Happy New Years Eve! Why not mini chocolate chip cookies with fleur de sel?

Happy New Year!  Are you doing anything delicious for New Years eve?

I just finished baking up a batch of mini-chocolate chip cookies.  Why chocolate chip cookies for New Years Eve because my girlfriend requested tiny treats that didn’t require utensils, and in Paris I  know I won’t be eating chocolate chip cookies.

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Deciding which chocolate chip recipe to use to be quite a daunting a decision. Do I go with the traditional and well tested Nestle toll house recipe,  or with the New York Time Jacque Torres recipe that changed cookie baking in this household as it recommended chilling cookie dough overnight? Or with the Gourmet tiny chocolate chip recipe (food writer Lesley Porcelli introduced me to) which changed my cookie aesthetic forever. These cookies are tiny, buttery, crispy and almost perfect.
So I have adapted from both recipes and  made a few alterations. Instead of light brown sugar,  I prefer dark brown (I skip white sugar entirely because I like the deep dark flavor of dark brown sugar). I slightly change the baking temperature,  amounts of chocolate chips and salt. Lastly, I don’t refrigerate the dough overnight but I do refrigerate for 2-3 hours or throw the dough in the freezer for an hour. You can read more about the science of chocolate chip cookies at seriouseats.com

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 Farha’s favorite mini chocolate chip cookies with sea salt (fleur de sel) :

  • 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp  baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or Torres recommends coarse salt)
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli or Toll House, but many people love Scharffen Berger,  Callebaut or  Guittard for baking.)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Mix together unsalted butter, brown sugar, sea salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, then mix in one egg and a teaspoon of real vanilla. Add the AP flour and mix. Then add your cup of  chocolate chips.

Drop teaspoons of dough on ungreased cookie tray, and
(optional)   sprinkle the top of the teaspoons of dough with a pinch of sea salt before you bake.

Bake for 7-8 minutes.

I cool them on a rack for about 20 minutes and start eating them three at a time with every meal, or until they are gifted away.IMG_1698

Have a delicious New Year! Please follow me during my travels to Paris, Baltimore, Burlington and Glasgow in 2014. Continue reading

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Tastes like fall: curried delicata squash and chick peas

One of the many wonderful things about upstate New York is seasons, and my  season is fall!

I can’t wait for squash stews, pumpkin pies and the vibrant colors of autumn leaves.

Delicata squash  might be my favorite squash because it doesn’t require peeling.

This is what I made with the first delivery of squash from our CSA.

curried delicata squash and chicke peas
Roasted Delicata squash and chick peas
Ingredients:
• 2 squash (delicata or acorn)
• Chick peas – 1 cup
• Garlic- 2 cloves chopped finely
• Oil – 3 T (vegetable or olive oil)
• Cumin (I like whole) – 2 tsp
• Fresh chopped onion – 1 small.
• Turmeric – 1 tsp
• Coriander – 1/2 tsp (optional)
• Salt – 2 tsp
• Parsley or Cilantro – optional garnish
Instructions:
1) Halve the squash and, with a spoon, carve out and discard the seeds. Slice into inch chunks.
2) Toss together with chick peas, garlic, olive oil, coriander and cumin and place it on a baking tray.
3) Cook the squash and chick peas in a 400 degree oven for about half an hour until it is tender and golden.
4) Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.
• ***Serve over rice with raita, or toss with room temperature kale for a main salad.

Taste like fall!

Taste like fall!

What happened to Nabisco chocolate wafers?

What happened to  Nabisco chocolate wafers? They seem to have disappeared from all my local grocery stores. I know they are still made because  you can order them on amazon.com

Smitten kitchen chocolate wafers

Smitten kitchen chocolate wafers

I  really love chocolate wafers for sweet treats at home, or for making my own ice cream sandwich.

So during the heatwave I finally made a batch of chocolate wafers using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. These chocolate wafers are almost like a deep dark shortbread.

Fresh out of the oven, these are getting mailed to Tampa...

Fresh out of the oven, these are getting mailed to Tampa…

I recently made a batch by reducing the sugar from  1 cup of sugar to 3/4  cup of sugar for my mother’s birthday (she’s diabetic). My tip with this recipe is use the best dutch processed cocoa you can, and be sure to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before you bake. I usually use Droste cocoa.  Others really love Scharffen Berger for baking.

They are perfect on their own (think high end Oreos meet Dorie Greenspan’s dark chocolate sables aka world peace cookies), but they also make the perfect mini-ice cream sandwich, especially with Talenti Gelato in espresso or Belgian chocolate or Soco Icecream in salted caramel.

Smitten kitchen wafers with Talenti chocolate gelato

Smitten kitchen wafers with Talenti chocolate gelato

So for those of you who suffered through a heat wave, need a sweet treat for Iftar or are looking for a new ice cream treat, consider these!

I’ve also tried other recipes from Smitten Kitchen, and along with David Lebovitz and Dorie Greenspan, it is one of my favorite go to baking blogs!

Have you been to Picasso’s, a new neighborhood bakery?

I don’t always have time to bake, and we have a new bakery in our neighborhood on Westcott. This past week I sampled  donuts and brioche from Picasso’s Pastry.Image

These are baked chocolate donuts.  Since they are baked, they do taste more like chocolate than donuts, but they do satiate that chocolate cake craving!Image

I also sampled their chocolate brioche right out of the oven…ooey, gooey and delicious!

If you are in Syracuse, please support our local businesses and check out Picasso’s Pastries.

What’s in your CSA? kohlrabi, cilantro, swiss chard, or kale?

For the next month, I hope to focus a bit on eating at home in addition to  eating out because we’re eating more at home since we’re in the middle of CSA season and it is also Ramadan.

Last week my CSA had kohlrabi, cilantro, swiss chard, kale, beets and garlic scapes.

I decided to create a lentil stew using traditional Indian spices and seasonal greens.

Lentils with kohlrabi and greens:

3 tsp salt

3 tablespoons turmeric

1 tsp of red chili powder

3 cups of red lentils

1/2 white onion sliced

2 garlic cloves

2-3 kohlrabi

3 tsp cumin

1 tsp ginger powder

1 bunch of kale, swiss chard or spinach (optional)

cilantro for garnish

 

1) Boil 6 cups of water with 3 tsp salt.

2) Add  3 cups of rinsed dry masoor red lentils when the water comes to a full boil,  then turn down to low and simmer 30-45 minutes till lentils are soft like a thick bean soup.

3) Add a tablespoon of turmeric and 1 tsp of red chili powder  to the lentils, and mix in well.

4) Continue to let lentils summer, and fry half a white sliced onion with 1 tablespoon oil, 2-3 diced kohlrabi,  3 tsp cumin, 2 garlic cloves and a  tsp of ginger powder in a separate pan.

5) Add the fried mixture, one bunch of kale or swiss chard, and  1/4 cup water to your lentils, stir and let simmer another 30 minutes.

6) Taste, garnish with cilantro, and add salt  to taste!

What are you doing with all that extra kohlrabi, kale and swiss chard?