And here we go again. I haven’t posted much in the month of January. I blame Disney and Tim Riggins.
Ok, fine, just Tim Riggins.
I am not bragging, but I just finished the entire series of Friday Night Lights (thank you Netflix) in 1 week…and I am rounding up to 7 days, because it may have been closer to 6. 5 years of TV in a week. Yikes.
For one week, I worked, ran, and watched FNL (friday night lights). In that order. I watched fake football instead of the real games. I missed the entire Australian Open. Congrats, Djokovic. News? You mean the world was still spinning this past week? World news doesn’t really make it all the way to the make believe town of Dillon, Texas. Sorry.
I am pretty sure I went to work last Monday with a Texas drawl from my weekend binder. I said y’all at least twice. And I fell in LOVE with Connie Britton’s hair. Seriously.
And oh, did you know that 3/4th of the cast from FNL (I just acronymed a TV show…sigh) has been on Grey’s Anatomy? Coach Taylor was part of the bomb squad and was blown to smitherings. Landry had a disfigured face and ended up dying on the table, whomp whomp.. Jess had a brain tumor and Dr McDreamy saved her life. Smash is now a lowly intern. And Saracan was a soldier who opted to have his leg amputated. I am just hoping and a wishing that Tim Riggins will wander onto the set…
I was able to whip up a batch of cookies during this period of time – mainly because I promised/owed a co-worker cookies and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer – Texas football or no Texas football…cookies full of pistachios and coconut needed to be pumped out of my kitchen. Good thing I can see the TV from my kitchen
- 2+1/4 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 1 Box (3.4 ounce) Pistachio Pudding (not the sugar free version)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- ½ Cup Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
- Beat in pistachio pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Fold in coconut, chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios.
- Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet (parchment paper lined or UNgreased) and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
The week following a vacation is generally just a melancholic blur of work and laundry and grocery shopping and laundry and healthier eating and memories of warmth and sunshine. This goes for vacations lasting the usual 7 days or those extending towards two weeks and/or particularly those cut short at 3 or 4 days, the so-called long weekends.
This week was that week. Where nothing truly gets done, but one in which I feel exhausted and sleep deprived and a tad bloated and all sorts of hungry…hungry for butter and sugar and ice cream. Not carrot sticks and tuna salad. Ugh…so easy to fall out of a good habit and quite the struggle to jump back in.
Disney was great. The race was great. The weather was great. The food was great. The company was great. And the ears…I became slightly obsessed.
I look good as Mickey.
Any pistachio lovers out there? What a qui-dinky-dink. Me too.
Not long ago, I was able to pick you/we pistachio eaters out of a crowd. Those red fingers were a dead give away. Anyone know why they dyed them red? I am fully aware that a quick Google search ‘why were pistachios dyed red?’ would return multiple pages providing me with an adequate answer (and probably a correct one), but sometimes and quite often, I still like to ask questions. Similar to how I still like buying real books and compact discs. Old school livin’.
I will text and or ask questions when I can readily answer the same questions using my magic phone or the handy dandy computer I always find myself in front of. Personal Googles is what I like to call them. Each question directed to the person in my life that would be able to answer it best and most quickly. Why is the sky blue? How do I get a grease stain out of my favorite sweatshirt? Where does the wax go when candles are burned? Is there a trick to keeping your cat out of a Christmas tree? I ask game scores when I have an ESPN app made specifically for scores when you are on the go, or at work, or at a wedding. Same for the weather. I am always asking about the weather…but this may be because I stink something awful at small talk.
So my question today…red pistachios. Why red? and then also, why are they no longer dyed red? (besides the fact that we no longer prefer to ingest copious amounts of red dye #40) So many questions…also, why are they so darn addictive? Abby Sciuto was right, have you ever just eaten one pistachio? I think not. Which means, and I apologize in advance, you will probably not be able to eat just one slice of this cake. I have already eaten two slices and wondering how long I must wait before I eat a third.
