On Gooeyness [Ali’s Cookies]

In college, I spent junior and senior years living in my sorority house.  If I remember right, there were 33 of us there at any given time, and plenty of other sisters who would drop by for dinners, especially on nights when the cook, Blanca, put out her cookies. There were always several flavors, but the ones we all went crazy for were some magical combination of chocolate chip and toffee, completely underbaked, so that everything remained as gooey as possible. We were all hopelessly addicted.

 Ali’s cookies are the closest I’ve come to repeating that gooey-ness in my ten (!) years since graduating. The entire point of these cookies is that they are loaded beyond belief with chocolate chips, both white and semi-sweet.  Like, you can’t take a bite without landing at least five. They’re amazing.

The recipe comes via her husband’s family, and is famous among our friends and former coworkers.  Just like with a regular chocolate chip cookie, you can prep the dough, and leave it in the fridge or freezer to have it at the ready anytime. That is, in fact, how I recommend making them because it is absolutely impossible to eat just one.

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And maybe, just maybe, I used them as a vehicle for my Ben and Jerry’s brownie ice cream the other night. For testing purposes, of course.

To make Ali’s cookies, you will need:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 3/4 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C chocolate chips
  • 1 C white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix butter and sugars with a mixer till light and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat till incorporated. Add baking soda, salt, and flour and do the same. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Bake cookies on a parchment-lined cookie tray for seven minutes. They will still look underbaked. And they might be a little. And that’s part of the magic.

Baked Goods without Chocolate [raisin bran muffins]

I start every post with, “If you’ve been reading a while then you know,” don’t I?  But this blog has been around for what feels like ever, and so really, what new information am I sharing here day in and day out?

Dear readers,

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you probably already know, I don’t understand the point of baked goods if they don’t have chocolate.  Like, not at all.

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Which is why it shocked me that I have such a weakness when it comes to The (Not So) New Girl’s Raisin Bran muffins.  They’re amazing.  But they don’t have chocolate.  Only raisins.  Does not compute.  I’m a person who doesn’t believe in oatmeal raisin cookies, preferring instead to swap out those little dehydrated grapes for the good stuff.  But there’s something about these muffins.  They’re incredibly addictive.  And moist.  I know people have strong feelings about that word.  But in this case, I don’t know of a better descriptor.

Above all else, the best thing about Raisin Bran muffins is that YOU CAN KEEP THE BATTER IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR A MONTH AFTER YOU PREP IT! It’s unreal.  Unreal, I tell you.  I have no idea whether or not you can do this with any and all muffin batters, but this is the one I’ve seen where the recipe straight up tells you it’s the way to go.  I made a dozen for a staff meeting on a recent morning, and have the rest of the batter sitting and waiting for mornings that need something special.

To make enough batter for 24 raisin bran muffins, you will need:

  • 2 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1, 15 oz. box Raisin Bran
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients and refrigerate batter for a day.  Grease muffin tins.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.  (Refrigerate up to 1 month)

Best of 2014

Here were are again dear readers, at the close of another year.  Time to look back and reflect on our successes in the kitchen.  Mine are almost all recipes that add little nutritional value to your life.  So if you’re looking for help with your resolution, that’s another blog.  Sorry!

Click on the pictures to go to the recipes.

chocolate crunch bars.

banana walnut baked oatmeal.

funfetti cookies.

garlic and herb bread twists.

black bean burritos.

best chocolate chip cookies.

pounded cheese.

swedish pancakes.

chubby hubby cupcakes.

brown butter cherry bars.

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toffee tiramisu.

cheddar tailgating bread.

chili.

chocolate peanut butter globs.

candy cane cookies.

And two non-recipe posts:

brownie taste test.

nantucket.

Want to know what else is good here?  Check out the best of 2013, and 2012.

It’s All About Balance {toffee tiramisu}

The (Not So) New Girl and I spent some time talking about healthy choices recently.  She’s the type who wants to eat what she wants to eat, and she’ll healthy-fy just about anything in the name of making it work.  She’s great about sharing her black bean brownies, and other low-guilt treats.  I, on the other hand, will eat salad at lunch, and drink a smoothie for breakfast and dinner if it means I can inhale a full-fat bowl of ice cream at the end of the day.  No healthy substitutions for me, I want the real stuff.

toffee tiramisu.

This tiramisu that you see above?  This is the real stuff.  There is nothing healthy about it, so I’ve been hitting up barre three times a week in order to combat its negative effects.  My aunt made Betty Crocker’s Toffee Tiramisu and brought it to some gathering at Grandma Glass of Milk’s years and years and years ago.  It remained etched in my brain forever, and I’ve been known to pull it out on (family) occasion.  It’s never made the blog because it doesn’t pop up often, and when it does, rarely is there any left for a photo shoot.  But I snagged an extra serving the other night, and I couldn’t be happier to finally share this with you.

toffee tiramisu.

To make toffee tiramisu that never feeds quite as many as you might think you will need:

  • 1 package (10.75 ounces) frozen pound cake loaf, thawed and cut into 9 slices
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 5 Heath Bars, chopped

Arrange pound cake slices in the bottom of an 11 x 7 baking dish (8 x 8 or 9 x 9 are both fine, too).  Pour coffee over pound cake and let it soak in while you prepare the next layer.  In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar several minutes, until light and fluffy.  Melt bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.  I start by microwaving chocolate for about 30 seconds, give it a stir, and another 30, and continue with 15-second increments until it’s fully melted.  When chocolate is melted, pour into cream cheese mixture and continue to beat till incorporated.  Beat in cream till light and fluffy.  Spread chocolate layer over pound cake layer.  Top with Heath Bars and refrigerate until serving.

Happy 5th Birthday to A Glass of Milk {blueberry summer cake}

When we weren’t looking (because we were celebrating the 4th of July) this blog went and turned 5!  5 years old!  If it was a child, it would be starting Kindergarten, and I’d be thrilled that someone else was going to keep it occupied for a big chunk of the day.

summer berries.

But here I am behind the keyboard, still plugging away.  Rather than make my blog a big, impressive cake, like I have in the past, I simply modified my favorite cake, using the berries Wooden Nickels had sitting on the counter for our family and a little bit of lime zest.  I love a little bit of lime zest.

my favorite cake.

Thus, strawberry summer cake (I made one of those, too) became blueberry summer cake, and was promptly gobbled up even faster than her red cousin.

blueberry swirls.

I could not get my photos of this cake in focus, so I’ll have to make another, stat.

blueberry summer cake.

To make blueberry summer cake, you will need:

  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 C milk (I’ve used 2% and whole and both work just fine)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of one lime (optional)
  • 1 lb. bluberries, washed and fully dried
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 or 10 inch cake or Springform pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter and sugar in bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add egg and beat until incorporated.  Slowly add milk and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and mix just till combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Arrange blueberries on top of batter in single layer.  Or don’t.  Dump all the blueberries on top of the batter, scatter them evenly across the cake.  Either way, give them a little nudge down with the palms of your hands.  Bake cake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees, and bake for 40-50 more.  Test for doneness wherever you think you won’t hit a blueberry.  You’ll probably burst one anyway, so just look to see whether goopy yellow stuff comes out with the gorgeous purpley sauce.

Let cool at least 20 minutes before removing from pan, top with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve in large wedges.

Listing: The Road Trip

sandwich, mass.

We’re back.  Once work wrapped up for me in the middle of June, my husband and I put the car in drive and set off on a whirlwind tour of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The best way I think through just about anything is by making lists.  When my husband and I are out, I’m always asking him, “What’s your favorite thing we did today/this week/since we’ve been together?”  It drives him crazy sometimes, but I’m a linear thinker, through and through.  Our absolute most favorite moments of the trip were the times we spent with our friends–visiting family friends we don’t get to see enough, and meeting up with some of our DC crew who were up north at the time.  Other than that, see below.  It was a whirlwind tour and we loved pretty much every minute of it.

towns we visited.

  1. Nantucket, MA
  2. Kennebunkport, ME
  3. Woodstock, VT
  4. Hanover, NH
  5. Burlington, VT

things we saw.

  1. Harwich Mariners game, Harwich, MA
  2. All of Nantucket from the top of the steeple at First Congregational Church, Nantucket, MA
  3. Covered bridges in Woodstock and Quechee, VT
  4. George and Barbara Bush (et. al.) out to dinner in Kennebunkport, ME
  5. The boardwalk, Sandwich, MA

souvenirs we bought.

  1. Tacky postcards*
  2. Christmas ornaments
  3. Water bottles (not really souvenirs, but man are they worth their exorbitant cost on a hot day)
  4. Spirit Jerseys
  5. New flip flops after I wore down two pairs I brought

meals we ate.

  1. Dinner at Comida, Camden, ME
  2. Dinner at Pizza Barbone, Hyannis, MA
  3. Breakfast at Captain Fairfield Inn, Kennebunkport, ME
  4. Dinner at Simon Pearce, Quechee, VT
  5. Lunch at Smoke House, Newport, RI

beers we drank.

(as ranked by my husband)

  1. Newport Storm Amber Ale at Smoke House, Newport, RI
  2. Lost Nation Rustic Ale at Simon Pearce, Quechee, VT
  3. Cisco Whale’s Tale Pale Ale at our friends’ house on Nantucket, MA
  4. Mt. Washington Amber Ale at Bretton Woods, Mt. Washington, NH
  5. Funky Bow Saison at Abbondante in Kennebunkport, ME

things i packed.

  1. Long sleeved t-shirts and dresses
  2. Postcard stamps
  3. 1 small suitcase and bag; 1 large suitcase and tote
  4. Cash**
  5. Only one pair of earrings and one necklace

ice cream stops.

  1. Morano Gelato, Hanover, NH (better than Italy; best I’ve ever had)
  2. Th’ Ice Cream Barn, Middle of Nowhere, ME (Actually, Belfast, ME)
  3. Maple Creamee Stand, Burlington VT (you can find them everywhere)
  4. Toasted Coconut ice cream (Giffords) at a random little shop, Woods Hole, MA
  5. Cold Fusion Gelato, Newport, RI

sandwiches we ate.

  1. The other turkey sandwich at Provisions, Nantucket, MA
  2. BLT at Black Dog, Vineyard Haven, MA
  3. The Duke at Joe Beez, Kingston, NY
  4. Chicken Panini at The Village Butcher, Woodstock, VT
  5. Barbecue Chicken Wrap (though my husband would argue it’s the brisket sandwich) at Smoke House, Newport, RI

stations we loved.

(all on Sirius)

  1. 90s on 9
  2. On Broadway
  3. Lithium
  4. Classic Rewind
  5. Coffee House

hotels where we stayed.

  1. Our friends’ house in St. Alban’s, VT
  2. Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, VT
  3. Hartstone Inn, Camden, ME
  4. Bretton Woods Resort, Mt. Washington, NH
  5. Captain Fairfield Inn, Kennebunkport, ME

books i read.

  1. Maine – by J. Courtney Sullivan
  2. Nantucket Blue – by Leila Howland
  3. Gilead – by Marilynne Robinson (though I’m not finished yet)
  4. A Tangle of Knots – by Lisa Graff
  5. Love, Aubrey – by Suzanne LaFleur

The notes:

*Wooden Nickels’ aunt had a little tradition in which she would seek out the tackiest postcard she could find while on vacation, and send it to her friends.  Wooden Nickels, her aunt, and I shared in this merriment for years, and though the aunt is no longer with us, we’ve passed this tradition on to a couple friends of our own.  It is SO FUN not to look for a charming photo of whatever cute town through which you are passing, but instead look for the worst a souvenir shop has to offer.  Buy postcard stamps before you leave, throw them in your wallet, and you’ll be sure to get them all in the mail, too.

**Driving through New England took us to a lot of small towns and independent retailers.  I loved this and realized it’s a big piece of my hometown that I miss living here in DC.  A lot of these places however, don’t take credit cards.  Cash is a must.

On Simple Baking [strawberry summer cake]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.

xoxo,

Jennie

There are OMG Cupcakes, and there are dark chocolate ganache tarts.  They are showstoppers, guaranteed to send your friends into a frenzy, wondering how you manage to do it all–have a career, a social life, and an impressive baking repertoire.  There are times and places for these types of baked goods.

But this is the kind of baked good I love.  This is a cake.  It doesn’t have icing.  It didn’t take hours.  It’s homely.  Yep, I’ll say it.  I’m a food blogger, and not everything I make is as lustrous as swirly-frostinged cupcakes, and chocolate-filled shells.  Some of it, and sometimes the best of it, is everyday fare.  The kind of food you’d prepare on a whim, with things that are never more than an arm’s length away.

Deb is the champion of this kind of dish, and strawberry summer cake is no exception.

To make one, you will need:

  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 C milk (I used whole)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 or 10 inch Springform pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter and sugar in bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add egg and beat until incorporated.  Slowly add milk and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and mix just till combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Arrange strawberry halves, cut side down, on top of batter in single layer.  Bake cake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees, and bake for 40-50 more.  Test for doneness wherever you think you won’t hit a strawberry.

Let cool at least 20 minutes before removing from Springform, top with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve in large wedges.

*Original post here.

Calorie Fest 2k12 [cheesecake]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.

xoxo,

Jennie

Enough with the healthy stuff, dear readers.

I made a cheesecake.

And a good one, at that.

Yep, that’s a candle.

