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Easiest Dessert Ever!

Easy Cookie/Berry Crumble

Easy Cookie/Berry Crumble

 

I have always been an admirer of Jaques Pepin. The man is a culinary technique master of masters. Today, I happened to catch an episode of his PBS television show “Fast Food, My Way” and watched him prepare the following recipe. It was SO simple, that I had to prepare it immediately! I didn’t catch a name for the dish, but it’s basically a berry crumble. I can’t imagine a dessert being any easier, and still being “homemade”.

Ready to bake...blackberries, crumbled shortbread, sugar, and butter.

Ready to bake…blackberries, crumbled shortbread, sugar, and butter.

Easy Cookie/Berry Crumble

2 small containers of fresh or individually frozen berries, plus/minus (I used frozen blackberries.)

1/3 cup sugar, more or less, depending on sweetness of berries

Your choice of cookies, crumbled. (I used my homemade shortbread) About 1/2 cup plus/minus

4 T. butter

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center. In a pyrex or similar baking dish, around 8″x8″ or 9″x9″, add enough berries to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle cookie crumbles over to evenly cover the berries. Sprinkle sugar over, evenly, Break up the butter into pieces and dot around the top of the crumble. Bake about 30-35 minutes, until fruit is bubbling throughout the dish. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to warm or room temperature.

Somebody get me some vanilla ice cream!!!

Somebody get me some vanilla ice cream!!!

Serve with your choice of accompaniment, such as ice cream, whipped cream, crème fraiche, etc. I can see doing these in individual mini dishes for guests. Enjoy!

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Awesomest Cookie Ever?!

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I love cookies. For health reasons, I generally avoid buying any cookies that I like, to eliminate the temptation. Unfortunately, my wife brought home some chocolate chunk cookies recently and I reaquainted myself with love! They came from Chik-Fil-A and I don’t really know anything else about them…I don’t even know how much they cost. I just know that they were GOOD! (If Chick-Fil-A would like to send me free chicken sandwiches, I’ll be glad to stop by my local location to pick them up!)

So, now I’m at home, following a minor surgery, and can’t drive while on pain meds…and I’m craving cookies! My first choice would be white chocolate/macadamia  cookies, but I don’t have those ingredients on hand. After some research, I found a chocolate chunk cookie recipe by reknowned New York chocolatier, Jacques Torres. Now, Mr. Torres would probably be horrified, but; despite my “foodie” status, I’m not a big fan of most dark chocolates. I like the sweet/creamy flavor of milk chocolate. And, since I have some other ingredients that I want to use before they go stale, I’m also thowing in some butterscotch chips and pecan pieces. One other change: I’m substituting whole wheat flour for the pastry flour, because I don’t keep pastry flour on hand. The texture probably won’t be as light, but I like the nuttiness of whole wheat flour. So, with all due repect to Jacques Torres, could this be the awesomest cookie ever?!  Well, they are darn good!!! (I still love me some macadamias, though!) I got 2 dozen BIG cookies and 10 smaller ones. Here’s the original recipe* with my changes…so you could try it either way! Or do your own thing! Enjoy!

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 pound unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour (substituting whole wheat flour)

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (substituting 11.5oz milk choc. Chips, 11oz butterscotch chips, and 6oz pecan pieces)

Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

– In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.

Creaming butter and sugars.

Creaming butter and sugars.

– Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Always break the eggs into a bowl...so you can make sure no shells go into the cookies.

Always break the eggs into a bowl…so you can make sure no shells go into the cookies.

– Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined. (I was able to add the pecan to the mixer, but I had to add the by hand. This is a pretty large recipe!)

Mixing in the chips.

Mixing in the chips.

– Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. (I used a #12 disher/ice cream scoop, which is 2-2/3 ozand I only got 6 per 1/2 sheet pan)

Big balls ofcookie dough!

Big balls of cookie dough!

– Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

– Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I found the original recipe on someone else’s Pinterest site and do not know if it has ever been published elswhere or has copyrights established, so I am making every effort to give Jacques Torres credit.

https://www.mrchocolate.com/

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North Carolina Highlands Pecan Scotties

NC Highland Pecan Scotties

NC Highland Pecan Scotties

I was looking for a quick and easy variation to offer for shortbread and this is what I came up with. Yes, I make traditional shortbread; however, it is quite time consuming. These are like “Pecan Sandies”, but they are made with real butter and the butter and pecans are the only flavoring agents. The great thing about them is that they can be made pretty quickly in a mixer. I’ve even made a half batch (pictured in photos below) in my food processor! Then the real time-saver: no rolling out, measuring, and marking! Form a cylinder, refrigerate, cut and bake! When making a full batch, you will want to make two rolls, so you can handle them more easily. Enjoy!

North Carolina Highlands Pecan Scotties

Creaming sugar into butter.

Creaming sugar into butter.

1 c. Pecan Meal, (preferably from North Carolina) or very finely chopped Pecans

4 c. Unbleached All Purpose Flour, preferably King Arthur brand

1 c. Granulated Sugar

1 lb Butter (cold)

Cream the sugar into the cold butter.

Creaming sugar into butter.

Creaming sugar into butter.

Add the flour and pecan meal and mix until evenly combined.

Dough

Dough

Flour and pecan meal.

Flour and pecan meal.

Form the dough into a log, about 2” diameter and form roll in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Transfer the log to the refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 1 hour.IMAG1495

Preheat oven to 325F. Remove the wrapping from the dough. Cut into 3/8” slices and arrange on ungreased cookie sheets. IMAG1498Place the cookies in the oven and immediately turn the temperature in the oven down to 275F. Set timer for 25 minutes. Check shortbread and remove from the oven when they are the color of sand and lightly browned on the bottom, about 35 minutes.

NC Highland Pecan Scotties

NC Highland Pecan Scotties

Cool on racks. Store in airtight storage containers and hide them! Makes about 4 dozen, depending on exact diameter and thickness. Enjoy!

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