Browned Butter Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sugar High Fridays #68

>> Thursday, August 26, 2010

I spoke way way too soon. About many things...

1. That the weather hadn't been over 90 degrees here all summer, and California weather was never hot.

Well, we sure got our fair share of it this week. It got to 106 degrees on Tuesday, and Monday and Wednesday were equally as hot. Our new house doesn't have air conditioning, and when we walked in the house on Tuesday night at 6:30 our thermostat said 100 DEGREES!! We've just been sitting on our back porch trying to escape the heat. Our only saving grace is that it does cool off in the evenings! Luckily it was a short heat wave, and we're already back on our way to 70 degree temperatures.

2. That I had found the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.. ever. Well, things sure have changed. My husband agrees too. :) Now you have to try these too. Oh Darn!

I was reading through some of my favorite blogs, and came across something called Sugar High Friday's by the Domestic Goddess, and this month's challenge, using browned butter in your sweets, is hosted by 17 & Baking. This sounded like so much fun.

Molasses + Sugar = Homemade brown sugar - Awesomeness.

Butter + Cooking it on the stove = Browned Butter - Awesomeness.

Molasses + Browned Butter = Browned Butter Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies - Even More Awesomeness
Joy The Baker came up with this awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe, and tweaking it a bit by browning the butter seemed like the perfect match up. Perfectly chewy goodness with just a hint of caramelized flavor from the butter. YUM!

P.S. I halved the recipe, and it turned out fine!
Browned Butter Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from Joy the Baker)
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark molasses, not blackstrap
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chips or chunks
sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies just before baking - Don't skip this step!!!

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat until foam disappears and butter has a nutty smell, the color being light golden. Remove from heat.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
3. In a medium sized bowl, mix the granulated sugar and molasses until no large molasses clumps remain. - Homemade Brown Sugar!!
mmm... yum!
4. Pour the melted butter in a bowl of a mixer. Add the homemade brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
5. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes, and then scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Lightly sprinkle each ball with a couple flecks of sea salt to help bring out the chocolate flavor. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.


And The Winner Is....

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm so excited to announce this! :) My very first giveaway -

and the winner is...

Marci - "Oh the choices. I think I would get the lightning McQueen toy bins to match my son's room."

Congratulations! Marci is a good friend of mine from home, and I'm so excited to see you win! :)

P.S. I did use to generate a random winner, but can't figure out the screen shot thing at the moment. I upgraded to a Mac in January, and have not had to use that feature! :)

Marci, I will be in touch on how you will receive your gift card! Enjoy!


Last Chance

>> Sunday, August 22, 2010

So, here it is... your LAST chance to enter into the CSN stores online giveaway!

The giveaway closes in T minus 3.5 hours.

Please don't feel any obligation by this post, just wanted anyone who wanted to enter to have one last chance to do so.

And remember, all you have to do to be entered for a $40 gift card is leave a comment! :)


Refreshing Blackberry Lemonade

>> Saturday, August 21, 2010

The lazy days of summer are slowly dwindling, and it's definitely starting to show signs of cooler weather here in Northern California.

Who am I kidding - it's perfect weather here all the time, and it never really got over 90 degrees with no humidity this summer! :) I LOVE the weather here.

This lemonade takes me back to my summer's in high school when I spent 8 weeks doing a mission's trip in Mexico, and I would get Agua Fresca from the street vendor's and my favorite restaurant "The Hill" - so aptly nicknamed because it was in fact, on a hill.

Agua Fresca is just fresh fruit juice mixed with sugar and water - and they have awesome flavors like mango, watermelon, strawberry, and even cinnamon.

This lemonade is so super refreshing, and perfect for an afternoon get together with friends, serving at a barbecue, or at a fancy evening dinner party.

It's easy enough to not overwhelm you, but good enough for people to think you did something amazing - which you did! :)

It's a great way to use up those awesome summer berries that are starting to be on sale since it's getting close to the end of the summer. i.e. I got my blackberries on sale for buy one get one free!!

