Monday, August 20, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

It isn't often that my husband makes special requests for baked goodies; he's more of an "I'll eat whatever you make" kind of guy. So on the rare occasion that he makes a suggestion, I'm all ears. Recently he asked for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (one of my favorites!), and of course I obliged. The recipe I chose is from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. It's the White Chocolate Chip variation of their Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Don't make the mistake I did and over bake them! Even when a recipe explicitly says "Don't overbake," I have a hard time following directions. I'm a notrious cookie over-baker because I don't like gooey cookies...but sometimes that backfires and my cookies end up too dry!

Thick and Chewy Macadamia and White Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Makes about 24 cookies

 2 cups (10 ⅔ oz) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
12 tbsp/1½ sticks/170g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed (7 oz) light brown sugar
½ cup (3½ oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cup (9 oz) white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Adjust the oven racks to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 or 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beater as needed.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chips and nuts until incorporated.

Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

We're not very adventurous when it comes to Indian cuisine in our household. When we've gone out for Indian food, I almost always get butter chicken or saag paneer while the Mister prefers chicken tikka masala. Since we're making a conscious effort to reduce the number of times we dine out each month, I thought I'd try my hand at making chicken tikka masala at home. The recipe I seem to come across the most when searching online is the one from Pioneer Woman's website. On the first try, I made it pretty much as written (minus the ginger, because I could not find any decent specimens at the grocer). It was good, but we found it to be a bit much with all that cream. When I made it again I switched from diced tomatoes to crushed and reduced the amount of cream by half. I also had a hard time getting the chicken to char as well as she did with the broiler (this is one of those times I wish we had a gas oven!), so I used a Foreman-type grill and got better results. Give it a try!Photobucket

Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Serves 6

3-4 whole chicken breasts (I used 6 large tenderloins)
kosher salt
ground coriander
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbl. butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp. granulated)
3 Tbl. Garam Masala
1 Tbl. paprika (optional, for color)
1 Tbl. sugar
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream

Season the chicken breasts with kosher salt, coriander, and cumin.  Coat with plain yogurt.  Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for about 2 hours.  Broil chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, until chicken has some charred, slightly blackened edges.  (You can also cook the chicken for about 7 minutes in a George Foremen grill)  Remove from oven and set aside.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet and saute the onions over medium-high heat until slightly browned.  Add garlic, 1 Tablespoon salt, Garam Masala seasoning, paprika, sugar, and crushed tomatoes.  Stir well and let simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop the cooked chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Add heavy cream and chicken pieces to the pan.  Stir and allow to heat.  Serve over basmati rice.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Cheesecake

It's that time again!  This month's Crazy Cooking Challenge theme is...CHEESECAKE!  The rules have changed for this month's challenge, so recipes we select no longer have to come from a blog.  Recipes can come from anywhere, so the possibilities are nearly endless.  I selected Cookies and Cream Mini Cheesecakes from the May 2007 issue of First for Women magazine.  They were delicious!  Like many cheesecakes, these freeze really well.  We stashed most of the batch in the freezer and popped them out to defrost while we had supper.  You won't be disappointed with this recipe.  Be sure to visit the other challenge participants for more yummy cheesecake recipes!


Mini Oreo Cheesecakes
Yield: 12 servings
Source: May 07, 2007 issue of First for Women magazine

10 chocolate sandwich cookies, ground
2 Tbl. sugar
2 Tbl. melted butter

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
8 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325°F.  In bowl, combine ground chocolate sandwich cookies with sugar and melted butter.  Divide mixture evenly among 12 paper-lined muffin cups; press to form crusts.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar for 2 minutes.  Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each.  Stir in 8 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped, and vanilla extract.  Divide cream cheese mixture evenly among prepared muffin cups.

Bake 20 minutes, or until center is almost set.  Cool completely and chill before serving.