Chewy Chocolate Cookies

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Nora and I made a new recipe for chocolate cookies that will be one we consider a keeper!   This is for all the chocolate lovers in our family and yours!  Double chocolate, the taste is deep and rich.  Bake them longer if you want a crisp cookie, but they are best when you watch your baking time carefully and take them out when they are soft and puffy. They flatten as they cool, rich and chewy. Very much like a brownie in a cookie!  There are many recipes similar to this online and in cookbooks. Some use peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1 14cups butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

34  cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°

In large mixer bowl; cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually blend into creamed mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake only 8 or 9 minutes. Cookies will not look done, but soft and puffy.  LIft with a spatula and place on wire rack to cool. They flatten as they cool.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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Nora is learning to make cookies but she has a distinct preference for chocolate! A recipe found in a cookbook written by my cousin Jane Purtle was just what Nora ordered!  In Food from the Hills, the author recorded family recipes from her family, which happens to be our family, too.  My grandmother, Clyde Curley Terrell, and Jane Purtlle’s father, Russell Hill, were half-siblings.  My great-grandmother Ernestine Augier Hill Curley was married to Jane’s grandfather, James Hill.  After he died, she married my Great Grandfather Curley. These chocolate oatmeal cookies were a favorite in the Hill family.

But there is more to this cookie story.  The original oatmeal cookie (without chocolate) recipe was one found in the Home Economics class cookbook from Bullard High School in Bullard, Texas where Jane Purtle’s mother Ruby and my mother, Opal attended.  So I am certain Nora’s great-grandmother Opal also made these cookies. Nora’s middle name is Opal.  I had fun thinking about all these connections while we made these cookies.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup oatmeal  ( recipe says Quick, but regular works great and makes a chewier cookie)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Please note:  I substituted 6 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder  plus 2 Tablespoons oil for the melted baking chocolate)

Break egg in mixing bowl and beat in sugar.  Add oil to sugar and eggs. Add milk and oatmeal. Sift flour with salt, baking powder and soda into the first mixture.  Add chocolate and beat well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until firm around edges but soft in center.

If desired, omit chocolate and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

 

 

 

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Indoor S’Mores

IMG_1333Jordann is enjoying one of their campfire S’Mores, which are without doubt the best kind.  But some of us don’t do much camping, and even if you have a wood-burning fireplace, you might decide there are times when these gooey, chocolate treats can’t be made over a fire. That is when you can try Indoor S’Mores, iron skillet style.  This makes generous servings for 2. Just double the recipe if your family is larger.  If you double, be sure to use a larger skillet. You may even like this “fondue” so well you try making it this way over your next campfire!

1 small bag cocolate hcips

8 large marshmallows

a jar of Nutella

Graham crackers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter or coat with cooking spray the bottom of a 6 inch iron skillet.  Cover the bottom with chocolate chips and drop a few spoonfuls of Nutella on top of the chocolate chips.  Cut marshmallows in half and arrange on top of chocolate. Place in oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, until marshamallows are golden brown.

Scoop out the melted chocolate and marshmallows with graham crackers.

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Maddie’s Chocolate Cake

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Our Christmas time with our middle son, Jeremy, and his family, began just before New Year’s when they arrived, filling us up with good hugs, little girl laughter, and lots of help in the kitchen.  At 8, Maddie has been developing her cooking skills for long enough that I barely need to stay in the kitchen while she creates.  I do, of course, for the pure pleasure of being with her and being amazed at her skill.  This cake is a deep, rich, chocolate, (made from scratch, of course!) with chocolate buttercream frosting, layered with strawberry jam. Beautiful to look at, and every crumb was delicious!

Recipe?  Times have changed!  Our younger cooks no longer pull out a cookbook to look up a recipe – the internet offers a wider range of choices, plus videos that show every step! As Maddie says, “Just go to YouTube!”  So here is the link for ingredients and easy to follow video:  Print version available by clicking on the link at bottom left of video.

I have made many a chocolate cake, but I learned several things from watching this video with Maddie.  I wish I had realized a long time ago that buttering my cooling rack would save the top of the cake sticking!  Thank you, Maddie,  This grandmother is still learning new tricks, and you are teaching me

Pomegranate Bark

IMG_2003I did not do my traditional pre-Christmas cookie-baking or candy-making!  But I did make one batch of this very unusual Christmas treat.  Dark chocolate, tart pomegranate arils, and bits of crystallized ginger combine to make a much healthier holiday treat than most.  It went together quickly, and everyone who has tried it likes it.  I am sure it will not replace fudge, gingerbread houses, and German butter balls, but I am pleased to add it to my file of Christmas recipes. 

Pomegranate Bark
10 ounces good quality dark bittersweet chocolate (60% Cacao)

1 cup pomegranate arils (can be purchased in small containers at Costco, or seed your own, much more work!)

1/4 cup crystallized ginger bits (Penzey;s) or 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger pieces

pinch of sea salt

Prepare small baking sheet (that will fit in refrigerator) by lining with silicone mat.

Carefully melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler.  If using microwave, place chocolate in shallow microwave safe  dish, cook on high until chocolate begins to melt, about 1 minute, stir with rubber spatula, then cook at 15 SECOND intervals until chocolate is soft. The chocolate may not lose its shape, so check often. Quickly stir until smooth, add pomegranate arils, ginger bits, and salt.  Mix gently before spreading into 8 X 10 inch rectangle on baking sheet. Place in refrigerator at least 30 minutes or until firm.  Break into pieces and store in container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

 

Peanut Butter Pie

IMG_0596July 15 is our youngest son’s birthday, and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he requested Peanut Butter Pie.  He developed a fondness for this cool, creamy dessert 30 years ago when he went with his best friend’s family to visit grandparents in Pennsylvania and Grandma Eshbaugh made it.  When he got back home, he asked me to make a Peanut Butter pie and through the years I have tried several versions.  This one seems to most like the Pennsylvania Grandmother’s recipe.  There are dozens of variations to be found in cookbooks and online, but this one is found in an old church cookbook given to us by friends in 1981.  It has very simple ingredients, is quick to put together, and if you like peanut butter you are going to love this pie.

Peanut Butter Pie

2 chocolate cookie crumb crusts ( make your own from chocolate wafers if you prefer, but I purchased Keebler crusts at HEB)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 can Eagle Brand milk

2 cups Cool Whip (I used the extra creamy style)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla

With electric mixer, cream peanut butter and cream cheese.  Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix, then fold in Cool Whip.  Pour into prepared chocolate cookie crumb pie shells, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve with a spoonful of Cool Whip.  Add grated chocolate on top if you like.0