This cake may become my ultimate nemesis. Self proclaimed pistachio addict and a life long lover of pound cake. Yep, I am doomed. Doomed I tell you! I beg of you to bake this…risk the doomed-ness. Totally worth it. Promise.
Shell your pistachios. Ha! Please buy them shelled, it’ll take you all day otherwise. It is worth the extra cost. Your thumbs will thank you. You will leave some whole, some roughly chopped, and others will be ground into a paste….
Ground pistachios, pistachio paste. Guess what? Pistachio paste does not look like I had imagined. What happened to the green? Where did all the brownish-yellow come from?
Cream cheese and butter need to be creamed. Martha was onto something here. I don’t think I will ever make a pound cake with just butter ever again.
Add the pistachio paste into the mix. We are gonna hide its ugliness among cream cheese and butter.
Where it will discolor your cream cheese and butter mixture and you will realize that your cake will not be green, but a light brown. I now understand why Jell-O adds green food coloring to their pistachio pudding. Light brown pudding that is not chocolate = not appetizing. At all. Or ever.
Eggs, vanilla, sugar, flour, salt, mini chocolate chips, and more pistachios are heading to this shindig.
Mini chocolate chips and the chopped pistachios get folded in last.
I should have left more in the bowl. This batter is delicious. Head in bowl, licking out the last bit delicious I however by no means suggest you should eat raw eggs.
A drizzle of a sweet glaze and a handful of chopped pistachios finishes this cake off.
I am thinking this cake would knock off the socks of relatives and co-workers for the upcoming holidays. Plus, it can be made ahead and frozen. Conquering the holidays is all about prep work. It’ll make you look like a rock-star.
- 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Pistachios, shelled and divided
- 10 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature
- 3 Ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1+1/2 Cups White Granulated Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- 1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons Milk
- pinch of salt
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ Cup Pistachios, roughly Chopped
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a loaf pan (8½ by 4½inch) with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place ½ Cup shelled pistachios into a food processor and process until a paste forms (about 3 minutes). Roughly chop the remaining ½ Cup shelled pistachios. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add pistachio paste and cream until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Beat in sugar and remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg into the mixture before adding the next. Add vanilla.
- With mixture on low, add flour and salt, mix until just combined.
- Fold in roughly chopped pistachios and mini chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 80-90 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean (with a few crumbs attached) when inserted into the middle of the cake.
- Place on wired rack and let cool. Remove from pan after 15 to 20 minutes and let cool completely on wire rack.
- Once cool, drizzle cake with icing and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
- To make icing: Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Use enough milk until desired consistency is reached ( I used 2 tablespoons of milk this go around).
Adapted from Martha Stewart.
Happy Tuesday friends!
I am gonna let you in on a little secret about myself…this whole endless sunshine and extreme warmth is wearing out its welcome. I need rain. Much like my grass. I need a few days of overcast skies and big fat raindrops. Not a thunderstorm. Just rain. No blue sky. No yellow sunshine. Just gray clouds and cool rain. Oh and that smell after the rain…Seriously, I need that! Gloomy, right? I can’t explain my love/need for this particular weather pattern…but as much as sunshine and heat make you happy, rain and clouds make me happy.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I ‘need’ to live in the cloudy and rainy and mild pacific northwest. Call me crazy. Call me nuts. Call me a whack-a-do. Or if you are my mother, you will actually be calling to tell me ‘no’. But a girl can dream, right?
And by pacific northwest, I am channeling Seattle. And by channeling, I am talking about a mild obsession.
I am more obsessed with Seattle’s weather than the actual city itself…seeing how the closest I have ever gotten to the city is by watching Real World: Seattle and Grey’s Anatomy. Not joking. Maybe I should visit first. And by maybe, I mean I am currently planning a trip…I am thinking fall and I am totally going solo. Randomly walking around a city by myself seems luxurious and simple and exciting. So, does anyone have any must do’s or see’s or eat’s for the city of Seattle? And yes, I know I will need a raincoat…polka-dotted.
And rain boots. I have always wanted rain boots.
