Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate Drop Cookies


1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks)

9 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl cream brown sugar and butter thoroughly until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add cocoa, egg and vanilla; mix well. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; mix lightly. Add some of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mix well and scrape the bowl. Then add some of the milk, mix well and scrape the bowl. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the milk, ending with the dry ingredients. Mix well and scrape the bowl after each addition.

Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes or until done.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chocolate Souffle


4 egg yolks (at room temp)
6 egg whites (at room temp)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other semi-sweet chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (plus additional to coat souffle dish)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (plus additional to coat souffle dish)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour


Butter a 1-1/2 quart large souffle dish and coat with sugar. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl beat egg yolks until well beaten and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, but not dry, and set aside

In a large saucepan heat the 2 Tbsp. butter. Add the flour to make a roux. Add milk, cream and sugar. Stir to boiling with whisk. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips. Add chocolate mixture to beaten egg yolks in the large mixing bowl. Stir in some of the stiffly beaten egg whites to the chocolate/egg yolk batter. Then gently, but thoroughly, fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into the prepared 1-1/2 quart souffle dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately in individual bowls.

(Note: makes one large souffle to serve 4)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

French Toast

(serves 4-6)


1 loaf challah bread, sliced about 1 inch thick (slices well frozen and can keep frozen until ready to use)
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch fresh ground nutmeg
pinch salt
2-3 tbsp. unsalted butter for cooking
maple syrup


Preheat oven to 300 degrees to keep cooked French toast warm while cooking the entire batch.

In 13x9 inch baking dish, beat eggs well with a fork. Add a little of the heavy cream to the mixture and keep beating to ensure uniform consistency. Add rest of heavy cream, then the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. One by one, dip both sides of challah bread slices in the egg mixture, to coat, and set aside on a separate plate. If there is any egg mixture leftover, re-dip slices until mixture is used up.

Preheat a large electric frying pan to 350 degrees (a non-stick frying pan, or cast iron skillet can be used instead, heat to medium). Add 1 Tbsp. butter to pan, heating until melted (evenly coat the pan with the melted butter). Add 3-4 bread slices to the pan (depending on size). Cook uncovered for 3- 4 minutes until bottom is nicely golden brown and cooked. Turn to cook other side and cover ; cook for another 3- 4 minutes until that side is also golden brown and cooked through.

Transfer cooked slices to a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven while cooking the remainder the same way, until all slices are finished. Serve with maple syrup.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peas and Dumplings

The dumplings in this recipe are egg dumplings-- smaller and heavier than the dumplings in chicken and dumplings -- more like spaetzle. The broth is lighter and more broth-like, and soupier (like chowder) than the broth in chicken and dumplings. This is an old family recipe from northern New York State, handed down by my mother and grandmother. It is best made when fresh peas are in season, but can be made with frozen peas.

Peas and Dumplings
From the kitchens of Mary Jane Zahn and Elta Zahn
(Makes 4-6 servings)
8 oz. fresh peas, shelled
½ cup water
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 ½ quarts milk (6 cups) -- for broth
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 eggs
Extra milk (1/2 eggshell full) – for dumplings
1 cup all-purpose flour, very slightly round, approximately – add more or less, as necessary to achieve correct consistency.
(NOTE: there is no baking powder in this recipe)
Peas and broth:
In a large pot (6-7 quart), bring ½ cup water to boil. Add peas and gently stir, only so they are hot, not cooked. Add milk, butter and 1 tsp. salt. Taste for flavor. Bring to a simmer and drop dumplings when ready.
Mix together the cup of flour with 1 tsp. salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the 4 eggs with the ½ eggshell full amount of milk. Add the flour/salt mixture by tablespoonfuls, mixing thoroughly after each addition. The final consistency should be something like cream of wheat, but maybe a little stiffer (when dumpling drops from a spoon, the consistency should not hold it’s shape like a biscuit, but be softer – and should easily drop. Too much flour makes a tougher dumpling; too little flour will cause dumplings to cook into the broth like gravy).
Cooking the dumplings:
Drop by small amounts (about 1/2 tbsp) into the simmering broth. Cook -- simmering and uncovered -- for 15 minutes. After a minute or two, gently stir to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom (may have to scrape them off the bottom) and gently stir from time to time until they are done. Broth should simmer and gently bubble around dumplings. The final consistency of the broth is like chowder. Serve in bowls immediately when ready.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

(Servings: 6-8)


5-7 lb. Roasting chicken, rinsed inside and out
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
1 celery stalk, quartered
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (optional)

for dumplings:

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried savory (not ground)
1-1/3 cups milk
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil (corn or canola)


Early in the day: In a large 7-8 quart pot, place chicken and vegetables. Cover with cold water, adding just enough water to cover, or almost cover, the chicken (about 8-10 cups, depending on size on chicken). Add the 2 tsp. salt (you can adjust later, to taste). Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat.

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot (the chicken should be very tender at this point and most will fall from the bones). Carefully remove the chicken meat (breast, thigh, drumstick and wing) from the bones, discarding the bones. Set aside.

Pour the broth from the pot into another pot that has a colander or strainer set in it to remove any small bones. Then remove the colander or strainer, discarding the contents, as necessary. Pour the strained broth back into the original pot. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Using 2 forks, or a fork and a knife, pull the chicken apart, breaking into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the simmering broth. You can also add back some of the cooked carrot bits, chopped, and/or some fresh or frozen peas at this point. Also adjust the salt to taste, if needed now.

Make the dumplings:

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and dried savory. In a measuring cup, combine milk with vegetable oil; slowly stir into flour mixture, stirring as little as possible, just until a soft dough is formed.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto the chicken meat and simmering broth. There is a lot of dough and the top of the pan will be covered with tablespoons of dough.

Cook dumplings 10 minutes, uncovered; then cover and cook 10 minutes longer. I usually separate the dumplings a little at this point, very gently, so that the broth will thicken a bit and the dumplings will absorb more of the liquid. Cover and cook 5 more minutes or so, until the dumplings are thoroughly cooked, and the broth is somewhat thickened.

Dumplings can be served with a slotted spoon and then the chicken and thickened broth ladled over the dumplings. Serve in a bowl and spoon as it can be somewhat soupy.