Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies for Willie

Are any of you in the U.S. watching season 5 of Masterchef right now?  I am.  Although I watch on Tuesday nights because we don’t have cable.  Last night I witnessed the top 7 turn into the top 6, and I was devastated to see Willie go.  Beyond his original dish ideas and complex flavor profiles, he seemed to always keep his spirits high in the Masterchef kitchen, and was always incredibly humble.  I may or may not have welled up at the end of the episode.  Willie’s grandmother puts it best: “Your attitude will always determine your altitude.”

In honor of Willie, I decided to try a new recipe tonight.  These cookies, adapted from Baker by Nature, are unlike any cookies I’ve ever made.  While I initially felt defeated by the semi-unfamiliar baking procedure, I realized that Willie had to try many new things while on Masterchef, too.  He would appreciate these cookies, as they are delicious and sure-fire crowd pleasers.  So here goes!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies for Willie (adapted from Baker by Nature)

Prep time: 20  minutes | Bake time: 10 minutes per batch | Yields: 32 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp flakey sea salt
  • 15 tbs salted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, fork together the dry ingredients and set aside.

Place 8 tbs of butter in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the butter had browned.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining 7 tbs of butter.  Add the sugars and vanilla to the melted butter.  Whisk until combined.  Add eggs and whisk together vigorously for 30 seconds.

Let wet mixture sit idle for 5 minutes, then repeat 30-second whisking.  Gently fold in the flour with a spatula.  Once the flour begins to disappear, fold in the three chocolate varieties.

Roll cookie dough into 2-tbs balls with your hands.  Be sure to place enough space between the cookies on the baking sheets.  When both sheets are prepared, bake cookies for 10 minutes, switching rack positions halfway though.  Let cool and transfer to a wire rack.  Continue until all cookie dough is used.

From Scissors & Sage

Do you have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe?  Or a favorite Masterchef contestant?  Who do you think will win the Masterchef title this season?

PS) Check out these Chewy Chocolate Jumbles I made last year–quite a different cookie, but just as tasty!

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Mouth-Watering Chocolate Mousse

Let’s be honest here for a minute.  Chocolate mousse is the sexy lingerie of desserts.  Its smooth, light texture only leaves you wanting more.  Its simplicity is mind-blowing.  One taste and you’re hooked!  This Valentine’s Day, Anne and I decided to forego a dinner reservation in favor of a home-cooked meal.  I knew I wanted to make a special dessert to complement our dinner menu, so I decided to seize the moment and learn how to make this celestial delicacy.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never baked with a mixer.  What did I do when a recipe called for one?  I bulked up my arm muscles and it usually turned out the same as if I had used a mixer.  I’d give myself a pat on the back and move forward.  Recently, something in me changed, and I realized that there were just some things I couldn’t make without a mixer–chocolate mousse certainly being one.  Now I am the proud owner of a hand-mixer! Anne and I are mixing this and mixing that, happy as clams.  (See: egg whites below.)

After scouring the Internet for the perfect mousse, I decided on a recipe from Bobby Flay.  Its minimal ingredients and rave reviews had me sold.  I adapted a few ingredients and steps, so I present to you my official recipe below.

Mouth-Watering Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Bobby Flay)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Fridge time: 1+ hour | Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 14 oz cold heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • Sweetened whipped cream (for garnish, optional)
  • Shaved chocolate (for garnish, optional)

Place a large mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.  While they are chilling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler at a low simmer.  Remove from heat and let stand.

Take the mixing bowl and beaters out of the freezer, and beat the cold heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.  Set aside at room temperature.

With a very clean large mixing bowl and cleaned beaters,  whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar gradually, and continue whipping until the mixture becomes firm.

Using a spatula, add the cooled melted chocolate to the egg whites and sugar.  Then use a whisk to combine these ingredients gently.  Add in the whipped cream until uniform.  Place the chocolate mousse in decorative glasses, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1+ hour, and serve chilled.  Top the mousse with sweetened whipped cream and shaved chocolate for an optional garnish.

From Scissors & Sage

If you’re looking for a last minute dessert or a surprise treat for a loved one, this chocolate mousse doesn’t require too much time or elbow grease.  It is sure, however, to impress.  Here’s to a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Quick & Simple Fudge

If you’re searching for a little something festive to whip up for your family and friends this holiday season, look no further!  This fudge is fun and very easy to make, and it is sure to please the masses.  The recipe comes from the back of a good old Domino Sugar box, and Anne has been making it for years.  The texture is smooth and silky, and each square practically melts in your mouth.

Quick & Simple Fudge (via Domino Sugar)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Domino confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans)

Instructions:

  1. Grease 1 cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, add all ingredients except the nuts.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over a simmer until it is well-combined and uniform.
  4. Remove from heat and add nuts, if desired.
  5. Spread the mixture quickly into the cookie sheet, smoothing it with a spatula.
  6. Refrigerate for 2+ hours and cut into squares.

Makes approximately two dozen bite-sized pieces.  (We tripled the recipe for holiday gifts.)

From Scissors & Sage

Packaging the fudge: here’s where hoarding comes in handy!  In the photo above, the fudge has been packaged to share in a repurposed stationery box.  Use waxed paper to line the box and you’ll be good to go!  This box’s clear plastic lid displays the cool geometrical pattern of the folded wax paper.

In the below photo, blocks of fudge have been individually wrapped and packaged in berry cartons (thanks for collecting them, Mom!).  Wrap each block in waxed paper and secure with a knot of baker’s twine.

In order to cut even blocks, some edges needed to be trimmed.  Keep the scraps in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, and take them out as an ice cream topping or to whip up a batch of fudge chunk cookies.

Happy baking!

Chewy Chocolate Jumbles

There isn’t anything quite like having cookies on hand, and these bite-sized wonders are perfect for on the go or at home!  They are soft and chewy, and definitely leave you wanting more.  These cookies are a take on a 2007 recipe published in the Chicago Tribune by Michael Reinhart.

After a few adjustments, this is the recipe that Anne and I used:

Chewy Chocolate Jumbles (adapted from Michael Reinhart)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Baking time: 10 minutes per batch | Yields: 52 bite-sized cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet & dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla until light and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips, and almonds, working together a bit at at time.
  6. Form tablespoonfuls on a non-stick baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Note: While the cookies may not appear to be done, they set and cool to perfection!

From Scissors & Sage

Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?  Happy baking!