Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies!!!!!

Have you ever wished you could find a cookie that would give you that wonderful sweet/salty combination?  At The Picky Palate they have come up with the perfect cookie for your cravings.  Caramel, chocolate, salt.....what could be better?

When I first saw this post I knew I had to make these cookies. I needed to pick up some dark chocolate but within a day or so I was happily putting these together.  A muffin top pan is suggested but since I don't have any of those I used my medium cookie scoop which holds a generous 2 tablespoons (apx 1/8 cup) this made my cookies about half the size of the Picky Palate's, but still a really good size.  I also chose to use Maldon flaked sea salt (available at Whole Food and Williams Sonoma) to sprinkle on top.  After making these cookies for the first time I decided to add a little more caramel to the mixture.  If you choose to use the canned Mexican caramel (I did) which is very think (peanut butter consistency)  be sure to add a tablespoon of milk to the dough also.

These cookies I have to say are PERFECT!!!!  Sweet, gooey with just a little bit of salt, what more could a girl ask for?  They take a little more time than a normal chocolate chip cookie but are definitely worth it. 

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla
1/2 Cup caramel sauce (if using extra think sauce add 1 Tbl of milk with the caramel)
3 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
12 oz bag mini chocolate chips
8 oz chopped good quality dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla following the caramel sauce (and milk if using) until well combined.

2. Place the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl; mix. Slowly add to wet ingredients then the chocolate chips. Save dark chocolate chunks for later.

3. Scoop cookie dough into baking sheets.  Press down to flatten a little and sprinkle with a pinch or two (2 is what I used) of the sea salt then press dark chocolate chunks over top.  Bake for 113 minutes until light golden brown around the edges.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before cooling on rack.

If using a muffin top pan for extra large cookies........

3. Place 1/4 Cup of cookie dough and place into muffin top cups. Press down then sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt then press chocolate chunks over top. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just golden around edges. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 3 dozen cookies or 18 extra large cookies
Adapted from The Picky Palate

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Yikes! Spaghetti!

Much to my horror my children love spaghetti.  You see, I have some deep psychological issues.  But why spaghetti you may ask, well let me demonstrate exactly how crazy I am.

As a child, when my family returned from living in Israel my father worked very hard to support his family.  There were times we struggled financially and my parents did the very best they could.  At one point my mother, doing the best she knew how, bought the items necessary to make spaghetti for many dinners to come.  We at spaghetti for dinner each night for 3 weeks.  My favorite part, about halfway through this time my family was asked to someone's house for dinner.  We were so excited!  We were going to have something other than spaghetti!  Can you guess what was served? got it!!!!!! SPAGHETTI!!!!

Looking back this story is quite funny but to this day I cannot bring myself to eat long thin noodles with a red sauce.  Like I said....I am crazy.

That said, when my children are dying for spaghetti I find something else to eat. 

This week, when the princess made the dish that must not be named, I decided to give Buitoni Shrimp and lobster ravioli a try. 

The directions on the package where easy to follow and I soon had dinner ready to go.  A pot of water is filled with water, the package of sauce placed in the water and brought to a boil.  Once the water is boiling the pasta is added and cooked for 5 short minutes.  Drain the pasta, place in a bowl, cut open the sauce pack and pour over the pasta.  Quick, simple and easy to do.  

I decided to pair this dish with a salad made of tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh mozzarella cheese.  Each package makes perfect sized serving so I did allow my sons to try some and even shared a little with my friend Carol.

The pasta is tender and the filling simple yet satisfying.  My sons liked the creamy garlic butter sauce which was included in the package but Carol and I would have preferred to lightly toss the the pasta with a lemon butter sauce.  The shrimp and lobster meat are recognizable and as fresh as you can expect from a frozen meal.  This would never be my first choice as a meal but it is a good quick meal on a day when you need to prepare something quickly or are too tired to prepare a full meal.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastmakes program Buitoni sent me a coupon for a free item of my choice.

Pictures of spaghetti not provided, author unwilling due to insanity.