Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Monster Cookies

How cute are these Chocolate Monster Cookies?  It's cookie of the month time again and I just couldn't resist making these when I found them on Pinterest!

I started with the concept from these halloween double chocolate monster cookies that I found on Pinterest.  I wasn't wild about the recipe - I really wanted something closer to my tried and true Chocolate Chip recipe, but I didn't have time for experimentation, so I searched recipes for something I felt confident would work, so I used this Chocolate Chocolate Chip recipe I found on All Recipes and tweaked it to match the image.

As per my usual m.o., I switched up the order and method used too.  Melting the butter (as is almost always my custom these days), stirring in the cocoa powder after incorporating the sugar and adding the baking soda, salt and vanilla before adding the flower.  I used dark chocolate cocoa powder and skipped the chocolate chips altogether, using just Reese's Pieces and candy eyes instead.

The end result was a lovely, dark chocolate cookie with the chocolate chip cookie texture I love.  Chewey on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside.  My husband and I really wished I had included nuts too, but I wanted to be sure to make cookies that would appeal to a wide range of tastes - but nuts would add a nice crunch, balance the sweetness and, I'm sure, do nothing but add to the monster appearance of the finished product.  Why not whip up a batch with your little monsters this Halloween season?

Chocolate Monster Cookies

1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups Reese's Pieces
1 pkg candy eyes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Stir sugar into melted butter and mix until completely emulsified.  Add cocoa powder, stirring in to mix well.  Allow mixture to cool.  Add eggs and mix well.  Stir in baking soda, salt and vanilla.  Add powder to mixture and top with Reese's Pieces, stir in until just incorporated.  Chill dough for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While oven is preheating, scoop cookies onto silicone or parchment lined baking sheets (or sheets sprayed with non-stick coating).  Add 2 candy eyes to each ball of dough, pressing down lightly.

Bake 8-10 minutes, or until set.  Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes, remove to wire rack to finish cooling.  Makes 3 dozen plus.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quick Fix: White Chicken Chili

I can't believe I didn't post this recipe years ago, it's one of our absolute favorite, go-to soups.  I've made it twice this week alone.  It's ideal for a quick dinner one a week night and it's equally great for casual entertaining.

This White Chicken Chili has a slight kick to it and is full of the flavors I love - I include plenty of smokey cumin, coriander, chili powder and lime - just to name a few.

The thing about soups that make them perfect for week night meals is that you can make almost any type of soup in about 30 minutes (French Onion soup and Baked Potato soup are the two exceptions that spring to mind at the moment).  You just throw your base ingredients into the pot and you slice, dice or chop them up, saute them and add stock.  You can easily scale a recipe up or down - have a couple extra guest for dinner? Just add a couple more cups of stock.  Dinner for 2 tonight, use only 4 cups stock.  Voila - what could be easier?  Or more satisfying?

I made a video of this recipe too, here it is:

...and here's the recipe.

White Chicken Chili

1 lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped (or 1 tbls minced onion)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 can green chiles, drained
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
6-8 Cups chicken stock
Juice of 1 lime (add the zest too, if you like)
1 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or one small clove garlic, minced)
1/4 tsp coriander, ground
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat olive oil in a large soup pot or 3 qt dutch oven.  Add chicken and top chicken with the spices. Stir to coat chicken, then let chicken cook until lightly browned on one side.  Add onions (if you decide to use fresh garlic, add it now too), stir and cook until chicken is lightly browned on 2nd side and onions are translucent.  Add peppers and green chiles, stir in and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in beans and stock.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Top soup with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream and green onions and enjoy.