Category Archives: Chocolate Chip

Pretzel Lovin’, Havin’ a Blast


I like pretzels.

I’m still living. Uber busy, but living. Attending class for 6 hours a day for four weeks to knock off 10 hours of college credits is a lot of work.

But it’s all worth it. Kind of like biting into a wonderfully salty and deeelish pretzel. I love pretzels. I’m obsessed. I bought a 1 pound bag of pretzels every week for six weeks in my first quarter of school, and yet Freshman 15 didn’t touch me. I’m not going to question this. I’m going to gloat.

So I got to thinking, “Sweet and salty, sweet and salty.” and thought, why not put them into my chocolate chip cookies! Seemed simple enough, it was, and boy howdy, it was lovely.

All I did was substitute half of the chocolate chips for broken pretzel pieces and continued on in hopes of becoming America’s Next Top Model.

What? Oh, sorry. Different topic…

I baked them according to the same parameters.

A pretzel is like a little heart, showin’ some lovin’. Enjoy these!

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies
Follow the same recipe and instructions listed in This Post, substituting 1 cup crushed pretzel pieces for the chocolate chips. Flatten slightly and top with a whole pretzel prior to baking.

Happy Baking!
Clara

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies. For Auld Lang Syne


Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone made some resolutions that aren’t too hard! I’ve always had those, but hopefully, this year’s will be better. It involves a few 5Ks and plenty of running, which is something I enjoy anyway, but I need to be inspired to get out and do it all. Thank goodness for the 5K next month! Its all about establishing new and healthy habits.

But just because I’m establishing new healthy habits, does not mean my rations of butter will lower. Oh heck no. That would be a whole different resolution which will never, ever, happen.

Speaking of healthy habits, on of my favorite commercials (okay, that’s a lie) is the one for Nutella. The one where the mother is narrating about how her kids don’t really like to eat breakfast, or are just disinterested in getting a healthy one. However, then she takes a relatively thin piece of whole wheat toast and slathers SO MUCH NUTELLA ON TOP, that was when they wanted to eat their healthy breakfast. I always giggle.

I first tried to formulate this recipe in Savannah, where I didn’t really have any measuring cups or as many special ingredients as I do on my trusty baking cart. While they were fine when I made them there, the more exact measurements and exotic ingredients upped the specialness of these cookies.

Simple said, simple done. I basically made this recipe structure similar to one that would would see on, say, a peanut butter cookie. Replacing the peanut butter with the nutella, the exchange was fairly similar. However, the dough gets very dry when the flour is incorporated, so, instead of one egg, I added two to the mix. Just like a chocolate chip cookie.

One of the more exotic ingredients is cavier. I used, you know, Beluga, but you can use any kind of caviar, or roe. You know, how us high-society folks do.

Just kidding, vanilla bean seeds. They add a special kick to it.

You know…a high-society kick…

Then add the nutella.

Pretty batter!

To mix in the chocolate chips, I actually poured the finished dough into a large bowl and mixed them in with my hands. The dough doesn’t stick to your hands, its totally fine and fun! Its just a very dense batter.
Then you roll the dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in size, then bake!

I actually think that they turned out even better looking than the ones last time!

These were the first ones

Much better

Enjoy!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients
1 stick Unsalted Butter
3/4 c. Nutella
1 tsp. Espresso Powder
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 Eggs
1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 C. Bread Flour
1 1/2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Method
-Preheat oven to 350 and prepare your sheet pan with parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet. Whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, and espresso powder in a separate bowl.
1. In your mixer, mix together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, while the mixer was running. Be sure to completely incorporate the eggs before continuing. Add vanilla bean seeds.
2. Add the nutella all at once and mix until completely combined, about 1 minute.
3. In three increments, add the flour and slowly mix to combine. Now, I found it easiest to mix in the chocolate chips by hand, the flour is almost dry.
4. Take the dough and roll it into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for eight minutes, rotate pan, then continue until the tops of the cookies appear crackled in appearance. Allow to sit on pan for two minutes before transferring to the cooling rack to dry completely. Enjoy!

Happy New Year and Happy Baking!
Clara

PS: Like the new look??

Peach Cookies


Short post today. I just got home and I don’t really have much to talk about.

