It’s me, Lamont C….

Okay, okay, so I’m NOT perfect!

There, I said it!!

I know you thought I was, but I’m not!

Okay, maybe I’M the only one who thought I was, and still, I’m not!

What am I talking about?

I tried making what sounded like some heavenly cookies,

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

Don’t they just sound divine?!

I thought it would be easy enough, and actually, it was a pretty simple recipe.

However, once I took the cookies out of the oven, I was in for a not-so-pleasant surprise.

The bottom fell out…literally.

There were a few that came out the right way, but more than half of them fell apart. What a shame…

They were DEEEEEE-LICOUS!

I still bought them to work with me, and they went quickly, but I wish they came out perfectly.

Oh well, maybe next time (and there WILL be a next time!!)

Here’s the recipe courtesy of  Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature preferred
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Nestlé® Toll House® Baking Cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 18 chocolate coated caramel candies
  • course/sea salt

Instructions

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about 20 seconds. Add the sugars with the mixer running on medium speed. Cream it all together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Stir in the milk, then fold in the dark chocolate morsels. The dough will be thick and very sticky. Chill for at least 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  4. Take 2 Tablespoons of chilled dough and split in half and roll each into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball of dough. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal down the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside. Repeat with the rest of the dough and 18 caramel candies. Sprinkle each with sea salt before putting into the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!

It’s me, Lamont, again with another off-the-wall cookie recipe.

This post I want to share with you a recipe for Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies!

Bacon…Cookies…?

Hells Yeah!!

It may seem strange, and that’s because it is.

But as strange as it seems, it is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

This recipe is fairly simple and the results are great!

I made them, took them to work, and they disappeared!

I got this recipe from AllRecipes.com which is my go to place for recipes.

Without further delay, here it is – ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices maple-cured bacon, chopped

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup softened butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks

(NOTE: Because I couldn’t find maple cured bacon at my supermarket, I just just regular bacon. You can use whatever bacon you desire.)
DIRECTIONS:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble.

Beat the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy and smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the chocolate chips and bacon. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Let stand 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely

 

Don’t forget to check out my personal blog at http://www.lamontclark.com and our recipe books at http://www.70westpress.com

 

What’s up Cravers!

Or is it Sweeties?

Hmmm, Treatians?

Whatever, I’m Lamont, Sheila’s husband, and I will be guest blogging here. (Cue applause)

My main contribution will be cookies. Specifically chocolate chip cookies. Several months ago I decided that I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies as a hobby, and now on Sunday evenings, that’s what I do.

So today I will share with you my latest treat, the ‘Brookie’. Yes, it is what you think it is, a Brownie and Cookie mixed.

YUM!

I will post the recipe for it in a second, but just know that you can also take “the easy way” and buy the mix pre-made by Toll House and some other company, I forget who.

If you search online you will probably find Martha Stewarts recipe (why search, click here if you want it). Martha’s recipe  calls for pre-made cookie dough.

The recipe below calls for both homemade cookie dough and homemade brownies.

If you search for other recipes you will find that some call for Brownie mix from the box with homemade cookies.

Obviously you have a choice of how you want to proceed, but hopefully you get the results you want.

Anyhow, here are my pics, and then the recipe obtained from Kitchen Konfidence

You can follow my blog at http://www.lamontclark.com, I’m on Twitter @lamontclark, and check out our books at http://www.70westpress.com

 

 

 

 

Ingredients
For the chocolate chip cookie dough:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

