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Entries in chocolate (110)

Thursday
May022013

Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Spring is in the air, graduate school has wrapped up for the spring semester, and the wind carries the feeling of renewal. The next two weeks will be filled with more rest and leisure than I have had in the last four months combined—a welcome break to stretch my limbs and a chance to play around in the kitchen. Even though I have a summer of classes before me (and a graduation date looming on the horizon), the job hunt has already begun.

Reality can never quite escape me completely.

Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Each job application represents a new road, an unknown path, a concrete possibility in a world filled with dreams. Each application is a window into a potential future, a peak at what my life might become. Even though the process can be arduous, each time I hit the submit button, I take a deep breath as a bright future flashes before me. The moment is brief, but exhilarating. I take a second breath to calm myself down and remind myself not to get my hopes too high. While full of hope and opportunity, job applications can also bring about feelings of rejection and sorrow.

The trick is to keep your head held high, your feet facing forward, and to replace lost dreams with new possibilities. To add new roads to the map of life.

Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My job search has led me down interesting paths, as I send off applications to other states and cities I have never been. It feels a bit like fishing; I have cast my line and now I must hope the fish are biting. As I anxiously awaited replies (or a lack thereof) this weekend, I made a batch of cookies to calm my nerves. Baking has a way of bringing peace into my life, as I mix ingredients by hand and move slowly around the kitchen to make the moment last longer.

While these Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies will not make time pass faster, they bring about a sweetness that makes the wait much more bearable.

Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies have a coveted soft-baked texture that lasts for days. A classic chocolate chunk cookie batter has a few added tablespoons of honey, which lend a soft flavor and chewy nature to the cookies. The addition of whole wheat flour gives the cookies a nutty undertone. Fresh from the oven, warm with melted chocolate, these cookies are a sweet fantasy.

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Wednesday
Apr172013

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies  {Gluten-Free}

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone, it seems, is on an endless search to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Crunchy or soft, chewy or melt-in-your-mouth, each person has a personal preference with a set of criteria to match. There is a reason why there are twelve million hits when you search for the "best chocolate chip cookies"—like a soul mate, we all want to find "the one." While the back of the Nestlé Tollhouse chocolate chip package and the New York Times' cookie recipe are among the top, most popular contenders, my cookie preferences fall into a much different camp.

Have you found your perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mother's homemade cookies consisted of store-bought frozen cookie dough, already packaged to go from bag to baking sheet without needing a single utensil. To be fair, she did make her daughters cookies from scratch occasionally, but the frozen cookies are the ones we remember and hold in our hearts. When my sister and I head home over long weekends or holidays, she always has a package in the freezer waiting for us. It does not matter that I am a proficient baker and could make a batch of cookies with my eyes closed, these are the cookies I look forward to most. Nostalgia has a sneaky way of suppressing any qualms I may have about store-bought baked goods.

Truthfully, I believe the qualities of the cookies we grow up with are the same as the cookies we prefer once when we grow older. My grandmother makes delightfully crunchy cookies that baptize the kitchen table with cookie crumbs each time a bite is taken. My dad loves these cookies, calling them "milk dunkers." My sister and I make help to make a further case for this claim.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I set out to make a batch of cookies last weekend, I did not intend to create my boyfriend's perfect chocolate chip cookie, but somehow it happened. I had almond butter in the cupboard and, inspired by these flourless peanut butter cookies, I played around with a few ingredients. The batter is a bit oily from the almond butter, but the nut oil crafts the most delightfully chewy cookie once it bakes. After stealing two straight from the oven, my boyfriend asked me what was in them, astonished at how unexpectedly perfect he found them. When I told them they were gluten-free, he refused to believe me, claiming the texture was too similar to a traditional chocolate chip cookie.

He ate six more before the day came to an end. I have already purposely filed this recipe away for the future.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are fantastically chewy and, shockingly, gluten-free. Almond butter forms the base of the cookies, though it adds only a subtle flavor (if any) to the final product. While sugar sweetens the cookies, a pinch of salt really helps to bring out a contrast of flavors. I prefer to use miniature chocolate chips because they provide a little chocolate to every bite, but larger chocolate chips will work just as well. These cookies are something special, trust me.

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Sunday
Apr072013

Almond Joy Candy Bars

Almond Joy Candy Bars

Coconut never used to be a familiar word in my vocabulary nor did the fruit itself often find its way into my stomach. As landlocked as one could be, coconuts were as foreign of an idea as palm trees and tropical seas—the subject of many a daydream, but not of an everyday reality. I remember looking over the brown coconut shells in the supermarket, hard beneath my hands, and I was curious how long the coconuts had been sitting on the shelf (I had never witnessed a person purchase one before). A sign overhead asserted that the coconut could be opened best with an ice pick, pointed proof showing how far this little coconut was from home.

As I placed the coconut back on the shelf, I wondered if people in tropical climates carried around ice picks for this specific purpose. The thought struck me as silly, but I could not think of a tool better suited than the one for winter weather.

Almond Joy Candy Bars

Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me and I bought a supermarket coconut of my own. I was skeptical of the coconut, as perhaps I should have been, but willing to keep an open mind. In the hot summer sun, I brought it back to my dorm room where my friends and I stared at it, wondering if we would be able to find an ice pick during this time of year. As we passed it between each other, pondering the usage of butcher knives and sharp rocks, my friend accidentally dropped it on the tile floor. Neatly splitting in two, the coconut water began to puddle around it.

A coconut, it seemed, hardly needed any motivation to open at all.

Almond Joy Candy Bars Almond Joy Candy Bars

We stared at the coconut shell on the floor for a moment or two, in disbelief that the coconut was so fragile. My friend, who had lived in Hawaii the year before, took this as a bad omen. We scooped the supermarket coconut off the tile, trying to salvage as much as possible. The smell was musky and unpleasant. The taste, even worse. A bad coconut, my friend declared, as she cleanly tossed it in a nearby trash can.

Though my introduction to fresh coconut was less than ideal, it was the start of a coconut affair that would only grow and flourish. While fresh coconut may be out of the picture, dried coconut has become a pantry staple.

Almond Joy Candy Bars

Homemade Almond Joy Candy Bars are much healthier and taste just as wonderful as the store-bought version. The coconut center is made with unsweetened shredded coconut, honey, and coconut oil to bind it together. With an almond on top and a chocolate coating, the candy bar is complete. While I placed almonds both inside and on top of the chocolate coating, I would suggest placing the almonds inside the chocolate coating. The almonds placed on top of the chocolate coating have a tendency to fall off during preparation. A no-bake treat, these candy bars can be ready in thirty minutes time.

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