I know…you’re mourning :(. I’m sorry, I’ll be good next post. On the plus side, you can experiment using that peeling trick I taught you yesterday!! Hoorah!!

Fresh Peach Drop Cookies
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/3 cup peach jam or preserves
2 tablespoons fine sanding sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Add peaches and jam, and beat until just combined.
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 2 inches apart. (If not baking all of the cookies at once, refrigerate dough between batches; dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.) Combine sanding sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle each cookie with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Happy Baking!
Clara

Cookie Dough Ice Cream


When I went to summer camp as a camper, in what seems like ages ago, we always went on a ‘Lake Trip Day’, which ultimately turned into ‘Big Surf Day’. Originally, the entire camp, utilizing five school buses, would make a huge pilgrimage to the Lake of the Ozarks for lunch and swimming. Then, after about two hours, we would drive over to the huge waterpark called Big Surf to have waterslide-y, awesome fun ness. All this while singing camp songs! My favorite happened to be ‘Fried Ham’, where you would sing the verses in a different voice for five or six times.

Fried ham, fried ham, cheese and bologne, after the macaroni we’ll have…

*Ahem*, anyway, after a little while of being at Big Surf, we had snack time. During this, we would crowd the ice cream stand in our bathing suits and bare feet upon the HOOOOOTTTT concrete so that we could enjoy ice cream or popcorn. Now, the one that was always hard to get, and you had to get there before everyone else to enjoy was cookie dough ice cream…It was SOOO good. Now, considering that I haven’t been a camper for a few years, and it had been so long since I could indulge in this treat, I decided to make it myself. But how do I make cookie dough without using eggs? Since that tends to freak out people (and myself) to use totally raw eggs in a dough that was never going to be baked in the first place?


The secret is to replace it, kiddies. If you use a teensy bit of milk and mix it in, it replaces the moisture that the dough needs! After that, everything is the exact same as cookie dough, except there is no leavening, and I utilized the magic of the mini chocolate chips that I hadn’t used in ages.
When you mix everything together (there’s no issue here with over-mixing), dump the dough into some plastic wrap, then smoosh it to be as thin as you can get it. After this, stick it in the freezer while you make your ice cream .

Now, when it is firm, you can cut it up into teeny squares, or you can just get your hands dirty and break it up into tiny cookie dough bits. My recommendation here is to not make them too big, they need to be the right size in order to be pleasant. I would go for about…oh…1/4 inch chunks, you can go up to 1/2 inch, but I wouldn’t push it.

Now, since they are so small and you’ve been handling them, the dough bits would have softened a bit at this point. Arrange them on your cutting board (which is what I used) and put them in the freezer again the flash freeze them. At this point, you can make your ice cream, just make sure your mix is super cold! This insures a smoother consistency and a faster freezing process.

Take your dough bits and sprinkle them into the completed ice cream, not before! AFTER! Mix them in. Actually, fold them. Then immediately put into the freezer and freeze for at least four hours.

An indulgence on its own, luckily I used the low-calorie ice cream here! Ha! I outwitted the fattening-police!

Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Ingredients
1/2 Stick Butter
1/4 C. plus 2 T. Brown Sugar
1/8 C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp. Salt
3/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 C. Mini Chocolate Chips

1 Recipe Vanilla Ice Cream, any recipe your choice, that is the one I used here.

Method
->PREPARE ICE CREAM MIXTURE ABOUT AN HOUR OR TWO IN ADVANCE, SO THAT IT HAS TIME TO BECOME COLD ENOUGH TO CHURN
1. Cream together butter and sugar until combined, pour in the milk and vanilla and mix it in as well. Mix in the salt and flour, followed by the chocolate chips.
2. Wrap dough with plenty of plastic wrap, and flatten down to about 1/4 inch thickness, place into the freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.
3. When firm, break up dough into 1/4 inch chunks and spread in an even layer on a tray then return to the freezer. (NOTE: I only used half of the chunks in the recipe, they are just right for the ice cream recipe, so you can take the remaining half of the chunks and put them in a plastic baggie once they are frozen and leave them in the freezer for if you make the recipe again. They ARE NOT suitable for baking, as they have no leavening in them.)
5. Prepare ice cream in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place finished ice cream into a freezer-safe container and fold in the cookie dough, then immediately freeze for at least four hours prior to serving.
6. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Double Chocolate Muffins

For those of you who have tried to make muffins with high crowns, you and I can agree that it is no easy science. There’s all sorts of stuff having to do with this. Batter’s too thin, batter’s been mixed too much, the oven’s too hot, the oven’s not hot enough, cups not filled high enough, yadda yadda yadda.

