Bake the muffins at 425 for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 and bake for another 13-15 minutes.

Yields 1 dozen

 

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Fudgy, Chewy, Chocolatey Brownies

I consider myself a connoisseur of brownies. I have eaten hundreds of different kinds of brownies. I, of course, have a checklist of what I enjoy in a brownie and what makes an exceptional one! It has to be soft and chewy. It has to have that rich, fudgy, decadent flavor. Not to bitter and not to sweet. In my opinion, a brownie does not have to be frosted. If it is tasty enough to stand on its own, then let it! But if it is frosted, the frosting has to be good enough to not ruin the brownie. Okay, I’ll stop and just say that this brownie is ALL of these things. It is also easy to make. No fancy ingredients and no weird baking methods. Just a yummy brownie! And just for the record, these babies are good enough to stand on their own. So now it’s for you to decide: Frost or not to frost?

BEST BROWNIES

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand alone mixer, combine butter and sugar. Then add eggs and mix until combined. Add vanilla, cocoa and salt and mix. Add flour and combine. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into a 9×13 greased baking dish. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.

FROSTING

  • 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate squares. In a stand alone mixer, cream the butter for about 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate, 4 cups powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix. Slowly add milk until the mixture begins to look like frosting. Then add one cup of powdered sugar at a time and adding milk to achieve the desired consistency. The trick to this frosting is to keep on whipping. Make sure all powdered sugar is blended before adding more.

Cool brownies completely before frosting.

 

 

 

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies

Ok, to say that I have been obsessed with salted caramel over the past several months would be an understatement. I think about it, I dream about it, I want it all the time! I love the sweet taste of caramel with the distinct saltiness of sea salt at the end. I love the sweet and savory! I want it on cupcakes, custards, yogurts, milkshakes, breads, treats, you name it!

So, this cookie turned into a little salted caramel, chocolate, heaven on earth type dessert. Chewy brownie cookies with a creamy, salted caramel filling, I could die right now and be just fine! It happens to be the best thing that I have tasted in a long time. I tested it out on my Dad and my husband and both said,”winner!” And since I am in such a giving mood, I want you to have it, too!

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies 

For the Cookie:

  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼  cup flour, sifted
  • ¼  teaspoon baking powder, sifted

For the salted caramel creme filling

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup caramel sauce (I used Nestle’s La Lechera-Dulce de Leche)
  • ½  teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir until melted. Add 7 ounces of chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a stand up mixer, combine, eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. (The extreme beating gives this cookie its great texture! So set your timer!) Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining 5 ounces of chocolate and mix just to combine. (Don’t over mix.)  Chill batter for 10 minutes. Dough should still be slightly gooey, but not watery.

Spoon 2 tablespoonful of the mixture, onto parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on pans before transferring to a wire rack.

Caramel creme filling and assembly:

Place butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy., about 4 minutes. Mix in powdered sugar and salt, add in caramel and beat until smooth and creamy.

Spread or pipe the frosting in between two cookies. Sandwich them together.

Yields 12 large cookies

Homemade Parmesan Breasticks

Sometimes you just need the goodness of a homemade breadstick. I felt that way last Sunday and wanted to make something to satisfy my craving. I used to believe that Sunday was a day of rest, but once I get baking and cooking, it becomes a day of food madness! But these babies were worth it! They don’t take long and they are easy to make. You can have hot, buttery, parmesan breadsticks in one hour!

Homemade Parmesan Breadsticks

  • 1 ½  cups warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt

To Brush on top

  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a small bowl mix the water, yeast and sugar together and let sit for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of your mixer add the flour and salt and mix. Pour the yeast water to the bowl and using the dough hook mix for a couple minutes until smooth. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large square. Brush the top with melted butter then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Fold the dough in half and cut into 15 to 20 strips.

Twist each strip and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Let the twists sit for another 15 minutes to rise.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the breadsticks for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. When they come out of the oven, brush the top with remaining butter.

Pumpkin Poppers

Oh, Pumpkin Poppers! You make the house smell like fall and you taste like a little bit of heaven in my mouth!

If you are a pumpkin bread lover, then this is a must try. We made these in the cooking class I teach to some young girls and not only were they a hit with the girls, I had several mom’s who said that they couldn’t keep out of them either. They have a deep, rich, spice, pumpkin flavor that will have your taste buds saying, “thank you!” This is also a great recipe if you have a few little helpers around. Who doesn’t love to roll these goodies in cinnamon and sugar?

PUMPKIN POPPERS

  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and all spices in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture until combined.

Fill mini muffin tins almost full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

After poppers have cooled a few minutes, dip in melted butter and roll around in cinnamon sugar.

Melt

  • 1 cube butter  (may need additional cubes)

 Mix

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons cinnamon

 Yields about 3 dozen mini poppers.

Chantilly Potatoes

What are Chantilly Potatoes? I knew that Chantilly was a town just outside of Paris, France. Is it such a great town that it had the way you prepare some potatoes named after it? YES! And did you know that Chantilly is famous for its cream? It is actually believed to have been the precursor for modern day whipped cream. And wouldn’t you know, the secret ingredient in this recipe is whipped cream! It’s all making sense now.

So in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday, here is a French inspired, easy, tasty potato side dish.

CHANTILLY POTATOES

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
 (may also use Havarti, Gruyere)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for about 10 minutes, or until soft and tender. (I gave mine a shake halfway through) Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes well. Add salt and pepper then cover again and microwave for an additional 3 minutes.

In a large bowl beat the whipped cream until stiff and peaks form. Gently fold in about 2/3 of the whipped cream into the potatoes. Most of the cream will be absorbed into the potatoes. Pour potatoes into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Potatoes will look slightly uneven. Do not rub with spatula to even out as potatoes will lose their airiness and lighter texture. Mix the parmesan cheese and all but 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese into the remaining whipped cream. Spread the mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Mom’s Chicken Salad

Hello Friends! How are you? We apologize for the lack of postings recently. We have been enjoying our summer vacations and have been busy creating memories with family and friends. However, now that school has started for some of us, it is back to the usual routines and chaos of dinnertime!

I spent 3 weeks up in California with Shannon this summer. We were actively typing our cookbook and were able to get a lot of it done. It has been such an exciting AND tiring process. They never really tell you how much work it is going to be. Luckily, this is our love and our passion, and now it is our little baby. We have high hopes of finishing this book within the next month or two! Woohoo!!

My awesome mom also lives in CA in the summertime and so I was able to spend some time with her as well. One Sunday evening she made her famous chicken salad and it made me happy for summer. Happy for all the yummy fruit, fresh vegetables and summer desserts. So if you are not sure what to make for dinner tonight, try this. And then pair it with some yummy fruit or fresh veggies. Yum!

MOM’S CHICKEN SALAD

  • 5 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1 ¼ cup diced celery
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except mayonnaise, sour cream and almonds. Cover bowl and let marinate so flavors mesh together. After 1 to 2 hours mix in mayonnaise and sour cream. Add almonds just before serving.

Eat as a side salad, or serve on fresh bread or roll of your choice. May be served warm or chilled. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate.