Living life in the carpool lane..

Posts Tagged ‘baking

I’m always on the look out for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe.  M wanted some chocolate chip cookies with m&ms baked in.  I found a recipe on the bag of m&ms, but wanted to see what else what out there.  The recipe I used was found on the back of a bag of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.  I will type out the recipe below and then tell you what sort of modifications I made at the end.

2 1/4 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 C (2 sticks) Butter, softened, not melted
3/4 C White Sugar
3/4 C Brown Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 C Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375deg F.  Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.  Beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy.  Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing on low-speed until incorporated.

Gradually blend dry mix into creamed mix.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

My modifications:

  • White and brown sugars – When using my 1/4C measuring cup, I under-measured each 1/4C increment.  It wasn’t drastic, but I know I put less than what the recipe was asking for.  The result was a cookie that wasn’t too sweet.  The m&ms compensated for a lot of the sweetness.
  • m&ms – Because M was asking for m&ms in the cookies, I started off by putting 1/2C of m&ms, then 1/2C of the chocolate chips.  Then I just eyeballed adding the more m&ms or chips to my liking.
  • Chilled dough – The recipe didn’t require the dough to be chilled, but in my previous cookie baking experiences, I’ve had better results when I let the dough sit and chill in the fridge.  I would make the dough in the morning and bake the cookies after lunch or during nap time.  That gave the dough about 3-4 hours in the fridge.
  • Baking time – I baked my cookies for 10 minutes.  They seemed a bit undercooked, but leaving them on the cookie sheet for about 5-10 minutes cooks them the rest of the way through.

My thoughts?

I really loved this cookie.  It’s soft and stays soft after it cools down completely.  The actual cookie part isn’t sweet at all.  The chips and m&ms add enough sweetness without being overkill.  M LOVES these cookies straight out of the oven while the chips and m&ms are still a little melted.  I’ve made these cookies twice and have had successful batches every time.

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Fresh baked cookies anyone?!

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Have I told you how much I love my Kitchen Aid mixer?

I absolutely LOVE it!

I made snickerdoodle cookies last week and they came out perfect!

I followed the recipe on this page.  It was super easy to follow.

I made the cookie dough the night before.  When I got home from work, I cranked out a bunch of cookies.

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They look store bought!  I love it.  They were super soft on the inside and not too sweet at all!  I think I ate about three while I was baking them. 

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Don’t they look so yummy?!  Since the first time I’ve made them, I had to make another batch while my parents and brother were visiting for Easter.  I reall y think this is going to be something I will be making all the time!

Click here for the recipe and give it a try!

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That’s an M-sized bite!  She absolutely loved them!

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In the quest to find more foods that my daughter will eat, I found this great recipe for Baked Chicken Fingers.  Clicking on the link will take you to the website where I found the actual recipe.

I used it as a guide for my own chicken fingers and modified based on what we had on hand.

Here is the recipe, based on the link above:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Based on this recipe above, this is what I did:

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

My measurements were only rough estimates.  I actually did things more “to taste.”   Always take a taste of the breadcrumb mix BEFORE adding the raw chicken. 

To start, I set the oven to 400 degrees to pre-heat.  I took the chicken breasts and sliced them into about 4-5 pieces, depending on the size.  I put them into a bowl and tossed them in the vegetable oil.  I made sure that the chicken pieces were fully coated.  Then, I transfered the chicken pieces into the larger bowl where I made the breadcrumb mix.  I tossed that around until all the pieces were coated.  I placed the coated chicken pieces onto a foil-lined, cooking sprayed cookie sheet.  I baked the chicken for 10 minutes, then turned them and baked them for another 10 minutes.

The wasn’t too crispy, but it did have a nice light coating full of flavor.  M, who doesn’t usually eat meat, ate one and a half pieces.  I served the chicken fingers with some pasta shells and M LOVED it. 

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Don’t they look so yummy???

Share some toddler friendly recipes in the comments!  I’d love to try them!

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M loves pizza.  I knew I had to figure out how to make our own pizza.

Thank God for the internet (and the Kitchen Aid).

I followed this recipe: Pizza Dough

It was very easy and it came out just like it said it would.  I have no qualms about it..

M enjoyed watching me the pizza dough that she just HAD to get in on it.

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She spent a good 45 minutes playing with the tiny left over piece of dough AND the loose flour.  She played around while the rest of the dough was set aside to rise.

