Super Duper Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Epiphany! In the spirit of new traditions, I have decided to extend Christmas with today being the last day of celebration. One thing about having our wedding in December, we were delayed with certain traditions. We did put our tree up during the second week of December, but there was something else missing: The traditional cookie baking festival.

Every year, my family always bakes dozens of cookies to take to gatherings and for those who visited with us. It was a big deal, as my Mom would usually devote a Saturday for cookie baking. We would bake Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Meringue Cookies, and the Cutout Sugar Cookies. It was so much fun, since we each got to hone a special recipe. My particular task was to help with the Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Blossoms (which were my favorite).

I intend to do the same with our family, except I want to move it to the last day of Christmas to extend the celebration. This will only help bring many memories in the future.

Well, in the spirit of Christmas, I baked two dozen of my super duper chocolate chip cookies. You may ask what makes my recipe “super duper,” and I am happy to share this with you. Besides chocolate chips, I add Heath Bar bits to help boost the flavor. You can also add Peanut Butter chips as well, but the key is to keep things simple. They turned out great, as my husband and his friend went back for more. From my kitchen to yours…here’s the recipe for the best cookies on this side of the Potomac River:

(Adapted from the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)

2 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet or Callebaut Chocolate Chunks, but I used Nestle…since they were on sale).
1/2 of a 12 oz. package of Heath Bar Bits (You can use more or less, if you are using Peanut Butter Chips)
**Note: You could add chopped nuts (Walnuts or Pecans). However, I opted out due to nut allergies.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and heath bar bits. Using a cookie scoop (or ice cream spoon for big cookies), drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Step 3: Bake for 9-11 minutes (I baked mine for 10 minutes) or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Step 4: Grab a cookie and a glass of milk. Then, you should totally rave about how super duper they are…and of course, share the cookies with loved ones. They are sure to bring a smile to your face.

Really super duper!

Really super duper!

Eating at home? Solving the Dilemma of Dinner

When we got married, I knew things were going to change for the better. One thing was the fact that we were going to be united in many of our decisions, especially since they impact our long-term goals. One thing that I wanted to change was the number of times we would either resort to a neighborhood restaurant for takeout or eating dinner out on the town. With both my husband and I working late at night, we find ourselves resorting to this method for dinner. My goal was to cut back on the eating out and start prepping meals in advance to have in the evenings. This would not only help us from the economic perspective, but it would help us from a nutritional standpoint as well.

Starting this month, I am making it a focus to find dinners that I can make in under an hour or in a slow cooker. This way, we can come home and know that dinner will be available with little to no prep time. I started to review cookbooks that have sections for slow cooking or quick cooking sections. One of my favorite cookbooks is the Betty Crocker Cookbook, as it has nutritional recipes that fit both categories. In fact, this week’s menu includes two recipes from this cookbook. We will see if these recipes will go in my cooking file for future dinner nights.

Outside of cookbooks, I have begun devising weekly menus that can change depending on our schedule or what we have on hand. The key is to remain flexible. For example, I made a huge batch of chili in the slow cooker for tonight’s dinner. I know that this chili can be utilized for lunch and dinner, so it will be dinner tomorrow night as well. The weekly menus have also proven beneficial for grocery shopping as well. On Friday night or Saturday morning, I take inventory in the following areas: Produce, Dairy, Freezer, Shelf Goods, Miscellaneous to determine what is needed for the week. When we go to the store, we know what we have to adhere to, so it cuts down on unnecessary expenses.

So, I’ll keep you posted on how eating at home works for us during the month of January, and hopefully, it will yield in many tasty recipes as well.