Friday, October 25, 2013

Chocolate chip cookies

My Brother got braces this week... and naturally he isn't going to be allowed to eat certain foods. So over the weekend before he got his braces, we had a cookie party of sorts. We made Milk Chocolate Cookies (which I have previously blogged about) and  Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

I realized before I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies that everyone has they favorite chocolate chip recipe, but I don't think I realized just how many recipes were out there. There are recipes that say to freeze the dough for 24 to 48 hours, to make it more of a soft chewy cookie, and there were others that called for more butter to make them nice and crunchy. In the end I found this article The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes It is a really awesome article that has a whole bucket load of chocolate chip cookie recipes, from classic chocolate chip cookie recipes (which differ from soft and chewy to crunchy) to the more experimental chocolate chip cookie recipe (like bacon chocolate chip cookies and a egg-less chocolate chip cookies).

Guess what kind of chocolate chips we used? These cool new ones that Mom found. They are Hersey's baking melts. What is cool about them is when the cookies are warm the shell of the chocolate chips are almost hard and then when you take a bite the chocolate chips were all melted and gorgeous looking, the only problem with them is since they are bigger chips they did  not mix consistently into the dough, which caused  some of the cookie dough to not get any chocolate chips in them :-/and other areas to have too many chips.

I am pretty sure that the cookies were in the oven too long because they weren't as chewy as the recipe promised. I noticed that after 5 minutes in the oven they started to get soupy looking, which caused them to flatten out. I think this lead them to being not as soft and chewy.

They still tasted good, but if you put this cookie on a plate next to the Milk Chocolate Cookie and asked me to choose, I'd most probably go for the Milk Chocolate one. Maybe it's because they're chocolate on chocolate, or maybe because they are chewy or maybe it is just because I find the dough of any classic chocolate chip cookie to be kinda dull. 

Overall this recipe was a 3 (so-so).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thoughts This Week

Luna on the left and Reba on the right
My baking has sort of taken a back seat... We have been incredibly busy and so I don't have much time to research recipes to try. 

What have we been up to lately? Well, about 3 weeks ago we were trying to  find a different way home because of a car accident and we came across what is basically a dog dumping ground. We've started dropping off food and water there, and so have other people.... which makes it both sad and cool! Sad because other people know about the dogs and cool because other people are willing to take time out of their day to at least feed these dogs. And Mom later found out after she placed a couple of dog found ads, that there are people trying to catch these dogs and network them to find homes or rescues for them.The second time Mom and Dad were dropping off food they saw these two puppies bouncing around, playing with the water in the ditch. They couldn't in good conscience just leave these puppies, so they  put them in the car and took them home. We took them to the vet, got them checked out to make sure they were all right, and we also checked them for microchips in case they were lost dogs and not dumped dogs, but nope, they had no microchips.
I think my brother and I were hoping to keep one or both of the puppies. My parents said we could keep one and find one a home... we will just keep her for as long as it takes to find her a good home. Anyway, we chose Luna because 1.) black dogs don't seem to find homes as fast and easy as other colored dogs, 2.) she is more shy submissive... maybe too submissive and we don't want her ending up as bait in a dog fighting ring, 3.) our other 2 dogs and the 3 cats seem to prefer her company and we have to try to keep the pack happy.

We think that Reba is a German Shepard mix or a Belgian Malinois Mix, but we're not sure about Luna.... some days we think they came from the same litter, other days it seems they came from different litters. The vet said that they're about 4 months old. We have de-wormed them, given them heart worm preventative, and given them their first shots as well as baths and used some Frontline spray to protect them from fleas and ticks. We don't think they were dumped for very long because they were in pretty good shape, didn't have any ticks, their nails were recently cut, etc.

So I won't be baking this week because Reba and Luna are occupying the kitchen. We are also crate training and potty training... my homeschool days have gotten a lot longer LOL.

Black and white mom
Mr. Rusty
A local animal rescue is trying to help the other dogs at the dumping ground. They were able to get two, a black and white female (she is in pretty bad shape), and a friendly guy we've been calling Mr. Rusty. I believe the rescue group found fosters for both of them. There is still the shy girl that the rescue is also trying to get... she's so shy they may have to trap her.

Shy Girl

 A little after the rescue group got Mr. Rusty, another dog was dumped, but this time the dog is in really bad shape. We call him Jack. He is a real sweetie, which I think is really awesome considering he is really underweight and he has some kind of skin condition.
One thing that frustrates and makes me mad about all this is the people that live in the neighborhood near the dogs don't drop off food... they don't even slow down when they get near the dogs, in fact they just honk at them and speed through. 


