Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

skilletcookie1Well here it is, the act before the grand finale’. Can I say that since this is dessert? Pssht, dessert should be first anyways. This is the warm up, post number 99! I have stressed way too much over these two posts, 99, and 100. It has been such an amazing adventure over these past 2 years and I want these to be wonderful and fun!  Number 99, a one dish dessert, dedicated to my husband, because these are his favorite things…ever. We basically have a stock in the ‘big cookie’ portion of the menu at Granite City and Old Chicago, we can’t get away without Brad ordering one (to stay or to go).
Last Christmas, I bought him a 6″ (mini) cast-iron pan for the sole purpose of making these cookies. I bought it for him…for me to use, is that like when a husband buys his wife a vacuum? At least this is something you can consume. Well in case you aren’t aware of what month it is…it’s October, the end of October, and we’re just now testing these out. Eghhh. Life distraction. Better late than never…because these are AWESOME! Even more so… he can make one of these on his own if I’m away.

If you aren’t overly familiar with using a cast-iron skillet…get familiar. It’s really more of a cooking tool than a pan. A great example is fried chicken. I’ve done countless, and I mean, countless test batches of shallow, pan fried chicken. I bought my larger 12″ cast-iron, dirt cheap (they can be upwards of $40, and I snagged one on sale for $13) and went home to immediately to start testing. This pan provides just that ‘extra something’ that makes chicken better (and everything else you cook in it). Fried Chicken is one of those dishes you always order out, because restaurants mysteriously make it better somehow. Well here you go, home-fix, boom! The breading becomes the precise amount of crisp without burning or over-greasing the chicken. I don’t get why, I really don’t, but the chicken seems so much more moist and flavorful as well.

Moral of the skillet story, using a cast-iron is a great way to change up your cookie. Well just as chicken is just that ‘extra’ bit of better in a skillet, a cookie, it’s just a little bit better in a skillet. Plus, giant cookies are awesome, and you don’t have to single portion them out and rotate 4-6 cycles thru the oven like you would baking a normal batch of cookies.skilletcookie3

Here it is, Cast-Iron Skillet Cookie , enjoy!

**Notes**

I used a 6″ pan, this will give you a very thick cookie, if you want a thin, crispy cookie, split the batter and make two separate cookies or just use a larger skillet to spread the dough into a thinner layer.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

4 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp packed light-brown sugar

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp milk

1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Mix your salt, flour, and baking soda very well with a fork

3. In a separate bowl, cream your sugars and butter together. Since I was doing just one 6″ pan I didn’t want to get out my mixer, I just whipped it with a fork until light and fluffy.

4. Add your egg and vanilla to the mixture until blended. Add the milk, mix gently for 10 seconds then add to the flour mixture.

5. Once you have everything combined thoroughly, stir in your chocolate chips then form in to the skillet.

6. Bake for about 35 minutes. If you notice the top getting too brown, just cover it with tin foil and finish baking.

6 Apple, Apple Butter

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I realize up until recently,I’ve been pretty anti crock-pot. I feel like they make it too easy to just dump a bunch of ingredients into a pot without any skill,  you just walk away and it’s good! Is there such a thing as too easy? But you know what, sometimes you need those no-maintenance meals, I get it…I guess. Enough bitterness, this isn’t a soup or a meal…so I don’t feel like I fit the mold for my complaints!

I grew up on Apple Butter, we used to go to the annual city craft show every year, and the one thing we would consistently get year after year was ‘Grandmothers’ brand Apple Butter. There was tiny picture of an old lady in a chef hat, in blue print, always easy to remember her by her cute labels. The craft show wasn’t overly kid-friendly, and I felt like this $3.79 purchase every year, WAS MINE. Cheap and edible entertainment…that doesn’t sound like me at all….does it… *cough*!

Turns out, it takes almost zero skill to make a batch of apple butter, put a few things in a pot…wait. ha! I did do some apple research for this recipe post however. Most recipes you’ll notice, never specify the types of apple that they or can be used. For someone who doesn’t mess in the kitchen very often, this can be frustrating, I’ve been there. I know many people are GREAT at following recipes, but when there becomes a choice of option, panic ensures!

Here were my findings: Do not use all of the same kinds of apples. Different apples have different amounts of sugar/sweetness, tartness, and soft/hard texture. You definitely want the ones that are less mushy, but other than that as long as you mix it up a bit, use whatever kind you want! If you’re a more tart fan, use tart apples, if you like the sweeter apples use those… real complicated huh 🙂 Some recipes (like Martha Stewart) use Apple Cider, in place of some of the sugar, you can also substitute Apple Juice for this if you want. (huge price difference). I have not attempted the recipes that use actual stick butter, in apple butter. From what i found this is a no-no, however I’m sure I’ll have to try it sometime just to cross it off the list.

I do think it’s important to list out the apples you use because it depends on how much sugar you’ll need to add. If you’re using very sweet apples, you can overkill on the sugar (found this out the hard way). It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely a little sweeter than I had wanted, or at least compared to the childhood Apple Butter I remember, that was more savory and had just a touch of tart.

