Cookbook Corner – Big Fat Cookies

Time for a new “Cookbook Corner”! 

Big Fat Cookies Blog

“Big Fat Cookies” By: Elinor Klivans

I discovered this book thanks to Nigella Lawson (who I absolutely love and adore) who originally posted about the “Big Fat Cookies” cookbook here…

http://www.nigella.com/cookbook-corner/view/big-fat-cookies-95

As soon as I read the post, I knew it was a book that I HAD to have. I ordered it immediately and got it within the week. I flipped through the book knowing I was in true love…

Recipes for cookies (HUGE cookies) galore! Most of the recipes (if not all) call for an “ice cream scoop with 1/4 cup capacity”. As soon as I read this – I knew Elinor and I would be great friends!

I have made my cookies “big and fat” for years, and I DO use an ice cream scoop with 1/4 cup capacity! I always have! I say, if you are going to have a cookie – HAVE A COOKIE!

What really brought my smitten feelings to a whole new level was her recipes for three particular chocolate chip cookie versions. Can I just talk about them for a minute?! How do these sound…

“Chocolate Chip STUFFED Cookies” (page 25) – These are chocolate chip cookies that are stuffed (yes, stuffed) with chocolate chips. How insane and AMAZING do those sound!? Nigella posted the recipe for them in the above link.

Why didn’t I think of that!? Placing chocolate chips INSIDE of two pressed together cookies!? YUM!

“Chocolate Chip Cookies IN a Cookie” (page 36) – These are BAKED chocolate chip cookies that are crumbled and stirred into chocolate chip cookie dough and baked again! I know, right!? Genius! And again…why didn’t I think of that!? Sounds like my idea of Heaven…

The third recipe that completely blew me away was the one on page 40. Brace yourselves…

“Chocolate-covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Mud Balls”! Do you hear the sounds of Heaven!? Ha! Get this… These cookies are cookies that are baked, cooled slightly and then crumbled up and formed into balls, refrigerated, and then dipped in chocolate! Think “cake pop” but chocolate chip cookie form…

Can. You. Believe. It!? Ha!

I highly recommend this cookbook for lovers of cookies (there are SEVERAL other recipes in the book other than just the chocolate chip varieties that I have mentioned) as well as people who just love a “guilty” read. Elinor’s way of describing each recipe is worth the price of the book itself.

This will go on my shelf of “favorites” as I hope it will yours as well! Delicious, full of beautiful color photographs and chuck full of (chips) and amazing recipes!

To order this book from Amazon, click here…
http://www.amazon.com/Big-Fat-Cookies-Elinor-Klivans/dp/0811842169

For more information about Elinor Klivans, click here…
http://www.cookstr.com/users/elinor-klivans/profile

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Recipe Testers Wanted

Cookbooking UPDATE!!!

I am coming to a close on “taste testing” and developing recipes and switching more into writing mode. At this point, my mind is so full of recipes and ideas, that I could write TEN cookbooks…but I need to draw the line and STOP for now and focus on moving forward. (My ever growing food notes and recipes are still filling notebook after notebook – so I AM planning on more cookbooks…at least subconsciously).

What I am looking for now are people willing to RECIPE TEST for me. What this means is – if you are interested you will message me your email address. I will send you a recipe (sweet or savory – it is up to you) and you will physically MAKE the recipe yourself. You will follow my recipe completely and make notes on what you think needs to be changed or what you may be confused about. Then you will email me back and let me know your findings. If you can take pictures of the finished dish and send me – GREAT! But this step is NOT required. The honor system is a MUST and will be used.

I am more than confident that my recipes are “foolproof” (I have had a few friends recipe testing and doing this step with me for several months now) so I believe to have all the kinks worked out. BUT – I would like a new and fresh perspective on my recipes.

(Please understand that only a limited number of people will be selected randomly. Interested applicants have from now until July 31st to apply. The recipe testers will be contacted via email and instructions will follow.)

IMPORTANT: If you are interested in becoming a “Recipe Tester” please email me by July 31st! I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me here – blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Blaise

UPDATE: Deadline is closed and potential recipe testers have been contacted. Thanks to everyone for their interest and support with this project! I look forward to the future…

Cookbook Corner – Fried and True

My choice for this edition of “Cookbook Corner” is…

Fried and True Blog

“Fried and True” By: Lee Brian Schrager with Adeena Sussman

Let me just start out by saying “O.M.G.”. This book is beyond words and I highly recommend it to 3 groups of people. Those who love fried chicken, those who love eating fried chicken, and those who love reading about fried chicken.

I have made it no secret in the past (and for those who follow me on social media you know this to be true) that I LOVE fried chicken. LOVE – in all caps! It brings me back to my childhood and brings memories to me that no other food ever has or ever will.

Whoopi Goldberg writes the “foreword” for the book, and I now love her even more. Ha! Seriously – she writes about fried chicken as only a true lover of fried chicken would…and she is a self proclaimed one.

