Anti – Depression Chocolate Cake (aka out of everything cake)

Ok, so first off this name is a little tongue-in-cheek, as this cake has no actual mental health/medicinal/curative properties, but did come from a recipe for a cake written during the Depression. It is also sometimes called wacky or crazy cake.

I tried it during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when eggs, butter and icing sugar were not available in stores in my area.

For a cake with no eggs, butter or milk and an icing without icing sugar, it is pretty amazing! However to the base recipe I’ve added some flavourings that I think are needed to “spice things up” with such a frugal cake. The two choices I suggest are either *ancho chili powder (sometimes labelled as “Mexican chili/chilie powder” – do NOT use Chili powder which is a spice blend including garlic and cumin- the closest alternative would be cayenne pepper) or almond extract, in addition to the vanilla extract to add another layer of flavour complexity.  I also made an icing/ganache/glaze thing with chocolate chips and regular sugar that worked out quite well despite going against everything a professional chef would tell you to try.

 Pandemic Friendly Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract OR Ancho Chili powder *
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/grape seed/ neutral oil
  • 1 cup water

FROSTING

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, vinegar, either the almond extract or chili powder, oil and water. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until no lumps remain.
  3. Pour batter into a greased or parchment lined 8×8 square pan or round cake pan.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  5. Let cake cool completely before frosting if you are using icing sugar and looking for a traditional type buttercream frosting, or do it warm for a glaze type frosting that drips off like in the photo. Or skip the icing.

ICING

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in the microwave using a microwave safe dish). Stir in cocoa powder, mixture will form a thick paste. If using chocolate chips/pieces, melt for 15 second intervals until melted.
  2. Stir in the sugar while warm until it is no longer grainy.
  3. Pour over cake and resist eating it all to yourself !

Cheese Chips!!!

 

parmesan cheese chip

 
Heres the trouble folks; once you start making cheese chips you will never stop. Even with the best intentions, “I’ll just eat a few and save the rest to serve with dinner tomorrow” ultimately you will eat too many and spread the addiction to others. 

Usually, we see parmesan chips, which are delicious, mind you, but they aren’t the only cheese in the ballgame when it comes to crisp, light, flavourful homemade cheese crisps. Like usual I’ve done the experimenting for you and tried chips at different temperatures made of various cheeses including parmesan, extra old cheddar, medium cheddar, handeck, asiago, and a mix. 

  

extra old cheddar chips before baking

My favourite are the chips made from extra old cheddar (made by my local cheese shop Jenson’s and aged 2 years I believe. And don’t worry about it being orange- like most Canadian cheese makers, they use a vegetable based natural colouring). They are more crisp than asiago whichs tend to have the tiniest bit of chew and cheaper than parmesan chips, which I like almost as much. 

*Some recipes said to use a mix of finely grated cheese and coarse and after trying both I can tell you this is horseshit and it doesn’t matter. Grate it however you want!

the winner!

The recipe is so simple I’m not sure you can call it a recipe, but here it is! I recommend serving these (or at least planning to before you scarf them all down yourself) with Roasted Tomato Soup.

 

roasted tomato soup with the few cheese chips not eaten before dinner!


Cheese Chips

Grated  cheese of choice *
Preheat oven to 400f

Line baking sheet with parchment and use tablespoon to make cheese mounds. Bake for 4-6 minutes or until starting to bubble – stay close and don’t overcook!

Let cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes- they will crisp up when cool. 

Store leftovers (ha!) in a glass jar with a paper towel in the fridge for up to a week. 

 

 

Overnight French Toast Casserole 

I’m not sure how it took me this long to discover the following recipe, but it is deliciously magical in ease of preparation and a must try for a brunch or breakfast-themed weeknight dinner.

Whenever I entertain, I seem to follow a strict pattern of attempting to cook too many complicated, different brand new dishes all at once. Ultimately I am left scrambling in the kitchen and can’t enjoy the company of my guests. A few weeks ago I broke this habit by making at least 3/4 of my Pumpkinfest Brunch menu make ahead dishes that took little or no prep the day of.