For the brownie batter:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, plus more for muffin tin
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate (top quality, 60 to 72 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  Instructions
  1. To make the chocolate chip cookie dough:
  2. Add flour, fine grain sea salt and baking soda to a large bowl, whisking to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together butter, white sugar and dark brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add half of the flour mixture to bowl. Mix for a few seconds on low then increase the speed to medium. Beat until just combined (15 – 20 seconds). Add the remaining flour mixture and repeat the process above. Do not overmix here. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Cover bowl, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours before using.
  5. To make the Brooksters:
  6. Using butter or nonstick spray, grease the bottom and sides of a 12 cup muffin tin. Set aside.
  7. Add flour, fine grain sea salt and cocoa powder to a medium bowl, whisking to combine. Set aside.
  8. Bring a large pot filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Set a heatproof bowl on top of the pot, but make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the simmering water. Add butter and chocolate to the bowl, stirring until melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl on the pot. Whisk white sugar and light brown sugar into the chocolate mixture. Remove the bowl from the pot and let cool to room temperature.
  9. Add eggs to the chocolate mixture, whisking until just combined. At this point, switch from a whisk to a spatula. You want avoid adding extra air to the batter. Add vanilla and stir until just combined. Gently fold flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix here.
  10. Fill each well of the muffin tin halfway with batter. Transfer muffin tin to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 1 hour. Both the cookie dough and brownie batter must be well chilled before baking to ensure even cooking.
  11. Preheat your oven to 375°F and place a rack in the center of the oven (please see notes above regarding cooking times and temperatures).
  12. Once thoroughly chilled, take the muffin tin from the refrigerator. Using a small spoon, scoop out a small amount of chilled cookie dough. Using your hands, shape dough into ball then slightly flatten it into a disk. The disk should be a bit smaller than the top of the muffin tin wells. Gently press the disk into one of the wells of batter. Repeat this process with remaining 11 wells.*
  13. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake until the cookies are golden brown ( 17 – 19 minutes), rotating the muffin tin halfway through.

 

In my quest to taste all cookies, I’ve had my share of bar cookies.  However most have been limited to some version of a brownie or chocolate chip cookie.  This recipe is like none of these.  In fact, this recipe is easy to make and is so delicious that it easily can become the crowd pleasure at your next “bring a dish” function.  This sticky treat has just the right amount of caramel, cookie, crunch, and chocolate – it will make even the most picky sweet treat craver smile.  And like its other “bar cookie relatives” it’s sturdy and transports well making it the perfect treat to bring to any event including lunch boxes, potlucks, and road trips.  Try this out and it will be one of your favorites too!

Crust

  • 1 stick of cold butter cut in pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour leveled
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper.  Combine flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form.  You can also use a pastry cutter and cut the butter in the flour, sugar, and salt mixture.  Press the crumb mixture lightly into the bottom of the baking pan and bake on the top third of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the cookie turn light brown.   Meanwhile spread the pecans (2 cups) on a baking sheet and bake (middle third of the oven) for 6-8 minutes until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven, cool, and chop roughly.

Filling

  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine sugars, honey, butter, and cream.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer stirring until slightly thickened (4 to 5 minutes).  Stir in pecans and vanilla.  Spread over the crust and let cool in the pan.  About 30 minutes into cooling, add the chocolate pieces and drop in small spoonfuls all over the caramel spread.  Let cool for another 30 minutes.  Once fully cooled, cut into bar squares and enjoy!  As you see,  I couldn’t even wait to plate these cause they looked so good!!

Being the sweet treat craver that I am, I have carefully studied the caloric content of almost every cookie and brownie out there to see how many servings I could eat without blowing the 1800 daily max that most health mags recommend.  Now I would not typically talk calories on this site, however it is worth noting that the ginger snap cookie is a sweet treat that you can eat in plenty without totally ruining any attempt to mind calories.  The cookie recipe I am sharing is about 100 calories per cookie and are so tasty.  So go ahead, indulge!!

It’s also noteworthy to mention the many documented benefits of ginger.  Ginger is said to be able to treat inflammatory disease such as arthritis, migraines, colds/flu, and nausea.  So in addition to being a relatively low-calorie sweet treat, it’s really more of a super cookie as ginger could be said to be a super food.  So my advice to you.  Eat plenty of ginger cookies – not only will you feel good from how great they taste – your body may just be a little bit healthier.