The book is MORE than just fried chicken recipes though! There’s also recipes for side dishes such as “Fried Green Tomatoes” (page 43), “Hash Brown Casserole” (page 61), “Old-Fashioned Coleslaw” (page 70), “Cheesy Garlic Grits” (page 101), “Corn Bread Sticks” (page 130), and “Baked Beans and Barbecue Sauce” (page 142) just to name a few! Each and every side dish (and buttermilk biscuit) recipe pairs perfectly with any of the fried chicken recipes.

What kind of fried chicken? You name it!

Included in this delicious book are recipes for “Hattie B’s Hot Chicken” (page 45), “The Loveless Cafe’s Fried Chicken” (page 60), “Naked Fried Chicken” (page 67), “Sunday Night Fried Chicken” (page 88), “Hard Fried Chicken” (page 97), “Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken” (page 147), “Kick-Ass Batterless Fried Chicken” (page 204), and even recipes for specialties such as “Fried Chicken Salad” (page 222).

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine was two paragraphs ago…

Also included (at the beginning of the book) is a section called “Fried Chicken 101” and it answers ANY and ALL questions a person might have about fried chicken, how to prepare it, ingredients, methods, etc. It is very useful and at about 15 pages in length, worth the price of the book alone.

It also includes pictures (a tutorial in pictures on how to properly cut up a chicken), and separates all of the fats and oils used in frying chicken – make the method almost foolproof!

If you are looking for “celebrity chef” recipes – this book has plenty of those as well. Paula Deen, Thomas Keller, and Marcus Samuelsson all make appearances, just to name a few…

I have marked several recipes to try (if not the entire book) and have already decided to gift a copy of this to my Grandma Barbra for Christmas (who LOVES fried chicken almost as much as I do…almost!)

If you are still in doubt about a book about fried chicken and sides (and WHO would be???) don’t be discouraged…the recipes are easy, the pictures are beautiful and with several of the recipes a “history” of the location and food are included. There is something here for everyone! I highly recommend this book!

To buy the book click here…
http://www.randomhouse.com/book/234393/fried-true-by-lee-brian-schrager-and-adeena-sussman

For an exclusive look INSIDE the book (as well as more information and RECIPES) click here…
http://friedandtruebook.com/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Lemon Loaf

I love Starbucks and their drinks, food and standards. I love the company so much – I own some of their stock! One of my favorite things there (aside from their OPRAH Chai Tea and their “Vanilla Bean Frappuccino” – yum!) is their “Lemon Loaf”. If you have ever had a slice…you will know why! It is flavorful, delicious and moist – packed with lemon flavor! I have researched and researched this recipe and discovered several “copycat recipes” available online. I have made something similar to this in the past, with amazing results…so I thought I would try it again (this time with a “copycat recipe”) and see where it leads…

It was delicious (but not as good as Starbuck’s version). I added a little extra lemon juice and zest to the original recipe, and changed the baking time.

The results are good – but if you want the actual thing – you will need to visit Starbucks! At least for now…

(I tried another “Copycat Recipe” on my blog a few months ago, with “Mrs. Fields” Triple Chocolate Cookies! You can view that blog posting here – https://blaisethebaker.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/triple-chocolate-cookies/)

Starbucks Lemon Loaf Blog

Starbucks “Copycat” Lemon Loaf

For the loaf…
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs 
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Zest of 1 lemon

For the glaze…
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2-4 teaspoons whole milk

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour a regular sized loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk – whisking to combine.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, white sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon juice, vegetable oil and zest of one lemon, blending well until thoroughly combined.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, being very careful not to over mix the batter.

Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean)

Once finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan before carefully turning the loaf out – and allowing it to fully cool on a plate.

In the meantime, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice together. Add a tablespoon of the whole milk a little at a time until the glaze becomes loose. (You want the glaze to be glaze, not frosting)

Pour the glaze over the warm loaf and slice to serve.

Enjoy!

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Cookbook Corner – The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Store Cookbook

Welcome back to my “Cookbook Corner”!

Note – if you are viewing this from your smart phone, you are missing a lot of the features and links that can be found on the left side of my blog. I have been told certain smart phones allow you to only see certain things…so I guess I will just say for “proper viewing” of my blog (and to not miss anything) please visit my blog via tablet or computer. Although smart phones are great for “quick viewing”!

My choice for this edition of “Cookbook Corner” is…

BTC Old Fashioned Grocery Cookbook Blog

“The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Store Cookbook” By: Alexe Van Beuren with recipes by Dixie Grimes

This is a beautiful hardback book that (as the cover states) brings “recipes and stories from a southern revival”. I do not know about you, but I love cookbooks that also have stories, histories and narratives included throughout.

I flicked through this cookbook and immediately started planning in my head which recipes I wanted to try first. The book is filled with not only delicious looking recipes, but delightful stories to – that seem to bring the book to life.

I flipped to the back of the cookbook (as I do with most cookbooks) and looked at the “Dessert” category and oh my! Heaven! How does “Chocolate Buttermilk Cake” sound? Or what about “Mrs. Jo’s Banana Pudding”? “Charlie Brown Cookies”? “Peach Icebox Pie”? How could anyone turn any of those down!?