** Don't forget to enter the CSN giveaway. Tomorrow's the LAST DAY!!! **


3/4 cup raw or cane sugar
3 cups water (divided)
2 cups blackberries
3 lemons, juiced

In a microwave safe container, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Heat on high for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir until sugar is dissolved. (You can do this on the stove by bringing the water to a boil and dissolving the sugar over medium heat - but microwave method is much quicker!) Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, juice the lemons, and in a large bowl or pitcher, muddle the blackberries with the lemon juice until very smooshed! :)

**Don't laugh at me using a garlic press to muddle my berries - I don't really have a "muddler" - so in other words - use whatever you got!**

Pour in sugar syrup, remaining 2 cups water, and a few ice cubes and stir. I used my awesome Pampered Chef pitcher that has a mixer built in!
Pour over a glass of ice (you can strain the blackberry pulp - my pitcher got most of it, but I liked having a little in there). Garnish with a sprig of mint or lemon!


Safe To Say

>> Friday, August 20, 2010

**P.S. There are 3 days left for the CSN gift card giveaway! Enter Here!!**

I think it is clearly safe to say that Capo has adjusted well to his new backyard! :)

He is loving his sunbathing time!

I found him today coming out of the crawl space underneath the house, with his face covered in cobwebs, tail wagging and smiling. He's one happy guy!

I'm sorry for the lack of recipes as of late. With the move, I've done a lot less cooking. But next week, since we're more settled, it's back to the grind.

I've also been busy trying to get a link up going with the list of "fave's". But I CANNOT figure out how to get the button/grab box thing working on my blog. I have the button made, but all the html code junk totally confuses me. Anyone have any good suggestions!?!

Happy Weekend!!!


A Grown Up Lasagna

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010

*** Reminder... Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $40 gift card to CSN stores. The giveaway ends Sunday, and there's lots of room for new entries! :) All you have to do is leave a comment***

Whew.. what a week. I'm super tired from unloading boxes, setting up stuff exactly where we want it, and then rearranging it, because we realize that's not the spot that makes the most sense! But it's been fun.

Minus the crazy drainage problem we discovered and had water flood our bathroom floor x 3, and leaking out the washing machine x 1! Luckily that got fixed on the quick.

My friend Aimee let me borrow one of her favorite cookbooks, and I love it. I haven't had anything bad from it yet, and she's made a lot of things for me! :) This lasagna recipe comes from there, and it includes a whole lotta yummy ingredients - but dressed up a little different - meaning, no red sauce, making it a little fancier.

You make your own sauce out of a rue, and include sauteed mushrooms and garlic, and prosciutto (I used bacon because I had it on hand). The recipe calls for ricotta, but I cut the portion in half and used mascarpone cheese for the other half, because again, I had it on hand, and I LOVE mascarpone. It made the flavor nice and creamy! The lasagna is so good, it would make a great entree for having a dinner party, or taking a meal to an event!

P.S. - I halved the recipe because it's just me and my husband, and it turned out great!

CHEESY CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM LASAGNA (Adapted from: Simply Classic, The Junior League of Seattle).
Serves 6-8
12 lasagna noodles
1 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
6 TBS. butter, divided
1 TBS. olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup. fresh parsley, chopped
6 TBS. flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup half and half
3 cups chicken breast, cubed
1/3 pound prosciutto or bacon
8 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place cubed chicken in pan, and cook thoroughly until browned, about 4 minutes.
3. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water. Lay noodles flat on paper towels.

4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil until golden, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic and parsley, saute 2 minutes more, being careful not to brown the garlic.
5. For Sauce: in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook without browning for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

6. Add milk and chicken stock, a little at a time. Cook until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. To avoid scorching, remove sauce from heat as soon as it starts to boil. Sauce will not thicken any further once it has boiled. Season sauce with salt and white pepper.

7. To Assemble: set aside 2 tablespoons parmesan. Mix together ricotta and mascarpone.
Pour half and half in the bottom of a 10x12-inch baking pan. Lay 4 noodles ina single layer in pan. Pace 1/3 each of the mushroom mixture, chicken, and prosciutto over the noodle layer. Dot with 1/3 of the ricotta/mascarpone mixture. Sprinkle with 1/3 each of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with 1/3 of teh sauce. Repeat this process 2 more times, beginning with the noodles and ending with the white sauce. Sprinkle with reserved Parmesan.
8. Bake, uncovered, until heated through, about 40 minutes. Cover and let sit 10 min. before serving.