I announced earlier that in honor of March Madness, I decided to create a dessert bracket with 16 styles of desserts. I’ve invited 16 great chefs to each take a category and make a recipe to enter into battle. I ranked the 16 based on my view of which was the favorite and like any bracket, the favorites are matched against the lower seeds. I won’t give you my seeding because I do not want to artificially impact your choices.
I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:
- Dodo Book for Cooks
- A beautiful Bamboo Cutting Board with a Butterfly Motif, graciously donated by competitor Lindy (The Kozy Nook)
This week’s pairing is:
Cookies (Chocolate Varieties) vs. Fudge
Today we have JC from the Birdcage Bake Shop with some wonderful cookies…
Food Blogging is an artful thing.
It is also a little deceiving.
One seldom sees the “dirty” side of recipe development. I mean this in the literal and non-literal sense. Nobody sees the sink full of dirty dishes, the dozens of “tester” spoons strewn about the kitchen, the crumbs quickly brushed aside in order to get the.perfect.picture.
No one hears the dogs’ incessant sniffing around the floor for any dropped crumb. Or their sneak attack on your photography props.
The imploring whines from one’s family:
“Mom. I’m HUNGRY.”
“MOOOOOOM. I’m STARVING”
“MOMMY. Why are you taking pictures of food and NOT FEEDING US?!?!”
“MOMM…Wait. Are those…are those COOKIES???? Can I help???”
Keep in mind these statements are from my two daughters and typically span only 30 seconds. The eldest daughter gets the messy jobs, the youngest enjoys tossing the ingredients into the bowl.
Nobody knows of the countless trips to Costco five minutes before they close just to stock up on another 5 lbs. of butter. Or the flop dishes with expensive ingredients that don’t turn out the way you intended. Or the late nights baking off “one last batch” on the verge of tears because you have already spent eight hours in the kitchen and it will take another two just to return your home to a cleanly state.
But, such is the life of a passionate at-home chef. I will gladly do all the grunt work to create delicious, unique recipes that my friends – old and new – can try out in their own homes. Hopefully my hard work will save them last minute runs to Costco for butter.
I do it because I love cooking and creation. And butter. Lots and lots of butter.
As part of the dessert contest over at rantingchef.com, I’d been assigned chocolate cookies. Fabulous! I like cookies. I like chocolate. Win-Win, right? But, true to form, while staring at the ½ pound of softening butter, flour, and chocolate chips sitting on my counter, I found myself suddenly craving something else. Crunch. Salt. Chewiness. Creamy.
Enter these gems: double chocolate caramel pretzel cookies. Soft, rich, sweet, crunchy, creamy, chewy. They are my ideal cookie; a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee are a MUST with these guys. I hope you enjoy them!
I used Averie Cook’s Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies as the base model for these cookies. I mean, really, is there a better traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe out there????
Double Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies
Yields 2 dozen large (but not ginormous) cookies
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup white sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel bits (such as Kraft brand, found by the baking supplies)
½ cup of broken pretzel bits
1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Into a large bowl, toss in your softened butter and white and brown sugars. Cream them until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Scrape bowl as needed.
- Add egg, and vanilla, mixing until combined.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, and baking soda until combined. (Whisking ensures any clumps are worked out of the ingredients and helps to aerate them)
- Mix the dry mix into your creamed butter mixture, just until combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips, caramel bits, and pretzel pieces.
- In center on bowl, plop down your peanut butter. With a butter knife, swirl throughout your mixed dough, but do not incorporate fully. You want ribbons of peanut butter heaven throughout.
- Onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment, place mounds of about 2 T. worth of dough. These cookies don’t spread much, but ensure they’ve got about 2 inches between them to allow the heat to circulate properly.
- Bake about 9 minutes, until edges are set and middle appears slightly dry. DO NOT OVERBAKE!!!!
Don’t forget the last step…all kitchen helpers deserve first dibs!