Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chocolate on My Mind

I’m proud to be a chocoholic. I’ve tried weaning myself off this addiction. Once I managed to avoid chocolate for two weeks, but that was a long time ago. Without the invention of chocolate chips, I might have succeeded. 

A 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips is incredibly versatile. Eating a handful now and then is one way to empty the bag. Making Chocolate Chip Cookies is another way. 

Now I’ve come up with a third way: a Triple-Layer Chocolate Cookie. 

I was inspired by a popular packaged British snack. It’s basically a very thin layer of bland-tasting cake, a layer of orange jelly and, on top, a layer of dark chocolate. 

My version uses a home-made shortbread as the base, topped with a layer of apricot jam, which is then decorated with chocolate chips. The heat of the jam doesn’t melt the chips, but it does cause them to stick. 
Triple-Layer Chocolate Cookies – makes about 20 cookies  
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 cup flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
Possibly 1/4 teaspoon water + more if needed 1 cup apricot jam 
About 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips  
Place an oven rack in the middle position and begin preheating the oven to  300 degrees.  
Get out your muffin pan(s) and set aside.  
Put the butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until the  mixture is crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse for about 10 seconds to  incorporate the flour. Transfer to a bowl.  
If the mixture is too crumbly to shape, add 1/4 teaspoon water, or a bit more  if needed. Gently bring the dough together into a mass. Take 1 tablespoon  dough and, using your hands, press it into a 2-inch disc about 1/4-inch thick  and place it in a muffin pan space. Repeat until the muffin pan(s) are  full.  
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are firm and just  beginning to brown. You may need to make several batches using the same  pan(s).  
Once the cookies are baked and cooled, use a knife to loosen each one and  transfer to a plate. At this point you can store the undecorated cookies in  an airtight container until you’re ready to complete them. Or you can  proceed directly to the next step.   
Melt the apricot jam in a small pot. Once it has become liquid, remove from  the heat and spoon 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons hot jam onto the top of each cookie.  Immediately place 8-10 chocolate chips into the jam. The hot jam will keep  them in place. Let cool before serving.   
Store in an airtight container or wrapped in foil or plastic wrap.

                          For easy recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!" 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 130

When you’re icing a layer cake and don’t have enough icing, use jam between the layers instead of icing.
                                                   See all my Cooking Tips!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Roast Beef and I

London Broil Sliced Against the Grain
Roast beef and I used to have a fine time together.  When I was growing up, going out to dinner with my family and ordering prime rib was a grand tradition.  We didn’t do it often—maybe once a year—so it was memorable.. 

My mother didn’t know how to cook prime rib.  I doubt she ever looked for it in the meat department.  As I grew up and started learning about cooking, I examined various beef cuts, but I was so confused that I mostly bought ground beef and made hamburgers. 

What was the difference between sirloin steak, porterhouse steak, New York strip steak, minute steak, flank steak, round steak and chuck steak?  Before I figured it out, I moved to London, where these cuts of meat had different names.  Luckily the city had lots of small-store butchers who were willing to answer questions.  With their help

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 129

Draft an ice cream scoop to shape meatballs or burgers, keeping your hands out of raw ground meat.

                                                    See all my Cooking Tips!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mom Money-Saving Tip 88

If you like eating fresh avocados, never freeze them.  Their texture as well as their taste will change for the worse.  I buy only as many as my family can eat before they over-ripen.  Otherwise, I'm wasting my money.

                                                        See all my Money-Saving Tips!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Edamame: What Is It and How Do I Cook It?

For a long time I thought edamame was another name for fava beans because the two look very much alike.  Then I did some research and found that edamame is actually an immature soybean.  The beans grow in pods, which are picked before they have fully ripened.  A popular snack in Japan, edamame is a good source of soy protein.

Fresh edamame may be available in Asian markets.  You are likely to find fresh and cooked edamame in the freezer or refrigerated section of supermarkets.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Question for Mom

Do oven temperatures really matter? –Jesse R.

It depends on what you’re cooking, but usually the answer is yes—especially if you’re baking.  When making a cake, pie, cookies or bread, it’s smart to give your full attention to the recipe and do exactly what it says, including oven time and temperature.  This is an especially good idea if you’re trying out a new recipe. 

Once you’ve successfully made the recipe, you can experiment.  If the cookies you baked seem a little dry, reduce the oven temperature 25 degrees or take the cookies out 1-2 minutes sooner.  If the cookies are so underdone that they fall apart when you try to pick them up, turn up the oven temperature 25 degrees or bake the cookies for an extra 1-2 minutes.

On the other hand, if you’re roasting meat or vegetables, there is much greater flexibility.  The big worry is under-cooking chicken, pork or fish.  But you can roast them at lower temperatures for longer times or, in some cases, at higher temperatures for shorter times.  A meat thermometer comes in handy here.

I’ve baked potatoes at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, at 400 degrees for 1 hour, and 450 degrees for 45 minutes.

                          For easy recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"