When I am dying for some rain and I am rain danced out…I bake. Normally something I would prefer to pick at while sipping a hot cup of coffee. A hot cup of coffee that is warming my hands and soothing my soul while I read a good book or read the morning paper (if I got the paper, that is – cnn.com counts, right?). A sweet treat to balance the slight bitterness of the coffee. A sweet treat to sooth my ever hungry sweet tooth.
Chocolate chocolate chip scones did just the trick last week…when the 3rd straight day over 95 had worn me thin. Had me hoping and wishing and praying for a mere sprinkle to be released from the cloudless blue sky. I popped these scones in the oven, brewed a large pot of coffee, turned the a/c on high, and curled up in my favorite chair with a good book and pretended that the sun was not shining. Because in my world. It was raining.
- 1 + ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Dark Cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 2+3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 6 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter
- ⅓ Cup White Granulate Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Espresso Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Hot Water
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or with your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of peas. ( hint: I never seem to be able to do this quite quick enough – butter always starts to melt! I have found that grating the butter on a cheese grater and then placing butter in the freezer until needed works best!) Whisk in sugar.
- In a seperate mixing bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon of hot water and espresso powder. Once the powder is dissolved, add the cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the flour/butter mixture and add the chocolate chips. With a fork, begin to mix until the dough begins to come together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently and quickly knead dough until it forms into a ball. Roll dough out into a circle that is about 1 inch thick (or about 7 inches in diameter) and cut into 8 wedges.
- Place wedges onto prepared baking dish and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before enjoying.
- Store in an airtight container, will keep for several days.
If you learn nothing else this day, week, month, year…learn to brown butter. You will thank me.
Once you learn to brown butter, learn moderation or you might need larger pants and Lipitor. True fact.
The perk to browning butter (besides the awesome nutty carmel flavor) … it gives you a chance to practice patience. I think I am a fairly patient person. Like most, some days are better than others…but after browning butter all weekend, I think my patience level has improved 3.84 fold. Seriously.
You will want to speed the process up by increasing the heat. Don’t. Stay on medium heat. You will want to walk away to change the tv station. Don’t. Keep swirling. Keep listening to the annoying commercials. Let the phone ring, you have voicemail. You will want to remove it from the heat once it starts to turn brown. Don’t. Wait just a bit longer until the smell gets unmistakable nutty and the butter solids turn dark brown, just before burnt. AND DON’T STOP SWIRLING. Don’t let the butter solids stick to the bottom of the pan. That is burnville people. Keep out!
These cookies are probably some of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made. Hands down. And the cookie dough….well it is out of this world! I had to stay out of the kitchen while they were baking…I couldn’t keep my fingers out of the mixing bowl. It is absolutely amazing the amount of flavor the browned butter adds. Carmel hints with a bit of nuttiness….oh me oh my!
Just make these…you will see.
I don’t think I will ever use another chocolate chip cookie recipe and I might put browned butter in everything. Just sayin’.
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 Dozen
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, browned, chilled
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All – Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Whole Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Over medium heat, place butter into a saucepan. Melt. The butter will begin to pop and crackle. At this point, start gently swirling the pan. Continue to swirl the pan of melted butter over medium heat until the butter particles have turned deep brown and the butter begins to smell nutty. (the melted butter itself will be amber in color) Once brown, remove from heat and place in a small bowl. Place bowl into the fridge for about 10-15 minutes or until the butter is solid again…solid but soft enough to cream.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Once the butter is in solid form again (but soft), place in mixing bowl with both sugars and cream. — do not overmix here, just cream until combined — Mix in the whole egg, the egg yolk, and the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, slowly mix in the dry ingredients. With a wooden spoon, mix in the mini chocolate chips.
Spoon dough onto ungreased cookie sheet (or parchment covered) — these will not spread much, so about 1+1/2 inchs apart should do ya. Since these do not spread much, you may want to slightly flatten each cookie dough ball. Place in preheated oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for an additional 3 to 5 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
P.S. These freeze amazingly well if they make it that long!