The BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!!!!

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I have long had a love/hate relationship with incredibly yummy things such as brownies, cakes, cookies etc. Love because I love them. Hate because I hate what they can do to my body and health if I overindulge.  During my journey of losing 35 pounds, I have had to rethink my relationship with food, and exercise.  Have less of one (food) and more of the other (exercise).

Also, although I love to bake and have been very successful at baking many things, I have NEVER been able to master chewy chocolate chip cookies. I mean, lets face it.  The Tollhouse recipe on the back of a bag of Tollhouse Chocolate Chips has NEVER worked well for me.  They always come out thin, and hard and not too tasty.  And from what I have seen online, many other bakers have been left wanting.  Wanting big, soft, chewy, delicious cookies.

I have long been a fan of The Brown Eyed Baker, and The Smitten Kitchen, as well as other cooking/baking blogs.  I came across a post on Brown Eyed Baker where she had a cookie throw-down, and although the winning recipe didn’t catch my eye, another one did. It was a recipe she had adapted from the Baking Illustrated Cookbook, and of course I have adapted it some as well, just to change things up.  One thing I have learned from my years of baking wins and failures is that weighing baking ingredients makes for a better outcome than measuring them.

Trust me, these cookies come out thick, and chewy and gooey.  I have NEVER been able to produce cookies this good before, and I now have my GO TO cookie recipe. Tired of waiting for the goods?  Ok, here is the recipe, and I kid you not, these will be the cookies you will make from here on out!!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 27 cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray. (Since I always use my Pampered Chef stones, I never have to worry about this step.  Nothing ever sticks to those bad girls!)

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Put 1 and a half tablespoons of dough onto your baking sheet.  I made sure there was some texture (I didn’t pat them down), so they look more like “bakery” cookies. Space them about 2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown, about 15 minutes. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula. I placed them on the counter on a piece of parchment paper to cool.

Note: These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are incredible while still  warm from the oven but are just as yummy when cooled.

(Recipe adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker)

 

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Ingredients:

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Mix wet ingredients:

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Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients:

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Add choc chips:

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Bake and YUMMMMM!!!

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(They didn’t last long)

But the great thing is they were so easy to whip up, that I can make them anytime and can freeze them in individual baggies for a treat that is just enough!

ENJOY!!!

 

Why should I continue blogging?

When I started blogging 4 years ago, it was on a whim.  I knew I liked to write and my friend Patty was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I was absolutely positive I did NOT want to write a novel, however, that month is also NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  Now that was something I felt I could handle.  So I created a Blog called Glass Half Full, and started writing.  Looking back at those posts always brings a smile to my face.  They were so rough, and the writing was not at all the way I write now.

I suppose practice does create improvements because the more I have blogged, the better my writing has become.  Not that I am a brilliant writer now, or ever, but it is better now than it was then.

About a year after I started blogging I was approached by an acquaintance to ask if I wanted to blog together with her.  I said sure, and a wonderful friendship grew from our collaboration.  We blogged together for a couple of years, and we had a lot of fun.  Blogging with another person has its good points and bad points.  The good is that there is someone to share the work.  The posting, designing, etc.  My partner was awesome at finding cute backgrounds and would spend hours designing the look of the blog.  The bad part about blogging with someone is that you have to compromise.  You don’t have complete control of all the elements of the blog or the content.  I am a control freak, and that was a difficult piece of the partnership for me.  For a variety of reasons that partnership dissolved, and I was back to blogging on my own.

Now I am at a crossroad.  Not sure if I want to continue blogging or not.  I have had some successes blogging.  I have had a couple of blogs syndicated (meaning I was paid for them).  I have run some successful advertising blog campaigns with BlogHer (meaning I was paid for them), but I haven’t had the crazy success blogging that I dreamed about.  I dreamed about being the next “Pioneer Woman” or “Bloggess”.  Hell, even a small fraction of their success would have been a dream come true.

But dreams are a funny thing.  They are just dreams.  Hopes.  Wishes.  These dreams have not come true for me, and I wonder why I should even continue blogging?

I haven’t written in months.  There are times when I think of something and then think, “I should write about that”, but so many other things in my life require my attention, that it doesn’t get done.  I have an “idea” board next to my desk in my office, and even that has been blank recently.

My mother has criticized my blogging and I will admit that those criticisms have affected my desire to write.  A part of me says, “She doesn’t have to read the blog, if it bothers her”  and the other part of me wants my mother to be happy.

So I am trying to decide if it is really worth it to keep writing.  I don’t receive a lot of monetary compensation, or followers, or notoriety, but on the other hand, it makes me feel good, and there is this very small piece of me that has faith that SOMEONE out there enjoys reading what I write.

Time will tell.

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Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole!!

There are many things in life that bring me comfort. The warm sun on my face, hugs from my children and a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, to name a few. However, as these nights get cooler, nothing says comfort like a hot homemade casserole for dinner. Not only is a casserole the quintessential comfort food, it stretches my food dollars for my family of 6 and provides easy and delicious leftovers on nights when we are going in four different directions. There are many nights I look in the refrigerator and am stumped about what to do for dinner. I do try to have a menu and plan for the week, but there are days that my schedule changes, or something else comes up. In our busy family, no matter how well I plan, often the plans fall through! So just in case this happens, one of the staples I keep in my pantry is Campbell’s cooking soups. Having a variety of these soups on hand can help me take a bunch of random ingredients and throw together a casserole that my family will love and is good for them! Campbell’s has a variety of soups that are great to use for cooking. They can be just the thing to pull together a fast, healthy meal. Some of them are: Broccoli cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Beef broth, Cream of Celery, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Asparagus and many others. So many of us grew up with our mothers making holiday dinners using Campbell’s Cream of Chicken or Cream of Celery soup. Green bean casserole at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner is one I remember fondly. My mother passed these traditions down to me, and these family favorites will be on my holiday dinner table as well. For my hectic life, having a few cans of these soups in the pantry can turn a fridge full of leftovers or random ingredients into yummy dishes! For more inspiration, Campbell’s has teamed up with The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™ to bring you fun, quick, delicious recipes everyone in the family will love! Check them out here.This week I am single mom’ing it as my partner is away on business. On a particularly busy evening where we had swim practice, orthodontist appointments and homework to do, I decided to throw together some ingredients I had on hand with a can of Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup. This is one of my favorite casseroles! Since we have recently switched to whole grains I just changed a few of the ingredients and made this amazing Broccoli Cheese Chicken Rice casserole a wee bit healthier. So here is my version of this casserole:Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole

Ingredients: 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen broccoli (I prefer fresh)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 2 cups cooked brown rice (I prefer short grain)

2 cups cooked chopped chicken breast

1 1/4 cup 1% milk

1 can Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. After mixing pour into a 9×13 baking pan. I always reserve a little of the shredded cheese and sprinkle it on top. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Take it out of the oven and watch your family devour this delicious casserole.

Campbell's Broccoli Cheese soup

Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup

All of the ingredients ready to be mixed together.

All of the ingredients ready to be mixed together.

Mixed and put into baking pan

Mixed and put into baking pan

I reserve a small amount of cheese and sprinkle on top before baking.

I reserve a small amount of cheese and sprinkle on top before baking.

Out of the oven, hot and ready to eat!

Out of the oven, hot and ready to eat!

YUM!!

YUM!!

This casserole is a hit in my house, I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!