The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t believe I’m over stating it when I say these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

I affectionately call these “Tessa’s cookies” because the recipe comes from a former coworker named Tessa. She brought these to a work potluck once and then she was required to bring them to every following potluck. And then she gave me the recipe and I’m hooked.

They are the perfect mix of salty and sweet, jam-packed with chocolate chips. Plus they are firm around the edges and then soft and gooey in the middle. What more could you ask for from a chocolate chip cookie?

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I’m not even going to give you the ingredient list for a single batch. No. I’m just going to double it outright. This makes a little more than 4 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 scant teaspoons salt
A little over 4 cups of chocolate chips
Coarse Kosher salt

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Waiting for the butter to soften is the hardest part of this recipe. I usually cut it into smaller pieces and let it sit on my counter for awhile.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is warming up, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla and egg until fluffy.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt (not the course salt).

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Add sifted dry ingredients and mix until combined. I do them in shifts. A couple spoonfuls at a time.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

 

Then you are going to need to fold in the chocolate chips. Do this by hand with a spatula and not with your mixer.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I bought the industrial sized back of chocolate chips from Costco. It was worth it.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Spread the chocolate chips throughout the mixture until all combine.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I use a tablespoon scoop so all the cookies are roughly the same shape and size.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Drop onto a greased sheet or nonstick foil. Do them all at once. I end up with four pans worth. You aren’t going to remove the cookies from the pans until they set up.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Then bake for 6-10 minutes. I’ve found the perfect time for me is 8 minutes.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Leave the cookies on the pan until they cool down! They set up on the pan and become firm yet soft.

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Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken

Bacon. I wanted some. I wrote about a Baconfest recently and I have just been thinking about eating some bacon. So I decided to incorporate it into dinner. Plus, lucky me, I found an awesome deal on bacon.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 1

This had a bit of kick to it, more than I expected. It smelled amazing (until the brown sugar started burning, but that’s besides the point).

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 6

Ingredients:
– At least three chicken breasts
– 1 lb. of bacon
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar
– Cayenne pepper or chili pepper

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 5

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the chicken, then portion it out into two or three pieces per breast.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 4

Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can do the same with the cayenne pepper or chili powder. I used cayenne, but it ended up being a bit more spicy than I wanted. Take into account who will be eating it.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 7

Wrap each piece of chicken with one slice of bacon.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 3

Take each piece of bacon-wrapped chicken and roll it in the brown sugar.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 2

 

Stick the chicken in the oven for 30-40 minutes. At 35 in my oven, the extra brown sugar on the pan starting to brown too much. So make sure to check it when it’s getting close.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 8

Yum! Peas and alfredo pasta on the side.

 

Rolo-stuffed sugar cookies

I’ve wanted to try stuffing cookie dough with something else for awhile now. A trip to the grocery store this weekend provided an excuse to try. The tube of cookie dough was 50 percent off.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 1

I’m sold on the awesomeness. Look at that! Yum.

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Two ingredients: sugar cookie dough and Rolos.

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I unwrapped two dozen candies (photo taken before I was done in case you count the number in the bowl).

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Slice your dough into even pieces. About half an inch thick is good. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 5

Take one slice of cookie dough and one candy. Roll up the Rolo in the sugar cookie dough.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 4

Space out the cookies on a large baking sheet. Stick it in the oven for about 11 minutes.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 3

After cooking time is done, let the cookies sit until they are pretty cool on the baking sheet. Don’t try to move them or they will smush or break.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 2
Look at how gooey that is! So good.

 

Prosciutto, asparagus and parmesan spaghetti

This was one of the first recipes I tried off of Pinterest. It has become a huge hit and I rarely have leftovers when I make it for people. But it has also become a sort of treat, since prosciutto is a bit more expensive. It is worth it though.

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti 6

Although, I do end up munching on the prosciutto while I’m waiting to cook it. 🙂

The recipe is from ValSoCal. I did make a few changes from the original recipe. I’ve also been a little more free-wheeling with the ingredients since I usually end up with just slightly over what the original recipe calls for. My changes are in the parentheses.

Prosciutto, asparagus and parmesan spaghetti
adapted from ValSoCal
– 8 oz. angel hair pasta or spaghetti
– 1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream (or one pint)
– 4 oz. of prosciutto (or 6 oz. in a package)
– 1 lb. asparagus (I just grabbed a rubber-banded bunch from the store)
– 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese (I just used a couple handfuls)
– 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper
– garlic powder

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti 1

Start by boiling up your pasta according to the package directions. Chop of your asparagus. I usually chop into threes.

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti 2

Take your prosciutto and shred it into pieces.