Because I didn’t have a round pan, I just spread the pizza dough out on to a cookie sheet.  We baked the pizza for about 13 minutes at 450degrees on the cookie sheet.  Then we took the pizza out of the oven, let it sit for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet.  We transferred the pizza from the cookie sheet onto a crisper mat into the oven for another three minutes at 450degrees. 

The pizza came out nice a doughy (the way M likes it) but with a good slightly crisp crust at the bottom. 

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This was our pizza for the night.  It had steak and spinach on it.  I had forgotten to brush olive oil on the crust when we initially put it in the oven, so the crust was very pale.  When we put the pizza back into the oven on the crisper, we brushed to crust with olive oil and within those three minutes of baking, there was a little more color to the crust. 

The pizza dough recipe makes two pizzas.  We had pizza for dinner the next night, so we just wrapped the left over dough in plastic and placed it in the refrigerator to be used the next night. 

I’m so glad this came out so yummy. 

Does anyone want to share any other pizza dough recipes?  Leave them in the comments below!

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One of the main reasons I wanted to purchase a Kitchen Aid was to learn how to make French Macarons.

I looked to the internet for some recipe suggestions and came across this recipe:

Basic French Macaron

This was my very first time using the Kitchen Aid, my first time working with egg whites to make a meringue, my first time using a piping bag.. you see my point..

So I followed the directions and made the first batch..

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These were small.  They were bigger than a quarter, but not as big as some that I have seen in bakeries.   They took the shape of a macaron.  That’s an accomplishment.  I was so happy that they LOOK like a macaron.

I tasted a cookie without the filling and knew I failed.  The texture was all wrong.  It stuck to my teeth.  It felt like it was overcooked.  It almost had the feeling of sticky caramel, not the milky creamy caramel, the over sticky, almost-hard caramel.  Also, this recipe is just way too sweet. 

I tried to salvage it by smearing some Biscoff cookie spread in between two pieces.

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Doesn’t it totally look like the real thing?  Too bad it didn’t taste like it.

I had some left over batter, so I tried to make them bigger and bake them for a shorter amount of time.

They came out like this:

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They came out so much better.  They weren’t as brown, and the texture was more similar to the macarons I’ve had from the professionals.  Because it was from the same batter, the taste was still way too sweet.

A few things thoughts:

1.  When adding the granulated sugar, I really need to add it slowly.  While I followed the directions stating to add the sugar to the whites “one tablespoon at a time,” I didn’t wait for the sugar to dissolve between tablespoons.

2.  I may have possibly over beat the egg whites.  Internet research told me that over beaten egg whites become lumpy.  I had lumpy egg whites. 

3.  I wonder if cut the confectioners sugar and add more almond meal if it will cut down on the sweetness.  I wonder what more almond meal will do to the texture. 

4.  I need to find the perfect baking time.  I haven’t baked much since I’ve moved into the apartment about 3 1/2 years ago, so I’m still trying figure out my ovens quirks and preferences. 

5.  I don’t have a sifter, but the package of almond meal said “extra fine.”  I figured I didn’t need to sift it.  Maybe I need to.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

Do you have any tips and tricks to perfecting French macarons?  Leave a comment below!

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So, I purchased a Kitchen Aid this past weekend.  It was such a bargain!

I purchased the Kitchen Aid Artisan Model in Silver.  It has a glass bowl, which I really love!

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It was an awesome deal! 

Hubby and I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to purchase it with our 20% coupon.  When we arrived there, they only had displays out on the floor and no boxed mixers.  We asked an associate if they had any in the back, and he told us that what ever was out on the floor is what they had.  He went to check on the availability in other stores and he found out that they were no longer going to carry the model, nor are Kitchen Aid producing the model. 

Our only option was to purchase the display mixer at a 10% discount.  I made sure that the 20% coupon applies to the purchase and he said it did. 

SOLD!

Not only did we get that extra discount, we also get a mail-in rebate of $30!

This was definitely a great bargain!

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Lately, I’ve got this major urge to bake.

I want to make cake pops.  I want to learn how to decorate them.  I want to learn how to shape them into certain things and the decorate them appropriately.  Maybe if I figure it out, I can use these new skills for birthday parties.

I want to learn how to make French macarons.  Not only am I currenly obsessed with eating them, I desperately want to learn how to make them.  Maybe if I figure that out, I can use it to make homemade Christmas gifts this year.

I feel like I need a Kitchen Aid first.  A Kitchen Aid with a glass bowl.

What do you like to bake?

Have you tried to make French macarons?  How easy/difficult are they?  Do you have a particular recipe you follow?

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