Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Favorite Cookies So Far

I didn't get to bake anything this holiday season. No goofy balls. No cranberry-orange bars. No puppy chow. Even the chocolate-covered pretzels that I attempted to make failed, probably because I used Kroger brand white-chocolate chips instead of almond bark. So, I've been itching to bake something all Christmas break. Since I'm caught up on interview transcribing, syllabus-mending, and course-prepping, I decided to take a break yesterday to make these little jewels that I nominate as my favorite cookie, possibly ever. I snagged the recipe somewhere off another blog, and adjusted it based on what I had in the kitchen. Here are:

The Best Cookies Ever
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark, could use light)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
about a teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
some M&M's
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Combine butter and sugar well with a mixer. Add in peanut butter, incorporate well. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl! Add in the flour and baking soda (combine in a separate bowl first) in 3 batches, mix until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips, M&M's, oats, and pecans. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, cool, and try not to eat them all at one sitting.

I ate 5 yesterday (not counting , and have eaten 3 today. This recipe makes a crap ton of cookies. Chances are, if you see me between now and next Thursday, I'll give you a bag of them because Dave and I can't eat them all. Well, ok, we could eat them all but we probably shouldn't.

Take that, holiday baking dry spell.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What New Year's Resolution Potato Soup

I just invented something out of leftovers that was so amazing: a potato soup. Maybe it's just because I have never quite successfully made amazing potato soup before, but I'm pretty stoked about this recipe. I had about 1 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes in the fridge tonight, so before you make the dish, you need to make my:

Mashed Potatoes
2 Idaho potatoes, washed, skin on
salt & pepper to taste
about 2 Tablespoons butter
some milk, heavy cream, or half & half, or some combination of the three

Wash and dry potatoes. Dice into large chunks of equal size. Place in a large stockpot. Put enough water in the pan, so that the water just covers the potatoes. Add a handful of salt to the water. Cook over medium high heat, until boiling, then check after the potatoes have boiled 15 minutes to see if they are fork tender. When they are fork tender, drain them, return them to the original pot, add butter, salt, pepper, and a splash of liquid, and mash the heck out of them with a wooden spoon (my favorite), a masher, or fork. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.

So now you can make the soup, which involves the following.
Start out by cooking 3 slices of bacon over medium heat. While bacon is cooking, dice one shallot and one clove of garlic. When bacon is done, remove from pan, set aside. Sautee the shallot and garlic in the rendered pork fat. Add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning blend while sauteing, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of white wine, stand back, don't burn yourself, and scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Simmer until wine reduces by half. Add in about 1/2 cup chicken broth, the leftover mashed potatoes, and some milk, and some half and half until it reaches a soupy consistency. If you've added too much liquid, then whisk in a paste of 1 Tablespoon softened butter and 2 Tablespoons flour. This will thicken the soup. Simmer slightly. If it's too chunky, throw it in a food processor to smooth out the bits. Serve, topping with sour cream, cheese, and crumbled bacon.

MMMM. I couldn't wait for Dave to get home tonight. I pigged out already. It's not a healthy soup. Who cares! It's delicious. Happy new year!