Monday, September 13, 2010

White Chocolate Chip/Macadamia Nut Cookies

I have been craving these cookies for almost a month now and I finally got around to baking some last week.

I took the recipe from a baking cookbook that my grandma gave me a couple of years ago. I had to play around with it a little to make it suit my tastes.

I normally use the recipe off of the bag of Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips but I only had Toll House white chocolate chips this time and their recipe seemed a little bit strange to me.

I'll share the recipe as it was originally but I'll let you know how I modified it too.

From the All New Bake Sale Cookbook

1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chunks, divided (I used two bags of white chocolate chips)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 flake coconut, toasted (I left the coconut out completely)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Heat oven to 375F

Microwave 1 cup of the chocolate chinks in microwaveable bowl on high 2 minutes until almost melted. (I used 1 whole bag for this step) Stir until chocolate is completely melted; cool slightly. Mix flour, coconut, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in remaining chocolate chunks (I used the whole second bag) and nuts. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until just golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

*Here's my $.02 worth of opinion about these cookies*

Honestly, they weren't my favorite. Not exactly a swing and a miss but not a home run either. The cookies were a little firmer than I like my cookies to be and they were chewy, except when warm. The Ghiradelli recipe doesn't have you melt any chocolate and add it to the batter. You just use the bag of chips. Maybe that made a difference. I won't know unless I try this recipe again and tweak it some more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Paula's Pumpkin Bread

Have you ever read one of Paula Dean's magazines? I've got a subscription to it and it's one of those magazines that literally has me checking my mail box waiting for the next issue. A couple of weeks ago I got September/October issue in the mail. Of course there are lots of recipes for dinners for a nice cool evening, not that we get many of those is October/November in Florida but a girl can dream. There was also a section on taking your regular bread recipes and giving them a makeover. I was really interested in the recipe for pumpkin bread because I haven't found one that I loved. I really like the way that this bread turned out. It's a little dense and really moist and goes really, really well with a big spoonful of whipped cream on top of it.

I was going to link directly to the recipe on the magazine website but this issue isn't out on newsstands yet so it's not available on the website. (at least not that I could find) I did find another recipe from 2007 for pumpkin bread on the website but it differs from the one I've got. To make your life easier I'll go ahead and put it here but if you've got the magazine it's on page 77. I did tweak it a little bit to suit my taste but feel free to follow it to the letter, or not.

Pumpkin Bread from Sept/Oct issue of Cooking with Paula Deen 2010

Makes 2 loaves


2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 2 9x5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil and water. In another large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring until blended. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

*My thoughts*
I bet that you could use pumpkin pie spice instead of the three listed spices. I'd venture to guess that a teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half would be sufficient.

I thought that this recipe was really great. It wasn't crumbly or too dense. It was just perfect. I bet it'd be great with a cup of warm apple cider or something.

Hello Florida? It's Melissa. Would you mind cooling down some so that I could have this bread every day? I'd appreciate it and love you forever. Thanks.