Fail-safe chocolate chip cookies

Hello blogosphere! Today I bring you one of the most popular recipes ever. A google search brings up about 26,600,000 results. It is a quintessential American recipe and is considered the ultimate comfort food. I’m talking about the chocolate chip cookie.

Ruth Graves Wakefield published the first chocolate chip cookie recipe in 1936. She owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, MA, and allegedly discovered chocolate chip cookies by accident, when she added chocolate chips to a drop cookie recipe, intending to make chocolate cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies have been a staple in the Thordal house for as long as I can remember, almost as long as we have received the New York Times. So it makes sense that our cookie recipe would originate from the newspaper. However, we have deviated from that recipe a bit (the cookies in the images below use mini chocolate chips and whole wheat flour).

We always use the thick-and-gooey version of this three part recipe, however here is the thin-and-crisp version as well as the flat-and-chewy variety.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups bittersweet chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Cookies (inspired by NY Times)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with a Silpat or parchment powder. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and blend until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate. Chill the dough for several hours (preferably overnight.)
  3. Roll tablespoons of dough into rough spheres (for thick cookies, make as tall as possible). Bake for 8-10 minutes, switching the sheets halfway. Let sit for 5 minutes on cookie sheets, then transfer to cooling racks.
  4. Enjoy warm with a glass of milk!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting

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Blog readers – get ready for the biggest event of the year. It’s October, which means it is Pumpkin Month! All month, Ellie and I are going to be posting recipes that use pumpkin all month and we are so beyond excited! We ❤ fall. Even though fall in New England is very different from fall in California, I can still pretend that the leaves are changing color and that I need to wear sweaters all the time. 😛 Seriously though, fall is the best time of year.

These cupcakes are incredible. The best recipes come when you’re baking with friends, and this recipe is proof. S, N, and I frosted these together. Don’t you love the swirled, two-color effect (special note to those of you in my English class: not affect)?  We chose purple and orange for Halloween, but you could do this with whatever colors you want. Speaking of amazing fall frosting, one of my fave bakeries posted this on Instagram the other day. Beautiful! So are the flavors in this cupcake. Pumpkin bread is my favorite fall dessert (funnily enough, I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie), and that’s what these cupcakes taste like. The cinnamon frosting tastes like fall itself! There are no words for the combination of cinnamon and pumpkin.

Such exciting things happening right now! Ellie just got a puppy! I have always been a dog person, and I think puppies are God’s gift to the world. Plus Yogi the Schnoodle is absolutely adorable. He gets his own blog too! Yay!

As you can tell, I’m very excited. You will be too, once you try these cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting (cupcakes adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:

  • for the cupcakes:
      • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use a pinch each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice)
      • 2/3 cup (133g) packed dark brown sugar
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree (canned is best here)
      • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
      • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • For the frosting:
      • 2 sticks of butter, softened
      • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
      • 2 tablespoons milk
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla
      • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
      • Optional: for swirl effect, 2 colors of gel food coloring (I used purple and orange for halloween).

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 12-count full-sized muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners.

  1. First, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger into a medium bowl.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk brown sugar and eggs together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla into the brown sugar and eggs.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined, being careful to not overmix the batter!
  5. Pour batter into the prepped muffin pan and bake for 17-18 minutes. Allow to cool completely (I’m impatient, so mine go in the fridge) before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. In a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until combined, about 1 minute. To frost, use a piping bag and tip (I used a wilton 1M) or a plastic bag with one corner cut off. Or, try the swirl technique below.

For the swirl:

  1. Divide frosting into 2 bowls.
  2. Add one color to each bowl, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place your piping bag into a tall glass, pulling a “cuff” over the top.
  4. Using a spatula, stuff one color into half the piping bag.
  5. After rinsing your spatula, use it to stuff the other color into the other half of the piping bag. The two colors should be SIDE BY SIDE, not stacked.
  6. Pipe frosting onto your cupcakes and admire the swirled effect!

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Modern Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Listen up folks, today we have something you are NOT expecting…crustless pie! You heard me right, a CRUSTLESS pie! The most important part of the pumpkin pie is the filling, so the more the filling, the merrier! Right? Why not have the whole pie be filling! Be prepared to eat the pie right out of the pan, maybe the whole thing;)

October is a month of pumpkins, scarfs, slippers, and all things fall! So this month, we are going to try to do a pumpkin showcase! Bere with us, we will do our best with Pumpkin Month! We are so excited, so let the pumpkin-filled games begin!

This pie is super fun and modern! I thought it was going to be much harder, but it was surprisingly easy! Make this pie if you are craving a delicious, sweet, flavor-filled treat!

Pictures to come!

This pie is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction’s The Great Pumpkin Pie

Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15oz)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash of ground pepper (⅛ teaspoon)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of milk

 

Directions:

 

  1. FOR OPTIONAL PIE CRUST LEAVES: Follow Martha Stewart’s pie crust, but do not roll out crust yet.
  2. Whisk the pumpkin, eggs, and brown sugar together. Make sure the mixture is combined before adding the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk. Whisk until everything is combined.
  3. OPTIONAL PIE CRUST LEAVES: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the crust into any shape. Using leaf pie cutters, cut out the leaves. Place the leaves onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pour the pie filling into a pre-sprayed glass pie pan. Pour the filling so it is about ¾ full. Bake the pie for 50-55 minutes, it is okay if the center is still wobbly. Let cool and decorate with pie crust leaves. Store in fridge and enjoy!