(Yadda? What a weird word…What is it…Russian? Yiddish?

…Martian?)

Anyway, I learned from this recipe, that it has to do with starting the oven off at a SEARINGLY hot temperature, then letting it down! It seems so simple!

So, you make the batter according to the muffin method, in other words, the standard quickbread method. Here we go:

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, as is normal. Then, mix together the wet ingredients thoroughly.
2. Pour the wet ingredients OVER the dry ingredients. This will make things easier to mix.
3. Stir, I like to use a whisk, for 10 seconds. Ten round turns. 1,2,3,4…you know :). When you reach ten DROP THE WHISK. DROP IT. I see you holding the whisk still, yes, you. Drop it. It’s still lumpy? That’s fine, it will cook out.
4. Gently fold in the chocolate chips for no more than 4 seconds. Don’t let yourself overmix this. If you over mix the muffins, their normally tight crumb structure will break up into huge holes into something that’s known as ‘tunnelling’.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds. I promise :). Okay class, school’s out for summer.

Well, not in ClaraBakes’ world, I’m teaching your baking summer school, break out your textbooks, kiddies. Where is my apple?

Moving on…sorry.

Scoop out the batter evenly in your muffin cups. I used cupcake wrappers, but you are more than welcome to just use the pan and spray it well. In my world, muffins are ugly cupcakes, and cupcakes are muffins’ pageant sisters whom they are jealous of. Fill them as high as they can go, heck, level with the top. This batter is so dense that it isn’t going to seep over the top if you ‘overfill’ it.

Then you stick them in your 500 degree (you heard me.) oven for one and a half minutes. This will crisp up the outside and kind of ‘keep it there’ as it rises upward. Giving you a nice high crown!

Not bad, not bad at all :). They aren’t dry like other chocolate muffins I have tasted. They are moist and oh-so-chocolatey. Fun process too! I live to be slightly afraid in my kitchen. 500 degree oven? Fun times.

Double Chocolate Muffins
Ingredients
7 tablespoons unsalted salted butter
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Morton Kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)**
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 generous tablespoon honey
1 large egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup extra dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method
Preheat oven to 500 degree F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Melt the butter in a medium size microwave-safe bowl and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the milk, honey, egg, yogurt and vanilla into the bowl with the melted butter. Scrape the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wide spatula scraper until mixed – it should be lumpy. Stir in the chocolate chips. At this point, the batter should be thick enough to kind of pile into the muffin cups. It should not be soupy or runny at all.

Divide the muffins evenly among the muffin cups filling the muffin cups as high as you can. Put the muffin cups on the center rack, close the oven and bake at 500 for about 1 ½ minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and cook for another 18-20 minutes at 375 degrees F until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool.

Makes 12

**I put the brand of salt since Diamond brand is a coarser grain. If you happen to use a really coarse Kosher salt, use a pinch more.

Guys…

I think I need an intervention.

You know, the one where you guys sit me down in the dining room couch, one of you has the back of the chair in the front and you are resting your arms on the top and looking at me with a sense of concern. The one where one person is leaning forward on their knees and twiddling their thumbs while saying “You know how much we love you, but…” then you sigh, and stutter a bit to figure out the right words to say.

And I’m sitting back in my chair, tapping my foot, thinking about going back to the kitchen and writing up another abomination that is dangerously delicious.

I need an intervention.

Because I made these cupcakes. What are they? Are they cookies? Are they cakes? Are they cupcakes?

No.

They are:
Chocolate. Chip. COOKIE. Cupcakes.

Put down the chair…I don’t want to talk about this now. All I know is is that, I’m going to be darned to heck. But before I do, let me make a seven minute frosting.

Let me ice them.

Eh. Not glitzy enough.

I’m so sorry, guys.

So very sorry. I’m a mess. This is a mess.

