kristin classic #2: foothill house sweet dreams

What makes a good chocolate chip cookie? Much like the great culinary face-offs of coffee vs tea, meat vs vegetarian (I still don’t know why this is even a question), chunky vs creamy, it seems everyone has a clear preference when it comes to cookies: crispy vs chewy, nuts vs none, etc., etc., etc.  The Sweet Dreams, I believe, are so delicious that they will please anyone. A little crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, optional nuts, and best of all, a little hint of spice and a light dusting of crystalized sugar. My mouth is watering.

I don’t remember when I first made these cookies, but I am sure I’ll be making them for years to come.  The recipe came from a bed and breakfast cookbook tucked away in my parents’ shelves, and I believe the initial creation was part of a Christmas-present-cookie-baking-extravaganza. They are hands-down my favorite chocolate chip recipe, and I have a hard time not eating all the cookie dough first.  I have made some modifications from the original recipe, adding in the nutmeg and cloves.  The spices give the cookies a wintry, christmas-y feel, but are certainly delicious ANY time of the year. The key part of this recipe is allowing the dough to chill, so they cook up all crispy AND chewy.  Enjoy!

Foothill House Sweet Dreams
adapted from: The American Country Inn Bed and Breakfast Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (I bet dark chocolate chips would be even better!)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cupish powdered sugar

What to do:

  1. Cream butter. Beat in brown sugar, egg and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmegs, cloves, and salt. Blend into butter mixture.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Refrigerate until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets.
  5. Roll dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Cover a small plate in powdered sugar and gently roll the balls in it, covering them completely. Arrange on cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to racks and cool. Store in an airtight container if you haven’t already demolished the whole batch. Makes about 6 dozen.
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classic recipe #1: baked brie

I’ve decided to start a new line of posts: “classic” kristin recipes.  While it is always difficult to truly define what makes something a “classic,” I’ve decided that, for the purposes of this endeavor, a “kristin classic” is a particularly delicious dish that I have

made many, many times, and had many, many requests from my diners for making it again.  Nothing fits the bill better than my Baked Brie.  First created many years ago while spending a summer in DC, this has become a staple at most, if not all, of my gatherings.  It has become so popular that my mother even bought me a baked-brie specific dish for Christmas one year.

The beauty of baked brie is that its actually quite simple to make, but will make a big impact on all those who try it.  While the recipe calls for raspberry jam, I encourage you to experiment with other flavors as well.  My challenge to you is to make a baked brie as big as your head, which you can see I was able to do several years ago.

Baked Brie in Phyllo

Ingredients:

  • 1 (6inch – any size will do, really) round of brie (it must be a complete round, not two halves, otherwise the cheese will ooze out of the package and make a big burnt mess)
  • 4-5 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted (more if you feel like it. but make
  • sure its defrosted, it makes it easier to handle)
  • 4 TB plus of butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup good quality raspberry jam
  • Something delicious to eat it with (I prefer thin wheat crackers)

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a cutting board or other clean work surface, layer phyllo dough, spreading each sheet with melted butter.
  2. Spread half the jam in center of the dough, top with brie and spread the rest of the jam on top of the brie.  Bring the edges of the phyllo dough up over the top and seal well, using most of the remaining butter.  It makes a nice “package.”
  3. Turn the “package” over and brush the top well with the rest of the butter. Place, messy side down, in a glass or ceramic baking dish or pie pan, and bake for 20 minutes (more or less depending on the size of the brie round).  The top should be slightly browned.
  4. Remove and let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving – the less you let it sit, the more liquidy the brie will be. I often find that it is impossible to wait more than 5 minutes post-oven before eating it.  Serves ten as a snack, or about three-four cheese lovers.
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