 

i was able to make the pumpkin tarts, hasbrown casserole, quiche, cheeseplate, and the french toast bake the day before

This was by far the easiest and most popular dish at the party and certainly fed a large crew! I even made a half sized version last night for dinner and served with fresh fruit and peppered bacon.

My adaptations to the original recipe from Food.com are the additions of vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, salt and maple syrup.

The first time I made this I had leftover pumpkin pie filling and stirred 1/3 cup in the egg and it was very tasty and subtle.

Some pecans on top would also be lovely!

 

full sized version


Overnight French Toast Casserole 

SERVINGS 9-12 

1⁄2 cup butter 

12 slices white bread (I use brioche, raisin bread, or a freshly sliced italian or french loaf)

1 cup brown sugar (*You may wish to reduce the amount of sugar used to 2/3 cup.)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice or ground cloves

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 eggs

1 1⁄2 cups milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup 

Powdered sugar and maple syrup (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. 

Put 6 slices of bread in bottom of dish.

In a bowl mix 1 cup brown sugar with spices and salt. 

Sprinkle 1/2 of this sugar mixture over bread.

Add another layer of 6 slices of bread.

In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk, maple syrup and vanilla until well blended.

Pour over bread layers.

Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.* 

Bake covered at 350F 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue baking 15 minutes or until set and browned.

Top with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup before serving. Raspberries and whipped cream served on the side make it very decadent! 

Leftovers reheat very well. 

 

make it in 10 minutes one night or morning and enjoy later!

*It really only needs to sit for 10 minutes before it is ready to bake- so don’t worry if you are hungry NOWish lol!


Rustic Zucchini Basil Pesto

The best thing about this recipe is….. NO food processor! That`s right folks, this “rustic“ pesto invented by moi requires just a wee bit of grating (the zucchini and parmesan), chopping (the basil), and NO pine nuts (keeps the cost down but would be lovely sprinkled atop your creation I`m sure).

A few days ago I thinking about making pesto but was worried about taxing my wee basil plant too much by stripping it nearly bare to get enough leaves to make it. Then one night making dinner I had some leftover zucchini and inspiration struck; If the zucchini could supplement the basil I wouldn`t need as much! A quick google search reveals yes, zucchini pesto is a thing! I was feeling lazy so I skipped the whole recipe surfing step I usually spend quite a bit of time on, as well as the whole getting out a food processor bit that is usually necessary with pesto. The result was amazing! I have now made this twice this week and guests rave about it. The word `rustic` is culinary code for `lazy`, didn`t you know? Make some lazy zucchini basil pesto today and say “Mmmmmmmmmm”   “mmmmmmmm”  thanks Violet’s mom!

If you have never had bread that has been baked then rubbed with fresh garlic, you are in for a treat and a suprise. The bread will take on much more flavour than you would expect with such a brief encounter with the garlic, yet it is still delicate and much more pleasant than little chunks of garlic.

packed with flavour, freshness, and crunch

packed with simple, fresh flavours this appetizer is a hit!

Rustic Zucchini Basil Pesto with Garlic Crostini 

1 handful of fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup grated parmesan (large hole side of grater)

1/2 cup grated zucchini (large hole side of grater)

salt and pepper

a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

FOR PESTO: Mix all ingredients above in a small bowl with a fork until somewhat blended.

TO SERVE: Make garlic crostini by slicing a baguette, brushing both sides with melted butter, adding a bit of salt and baking at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Rub with half a fresh clove of garlic and serve with a spoonful of pesto, or for an extra treat grate some extra parmesan and sprinkle on bread. Return to oven for a few minutes to melt cheese before topping with pesto and serving.

Alton Brown’s Baked Beans… Sort of

Anyone who is familiar with Alton Brown is aware how particular he is as a chef. He crafts his recipes very carefully with detailed measurements, urgings to weigh ingredients, and scientific mumbo-jumbo to explain how the whole thing works.

He probably would not be happy with me altering his recipe, but fate be damned I am doing it anyways!

