Month: January 2021

Bite-sized cookies: reddit baking challenge (wk 5)

Bite-sized cookies: reddit baking challenge (wk 5)

First things first. Here are the recipes for these two cookies:Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (an uglyducklingbakery adaptation)Triple chocolate chip cookies (from Tom Douglas in Epicurious)I normally use a #40 scoop for cookies, but for the “bite-sized” challenge I used a #70 and started checking 

Argentinian chicken empanadas: in the kitchen with kiddo

Argentinian chicken empanadas: in the kitchen with kiddo

This was our second go at the America’s Test Kitchen Young Chef Club box this month. Theme: Dumplings! A few weeks ago, kiddo and I made pineapple-coconut empanadas. Tonight’s dinner was Argentinian chicken empanadas. I’ve not made this filling previously, but a FB friend talked 

Thick peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Thick peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

We have already established this week that I like peanut butter. I also happen to like cookies. But peanut butter cookies were never my favorite because I dislike the dryness of the typical criss-cross cookies. It turns out that I just hadn’t met the right peanut butter cookie. These thick peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are the one.

This peanut butter chocolate chip cookie is an adaptation of a Smitten Kitchen recipe. Which was an adaptation from a cookbook from the Magnolia Bakery in NY. As an aside, I always thought food bloggers created their own recipes all the times. It turns out that adaptation is a really common thing. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

I’ve reduced the sugar quite a bit with no impact on the soft mouthfeel of this cookie. There’s just no need for rolling the cookie in more sugar.

There are some people who swear by chopping your own chocolate for chocolate chip cookies, but I’m too lazy for that (and I hate all the chocolate shards all over the place). I use the Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips for these because they are the same size as the Reese’s PB chips, but you can use any chip you like. Or chop your chocolate if you prefer.

Frequently asked questions about these thick peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

  • Do I have to weigh my ingredients? If you don’t already, I would really encourage you to weigh your ingredients for baking. If you look at the Smitten Kitchen recipe, she packs 145g into a 1/2 cup of brown sugar compared to my 110g – a difference of over 30%!
  • Can I make these cookies ahead of time? Yes. The beauty of drop cookies is that they freeze well, particularly before baking. I bake what we want, and the rest go into the freezer on a cookie sheet for a few hours before transferring into a freezer bag. This way, you always have a melty warm cookie at the ready. Bake at 350F for a minute or two longer than normal.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

uglyducklingbakery.com

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 cup (180 grams) bleached, all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter I use Jif for all baking with peanut butter
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.
  • Using a mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars together on medium speed for at least a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and mix briefly on low speed, and then add the milk and vanilla and mix.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Add the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips and mix by hand.
  • Using a spoon or a medium cookie scoop (#40), scoop 2 tbsp balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just barely starting to harden and the edges just starting to barely brown. Do not overbake!
  • Cool on a rack (if they last that long).

What’s next?

If you make these thick peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, please comment and share a pic!

Make another uglyducklingbakery cookie or brownie.

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chocolate peanut butter chip cookies lined up on a baking sheet to be frozen
How to make a Swimming Rama recipe with peanut sauce and crispy tofu

How to make a Swimming Rama recipe with peanut sauce and crispy tofu

Peanut sauce meets art. Swimming Rama tofu bowl meets the world of Instagram. In retrospect, putting together the ingredients for this Swimming Rama recipe was mostly about prepping dinner and pretending that I was in the same league as professional food photographers. I have been 

Macadamia nut sausage roll recipe with puff pastry: reddit baking challenge (wk 4)

Macadamia nut sausage roll recipe with puff pastry: reddit baking challenge (wk 4)

We are four weeks into 2021, and so far I have been feeling good about the 52 week baking challenge. This week’s challenge is in celebration of Australia day and required a bit of googling. I learned that Pavlova is the Australian national dessert. Caramel 

The story of the sidecar cocktail

The story of the sidecar cocktail

One night many moons ago, a few girlfriends and I decided to go on a pub crawl. I don’t recall the inspiration for the evening, but I do remember that I went on a mission to find the perfect cocktail.