 

Not Your Average Apple Cider Holes

Hi there fellow bakers! Today we have, dun dun dun, apple cider donut holes! Growing up in Massachusetts, apple picking is an autumn festivity. Lots of people spend their Sunday afternoons going to fall fairs, pumpkin patches, and of course picking apples! After spending all this time reaching for the top apple on the tree, what should I do with all of my delicous findings, I thought to myself. There are soooo many different apple recipes. From apple pies, to strudels, to applesauce, there are lots of possibilities!

Last year, while apple and pumpkin picking, my friend and I went to the concession stand and got apple cider donuts. When we tasted the moist, soft treats, we loved them, but thought about how much better they would be if we made them at home! The next week, the same friend and I made those scrumptious donuts, but in bite-sized form and instantly, a tradition was formed! Now every year we make these, and each year they get better and better!

Make these muffins for a delicious, easy, perfectly flavored snack! They pair perfectly with a tall glass of apple cider, or simply on their own! Hope you enjoy:)

This recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes, and makes about 72 mini muffins.

Ingredients:

Donuts:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ granulated sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, simmer the apple cider until it is reduced to ½-¾ cup. This will take about 20 minutes.
  2. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in your largest bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and ½ of the apple cider reduction.
  4. With a rubber spatula, lightly indent the dry mixture into the sides. Pour the wet mixture into the center, and combine. Gently mix together until just combined, and very few lumps remain. DO NOT OVER MIX!
  5. Pour the batter* into the muffin pans until ¾ full. Bake the muffins for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Combine the sugar and cinnamon to make cinnamon-sugar. Lightly brush the butter onto the muffins and dip them into the cinnamon-sugar. Serve that day, or cover tightly for up to three days! Yum!

*Spray the spoon with non-stick cooking spray before pouring the butter. It will keep the batter from sticking to the spoon!

Red Velvet Cake

Attention, readers! Here in the Palo Alto kitchen we have a science-defying, diet-busting, jeans-shrinking, mind-blowing red velvet cake. This distinctly Southern delight was inspired by a certain character in a certain play that a certain theatre class is certainly performing soon! That would be Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias, people. Yup, that’s the one where (SPOILER ALERT) everyone cries. The absolute tear-jerker of a play manages to be hilarious, devastating and breathtakingly written at the same time. I get to bring to life the matriarch of the whole thing, the epitome of a proper Southern lady (not unlike a particular grandmother [yup, Gram, I’m talking about you]). Clairee is sweet and sassy and she inspired this cake. The cake itself is a bomb.com recipe from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. I got it from a woman who found it in her shed with a note that said that the recipe-recorder had paid $250 dollars for it.

The decorations were – an adventure. I, being the Buzzfeed addict that I am, was inspired by one of those classic Buzzfeed lists, this time about cake decorating. Unfortunately, once I’d melted my chocolate, with which I was going to artfully pipe out some pretty decorations, I added cold milk. This turned my nice, melted chocolate into basically chocolate clay. I will let you in on a secret, readers. I am a baker. I am not a decorator. Decorations are usually the weakest part of whatever I am baking. Hopefully I will improve with time, but it is a work in progress. Riley Guggenhime, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU! you are a decorating lifesaver. So here it is. The cake that tastes delish, has a beautiful red color, and which broke the no sugar pact I’d been keeping up for a week.

Note: Try this substitute for cake flour: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons regular flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch. You can put the cornstarch in the bottom of your measuring cup. For buttermilk, try this: 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. I learned that from Sally – thanks, Sally!

Waldorf Astoria Cake from Food.com:

Makes two 8-inch round layers.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces red food coloring (I used “christmas red” gel)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 2 1cups cake flour (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and eggs.
  2. Make a paste with red food coloring and cocoa. It will basically still look like cocoa powder, your paste will not turn red. Add to mixer.
  3. Combine flour and salt, then add half to the mix.
  4. Add half your buttermilk, then the rest of the flour and salt.
  5. Now, add the rest of the buttermilk and mix.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Create that super fun reaction with the baking soda and vinegar together (let out your inner second-grader!) and wait for it to stop bubbling a bit to add it to the mix.
  8. Pour into greased and floured cake pans (I also put parchment paper circles on the bottoms of mine), and bake at 350˚ for 24-30 minutes.
  9. Let cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting from the Food Network:

  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces soft cream cheese (I used low fat neufchâtel cheese)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, with mixer on s l o w  s p e e d.
  3. Beat in vanilla.

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and yes, I am burning the almost-midnight oil to post this. you’re welcome. 😉

Feels Like Fall Soft Pretzels

Hi Fellow Bakers! Sorry for not posting last week, we have been VERY busy! So from now on, we will be trying to post on Thursdays. Yesterday was my first day of school, ugh. I wish we could have summer all year long, NO WINTER! After last year, I’m so sick of the cold and snow and snow and snow and snow!!!! UGH! Anyway, let’s get to baking!

