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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

A while back, I was catching up on my blog reading and came across Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies on My Tasty Treasures.  It caught my eye because Daniel is a lover of vanilla, so I bookmarked to make in the near future.  That night, I was flipping through one of my mother in laws magazines as saw the same recipe in an ad for McCormick's vanilla extract.  I took it as a sign and made them that night.  SO glad I did because it is hands down, my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever made to date...  soft and chewy and full of vanilla with just the right amount of salt in it so that you could taste it but it wasn't overpowering.  They stayed fairly thick and didn't spread out too much.  The recipe made quite a large batch but um... they didn't stick around that long.

Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies from My Tasty Treasures

3¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cups butter, softened
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars in large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoons (I used a 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until barely beginning to brown at the edges. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Nothing says Fall like pumpkin flavored things.  The coffee shops are filled with pumpkin lattes, delis have pumpkin muffins, even ravioli are filled with pumpkin in the Fall.  And I love it!  Towards the end of the summer, I never can wait for Fall to get here to eat all of the pumpkin goodies.  

That being said, as much as I love pumpkin-flavored things, I've never bought pumpkin pie spice.  And today in Central Florida, it's like a monsoon.  I'm talking trees down in my neighborhood and water coming up through my tiles in the living room (but that's another story).  Not the kind of weather that makes you you want to go to the store solely to buy pumpkin pie spice.  So what do you do if you're stuck in the house and craving pumpkin goodies, with no pumpkin pie spice?  Make your own, of course!  I found this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spice on My Baking Addiction, and I had all of the spices on hand.  You probably do, too!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice from My Baking Addiction
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Combine all spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Use a funnel to pour into a small air tight jar.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Club: BAKED - A Tale of 2 Pumpkin Muffins

Today is October 1st.  Break out the pumpkin!  If you're looking for an excuse to buy pumpkin now that its on the shelves, try these muffins.  I altered it (drastically) from the savory Pumpkin Cheddar muffins recipe that was chosen as this week's baked goodie for Club Baked, and I'm happy with the results.  In addition to my savory to sweet adjustment, I also split my batter in half and made two varieties: Espresso Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Pie Muffins.  I'm not sure which one I love more!  I've posted my recipe below as it is so different from the original, but if you're interested in the savory Pumpkin Cheddar version, see Billie of the blog Chocolate & Chakra - the host of this week's recipe.  Thanks for hosting and picking this wonderfully Fall recipe, Billie!

Pumpkin Muffins two ways: 1 with Espresso and 1 with Pumpkin Pie spice
Yields 15 cupcake-sized muffins
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons light sour cream
2 large eggs, room temp
1 stick unsalted butter, melted & cooled
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie spice (home-made!)
1/2 teaspoon Espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 F.  
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine pumpkin and sour cream.  Add the eggs and butter and combine. 
In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugars, and whisk to combine.  Add to the pumpkin mixture.  
Divide the batter in half.  In one half of the batter, add the pumpkin pie spice.  In the other half, add the espresso powder.  Or, if you want an entire batch of 1 variety, simply double the amount of that spice and omit the other.  
Put in standard sized cupcake tins lined with cupcake liners.  Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar.  
Bake for 14 - 17 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serve warm!

Oops! Who ate those?

Visit the other Club Baked bakers to see how their Pumpkin muffins came out!  I can't wait to see how the savory version tastes - I was too scared to try it!  


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