You see, like many others, my experience with alcoholic beverages started with wine coolers, transitioned to beer in college, and then moved to wine. The challenge, particularly as a then-single person, was what to order in a bar, where glasses of wine are not reliably delicious.

Up until that night, I had enjoyed an occasional Screwdriver, White Russian, or rum and diet coke. But I had no go-to that said “adult.” My mission was to find my signature drink.

The perfect cocktail had to be served in a martini glass. Martini glasses are sophisticated, right? It had to be a bit sweet but not a cosmo. Sex in the City was so over. Most importantly, it had to be a drink that was unusual but common enough that any bartender could make it.

I don’t remember the names of all of the drinks I had that night. I think there might have been a sour among them. What stuck was the sidecar.

Over the next few years, I made bartenders happy by asking them to make me a drink they hadn’t made since bartender school. I now favor a gin martini as my go-to drink, but it’s good to have options. It’s always 5pm somewhere.

Sidecar

uglyducklingbakery.com

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 oz brandy
  • 1.5 oz cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • superfine sugar, as needed

Instructions
 

  • Rub edge of cut lemon on rim of martini glass.
  • Put a small amount of sugar onto a clean paper towel and carefully roll the rim in the sugar to coat.
  • Combine brandy, cointreau, lemon juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 20 seconds, then strain into the martini glass.

If you make this, please comment and share a pic!
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Mr. uglyducklingbakery makes shakshuka

Mr. uglyducklingbakery makes shakshuka

I consider myself lucky in many different ways. One of these is that mr. uglyducklingbakery not only likes food, but he also likes to cook. I knew he had potential when he ordered pork belly on our first date. But I really knew he was 

Cavatappi alfredo and peas

Cavatappi alfredo and peas

One of the joys, perhaps, of work-from-home and remote school is the ability to make a warm lunch. Everyone needs a warm lunch once in a while. I started adding peas to boxed macaroni and cheese when kiddo was younger, and she loved it. It 

Chicken and dates: this is uglyducklingbakery

Chicken and dates: this is uglyducklingbakery

A friend and I were texting about the Brussels sprouts grain bowl, and she said to me, “The dish tonight was perfect, but maybe almost too perfect for your tag line.” That tag line – Tastes delicious. Looks homemade – is what my cooking and this blog is all about.

You’ll never see me on the Great British Bake Off. But I hope I can share my love of food and provide inspiration for easy weeknight meals or all-day baking adventures. Either way, food shouldn’t be fussy.

Tonight’s recipe for chicken and dates is the perfect illustration of food I hope to share here. Dates in the pantry, leftover from this weekend’s cake baking, led me to Claudia Roden’s Book of Jewish Food. I have ~20 of my mother’s cookbooks, this being one, including her volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cooking, and Craig Claiborne’s NY Times Cookbook from 1961. Claudia Roden’s cookbook is a masterpiece, showing the influence of different cultures and local ingredients as they are shared around the world.

This chicken and date recipe is also easy, perfect for a beginner cook or weeknight dinner when your kiddo distracts you with multiple games of Uno. Claudia Roden’s recipe calls for browning the chicken, which you can do if you want to, but we didn’t notice the difference. We had this over Israeli couscous, although it is traditionally served over regular couscous in Morocco. The hazelnuts just happened to be what I had on hand.

So please forgive me when you don’t see highly stylized photos in my blog. Dinner often smells too good to not to eat it immediately.

Chicken with dates

uglyducklingbakery.com

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped or sub a red onion
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts almonds are traditional here

Instructions
 

  • Optional: saute the chicken until lightly browned, then remove from pan.
  • Saute the shallots on low heat until soft.
  • Add spices and toast until fragrant (30-60sec).
  • Add the chicken broth, chicken, and some salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165F.
  • Add dates and lemon juice and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over couscous or rice, and sprinkle with nuts.

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Meatless Monday: Grain bowl with maple  roasted Brussels sprouts

Meatless Monday: Grain bowl with maple roasted Brussels sprouts

It is ironic that I was introduced to the concept of the greens and grains bowl in the Alaska Airlines terminal at National airport. Since arriving late to the food trend, I’ve embraced the grain bowl wholeheartedly because they are easy and can be made