I have been making these baked beans for nearly a decade and they always turn out well. In recent years I have made a few changes which seem to result in baked beans which me and my wide variety of food tasters seem to *gasp!* prefer to Alton’s original recipe. Simmer down Alton lovers; all I did was remove one jalapeño and add in some vinegar and maple syrup. Did you know that maple syrup is a flavour enhancer, much like vanilla? A little goes a long way! I also omit the bean water in favour of more flavourful broth and remove the lid for the last bit of cooking time for a deep browning. Plan on closer to 8 hours than 6.

So comforting and filling, baked beans are a great winter dish served with some Cornbread and a salad.

Also for anyone wanting to make less than what seems like a mountain of beans at the end, I have halved this recipe with great results!

Baked Beans

Adapted from Alton Brown’s Once and Future Baked Beans

1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons of apple cider or other vinegar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt

—–
Heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Soak beans in a plastic container overnight in just enough cold water to submerge them completely.

Place a Dutch oven over medium heat and stir in the bacon, onion, and jalapenos until enough fat has rendered from the bacon to soften the onions, about 5 minutes. If desired, remove some bacon fat with a few paper towels. Stir in the tomato paste, dark brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, and syrup. Cook for a few minutes.

Drain the beans and rinse. Add the drained beans to the Dutch oven. Add the vegetable broth to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in cayenne, black pepper and salt. Give them a stir and cover with the lid. Place the Dutch oven in the oven for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beans are tender. Remove lid for last 30-45 minutes of cooking.

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Greek Lasagna (gluten free)

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Greek lasagna you say? What the heck is that? Okay I admit it, I kind of tricked you with this title as this recipe is actually for moussaka, which is basically Greek lasagna and happens to be naturally gluten free. However the name moussaka conjures images of something strange and fishy more than it does a meaty, saucy, creamy eggplanty type delight and wanted you to give it a fair chance.

Moussaka is practically the national dish of Greece. The dish originated in Turkey as a lamb and eggplant braise, which was then reworked by the Greek chef Tselementes and became the dish it is today. The classic version is still prepared almost the same way wherever you go in Greece.

Peter Conistis

I saw moussaka being cooked on the food network a year or so ago and have made it many times since then. Guests never have any idea what it is but always seem to enjoy it quite a bit.

Here is how it differs from Italian lasagna:

-No noodles! Instead to create layers there are usually sliced potatoes on the bottom and a layer of eggplant (can be substituted for zucchini) in there somewhere as well.

-Many recipes do not contain cheese, and if they do it is usually feta or a hard Greek sheep cheese called Kefalotyri (κεφαλοτύρι) . I have used feta, no cheese, and a blasphemous combination mozzarella and ricotta, as I describe here. All were delicious. Instead of using the no- cook ricotta mix for the topping as I have described here you can use a béchamel sauce with an egg (or two) mixed in at the end. This makes it a much more frugal dish than lasagna (which you must buy ricotta for) if using the béchamel sauce.

-The sauce is tomato based like Italian Lasagna, but usually has spices like cinnamon or allspice included, which makes the flavour out of this world! Since stumbling across moussaka I have been putting cinnamon in all my Italian style tomato/pasta sauces as well and it is very good. Subtle and most people can’t quite guess what the ingredient is.

-Some recipes I have seen use beef, some lamb, and some a combination. I have used beef, ground pork, and a combination and they are all very good. We aren’t lamb lovers but if you are I am sure that is tasty (and more traditional) as well.

I heavily adapted this recipe from Chef Peter Conistis and it was much easier than other recipes I have used due to the no cook cheese topping (I also used leftover meat sauce from Won Ton Wrapper Mini Lasagnas I had made for a party a few days ago which made assembly a breeze).

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Greek Lasagna (Moussaka)

Sauté 1/2 lb. of pork, beef or combo, drain, add a chopped onion and a few minced cloves of garlic and either a jar of tomato sauce or a can of crushed or strained tomatoes). Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 cup of water or red wine.

Cover and simmer on low for as long as you have (10 minutes – a few hours).

Preheat oven to 400f convection.

