dessert

Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s always nice when dessert can feel just a tiny bit healthy, right? These Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies are not health food by any stretch of the imagination but they do have some good for you ingredients that eliminate some of that dessert guilt. They also freeze well and are adaptable to whatever you might have on hand.

I did not have any millet but I did have peanut butter with flax seed so I let that flax count as one of my grains. I also didn’t add any nuts because, well honestly, because I forgot. 🙂 But, it worked out because I took them to work and several people were happy to see they were nut free as they don’t like nuts in cookies. (I am now suspicious of these people. who doesn’t like nuts in cookies?!? 🙂 )

If you are making them on a terribly hot day like I was then you may want to chill your dough for 10 minutes or so to make them easier to portion out.

If you want to freeze them then simply portion out the cookies and freeze on the cookie sheet. Transfer the frozen balls to a plastic bag and cook from frozen when the mood strikes. You need just a minute or two more to account for the frozen dough. I can’t really recommend keeping them in the freezer, however. You will find that the mood strikes all. the. time. It’s dangerous. You’ve been warned.

cheers!

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Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I adore salty sweet things so the idea of salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie all wrapped up together seemed like instant success. The final product was indeed a smashing success but nothing like the original recipe! That’s ok. Everyone enjoyed their salted caramel cookie bar brownie deliciousness!

This is based on the recipe from Two Peas and their Pod

You start by making a basic cookie dough although the process here was a bit different from what I’m accustomed to doing. Normally a cookie recipe has you cream the room temperature butter and sugar together. This recipe called for the sugar to be mixed with the melted butter. I think the idea was to make a slightly less stiff dough so it could be pressed into the pan to make the bars. Either way, I went with it. I try not to make too many adjustments to a recipe the first time I make something.

The most accurate way to measure flour is to scoop it into the measuring cup and level the top. (Actually, the very most accurate way is to weigh the flour. But, this is second best)

Mix the sugar and butter together

Add 1 whole egg, an egg yolk and some vanilla

Slowly add the flour, salt and baking powder

Stir in chocolate chips

Press half the batter into the pan. I like to use buttered parchment paper to prevent sticking. It seems to be foolproof.

Next, you need to make the caramel layer. Now, the original recipe called for melting a bunch of Kraft caramels. But, I figured a homemade caramel sauce would be so much better. Caramel is just cooked sugar. However, that hardens very quickly so you add butter and cream to make an actual caramel sauce. Start by cooking your sugar.

When it become fully liquid and turns a dark amber color, whisk in your butter. I would highly advise wearing an oven mitt on your stirring hand. This gets HOT and it bubbles and splashes a good bit.

After the butter is fully melted, add some slightly warmed cream. This will bubble and splash even more, so be careful.

Pour the caramel sauce over the cookie dough and sprinkle lightly with sea salt

This is where things started to go a bit awry. The next step is to add the top layer of cookie dough. However, my cookie dough basically dissolved into the caramel and became a topping of swirled caramel cookie dough. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, just not quite what I expected.

Put this in the oven to bake and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Mine didn’t have the distinct cookie, caramel, cookie layers but I think I like this even better. The top became almost a hard chocolate caramel shell and then you bite through that to a gooey brownie like center. It’s good.  Really, really good, in fact.

cheers!

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Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberries are here!! Strawberries are one of the things that I pretty much refuse to eat out of season so when they arrive, I’m very happy. (Really, why would you eat a berry that was picked under ripe and shipped half way across the country?? They almost taste even better when you know that the season is fleeting and your should eat your weight in berries now before they disappear)

They aren’t the first spring produce to show up in the market but when they arrive they seem to say with authority that winter is over and it is time for grilling and porch sitting and sorbet!

You can make sorbet with fresh berries, certainly, but I’m usually too busy shoving them in my mouth to get around to that. So, I clean and hull them and toss them in the freezer. Thaw them out before you are ready to make the sorbet. This sorbet was made with berries from both Tidwell Berry Farm and Flat Top Mountain.

I use the berry sorbet recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s the first one I ever tried and it worked like a charm so I’ve stuck with it.

Add 3 cups of hulled and cleaned berries to the food processor with 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Process for about 15 pulses. Then, while the machine is running, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (freshly squeezed) and 1 tablespoon vodka. No, the vodka doesn’t give you boozy berry sorbet :), but it does raise the freezing temperature of the sorbet just a bit and prevents ice crystals from forming. Let all of that process for about a minute total.

At this point the original recipe suggests straining the strawberry puree to remove the tiny seeds. I don’t strain it, however. I like the texture the seeds leave and I like the way it looks. Whatever you prefer is fine.

Strained or not, poor into a chilled bowl and place in the freezer to chill for about 30 minutes. Then, pour into your ice cream maker and follow the directions for your specific machine for sorbet. I have the ice cream attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer and I really, really like it. It’s great to not have to mess with salt and ice and I just keep it in the freezer all the time so its ready to go at a moments notice.

Let it freeze for about 4 hours and its done!

cheers!

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