Sunday, August 19, 2012

Soft and Chewy Double Dark Chocolate Cookies

*WARNING* You may experience chocolate overload!

I think it's safe to say that I've found a new chocolate addiciton and these cookies are it!  Not only are they incredibly soft and moist (almost like a fudgy brownie), but they're also filled with a variety of chocolate.  Be careful though, due to the deliciousness of these cookies, they'll disappear before you know it.

Sidenote: Broken up pieces of these chocolaty delights make an excellent topping for a bowl of ice cream.

Soft and Chewy Double Dark Chocolate Cookies

Makes: About 42 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hersey’s)
¼ cup special dark chocolate cocoa powder (Hersey’s)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. instant espresso powder (or instant coffee powder would work too)
10 Tbsp. butter, softened but still cool
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)
1 cup dark chocolate chips

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Melt together the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate.  There are two ways that you can go about doing this.  One way is to use a heat proof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water.  All you have to do is add the chips into the bowl and slowly stir around until melted.  If you are in more of a hurry though, and want something faster, combine the chocolates in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl in the microwave, cooking in 30 second intervals.  It’s very important to make sure to stir the chocolate around after each interval, until it’s completely melted.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder.  Once the ingredients are well combined, set aside.

In the bowl of electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment and set to a medium speed, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  Add in the sugars and beat together until a grainy texture begins to form.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and pour in the egg mixture.  Slowly beat together until well blended, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed.  Next, slowly pour in the melted chocolate in a steady stream and mix together until completely combined.  Once ready, add in the dry ingredients and beat on a low to medium speed until just combined.  (As always, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl)  Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until the consistency is thick, almost like fudge.

While the dough is sitting out, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats, or parchment paper.  Scoop the dough into 1 inch balls and place them onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 to ½ an inch apart.  (I found it helpful to lightly flour my hands and roll the dough into balls.  This made for rounder cookies.) 

Bake the cookies for around 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just begin to set, but the middles still look soft.  Rotate the pans halfway through baking.  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and place on a wire rack.  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer them to the wire racks to cool completely. 

Allow the pans time to cool completely before scooping more dough on them and returning them to the oven.


Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicken and Cheddar Cheese Risotto

Wow, I cannot believe how fast this summer is going.  Sadly, I've not been posting as many recipes as I would like, but it seems that I've been much busier than expected.  In addition to the many vacations I had planned, Jeff and I also moved into our new house, and just in time to celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful present to ourselves, but its meant a lot of unpacking and arranging things; a task that's proven to be much more time consuming then one might expect (we're still not done). It has been well worth it though because I absolutely love it here!  And the kitchen is everything I could want!

As I mentioned above, Jeff and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary in July and in order to help us celebrate I decided to take advantage of "my", even though it's "our", new kitchen and make a nice romantic dinner (I'm not really one for going out to eat, even though Jeff always offers to take me).  Jeff and I both love risotto, and I don't make it too often, so I decided to give this recipe a try.  I ended up altering it a bit from the original though by incorporating chicken pieces, however, adding the chicken was a personal preference (for some protein) but is something that could always and easily be eliminated.  Either way you choose to make it, the meal will still taste fantastic!

Chicken and Cheddar Cheese Risotto

Servings: 4
2 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch (or smaller) pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 scallions chopped, plus a little extra for garnish
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
4 cups hot vegetable stock
1 ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet, over medium-low heat.  Add in the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Next, add in the chicken pieces and cook until done.  Remove the pan from the heat, and cover the chicken to keep warm.

In a deep pan, melt together the butter with the vegetable oil.  Place the scallions in the pan and allow to cook, making sure to stir frequently until softened; this will take about 2-3 minutes.  Next, add the rice, stir around, and continue to cook for another minute or two.  Increase the heat to a medium-high and add in the white wine and mustard.  Continue to stir around until the wine is completely absorbed.

While constantly stirring, pour the vegetable stock into the pan, one cup at a time, continuing to add more, only after the previous cup has been completely absorbed by the rice.  Cook the rice until it is al dente.  (This whole process will take about 20 minutes or so of constant stirring.  It’s important to be patient and let the stock fully absorb before moving on.)  Once ready, add in the cheese and chicken pieces, and stir together until the cheese has completely melted.

Scoop into serving bowls, garnish with a little extra cheese and scallions, and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Curvy Carrot