If you like chocolate– no, if you LOVE chocolate, these are the cookies for you. They are a Christmas tradition with my family. They’re easy, nearly fool-proof, and will satisfy even the most intense chocolate cravings.
Chocolate Mudslide Cookies
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 pound dark chocolate
3 oz butter
14 oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 t vanilla
(Mix together and add to above)
3 oz cake flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 pound chocolate chips
8 oz walnuts or pecans (chopped)
(Mix into above until just blended)
Bake 375 on parchment for 12-18 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Cookies should still be shiny in the middle. If you bake them until you think they are done, you will have overbaked them.
While visiting NYC a couple of weeks ago, we went to an amazing bakery in the Village called Bisous Ciao. The shop is very simple, which is perfect for highlighting the rainbow of macarons on display. Flavors such as spiced pumpkin, caramel apple, masala chai, turkish coffee, chocolate, and lemon filled the case. While I couldn’t afford to try them all, the ones I did try inspired me to come home and give macarons a shot. As always I turned to Martha Stewart. She has a great recipe along with videos on her site. (Of course!) I’ve listed the recipe and the directions here, but the videos really helped me out. French Macarons
Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
(For chocolate macarons, substitute 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder for ¼ cup of the almond flour.)
(You can also add a bit of gel or paste food color to the batter to tint it different colors.)
- Pulse confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.
- Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag with a medium round tip. Pipe ¾ inch rounds approximately 1 inch apart on a parchment sheet. (Using a damp fingertip, smooth any peaks in the batter. Gently tap pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
- Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
- Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling.**
- Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.
** Fillings can include: hazelnut spread, butter cream frosting, preserves, fruit curds, ganache, etc. A dusting of cocoa powder or sea salt would also be a nice touch.
This is an homage to both of my homes… I was born in the north, but I’ve lived in Texas longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. So, clearly I am neither a Yankee nor a Texan, but a little of both. Pecans are falling from the trees (or rather, the squirrels are chucking them at us whenever we get too close to the pecan tree in our backyard) here in Texas, so I had to whip together a classic pecan pie. For the pie…. There are probably twelve thousand recipes for pecan pie. Some fancy (add bourbon and bittersweet chocolate and candied orange peel) and some not… corn syrup and store-bought crust. I have my own recipe. It’s (in my opinion) the best pecan pie. It focuses more on the pecans and less on the moodge that holds them together…. Now, for my Yankee friends… here in Texas sometimes people say, pee-can, (emphasis on the ‘pee’) not pe-con and never peck-ann.
Deep Dish “PEE-can” Pie
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
3 T melted butter (cooled)
3 cups toasted pecans. (These can be halves or pieces or both)
Pie dough for a single crust pie. (Either buy this or use a half recipe of the pate brisee that I listed in the apple pie recipe.)
- Combine the corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Add lightly beaten eggs and half of the pecans.
- Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Then add remaining pecans, pressing down slightly to sink them into the pie base. (This makes certain that you have lots of delicious pecan goodness on the top of the pie.)
- Place pie pan on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 50 minutes. Check periodically and cover with foil if the edges of the crust or the pecans become too dark. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done.
- Cool for at least an hour.
- Serve plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.