The worst thing about this whole situation was that there was another dog, Daphne, living there (we're guessing pretty much all her life) and Mom and Dad said that we would bring her home when we earned her trust. She was the one taking care
Daphne, Reba and Luna
of Reba and Luna. Sadly, the last time we dropped off food she was not with the guys, she was a little further up, so we just thought that she needed a break from the boys (because she was the only girl there). But when we checked on her it turned out she had been hit by a car. Daphne died when we were taking her to the emergency vet. Mom tells me that maybe she was waiting for us and for the first time she allowed Dad to get close to her (she wouldn't go near him before this) and pick her up. We named her and showed her some kindness and love before she passed away. We showed her that someone actually cared about her.

After that, we made a plan to get Jack the very next day... we didn't want the same thing to happen to him. We knew he would be easy to get in the car to take him home... he really likes my Dad and trusts us. We picked him up and he is staying in my Mom's future studio (the garage that was insulated and converted into a living space.) Mom was able to get a rescue group to help us vet him. He went to the vet yesterday and soon I will post the info of the rescue group in case any of you would like to donate towards his care.

He is safe.... we are slowly learning about him, letting him adjust to being here and getting him healthy. He is on medication for his skin, and he will have a follow up visit next week. I am sure I will be blogging about him and the puppies in the future. 

Shy guy is still out there. We have dropped off food for him and are hoping the ladies will be able to trap him soon. It's getting cold out and he is so far alone. Mom just wants him rescued so she can stop worrying... and also, so she can stop going out there to check on him. She doesn't want to find another dumped dog.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Persimmon Pecan Cookies

Have you ever heard of a little fruit called a Persimmon? Well I hadn't, but guess what kind of tree we have in our new backyard... Yep, a Persimmon tree.

The shape of them reminds me of a cross between a cherry tomato and a plum, but the color reminds me of an apricot. They are small enough to fit 3 or 4 in the palm of your hand.

And naturally what is the best way to eat any kind of fruit? In the form of a cookie, of course!!  

And you should know I did a couple things different. 1) I didn't use walnuts, instead I used pecans. Because they were the nuts we had in the pantry. 2) I didn't use the same amount of persimmons. Mainly because didn't want anyone to think it was gross... So I did about half. Which in the end it was more like adding persimmon chucks instead of persimmon puree. That way those who didn't like them could remove them from the cookie.

Another thing to note is I think the persimmon tree in our backyard is a different type of persimmon then the kind in the post with the recipe. Because I did a google search and it turns out there are two or three different varieties of persimmons, some are sweet and some are spicy.
Overall I think this was a good recipe...because the cookie was good cold and warm, which is usually how you know you've found a good recipe! Next time I'll have to try it exactly how the recipe says :-P 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

Are you in the mood for a peanut butter cookie? And I don't mean a cookie that has peanut butter and chocolate or some combo like that, or your boring, standard peanut butter cookie.... I am talking about a cookie that is just peanut butter. Well, if you are, check this out...

This guy is call a Peanut Butter Bon Bon, but it's not a true bon bon because it's not rolled in cocoa powder or dipped in chocolate... so really it is just a Peanut Butter Bon... see what I did there? LOL!

I'm going to do my best to describe this... have you ever tried to eat just the peanut butter part of a reese's cup? Now imagine that peanut butter goodness as a cookie.

Baking these are so simple, you just have to be vigilant. You want to take these out of the oven as soon as they start to get golden... no later! Taking them out when they start to get golden helps them stay moist on the inside and just a bit crispy on the outside... like a thin shell protecting the chewy peanut butter. A fun thing with this recipe is that instead of spooning them onto the cookie sheet, you roll them into balls and then place them on the cookie sheet, this helps them keep the shape of circles.

Overall this is like a all time favorite for my family, so this must be a 5. My grandma says we should make them into full-fledged bon bons and dip them in chocolate, but I don't know... sometimes you just want the peanut butter and not the chocolate.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Apple Cranberry Pumpkin Bread and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

A couple of weeks after making the Cranberry Pumpkin Bread, my brother and I experimented with the recipe by  adding different things instead of the dried cranberries. We came up with two very tasty results.  
The first one is... Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread!

Have you ever had a Spice Cookie? Because that is what this combo reminds me of. And let me just add that you get a chocolate chip in just about every single bite, which I think is how you know you've put the perfect amount of chocolate chips in your batter. Another awesome thing about the chocolate chips is, when they came out of the oven and cooled I don't think that the chocolate chips completely re-hardened which made it messy, but so tasty!

The other combo is... Apple Cranberry Pumpkin Bread!

This combination was more like the Cranberry Pumpkin Bread... Just with the added kick from the apples. I have to say that this one was my favorite  out of the two, which is a little odd for me because I usually go for anything that is sweet and has chocolate. Two things to note with this combo... 1) my mom recommends Granny Smith apples for this because they are tart rather than sweet...which should kick it up a notch! and 2) the Apple Cranberry Pumpkin Bread had to bake longer than the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread due to the moisture that the baking apples pieces added.

Both of these combos were awesome! I think these were 4 and a half stars. Soon I will post the recipe and I will be sure to include the measurements of the substitutions.