Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chocolate Chip and Candied Bacon Cookies with Pecans

(Printable Recipe)

Come on, off course Candied Bacon makes a Chocolate Chip Cookie even better! It's chewy, sweet, little bit smokey, just a touch salty. You've got to do it. And here's what you'll hear, "Mine didn't have any bacon in it, but it was really good!" Candied bacon is not plain bacon. It's like candy.And here's how it all happens:

Press the bacon into brown sugar spread on a plate until it is coated well on both sides. I used 5 pieces of thick cut bacon for this recipe. If you use regular cut bacon you may need 6 or 7 pieces.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-40 minutes, checking closely from 15 minutes on. Cooking time depending on the thickness of the bacon, which should be very dark and crunchy when done. Some edges may get too dark.

Don't forget to spray a rack really well with cooking spray to reduce sticking. Put this over a foil lined baking sheet to catch the mess.

There will be some really dark edges that may or may not be burned. Don't toss them without tasting! You may be surprised. Let everything cool well before attempting to break into small pieces.

Now, assemble the cookie ingredients. You'll need
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup rough chopped pecans 
Start by creaming together both sugars and the butter until nice a smooth and fluffy.
 Add the eggs one at a time. I think it's safest to break eggs into a small cup and then slip them into the mix to avoid any mishaps. Removing eggshell from a cup is simple compared to trying to dig it out of an entire bowl of dough or batter. Also add the vanilla now.
Whisk the dry ingredients together briefly to combine well. 

 I like to use whole pecans and chop them myself with a chef's knife so the pieces are larger than the pre-chopped or "chipped" kind. The bacon is actually more difficult to chop than just break into pieces by hand.  

Add these last three ingredients with a big wooden spoon rather than letting the electric mixer do it. This way the chunky nuts and bacon won't break down further, but will stay nice and chunky.

Bake them up at 375 for about 15-18 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove when they're just beginning to brown. Bacon. It's not just for breakfast anymore.Oh, my, I really did just say that.

It's time for the Comfort Food Feast on the Food Network's FN Dish blog! You'll find me there all winter and today you can check out these othercookie  ideas:  

Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookie Breakfast Bars
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies
What's Gaby Cooking: Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Lemon Bowl: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
From My Corner of Saratoga: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Napa Farmhouse 1885: New Year's Resolution Chocolate Chip Cookies
Red or Green?: Tao's Double-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Made By Michelle: The Best Blondies, Ever
Cooking With Elise: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sweet Life Bike: Dulce de Leche Chocolate Chip Cookies
Virtually Homemade: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Cultural Dish: Chocolate Chip Cookie Goodness
Thursday Night Dinner: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
Dishin & Dishes: Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Cookies
Devour:5 Takes on Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
FN Dish: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Grandma's Chicken Pot Pie

If you've ever had really good pot pie like a grandma would make, something that in no way resembles those rock hard little things from a mini pie tin in the freezer section, then you know this is a dish good enough to serve to company and have them ask for it again.
Printable Recipe

My long time favorite recipe for Chicken Pot Pie can be prepped in about 30 minutes and baked in another 20-30. And today, for one special price I'm going to share that recipe and throw in a completely FREE bonus recipe for Cheesy Vegetable Cream Soup, and I mean cheesy in a good way.
Start by getting the vegetables ready for the pot. Chop 1 lg onion, 1 lg carrot, 1 lg potato, 2-3 ribs celery1 cup baby peas just need a quick run under hot water to thaw them out, unless you are so lucky that you have fresh ones on hand. I like to take the carrot down to fairly small rough dice with my food chopper (generic version from Ikea, seen in the background next to the oh-so-not-generic chunk of black granite mortar-n-pestle). These smaller carrot pieces cook more evenly with the rest of the vegetables. Usually I cut the potato into small dice as well but these were gold fingerlings and just looked so nice in these little half moons.  

Melt 5 Tbs butter over med heat till foamy and drop in everything but the peas. Saute and occasionally stir for 5-8 minutes until vegetables soften some and onions are translucent. While the vegetables cook measure up the rest of the ingredients and warm the milk for about two minutes in the microwave.

That's 2 cups Chicken Stock, 2 cups Whole Milk, 1 Tbs Chicken Soup Base, 1/3 Cup flour.

Now the next step is going to seem messy and not right, but just keep stirring and it will all work out. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and keep everything moving steadily, scraping the bottom of the pot, for just a few minutes until the flour smells nutty instead of like raw flour. It will brown quickly and really only take 2 or 3 minutes.

The pan will look sticky and brown at this point; before it goes any further, pour the warm milk in all at once and turn the heat up a little; keep stirring and it will start to thicken almost immediately. Don't do this with cold milk or you'll have a lumpy mess instead of a velvety smooth sauce.  Whisk the soup base into the broth for extra flavor and add that to the pot in a steady stream as you continue stirring. Let is lightly bubble over med heat and cook for another 10 minutes or so, giving it the occasional stir to be sure it isn't sticking to the bottom. If it starts to bubble hard and fast, lower the heat and keep an eye on it. You just want a nice gentle simmer. Now is the time to taste for seasonings. It shouldn't need anything but a good shake of pepper, probably no salt necessary because the soup base and broth are usually both quite salty.

**STOP RIGHT THERE. The longer you simmer this the more it thickens, so for that bonus recipe, stop now and add a handful or two of good sharp cheddar cheese and dish it up for a perfect cream of vegetable soup to go with a crunchy green salad or maybe a hammy panini sammy. That's silly cook talk for ham panini sandwich, ya'll. **

Back to our Pot Pie - when the filling has bubbled along over low to med heat about 15-20 minutes and is nice and thick, remove from heat and add the peas and 2 cups Chopped Cooked Chicken.  You'll note that I am taking the easy route and using Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crust, but you feel free to whip up a homemade one if you are more virtuous than I.

This one took a little extra rolling because I'm using an oval dish.

If you need to roll the crust out a little larger, do it on top of a piece of wax paper, then flip it over, gently peel off the paper, and fold in half to move onto the pie so that it doesn't tear. It will need plenty of small vents made with a sharp knife to let the the steam out as it cooks in a 375 oven just until the crust browns, usually 20-30 minutes. Beautiful and ready to serve!

Oven Ready!

THE SHOPPING LIST                       
5 Tbs Butter
1 lg Onion
1 lg Carrot
1 lg Potato
2-3 ribs Celery
1 Cup Baby Peas
2 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Whole Milk
1-2 Tbs Chicken Soup Base
("Minors" is the best or "Better Than Bouillon")
1/3 Cup flour
1 Pie Pastry

It's time for the Comfort Food Feast on the Food Network's FN Dish blog! You'll find me there all winter and today you can check out these other great pot pie ideas:
Made by Michelle: Chicken and Biscuits in a Pot
The Lemon Bowl: Chicken Pot Pie With Phyllo (Dairy-Free)
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pie With Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Biscuits
Red or Green?: Bean and Green Chile Pot Pie With Cornmeal Biscuits
FN Dish: Post-Holiday Pot Pies
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