Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Picnic Week: Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

The long weekend is so close, I can almost taste it. School is ending. It seems the sun is finally shining on the mainland. Summer is about to arrive. It’s calling to you to get out and enjoy a feast on a blanket.

Here are a few quick do’s and don’t’s for your picnic.

  • Do invite all your friends. Especially if their parents own the best Chinese restaurant in town.
Hee Hing Snack Box of Awesomeness
Hee Hing has my favorite maunapua!
  • Don’t put your grill on a plastic picnic table. That’s just ruins it for everyone else.
  • Do put your wine or cocktail in your Starbucks reusable cup. It’s more stylish, more discreet, and it doesn’t waste plastic. And it has a lid, in case you get carried away.
  • Don’t leave a mess. You’re not Don and Betty Draper. Also, if you live in a city, there’s probably someone hanging around who would be happy to have your recyclables and any leftover food. They need it more than you.
  • Do pick a spot with a view of the epic South Shore swell. (Actually, anywhere beautiful will do.)

South Shore Swell

And most definitely DO bring giant chocolate chip cookies. There’s nothing like watching people’s eyes light up when you show them the size of these babies. It doesn’t matter what age they are; they’re excited. This is my go to chocolate chip cookie. It’s soft and dense in the center and loaded with chocolate.

I love this recipe by who else, Nigella Lawson. My favorite thing is that it’s made with melted butter, so you don’t have to plan ahead. The only thing her recipe was missing is a nice fat pinch of salt. Trust me. It’s essential to making these cookies taste like heaven.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I hope your long weekend is filled with laughter and sunshine, and I hope it tastes like cookies.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 15
A dense and chocolaty cookie nearly the size of your face
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 150 grams (2/3 cup) butter
  2. 125 grams (5/8 cup) brown sugar
  3. 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 egg yolk
  7. 300 grams (2-1/2 cups) flour
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1-1/2 tsp salt
  10. 326 grams (12 ounces) chocolate chips (I like to mix it up with milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate. Whatever you have on hand.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 340 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool for a bit. I use the microwave in 30 second intervals. Get it all melted, then go check Facebook for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the brown and white sugar in a mixing bowl, then pour the melted butter over them and beat them together with your mixer or a strong arm.
  4. Add the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and beat until creamy and smooth.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Finally, fold in the chocolate.
  7. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop out the cookie dough onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them plenty of space to spread out. I make mine six at a time. You may need to stash your dough in the fridge between batches.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Pack them up to share with friends. They’ll be so impressed.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake (Gluten-Free)

Lemon Polenta Cake

My husband bought us the most wonderful present the other day. Really it’s for his chameleon, but I like to pretend it’s for me. I just can’t wait until it starts working its magic.

Little Lemon Tree

We now have our very own lemon tree! It’s being protected from the chickens so they don’t try and eat all the leaves off of it before it has a chance to fulfill it’s mission of giving me luscious beautiful fresh lemons. I used to live in a country where lemons were nearly impossible to find, so they’re rather precious to me.

Lemon Polenta Cake

I’m so in love with our baby tree that I absolutely had to share this lemon polenta cake. Can you keep a secret? This cake is gluten free. Whatevs. It’s totally delicious and lemony and heavenly with an amazing texture.

Cornmeal plus lemon syrup equals sweet sticky cake of magnificence.

And it’s all mature and sophisticated with it’s frostingless simplicity, so you can pretend to be an adult when you serve it. It’s stunning even in its lack of decadence.

Lemon Polenta Cake

I can’t wait until we have our first backyard lemons. I’ll probably do a little dance. What else can I make with them?