Today, I have for you Feels Like Fall Soft Pretzels! These pretzels are soooooo delicious that they were gone within a day. They are just like your favorite store-bought ones, but like 10x better! Not only are these pretzels DEEEElicous, but they are super fun to bake! I PROMISE you, you will N-O-T regret making these scrumptious fall treats!

I revised this yummy snack from our favorite blogger Sally McKenney with Sally’s Baking Addiction! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you totally should! She has great recipes and techniques. I hope you LOVE these soft pretzels just like I do!

~Eleanor/Hingham Kitchen

This recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook.

Yields about 8 pretzels.

Ingredients:

Pretzels:

  • 1 packet standard yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  • 1 ¼ cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra
  • 1 pot full of water (about 9 cups)
  • ⅔ baking soda

Topping:


Savory:

  • 3-4 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Sweet:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • PREP: Preheat oven to 425°F. Place parchment paper or silicone baking mats on two large baking sheets. Set aside.
  • MAKE THE DOUGH: Combine the yeast with the warm water in a medium sized bowl. Allow for the yeast to fully dissolve before whisking in the salt and brown sugar. Add the flour slowly, one cup at a time until the dough begins to form. Do not add too much flour, or the pretzels will be too hard.
  • KNEAD THE DOUGH: Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cut the dough into 7-8 sections with a sharp knife.
  • ROLL THE DOUGH: Roll each section into a 18-20 inch rope; not too thin. Form the rope into a giant U shape. Then take the ends and twist them together toward yourself to create a pretzel shape.
  • BOIL THE PRETZELS: Whisk the large pot of water with the baking soda. Bring to a boil. Place a pretzel onto a strainer and dip into the boiling water until it floats to the top; about 30 seconds. Take the pretzels out of the water and place onto the baking sheet. Repeat with all of the pretzels.
  • BAKE THE PRETZELS: Bake the pretzels for 10 minutes. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl together. Remove the pretzels and brush the top with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar or salt. Bake the pretzels for another 5-8 minutes, or until their bottoms aren’t raw. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with more of your desired topping.
  • ENJOY!: Serve warm for best results:)! Pretzels will last for up to two days in an airtight container!

Please answer the question below!

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Summer Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa are like summer in one bite! Which reminds me, where has summer gone? It’s already almost time for, well I’m not gonna say the word. Anyway, today I decided to make homemade tortilla chips and salsa! I had never made the tortilla chips before, but I thought how hard can it be? They’re just tortillas, salt, and a little bit of oil, right? So I set out to find the perfect tortilla recipe, which happened to be at thekitchn.com, but I did tweak the recipe just a teeny bit! These chips are just soooo good, not to mention soooo easy, so I hope you enjoy!

Confession: I have a small obsession with chips, especially tortilla ones. And now, I have a new favorite chip to add to my list. Another bonus to these chips is that they are made with corn tortillas, not flour tortillas. They are so much better for you! Just another reason to make AND eat these chips ;). So enough about these chips, time to talk about the salsa. Yes, I mean the salsa. It is the flawless pairing with these delicious chips! Okay, I think we’ve had plenty of talking, let’s get to cooking this AMAZING snack!

Let’s get right to the point, you will not regret making these chips and salsa! They last for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container, but I’m not sure they’re gonna last that long!

~Eleanor/Hingham Kitchen

Yields about 128 chips, and 5 cups of salsa.

This chip recipe is adapted from thekitchn and the salsa recipe is adapted from Vitamix.  

Chips:

Ingredients:

  • 16 small corn tortillas
  • 4 TBSP+ oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Lime juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. PREP: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush 2-4 sheets with oil. If you only have two sheets, you will have to do two rounds of chips.
  2. OIL THE TORTILLAS: Place one tortilla on a cutting board, and lightly oil. Stack another tortilla on top and repeat the process until you have used all of them (4 tortillas per baking sheet).
  3. CUT THE TORTILLAS: With a large knife or a pizza cutter, divide the tortillas into eight sections by cutting in half four times. This will give you eight stacks of tortillas.
  4. LAY OUT THE TORTILLAS: Arrange the tortilla wedges out on the oiled baking sheets. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and lime juice, as desired.
  5. BAKE THE TORTILLAS: Place the baking sheets in the oven for 10-13 minutes. Check your chips at 8 minutes, and rotate the pans to get an even bake. Homemade tortilla chips are likely to have a few brown spots, so be alarmed if you see a few.
  6. FINISH: After the chips look done, take them out and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes before serving.

Now for the salsa…

Salsa:

Ingredients:

  • ½ medium onion peeled, quartered
  • ¼-1 whole jalapeño (depending on your liking of spiciness!), seeds and membranes removed
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tomatoes, quartered (20 quarters)

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and 5 tomato quarters in a blender. Slowly increase the speed to medium and blend for 10-15 seconds before pausing and lightly pressing the ingredients into the blades.
  2. Place the remaining tomatoes in the blender and blend until only small chunks remain, but do not over mix.
  3. Serve with your yummy tortilla chips!

Bon Appétit!

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