Wash and slice 3 large potatoes or 6 small (I used new potatoes). Toss in salt, pepper and oil and throw into an oiled casserole dish (I used an 8×8 but it was really pushing the limits).

Slice 1 large eggplant or 3 baby eggplants lengthwise and toss in oil and salt and pepper. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake eggplant and potatoes in oven together for 20 minutes or until eggplant a little brown. Remove from oven and turn oven down to 375f.

Meanwhile, in a bowl mix half a large container of ricotta, 1.5 cups of grated mozzarella, a handful of chopped parsley, salt and pepper, a dash of nutmeg, 3/4 cup of half and half cream, and 2 eggs.

Push potatoes around in dish so they are evenly layered.

Pour all of your meat sauce over the potatoes.

Lay the eggplant in a layer (slightly overlapping) overtop of the meat.

Pour on your ricotta mix.

Refrigerate for later baking or bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned.

Storage: The next day, separate cut slices onto foil lined pan and freeze for a few hours. Remove from pan, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place in a labelled freezer bag. Stores well for several months and individual slices reheat great in microwave or toaster oven.

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Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

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All too quickly summer is fading into the background and fall is taking over. Soon we will be onto soups, braising and slow cooking. But for now, try to hold onto it a little mouthful of summer (and cinnamon buns!) with this recipe. I decided to make this last minute for a brunch a few days ago and was able to find local strawberries, peaches, and apples to include with the rest of the imported fruits (mangos, limes, and kiwis; lucky you if these are YOUR local fruits!) which I think really made the dish.

This unique recipe was a hit and is perfect for this time of year. People were a little cautious at first but once it is announced (or labelled) as “Fruit Salsa” everyone is on board!

I adapted these recipes from The Yummy Life and only made a few small changes. Although the original author and other versions I have seen (including the similar one from Pampered Chef  via “The Girl Who Ate Everything” which includes preserves) note that you need to make this just a few hours before you serve it, I think it would be fine if you made it the night before and just added in the zest and apples the next day (apples changed colour and became softer and zest took over flavour profile).

Drain your salsa before serving (or serve with a slotted spoon).

*The original recipe for the chips uses water, which likely works just fine. However Alton Brown, Julia Child, and I all agree that the chips made with butter will be far, far, tastier.  When served at an event, it’s worth it!

Store in zip lock bag for your event if transporting but then a glass jar is your best bet.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

serves 10 as a light appetizer

Salsa:

1 mango

1/2 pint of strawberries

2 kiwis

2 apples, peeled

1 peach (can replace with another mango)

2 limes

2 tsp. of lime zest

1 tablespoon of honey

Dice all of your fruit small like you would if making fresh salsa or chopping onions. Toss with remaining ingredients. Tastes very good when served immediately, even better an hour later, and is okay after that for about a day.

Chips:

1 package of whole wheat tortillas (large)

1/2 cup of melted butter (may need more)

3/4 cup of white sugar

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

1/8th tsp. allspice (opt.)

Preheat oven 400f

Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix sugar, salt, and spices together.

Layer your tortillas on one cookie sheet and begin brushing both sides lightly with melted butter*, then stacking them on a different cookie sheet.

When you are done with the buttering, go through and sprinkle sugar mix on both sides of tortillas and stack them back on the first cookie sheet. Cut through them with a pizza cutter or sharp knife and divide like a pizza.

Space out on your cookie sheets (you may have to do multiple batches but if you have enough cookie sheets and a convection oven, maybe not! Reduce temperature by 15-25 degrees if using convection).

Cook for 8-10 minute or until crispy. Cool before storing.

The BEST Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

A few weeks ago tomatillos made their way into my kitchen for the first time by way of my – you guessed it – CSA share from Sweet Pea. Since then I have made a variety of salsas with these lovely little devils, and have this conversation about a dozen times whenever I serve salsa verde:

Snacker: “What is this ? It is really good!”

Me: “It is salsa verde – aka green salsa”

Snacker: “So…it’s salsa made with green tomatoes?”

Me: “No – it’s made from tomatillos”

Snacker: “What the heck are those?”