Lemon Polenta Cake (Gluten-Free)
Yields 1
A simple and delicious lemon cake that's naturally gluten free
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
for the cake
  1. 200 grams (1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  2. 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  3. 200 grams (2 cups) ground almonds
  4. 100 grams (3/4 cup) cornmeal
  5. 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. 3 eggs
  7. zest of 2 lemons
for the syrup
  1. juice of 2 lemons
  2. 125 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar
for the cake
  1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment, and grease the sides with butter
  2. Preheat your oven to 350.
  3. With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Combine the almonds, cornmeal, and baking powder in a separate bowl, then mix a third of the mixture into the butter and sugar. Add an egg and combine. Continue alternating dry ingredients and eggs until everything is combined.
  5. Finally mix in the lemon zest.
  6. Transfer the batter to your pan and bake for 40 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  7. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  8. In a small saucepan, boil the lemon juice and powdered sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  9. With a toothpick, prick tiny holes in your cake, then pour the syrup over the cake and let it sink in.
  10. Once cool, remove the collar from your pan. Serve a big wedge with wine and experience pure joy.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

Cake images by Monica Szczupider

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burger with pasta salad

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

So you go to college, like you’re supposed to, and you get degrees in the artsy things that you love. You don’t have to do any math, and that is super awesome. But then there’s real life, and you have to pay the rent. And you love food, so you definitely want to eat stuff that doesn’t taste like cardboard. In order to get a paycheck, you find yourself having to do math. All the time. Every day. It’s easy, but it still hurts your brain, and your soul rebels a little bit.

That’s why this weekend I had to make this chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It soothes my soul. Baking math doesn’t count as real math because it ends in completely joyful deliciousness.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This recipe was the May cookalong at the website of my idol, Nigella Lawson. Have I told you lately how much I love her? Immensely. Not only is she completely mesmerizing to look upon, but I love her whole philosophy. Even with her beauty, talent, and fame, she manages to be humble, approachable, and unapologetically indulgent. Read all her books. Just do it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake bite

This cheesecake is everything you hoped it would be. It’s rich, dense, and smooth, and absolutely must be accompanied by a tall glass of milk. Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite flavor combinations. My husband’s not really a fan. He finished his piece in about twelve seconds. Even people who think they won’t like will love it.

If I’ve learned anything from Nigella, it’s that life is meant to be enjoyed. You don’t need to apologize or feel guilty about doing the things that make you happy. Like eating cheesecake. It’s super awesome.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Yields 1
Fantastically rich peanut butter chocolate cheesecake heaven
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
for the crust
  1. 1 sleeve graham crackers
  2. 100 grams (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips
  3. 50 grams (4 Tbsp) butter, melted
for the filling
  1. 500 grams (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temp
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 3 egg yolks (whites can be saved in a zip top bag in the freezer)
  4. 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 250 grams (1 cup) smooth peanut butter
for the topping
  1. 1 cup sour cream
  2. 100 grams (1 cup) milk chocolate chips
  3. 30 grams (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
for the crust
  1. Give the graham crackers a good smash up before opening the sleeve just to break them up a bit. I just smack them with the heel of my hand.
  2. Dump the graham crackers into your food processor and process until you achieve small crumbs.
  3. Add your dark chocolate chips to the food processor and pulse several times to break up the chips a bit.
  4. With the processor running pour in the melted butter and mix until everything is combined. It only takes a few seconds.
  5. If you don’t have a food processor, just smash up your chocolate and graham crackers in a zip top bag. Anything heavy will work. Rolling pin, sledge hammer. Just be careful.
  6. Press your wet crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. I use a piece of wax paper to keep from getting crumb hands.
  7. Park your crust in the fridge while you proceed with your filling.
for the filling
  1. Preheat your oven to 340.
  2. Rinse out your food processor (you could also use a mixer), then add the cream cheese. Give it a spin for about thirty seconds to make sure it’s all nice and smooth. This will make it easier to combine all your ingredients as you go.
  3. Add the rest of your ingredients, processing for a few seconds after each one. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula, and give it one final spin to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated.
  4. Pour your filling over your crust and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes. The top should be just set. Take the cheesecake out of the oven while you work on the topping.
for the topping
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat.
  2. Stir frequently to incorporate the chocolate and the sour cream.
  3. Once everything is melted and smooth, gently spread the chocolate mixture over the cheesecake.
  4. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool completely on the counter. (If you put it in the fridge too soon, condensation will develop and you’ll have water spots on your chocolate topping. It’s perfectly edible, just looks a bit different.)
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Remove from refrigerator. Carefully remove springform ring.
  8. Slice and indulge and try not to think about algebra.
  9. Store in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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