This cheesecake hails from December, when I made it for my husband’s/Grandma Glass of Milk’s/my aunt’s Triple Birthday Bash!  All three were born on 12/13.  Well, all three plus Taylor Swift.  But when you’re a food blogger, December is filled with holiday cookies, and January is packed with grains and greens.  When you’re a food blogger, cheesecakes made in the middle of December get relegated to the back of your iPhoto files, waiting for you to rediscover them late one chilly evening while sitting with a warm laptop on your, well, lap.

By now you’ve all given up your healthy eating resolutions, right?  We’re that far into the month, aren’t we?  Even if we’re not, let me tell you this is splurge-worthy.  Indulgent.  Luxurious.  It’s velvety smooth.  The lemon zest does that same thing to vanilla that coffee powder does to chocolate.  The cheesecake doesn’t taste like lemon, it just tastes more like vanilla.  Rich vanilla.

This is Ina’s cheesecake.  There are at least a dozen cookbooks in my library I could have turned to when my husband requested a cheesecake for his birthday, but I went with my girl, the Barefoot Contessa.  Or as Liz Lemon calls her, “That woman on the Food Network whose husband only comes home on the weekends.”  Ina is at her best when she’s making American classics (and yes, she really does turn up the volume), and this cheesecake is a shining example of such dishes.  Out of the three cakes available, this was the one that was first to go.  The one everybody had to have a piece of.

And yes, it had a giant crack in the middle, but whose cheesecake doesn’t?   When you top it with raspberry sauce (which wasn’t memorable, so maybe this sauce next time, okay?), you’ll never even know it was there.

You don’t need a reason to make a cheesecake.  Today is Sunday.  Tomorrow is Monday.  Do it.

To make cheesecake for 12, you will need:

Time.  Cheesecake is not a labor-intensive cake to make, but it takes a lot of time just hanging out in the oven.  Plan to make it the day before you need it.

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
  • 3 half-pints fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Original post here.

Summer Lunch [couscous with chicken and grapes]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.

xoxo,

Jennie

Lunch is an oft-neglected meal, isn’t it?  People are always busy during the day, so they either go out or eat a sandwich they slapped together in the morning.  But folks, it doesn’t have to be that way, and summer is the perfect time to start thinking about your lunch options.


Like pasta/rice/grainy salads.  They’re a big time summer thing for me and I have a couple of favorites.  This is the first.  It’s a blend of couscous, chicken, grapes and scallions (oh, and toasted almonds, which I forgot to add this time around) mixed with a mustard vinaigrette.  Sounds like a truly strange combination doesn’t it?  I found the recipe somewhere and made it on a whim one day.  I wasn’t expecting much, and was so pleasantly surprised to taste the results.  It’s a great mix of flavors and textures, and it really is the perfect weekday lunch.  I don’t think it has a name.  Maybe couscous with chicken and grapes?  Weak.  Any better ideas?  No matter what you call them, start playing around with lunchtime salads.  I make mine over the weekend and enjoy them for lunch all week long.

You need:

  • 2 C chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 2 C couscous
  • 1 T olive oil or butter
  • 1 – 1 1/2 C chopped chicken
  • 4 scallions, diced (green and white parts)
  • 1 C grapes, halved
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C toasted almonds
  • 3 T mustard (I use Grey Poupon)
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Cook the couscous by boiling the chicken broth and T of olive oil or butter.  Remove from heat, pour in the couscous, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

*Time Out*  When I’m by myself, I often stop here, grate in 8 million pounds of Parmesan cheese and eat just plain couscous for lunch.  It’s fabulous, and oh-so buttery with all that cheese.  *Time In*

Fluff with a fork and spoon into a large bowl.  I always do this over the sink as couscous is small and tends to stray.  Add the chicken, scallions, grapes and almonds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour over the couscous and toss to coat.  You can do this in advance and let the dressing really sink in.  The flavors will start to come together and the dish only gets better with a day in the fridge.

Original post here

Chicken Stock, Flavor Boost Edition [chicken stock]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.

xoxo,

Jennie

Warning:  2 chickens were harmed in the making of this post.

I’ve made chicken stock before, but never with this much flavor.  This time, I threw in more carrots, because they were about to go bad, and more cloves of garlic.  I didn’t peel or chop them, I just threw them in.  It was fun.  Also, more thyme.

And this stock turned out so much more flavorful than my last.  Why?  Were the chickens better?  Was the secret just to throw everything in the pot a la Ina, rather than slicing, dicing and browning a la Love and Olive Oil?  Maybe it was my “backyard” thyme?


I have no idea, but I’m glad it made so much.  These 9 cups are just the beginning.  The rest is in the freezer.  Can’t wait to make dinners with this.

Ummm, I didn’t really follow a recipe, I just made this by feel.  I used Ina’s recipe as a guide, but consulted with my main man Mark as well.

*Original post here