Then after I explain what a tomatillo is someone else walks into the room and the whole thing starts over again like a never ending Abbott and Costello joke. For some reason I love explaining things so I don’t mind this at all.

Tomatillos are a relative of tomatoes and are called “tomato verde” (green tomato) in Mexico but are quite different from tomatoes. These tangy little gems grow in a husk and are quite firm, even when completely ripe. I find they have notes of citrus and are almost creamy when roasted. They have a very light and pleasant yet totally distinct flavour – I love them!

To prepare them for cooking, just peel off the little paper husk and rinse off the sticky residue – no peeling or seeding needed.

On quite a few sites I have seen storage tips that say you can either leave them on the counter or in the fridge.  According to Amanda McCracken (Owner of Sweet Pea C.S.A), this is incorrect. Tomatillos should be stored (in their husks) on the counter. This makes sense as their tomato cousins are never to be put in the fridge as they become mushy and tasteless.  I have read a few things saying you can freeze them sliced or whole but have not tried this yet (look forward to a future post all about produce storage!)

There are three main ways to make salsa verde; boiling/blanching the tomatillos, roasting them, or blending them up raw.

I avoided the boiling method as reviewers said it produced a watery salsa. Roasting the tomatillos (along with the peppers and garlic as you can see below) made for a nice flavour, but the color was quite dark. A few batches later, a combination of fresh tomatoes, tomatillos, and roasted tomatoes and tomatillos made the BEST salsa verde ever!

Many thanks to A Cedar Spoon for the inspiration in using the tomatillos raw.

Stay tuned for more tomatillo recipes!

SALSA VERDE

1 pint of tomatillos
Small handful of cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon of grapeseed or olive oil
1 medium fresh tomato
1/8- 1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes or 1 fresh pepper* (seeds removed)
Juice of 2 limes or 4 tablespoons
Small handful of parsley
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced/crushed/grated
1/2 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper

Place 1/2 of husked and rinsed tomatillos, the grape tomatoes, and the hot pepper(s) if you are using them. Drizzle oil and some salt and pepper over and roll around to coat.

Bake at 400 f for 10 minutes or until slightly blackened.

Add in with all other ingredients in a blender or food processor.

The garlic and spiciness factor will grow as the salsa is refrigerated, so go easy on these as you can always add more. Good for at least a week in the fridge.

* I have tried this with several different kinds of peppers (cherry bomb, cayenne, etc.) and find the heat level varies so much it is better to just use some red pepper flakes- a jalapeno would be good as well though.

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Cheesy Kale Won Ton Cups

made in a mini muffin tin with won ton wrappers

made in a mini muffin tin with won ton wrappers

On the heels of yesterday’s Quick Guide to Kale today’s recipe is a 100% original kale + won ton creation. My two loves together in a quick and tasty appetizer (or naughty lunch) recipe.

It all started off with a hankering for warm spinach dip. You know the kind – costs about $8 and comes with pita bread or similar. Basically an Ode to Cheese with spinach slapped in the title to make us all feel better about eating it. I had a variety of cheeses kicking around but very little naan/pita bread, and no spinach. Alas, this recipe was born as kale replaced the spinach and won ton crusts the need for pita bread. These comes together very quickly; about 10 minutes (plus 12 minutes to cook) and, like spinach dip, you can boast “Kale” in the title when you serve it and make people feel good about eating little cups of cheese.

If you want to make larger versions (either in regular or extra large muffin tins), check out my Won Ton Wrapper Mini Lasagnas recipe for info about this.

less messy than spinach dip and twice as good

less messy than spinach dip and twice as good

Cheesy Kale Won Ton Cups

1/2 package of won ton wrappers

grape seed, vegetable oil or similar

1 shallot, minced fine

1 tablespoon of butter

1/2 cup of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup of cream cheese

half a head of kale, de-stemmed and torn/cut into bite size pieces

1.5 cups of shredded cheeses (I used a combination of old cheddar and mozzarella) divided in two parts

1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt

salt and pepper

dash of nutmeg

small handful of chopped fresh herbs (i used a combination of chives, parsley, and a few leaves of  thyme and rosemary)

1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half, or the same quantity of chopped tomatoes

___

Saute shallot in butter.