** Have you noticed a trend lately of adding a splash and/or a shot of whiskey to almost everything. I cook the alcohol out (I’m not boozing it up), but I love the flavor.  I add it to my french toast batter and to my chili…why wouldn’t you right?! 🙂

Crock-pot Apple Butter

5 lbs of apples (i used 3 Gala’s and 3 Granny Smith-mix of sweet and tart) –These need to be peeled and chopped.

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup  brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1. Peel and chop your apples, discarding the skin and core. Place in the crock-pot.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients over the top of the apples, mix up very well.

3. Set your crock-pot for about 8 hours on low.  By the end, the mixture will be thick and dark, you’ll still be able to see the apple chunks, but they should be a consistency where you can squish it with a fork or a spoon.

4. I used my stick blender to puree the mixture from here. If you don’t have one, a food processor or blender can substitute just fine. You want it to be a consistent smooth texture.

5. You can “can” these if you want, I did not. Shelf life refrigerated is about 2-4 weeks in the fridge, or months in the freezer. I ended up with almost 3 cups of apple butter!

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** I’ve noticed a trend lately of adding a splash or shot of whiskey to almost everything. I cook the alcohol out, but I love the flavor.

Crockpot ‘No Bean’ Chili

nobeanchili2I woke up Saturday morning, and my house was 58 degrees. Unacceptable. As our first chilly weekend has come to pass, I get overwhelmingly excited to have NO excuse to go and play outside, allowing me to be locked indoors all day and play in my kitchen. First day below 55 degrees and all I can think about is Chili, Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Butter, and Caramels. (I may or may not have accomplished 3/4 of that list Saturday afternoon)

I love summer, but man, I love winter, with just a little extra enthusiasm. I’m sure this isn’t news to any of you that know me, yes feel free to yell your curses at me regarding my love for cold weather, but remember who feeds and provides you with delicious winter treats all season. *this girl*

It’s taken me about 3 years to work away from the chili I grew up on. My mother’s chili is sweet on its own, but then loaded with extra brown sugar. It’s been quite a challenge to teach myself to be open to other variations, since MOST other variations are not sweet. Now that I’ve had a few years to develop my own favorite chili flavors, I have a few things that I keep in my bowl every time, none which include brown sugar or Campbells Tomato Soup (sorry Mom).

As you know, I love anything that is customizable, I hate having to follow an exact recipe every time, no fun there. I love being creative, but it’s also a necessity in my household since Mr. Husband, can be so picky. He’s never liked beans, ever. Just another thing to add to the list of his dislikes beneath mushrooms (aka fungus), and anything that grows out of the ground that’s green or red. Oi.

Saturday’s challenge: making a chili that would please both Mr. Husband, and myself. I had to sadly look at all my cabinets and shut the door quietly to all the different bean variations and tell them ‘next time’. If I’m going to get him to try his first Chili ever…it’s not going to happen with beans in it.

Ok here it is, probably one of my favorite chili’s to date, and there wasn’t even beans in it. (If you have a picky eater like I do, add your beans separately at the end) But, the great news is, it passed the Husband test, I wasn’t expecting him to like it, but he didn’t spit it out, bonus!

Want the quick cinnamon roll recipe to go with, checkout my 1 Hour Cinnamon Rolls while your chili is in the crockpot!

Crockpot ‘No Bean’ Chili

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 jalapenos, diced (I didn’t remove all the seeds, but some, my jalapenos from garden are VERY hot!)

6-8 tomatoes, seeds removed ( I know you’re not supposed to leave the rind on, I did…still turned out awesome)                                                                               **If you don’t have tomatoes at home, use 2 cans of whole peeled an cut them to desired portions.

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 lb of ground beef

2 brats, removed from the casing (I use two beer brats, local)

3 cups of beef broth

2 shots of whiskey

1 tbsp of dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp of cumin

1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp pepper

1. Ground your beef and brats together, drain of any fat, then add to the crockpot. For the brats I usually slice them in half, then squeeze the meat out.

2. In the same saute pan (don’t clean it) add 2 tbsp of oil, then your onions and garlic on medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes

3.  De-glaze the pan with 1 shot of whiskey,  add your red pepper and jalapeno’s, cook for another 5 minutes, then add to the crockpot.

4. Add your tomatoes, and oregano, cumin, chili powder, pepper, and the second shot of whiskey.                                                                                                           ( If you want to add a can of beans here feel free, I personally use black beans.)

5. Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. Taste as you go starting at the 5th hour. Also, the longer you cook it, more the spicy peppers you add will cool off. If you want to add more kick, keep the seeds in the jalapeno, and/or just add another one.

6.  I top my chili with sour cream AND shredded cheese, maybe another jalapeno if I’m feeling risky 🙂

This is a smaller batch, I would say it’s approxmiately 4-5 servings, if you’re looking for leftovers, double it.

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