I especially loved the tutorial (complete with pictures) for the “Fried Pie” recipe! I have that marked with a large yellow flag! “TRY ME”! (Which I will be trying soon…)

The book also contains though beautifully crafted recipes for breakfast, soups and salads, casseroles (a personal favorite), main dishes and sides.

The “Loaded Baked Potato Soup” looks (and sounds) delicious (minus the bacon – which I would omit) and the “Shrimp and Sweet Corn Chowder” – forget about it! Yum!

The only recipe I have gotten around to trying (it’s hard to try other peoples recipes when you are developing your own!) is the “B.T.C. Tuna Salad” – which was amazing! Everyone in the family loved it and it was delicious on toasted bread!

I could go on and on about the other recipes in this book that look and sound incredible (I am wanting to do more research on their “Tex-Mex Pimento Cheese”) but why not just do yourself a favor – and buy the book today!

I highly recommend it for all you “Southern Food” fans out there (like myself), and also to those who like a bit of history / nostalgia with their recipes.

The story of the “B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Store” is very interesting! Check it out and read and taste along with the recipes and memories in this book…

Want to buy “The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Store Cookbook”? Click here…
http://www.randomhouse.com/book/223979/the-btc-old-fashioned-grocery-cookbook-by-alexe-van-beuren-and-dixie-grimes

Want to READ CHAPTER ONE!? Click here…

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Kale Chips

Contrary to popular belief, I DO eat my vegetables…and even like a few of the green ones! Kale is quickly becoming one of my new favorites…

I just LOVE taking fresh vegetables from the garden and roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. It is so quick and delicious! Roasting really brings out the vegetables best flavor!

This recipe is quick and delicious. If you decide to add the (optional) Parmesan cheese – cut back on the salt.

My Grandma Barbra said she used to boil her kale and then add a touch of vinegar to it – but she told me that after trying this recipe, she will roast it from now on. Everyone really loved it.

Now – the baking time is really up to you. I find that 20 minutes is perfect (I like them crispy – like potato chips). If you want them with a little “less crunch” – by all means, reduce the baking time.

Kale Chips Blog

Kale Chips

6 cups fresh kale, rinsed and cleaned
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional) for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the rinsed and cleaned kale, olive oil, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese (if using) and toss thoroughly to combine. Make sure that every leaf is well coated.

Lay out the coated kale on a baking sheet, and spread evenly.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 20 minutes for “crisp”.

Enjoy!

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Jello Red Velvet Cupcakes

Late last night, I had a craving for red velvet (thanks to my friend Monica Holland and our new “Nutffles” red velvet addiction. More information here – http://nutffles.com/) and I had to whip out one of my Grandma Barbra’s old recipes for “Jello” red velvet cupcakes. Yes, they call for a boxed mix…and no, they are not from scratch, but they evoke good memories of days past for me. The recipe holds a special place in my heart, and I hope after making these the recipe will give you good memories as well.

Red Velvet Cupcakes Blog

Jello Red Velvet Cupcakes

For the cake…
1 package Red Velvet cake mix
1 3.9oz package of Jello instant chocolate pudding

For the cream cheese frosting…
1 stick of unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla
Whole milk (to possibly add for desired consistency)

The frosting recipe is a spin off of my “Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting” minus the lemon, with the addition of vanilla. See the “original” recipe here… https://blaisethebaker.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/lemon-cream-cheese-frosting/

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake wrappers and spray each cup lightly with non-stick cooking spray. (This helps the cupcakes remove themselves from their wrappers.)

Whisk together the cake mix according to the packaged directions. When adding the water though, make sure the water is HOT. (I usually add milk to cake mixes, but this recipe my Grandma noted needed to be “HOT water” so that is what I use.)

Once thoroughly whisked, add in the package of Jello instant chocolate pudding, and whisk to combine.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pans.

Bake them (one pan at a time) in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove them and allow to cool completely.

Next make the frosting.

Start off by bringing the butter and cream cheese to room temperature! This is a very important step. If you do not bring the butter to room temperature, you might have bits of butter throughout the frosting, and the cream cheese will have “graininess” – you do not want this…

Once the ingredients are at room temperature, combine the unsalted butter and cream cheese. Blend together with hand mixer for about 4 minutes.

Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend together.

Add the vanilla extract.

Blend with hand mixer and beat for 5 minutes.

Depending on your desired consistency – you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of whole milk to the frosting. I like my frosting super thick – not everyone does though… Make it to suit your tastes.

Fill a pastry bag with most of the frosting. I find it easiest to invert the bag into a drinking glass, fill it with frosting, and then shake the frosting to the bottom – then cutting a small slit into the corner to create a slit. You do not really need a “tip” – just a pastry bag.

Once the bag is filled with most of the frosting, dive right into the middle of each cooled cupcake and fill them slightly with the cream cheese frosting.

Do not overfill the cupcake – it will explode. Trust me! Just a little squeeze should do it.

After that, frost the cupcakes anyway you like.

I generally squeeze the rest of the frosting on all 24 cupcakes, and “smash” the frosting down to create a “homemade” appearance.

The rest of the frosting in the bowl can be used on top of the cupcakes for even MORE frosting, or eaten as a snack. I generally save any leftover frosting for snacking.

Enjoy!

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