Monday, December 12, 2011

Ginger Chocolate Dream Cookies

These are a wonderful twist on your regular chocolate chip cookies. Everyone I've given them to has raved about them and most have asked what that sneaky special ingredient is. A few days after I brought these into work for the first time, we had a mandatory 6AM meeting. Management tried to spice things up a little bit with a game of sorts - one interesting fact about each employee that you had to match with their name. Mine was "makes delicious ginger chocolate cookies."

I first had these tasty gems when I unexpectedly moved in with someone who became one of my best friends earlier this year. This recipe was given to her at her bridal shower by a friend of hers from high school who called them Sweet Dream cookies. I altered the recipe a bit and then changed the name, since I think that name is a big overused.

So without further ado, Ginger Chocolate Dream Cookies!

1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 - 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar

Cream butter, then add the sugar, vanilla, and egg. Combine all dry ingredients and mix into wet mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. (I used the miniature ones and think they're easier to work with than the regular size. Plus they're cute!) Refrigerate dough until firm. While dough is in the fridge, preheat oven to 375*. Lightly grease baking sheets. Roll 1" balls of dough in powdered sugar and bake 12 minutes.

So yummy!!

As mentioned in the last post, I received a dozen delicious cookies each from Tiffany at Strudel & Streusel, and from Claudie at Bohemian Kitchen. Update: my third dozen have arrived! Huge thanks to Melissa at Orlando's Food Trucks

As soon as finals are over and my brain has time to recover, I'll deep clean the house and find my elusive camera cord. It will be some time before the weekend, because my sister and her new fiance are coming over to have dinner with Prince Charming and me on Saturday.

Speaking of Prince Charming, he was so wonderful this morning and made me a tasty finals breakfast before my Java exam. (I wish it would have been on the coffee instead of the programming language!) Yummy breakfast sausage, some spicy hash browns, biscuits, and eggs with spinach and pico. I've never had eggs like that before, and was pleasantly surprised!

My last final exam is tomorrow afternoon, and I have Wednesday off work, so look forward to a feta bread recipe before the weekend!

Huge thanks again to Lindsay and Julie for organizing this swap! If you are interested in participating next year, you can sign up here to get notifications. And it's not just a US event, so if you're overseas and interested in doing a little extra holiday baking (thinking of you, Veru!), there were several different countries participating this year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Celebrating the end of the semester!

One of the reasons I've hardly had time to breathe lately is because the end of the semester is nearing! Yesterday was the last day of classes for the year, so I decided to treat myself. I so rarely have the time to spend in the kitchen now (especially with finals this week and next) but I finally finished up all my obligations and decided to make dinner at 11:30 last night.

My favorite meal - both to make and to eat - is chicken piccata. I am and have always been a huge Italian food fan. Please excuse the awful phone photo. I took a few on my camera that is now dead, and I can't find the charger cord anywhere. (I feel like I've lost my mind with how busy I've been. I seem to misplace everything!)

I didn't even get to sit down and eat it at the table - I stood at the bar with my computer and finished up some Organic Chemistry nonsense. I was so glad to finally have some tasty homemade food that I didn't even care, though. I poured myself a glass of sauvignon blanc and was in heaven.

Chicken Piccata for one
1 chicken breast, trimmed 
fresh ground pepper
1/2 lemon
approx. 3/4 c. dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)
1/4 c. chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1 handful capers, rinsed

Slice your chicken breast into two cutlets. Season with fresh cracked pepper and dredge in flour. Cook in a skillet with EVOO on high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side. Before turning the chicken, juice 1/4 of a lemon over your meat. Then use the other 1/4 immediately after turning. After both sides are cooked thoroughly, pour your wine into the skillet. It should rise almost halfway up your chicken. You may need to use a little more depending on the size of your pan. Toss the artichoke hearts and capers in with the wine and let everything simmer for a few more minutes so the chicken can soak up some of the flavors, turning once again. Spoon the sauce over your chicken to serve! 

I served mine with Tomato, Spinach, and Red Bell Pepper rotini from Decio Pasta, a local company that I can never resist at the farmer's market. And of course I had to top it all off with a glass of wine. 

My cookie exchange cookies went out today. I apologize for the delay, ladies! My stand mixer has been acting up since Thanksgiving. I thought I would be able to make it work for a little longer, but was sorely disappointed when I went to bake a few days ago and was proved wrong. I had to run to the store yesterday morning for a hand mixer so I could finish these babies and send 'em out. 

I also got my second dozen exchange cookies in the mail today! The first ones, Holiday Fig & Date Cookies from Bohemian Kitchen, arrived on Monday. They didn't make it until midnight. So yummy! The second ones were Chocolate Clotted Cream Fudge Cookies from Tiffany (Streusel) at Strudel and Struesel! It's now 5 o'clock and there's not even a crumb left. It's probably a good thing I don't have a scale in the house... and that I just bought some new pants, two sizes larger than the rest of my closet. 

Sadly, I do have some crazy studying still left to do. Organic Chemistry final is Friday, my programming final is next Monday, and Physical Chemistry is Tuesday, so you probably won't see much of my face (other than the recipe reveal on Monday!) until late next week. I bought a huge block of feta at Costco today (my treat to myself for nearly being done with classes!) and I'm craving some feta bread. We'll see what it turns itself into! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

My apologies

Yikes; it's been a while!

I made all kinds of goodies for Thanksgiving dinner... and then didn't take photos. And since I hate posting recipes without photos, I didn't put 'em up.

I've had what feels like a zillion new wines lately. And again, photos were few and far between. I'll put up a few wine reviews here shortly (I attended a Champagne class last week and have some new favorites!), but I have been slacking there as well.

I got my first box of cookie exchange cookies in the mail today! The packaging was super cute and made me feel a little inadequate. So to the wonderful ladies who will be receiving my cookies, I apologize for the disappointing packaging. I also should not admit to eating all 12 cookies by myself today. Oops!

I've been travelling quite a bit for work lately. Rock Bottom Brewery in San Diego - good burgers, but mediocre beer. (Their red is very thin/weak, and their winter wheat is nothing to get excited about.) The Wine Encounter in San Diego - their flights are a little spendy, but paired well. And I guess they have half-priced flights for happy hour on certain days, which would be an awesome deal. (We had their World Tour flight - reds from Argentina, France, and Italy. They were all pretty tasty.) I found a gem in town, too. Pita Jungle, here in Tempe. Everything on their tapas menu for happy hour is either one or two bucks, and it is all excellent!

And a quick review for you, since I realized I haven't talked about my go-to cooking wine yet.
Image from
Santiago Station Sauvignon Blanc. It is from Chile, but in the New Zealand style. Definitely citrus-y. But my favorite thing about it is that it's only $3.99. Almost every reaction to the price... not a favorable one. Fear not, though! This is not your Barefoot/Pacific Peak. It is a surprisingly drinkable wine. I served a glass of this with dinner last night, and my house guest/couchsurfer commented on how tasty it was. It's probably not going to be anyone's new favorite drinking wine, but for someone who does a lot of cooking with dry whites, it is perfect. I use this most often for chicken piccata. I also use it in my crockpot chicken kiev. When you're using a bottle and a half of wine to make dinner on a college student's budget, a $4 bottle is much better than my favorite $15 bottle! They have changed their labels since this photo was taken, and I couldn't find any with the new label. It looks almost identical, but is green instead of gold.

And with that, I'm off! My finals are over mid-next week, so hopefully I'll have a little more time to spend in the kitchen, and actually take photos this time! Thank you for being so patient with me. :)