Below is a recipe I used this holiday season which was a blend of recipes I found in several magazines.  The secret to these cookies is candied ginger.  Really.  If you are like me, you’ve passed this in the produce aisle many a time and been clueless as to what it’s used for.  Well here is your answer,  Ginger Snap cookies!  The addition of the candied ginger takes the cookie over the top and provides a much more powerful ginger boost than simply using the spice alone.  Here’s the recipe and some pics of the way I packaged the cookies for the holidays.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 oz candied ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 molasses
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar for decorating

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice candied ginger into strips and use a food processor on pulse to chop candied ginger as small as possible.  Put to the side.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices – set aside.  Using stand or electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy (2 -3 minutes). Reduce mixer speed to low and add candied ginger.  Then add in the eggs, then molasses and then oil.  .  Slowly add the flour mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  Give the dough a mix with a spatula to ensure no pockets of flour remain.  Sprinkle sugar in a 9-in round cake pan. Roll dough into balls (abt 2 tbsps each) and drop into sugared pan to coat.  Place on parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 11-12 minutes and remove from oven.  (cookie may look raw).  Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then finish cooling on baking rack.  The finished product will be a chewy cookie with a hearty ginger flavor and bite.  Enjoy!!!

I have just ended weeks of “test baking” to develop the perfect holiday cookie boxes.  Happily in the midst of all this test baking, I realized that brownies are the world’s simplest baked good.  So much so that I promise to skip all boxed brownie recipes in the future;  in the same amount of time, I can make a chocolatey goodness 10x better than the store-bought version.  An added bonus with brownies is that no mixer is required and the entire recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare.  The secret that makes these brownies so good are high quality chocolate (like Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bittersweet), the espresso added into the melted chocolate, and the Cocoa powder added into the flour.  These triple chocolate secrets will take the average brownie recipe into high gear!   I hope you’ll try this recipe and let me know what you think!

To make these brownies, you’ll need the following – 2/3 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, 1 stick of butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 8 oz of high quality chocolate (chopped coarsely), 2 tablespoons of espresso coffee (brewed), and 4 oz of chocolate chips. Chopped pecans or walnuts are optional.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a square 8 x 8 x 2-inch or 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.  Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside in a small bowl.  Fill a sauce pot about 1/3 of the way and bring to  simmer.  Place a glass bowl over the pot of simmering water, add the chocolate, butter, and espresso and stir until melted.  Once melted, remove from heat and bring to room temperature.  Once chocolate is at room temperature, add the sugar, stir and then add the eggs, one at a time and stir until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla.   Finally, add the dry ingredient and stir until fully incorporated but don’t over stir then add the chips.  Fill pan with brownie mixture and cook for 25 minutes.  Let the brownies sit until they reach room temperature and then cut and store in an air-tight container.  Brownies will store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for three months.

I absolutely love traveling to New Orleans and the main reason for this love affair is their delicious, creamy pralines.  To date, the only way I enjoyed these confectionary treats was when I (or anyone else I knew) went to New Orleans and brought me back some goodies.  However, I recently discovered that pralines are pretty easy to make and once I knew that, well I determined to become a praline maker!  Since the holidays are upon us, I wanted to add a delicious candy-like treat to my holiday cookie box.  These are the perfect treat to add to your standard cookie offerings.  If you want to add a bit of spice to your recipe, spike the praline batter with 2 tsps of Myers rum.

To get started you need just a few basics, light brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, white sugar, butter, pecans, black pepper, vanilla, and Myers rum (optional).  Measure out the following – 1/2 stick of butter, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 & 1/2 cups of white sugar, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of heavy cream, 1 – 2 cups of pecans, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, and 1 tsp of vanilla or 2 tsp of Myers Rum.  Mix the sugars, cream, and the butter in a pot and place on the stove under a low heat.

Stir the mixture frequently until the butter melts (this will take about 30 seconds), then reduce the fire to low and allow to boil stirring sparingly.   The sugar mixture will need to cook until the temperature reaches the soft ball stage or about 239 degrees.  This will take about 15 minutes – make sure you watch your pot so that the sugar mixture does not burn.  If the temperature is a few degrees higher – no worries but too high will cause your sugar mixture to become more like a brittle than a creamy praline when it hardens.

Once the proper temperature is reached, add in the vanilla or rum (your choice) the black pepper, and 1 – 2 cups of pecans and stir vigorously for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Then immediately, on a parchment lined cookie sheet (do not use wax paper) spoon one tablespoon of praline mixture at a time onto the cookie sheet leaving enough space between drop for the candy to spread.  Allow candy to cool and harden (about 20 minutes).

To serve as a gift in your cookie box – wrap tightly in plastic wrap before placing in a holiday tin or the packing of your liking.  In an air-tight tin, these candies will store well for 3 to 5 days.