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti 3

In a pan, use some olive oil and fry up the asparagus and prosciutto. It only takes a couple minutes. You still want the asparagus to be a little crunchy and bright green.

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti 4

Pour in your heavy cream, the cheese and then season with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir and let the sauce thicken. It should only take about 4-5 minutes. Put your pasta into the pan and stir.

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti 5

Serve it up in a bowl. You could top with more parmesan or even some crispy bits of prosciutto. This is so good. It is better to eat it all the first night. It’s not as creamy if microwaved. I think I’d want to add in some peas or some spinach.

 

Honey Beer Bread

I am not a fan of beer. I just don’t get it. The taste has just never appealed to me. However, beer bread? That’s something I can get behind. I never stock beer in my fridge, but I usually can snag a leftover bottle from a family party. This is the second time I’ve made this recipe (originally from gimme some oven) and it’s super tasty and filling.

Plus, it’s a no knead, no rise, no yeast dough. It takes no time to make!

Honey Beer Bread 6

Doesn’t that look delish? It’s a bread that can be eaten as a side to a savory meal or sweetened up for breakfast or a snack.

Honey Beer Bread 1

Ingredients:
– a 12 oz. bottle of beer
– 2 tablespoons of honey
– 3 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 4 tablespoons melted butter

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and greasing a loaf pan. Then, whisk together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar and baking powder).

Honey Beer Bread 2

Stir in the honey and the beer to make a dough ball.

Honey Beer Bread 3

Pour half of the melted butter into the bottom of the loaf pan.

Honey Beer Bread 4

Spread the dough into the loaf pan.

Honey Beer Bread 5

Pour the rest of the melted butter on top of the dough. Now, I put the loaf pan onto a baking sheet and then into the oven for about 50 minutes or until a knife stuck into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let it cool slightly then serve!

Honey Beer Bread 7

Ooo some melted butter and a drizzle of honey? So good. And check out how deliciously golden the bottom of the bread came out.

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake

Quick and tasty dinner recipe anyone?

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 6

This is one yummy recipe. I don’t know why I haven’t mixed marinara and alfredo before. I found this recipe on Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour.

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 1

Ingredients:
– 1 jar of alfredo (mine was 16 oz.)
– 1 jar of marinara sauce (this was 23 oz.)
– 1 box of penne
– 2 cups of mozzarella cheese

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 2

Make the box of pasta according to the box, or to your level of doneness. Drain the pasta. In the same pot, pour in your jars of sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 3

 

Stir and you get an orange/pink sauce.

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 4

Throw your pasta back into the pot and mix it all together.

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 5

Pour the pasta into a 9×13 dish. Stick the dish into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The pasta will be bubbly. You can sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top and bake for a few more minutes. I just sprinkled it on top and ate.

Marinara, alfredo pasta bake 7

 

Served up some peas along with this pasta. Awesome!

Chocolate, cream cheese cake bars

I brought the pan of these (ok… I hoarded about three for myself) to work. They got rave reviews, although I had a hard time trying to figure out what to call them. I kept saying dessert bars. I got the recipe from Averie Cooks and they were originally called “White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars.” A mouthful! And I mean… these are a mouthful too. A deliciously, gooey and amazing mouthful.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 8

Ingredients:

For the cake layer:
– 1 box of chocolate cake mix
– 1 stick (1/2 cup) of softened butter
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1-2 tablespoons water

For the top layers
– white chocolate chips
– semi-sweet, milk or dark chocolate chips (I used dark)
– 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
– 4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 1

Before you start this, line a 9×13 in. glass pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray or wipe it down with vegetable oil. Also preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In your mixer, add in the box of cake mix, the egg, the butter and vanilla. It’ll be a thick batter. I added 2 tablespoons of water so that all the batter/dry ingredient would be incorporated.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 2

Take the dough out of the mixer and use your hands to flatten it out in the pan. Try to make it as even across the entire pan as possible. You’ll also need to wash your hands at this point. You’ll be covered in cake dough.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 3

In the mixer, empty the can of condensed milk and put in your cream cheese and vanilla. Start mixing.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 4

 

Take your chocolate chips and spread them across the bottom layer.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 5

Your condensed milk should be smooth.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 6

Pour the condensed milk over the chocolate chips. You may need to spread the milk over the chocolate chips with a spatula.

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars 7

 

Bake for about 25 minutes. The middle of this won’t be set up. It’ll jiggle a bit. Try not to let the top layer get too brown. Let it cool. The more it cools, the more set up it will be. But I can tell ya, the very next day, this cake bar is still totally gooey.

Yum!

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