Add kale and salt and pepper and saute until completely wilted.

With burner on low, mix in ricotta, cream cheese, half of shredded cheese, nutmeg and garlic salt. Taste and add salt and pepper. Stir well.

Preheat oven 375 f.

Oil a mini muffin pan well (the top too) and lay one won ton in each muffin well.

Put a tablespoon or so of the cheese & kale mix into each cup. Top with the remaining cheese, one piece of tomato, and a bit of herbs.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Reheat in oven inside tinfoil packet.

 

 

LOST RECIPE RECOVERED! Alton Brown’s Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

so good you will want to hug me

so good you will want to hug me

Clearly, I am not a recipe hoarder. I’m running a cooking blog over here for bejezzes sakes… However, I have to admit I have hoarded this recipe over the years and have NEVER before revealed it to anyone. This makes me feel old and a half, but I have been making these chocolate chip cookies exclusively for over a decade. It is the recipe my nieces and nephews learned to make cookies with, the recipe I will teach to my daughter Violet when she is old enough to lick a wooden spoon, and hopefully one day the recipe she uses in her own kitchen.

I can’t tell you where the original came from. I have written it down many times but the lone copy that remains is tattered, written in about 6 different colours of ink, and so butter stained it is virtually see through. I can tell you this though – it started off as a Alton Brown Sea Salt Chocolate chip recipe that can no longer be found anywhere online. Oh I have looked people, I have looked. Searches yield things like Alton Brown’s “The Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie” which does have sea salt but is definitely not the base recipe I am searching for as it has no large flake oats, which I recall Alton being very specific about. These cookies have oatmeal yet seem more like a regular chocolate chip cookie than an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. There is of course Alton’s “Oatiest Oatmeal Cookies Ever” but the proportions are different and chocolate is not the star as it is in the recipe below.

This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you like them. I usually make one tray at a time and keep the dough in the fridge over the period of a week and make new cookies every few days. My husband HIGHLY recommends what he calls hot cookie pudding” which is when you pace around the kitchen while the cookies bake and immediately when your wife pulls them out of the oven, steal two and top with half and half in a little bowl.

There have been many signs throughout the years that these are the best chocolate chip cookies out there, period. I brought them to a potluck once and many years later  someone told the story to coworkers of  “the time Amber brought those chocolate cookies with the salt” like it was an urban legend. Yesterday my friend and I took our babies on their first picnic (they are almost the same age!) and when I revealed a plate of these for dessert she looked at them and said with wonder “what are those?”. At first I was confused as I couldn’t understand why she needed an explanation of what a cookie was… then I realized she wanted to know if they were THE cookies. She asked me for the recipe a while back and I didn’t produce as my copy is so tattered (and secret- until now)- so PB- this one’s for you!

*Room temperature eggs mix in better in almost every recipe- if you forget to leave them out, place in a bowl of warm water for 1 minute.

Alton Brown’s Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies

1 cup of salted butter, softened

1 cup of brown sugar

3/4 cup of white sugar

3 teaspoons of vanilla

2 large eggs, room temperature*

1.5 cups of all purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

2 cups of large flake oats

1 bag of mini Hershey milk chocolate kisses (any combination of quality chocolate is fine and chocolate chunks are great for adults. Mix of dark and milk is great too)

kosher/coarse sea salt

_____

Preheat oven 350

Cream butter with paddle attachment on stand mixer (beaters on hand mixer are fine too).

Add sugars and mix well. Mix in vanilla.

Add eggs one at a time on low speed.

Mix flour, spices, salt and baking soda together and add to wet mixture slowly on medium speed.

Add oats and chocolate chips- (mix in with a spoon if you are using hand mixer).

Chill 15 minutes and drop by rounded large spoonful (the tiny spring loaded ice cream scoops from the dollar store are perfect for this) onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Sprinkle each top with a pinch of kosher salt/coarse sea salt.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Store leftover dough in fridge up to a week. Leave on counter 20 minutes before dropping onto cookie sheet.