Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

This Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie is so quick and easy. There is also minimal cleanup involved. Yay! The cookie comes out soft and delicious. It is awesome on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cast iron skillets come in a variety of sizes and are usually numbered. The skillet number is often marked on the bottom of the skillet or on the handle. The numbers range from 0 – 20. The 0 skillet in tiny, while the 20 skillet is humongous (and hard to find). The numbers are not universal and depends on the cast iron skillet’s manufacturer. I have a vintage number 8 (which is about 10 1/2 inches in diameter) and a Lodge number 10 (which is about 12 inches in diameter). For this recipe, you want a basic 10 – 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2  large eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Melt the butter in a number 8 cast iron skillet (which is about 10 1/2 inches in diameter) over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture in the skillet. Mix well. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and spread the dough evenly in the skillet.

Place in the preheated oven. Bake 25 minutes at 350º F, or until golden brown and cooked through. Let cool about 15 minutes before slicing.


Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake Piece

This cake makes me homesick for Texas. It’s a classic. And no, you cannot substitute any other nuts for the pecans. : ) My kids won’t eat anything with nuts, so if I’m feeling nice I will make the cake and only put the pecans on half the cake. The cake still tastes good, but it is not the same.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 butter
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 2 teaspoons lemon juice and enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray a 13 X 9-inch pan with cooking spray and dust with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Combine the water, butter, and cocoa in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer until blended. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs; beating well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool.

For the frosting, combine the butter, milk, and cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread over the hot cake. Sprinkle the cake with the chopped pecans. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

You can bake this cake on a 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan. Just cut the baking time to about 17 minutes.


Apple Pie

Apple Pie

This is my mom’s apple pie recipe. It’s a classic. She prefers Rome apples for pie baking, but I use whatever apple appeals to me at the time (except for red delicious – those are not good in pie). Fujis are my current favorite apple for pie.

So, I made the pie pictured above a couple of weeks ago while I was on the low iodine diet (LID) to prepare for my radioactive iodine treatment(RAI) to ablate any thyroid/thyroid cancer cells left in my body. To make this recipe acceptable for LID, I just left out the butter. It wasn’t the prettiest pie I have ever made, but it tasted good (especially since my diet was so limited). I was able to stop the low iodine diet three days after I had my RAI. I was so thrilled to be off that soul-sucking diet. I’m happy to report that my RAI went well and I had very few side-effects (only fatigue and a greatly diminished sense of taste…both which are improving).

Apple Pie

Pie Crust:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco
5 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

Filling:

6 cups thinly sliced apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about the amount of juice in half a lemon)

Preheat oven to 425º F.

In a large bowl, cut the Crisco into the flour and salt with a fork or pastry blender. Add the ice cold water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Divide the dough into two halves. Make a ball from one half and roll out to fit the pie pa. Put the rolled out dough into the bottom of a pie pan.

Mix the sliced apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Dot with pats of butter and then sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice.

Roll out the remaining pie crust. Place over the top of the pie. Seal the two crusts together. Trim the excess dough and then crimp or flute the edges. Cut a couple of slits in the top crust. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake at 425º F. for 40 to 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let cool before serving.

 

 


Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Brownies

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I am continuing to experiment with coconut flour. These gluten-free and grain-free brownies using coconut flour were a big hit in our family. They are pretty terrific. I bet most people would not be able to tell these were gluten-free. Quite impressive.

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Brownies

1/3 cup butter (or non-dairy alternative)
6 eggs (or equivalent substitute)
1 cup coconut sugar (or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 8 X 8 baking pan (or spray with cooking spray) and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla with a whisk. Whisk in the cocoa powder and then add the melted butter. Stir in the coconut flour and mix until the batter is no longer lumpy. Add the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Allow brownies to cool before cutting into squares.

Adapted from the recipe on the package of Let’s Do Organics Organic Coconut Flour


Chocolate Fondue and Pound Cake

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Chocolate fondue is a Valentine’s Day tradition for my family. I usually make this chocolate coconut cream fondue but I didn’t buy the ingredients I needed the last time I was shopping for food and didn’t want to go back to the store for just a few items. This year I had to make a fondue with stuff that was already in my pantry. I have a pretty well stocked pantry, so it wasn’t too hard. I used milk chocolate chips because my oldest son prefers them. I think semi-sweet would be good too.

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Chocolate Fondue

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk, cream, or half and half

Heat the sweetened condensed milk in a heavy pan over low heat. Add the chocolate chips, butter, and cream and stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined.

Serve the chocolate fondue with various fruits, cookies, and cake for dipping.

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I made this pound cake to go with our chocolate fondue. I usually buy a frozen Sarah Lee pound cake, but I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store so I just made this one. I have yet to find a perfect pound cake recipe. This one is very basic (although not a true pound cake). It’s good for making strawberry shortcake.

I got distracted by my 3-year-old son and overcooked the cake (I baked it for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Don’t do that). It was very dry (my oldest son mentioned something about a brick…), but we were dipping it in chocolate, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I cut off the edges and the bottom and cubed it for the fondue.

Pound Cake

2 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a loaf pan or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour, mixing on the lowest setting until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan . Let cool completely on a wire rack.


Cheesecake

This is a basic, plain cheesecake, but it is amazing. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or with fresh sliced strawberries to make it extra special. A canned cherry or blueberry pie filling would make for a good topping as well.

Cheesecake

butter
2 lbs. cream cheese (4 8 ounce packages)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position in the oven and preheat oven to 350°.

Butter an 8” x 3” one-piece cheesecake pan all the way up to the rim. You will also need a larger pan (for hot water) to place the cake pan in while baking.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it is completely smooth, frequently stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Once the cream cheese is smooth, beat in the vanilla, almond extract, and the sugar. Mix the batter well and then add the eggs one at a time. Continue to mix until the eggs are just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared cheesecake pan. Place the cheesecake pan into a larger pan. Place it in the oven and pour hot water into the larger pan, about 1 1/2” deep.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 1/2 hours. The top of the cheesecake will be golden-brown, but will still be soft inside. It will firm up once it has cooled and been refrigerated.

Lift the cheesecake pan out of the water and place it on a rack. Cool the cheesecake in the pan for at least 2 hours. (Do not cool it in the refrigerator or the cheesecake will stick to the pan.)

Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place a flat plate or small board upside down over the pan and turn the pan and the plate or board upside down. Carefully remove the pan.

Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of the cake. Gently place the serving plate upside down over the cake and carefully invert again (be careful not to smush the cake), leaving the cake right side up. Remove the plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

Hint: It’s easier to cut the cheesecake if you dip a sharp knife in very hot water before making each cut.


Nutella Panini with Strawberries

From October 12, 2008: I bought myself an indoor grill/panini press/griddle appliance this weekend.  So far I am pretty happy with it.  I have used the all-in-one gadget to make pancakes, grill eggplant and zucchini, toast two types of paninis, and do eggs-over-easy. The first thing my son and I made with it was these yummy dessert paninis.  We got the idea from the menu of a local wine bar called Kybecca in downtown Fredericksburg, VA.  We used store-bought Sara Lee pound cake for this recipe.

Nutella Panini

slices of pound cake
Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
sliced strawberries (bananas or raspberries would be good too)
powdered sugar
whipped cream

Preheat grill or pan (medium heat).
Spread (about a tablespoon) Nutella on each slice of pound cake.  Arrange strawberry slices on top of the Nutella on one of the slices and top with the other slice (so that the strawberries are sandwiched between the Nutella).
Place sandwich on the grill and toast for about 2 minutes (or until warmed through).
Dust panini with powdered sugar and serve with a dollop of whippped cream.