A delicious, delicious mess.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes
Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
4 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tsp. Espresso Powder
1 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 C. Cake Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 T. Baking Powder
1 1/4 C. Milk
2 C. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Grated Semisweet Chocolate, for garnish
Seven-Minute Frosting, recipe below

Method
-Preheat oven to 350, mix together both flours, baking powder, and salt, and line cupcake tins with liners, set aside.
1. In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on MEDIUM-HIGH speed. Add in eggs, one at a time and beating for two minutes on MEDIUM speed for each egg (it should last 8 minutes, it makes everything smooth and luscious, please do it.) Add vanilla and espresso powder and mix until combined.
2. With the mixer on LOW speed (or STIR setting), add in flour, altrenating with milk, starting and stopping with the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
4. Fill liners a little less than 3/4 full with batter, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and lightly caramelized on the top, about 20 minutes, turning racks in between.
5. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before icing. Makes about 4 dozen.

Martha Stewart Seven Minute Frosting
Ingredients
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
6 large egg whites

Method
In a small heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Rub a bit between your fingers to make sure there is no graininess. Raise heat to bring to a boil. Do not stir any more. Boil, washing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water from time to time to prevent the sugar from crystallizing, until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees, about 5 minutes. (Depending on the humidity, this can take anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes.)
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Remove the syrup from the heat when the temperature reaches 230 degrees (it will keep rising as pan is removed from heat). With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl (to avoid splattering) containing the egg-white mixture.
Beat frosting on medium until cool, 5 to 10 minutes. The frosting should be thick and shiny. Use immediately.

ASSEMBLY:
Top cupcakes with piped frosting and dust with chocolate shavings! Eat them, be merry, and consider taking Clara to baking rehab.

Happy Baking!
Clara

Happy Blogiversary!


I did it! I can’t believe that on November 7, 2009, I made a vow to make this a successful blog, and I doubted myself even then. Well, I can say that I am seasoned, as this is my 100th post. Out of the few blogs I created, this is the first one that I have carried on and remembered to post with past the introductory post. I created this blog with a vision, and I intend to carry on that vision well into the future. Thank you for all the support :).

I wanted to do something special for this very special post, so I just decided to make some chocolate chocolate cookies. Develop my own recipe, so in the very beginning I melted the chocolate with the butter and didn’t use so much flour. What I ended up with was a cookie that looked like this:

As you saw in the first first picture, they are flat flat flat. HOWEVER, I noticed one other thing; they tasted so much like the levain double chocolate cookies that I could hardly stand it! I had to make them again, tweaking them so they wouldn’t be so flat and owuld have that rich consistency. What I did for the first batter was that the butter and the chocolate were melted together, similar to a brownie batter. To get some height, I figured that keeping the fat solid, it would help it puff a little more. I also added one less egg to the new batter.

It takes about five minutes to cream the butter to the light and fluffy point, please take it there, its very important. To that, you want to add in your dutch process cocoa and espresso powder.

See? Handy guide! Excuse my chicken scratch, but you want to beat those togther until thoroughly mixed, then add in the eggs one at a time. The batter will get light in color.

Like that, I also used two different chocolates in both batters, half semisweet and half bittersweet. I baked it following the same times as the other levain copycat that I made before. The result?

THERE YOU HAVE IT, MY FRIENDS. This cookie OWNS the other one… the picture even says so. See? There you go. You’re welcome.

The cookies are best when they are fresh, but when you pop them in the microwave for ten-fifteen seconds, the consistency gets very similar. So good! I didn’t even realize I did it.

Levain Bakery Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Copycat
Ingredients
1 stick plus 1 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
1/4 C. plus 2 T. Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
1 T. Espresso Powder
2 Eggs
2 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 Tsp. Sea Salt (or Kosher)
1 C. Semisweet Chocolate Chips (or chopped chunks)
1 C. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or chopped chunks)

Method
-Preheat oven to 375, prep pans with parchment paper and sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in cocoa and espresso and mix until well combined. Mix in eggs one at a time until well-incorporated.
2. Gradually add in flour mixture and mix in until just combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Fold in chocolate.
3. Using a 1 1/4 in. disher, scoop out dough balls and space 2 inches apart on pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350 and bake for 8 minutes longer. Allow to cool on pans for 1 minute then transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy them!

If you want to know the proportions for the flatter recipe, email me and let me know, I’ll tell ya :].

Happy Baking!
Clara