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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

megordonMasterChef open casting calls and chewy chocolate chip cookies are the highlights of my blogging today. With exhausting life events that have taken place over the last three weeks I was some how able to produce my chewy chocolate chip cookie show for you and show up to my second pre-registered casting call for MasterChef.

Three weeks ago we received horrific news that my brother-in-law, George, passed away at the age of 57 from a heart attack. It was both devastating and unexpected. He was taken from us much too young and will be deeply missed by many. George lead an incredible life having the opportunities to accomplish many wonderful things that so many people wouldn’t have even had the chance to experience.

Bella and Reilly visiting with Brody

Bella and Reilly visiting with Brody

While dealing with the loss of Uncle George our King Charles, Brody, was hit by a car on Wednesday. I had just finished shooting my chewy chocolate chip cookie show when we got news of the accident. My kids and I were running between two vets for six hours for the later part of the day.

Brody didn’t have any broken bones, but a deep open gash on his upper right leg and bruising across his chest causing a profuse amount of swelling. They don’t stitch wounds like this so he got four staples and spent the next few nights at the vets for care and observation. Brody was heavily sedated on Thursday so I began to edit my chewy chocolate chip cookie show and was then able publish it to my YouTube Channel.

A second task now out of the way. My first task, was accomplished earlier in the week on Tuesday making a test run of my “Cold Cucumber-Fennel Soup” for the MasterChef three minute plating part of the casting call. I wanted to make sure the flavors were exactly how I wanted them with the new addition of the fennel to the soup. I was then off to pick up the King Crab legs from Altlantic Seafood in Old Saybrook. This crab will be set up on top of the cucumber-fennel soup in the center with a eatable garnish of fresh dill. The cold soup will also have a drizzle of Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, and fine dice, a brunoise, of avocado, tomato and cucumber scantly decorating the top of the soup around the king crab.

Friday morning was upon us and I was now making the a final batch of my Cold Cucumber-Fennel Soup for the MasterChef open call. Just as I was finishing, Brody’s vet called and wanted me to come for a visit with Brody. I put the soup into the refrigerator and headed right out. I felt that the hour I spent there with him helped so much I brought Reilly and Bella back at six o’clock that night right after picking up the rental car for New York City. I decided on driving this time to MasterChef because the five plus hours of train rides the last time was too draining.

The Veterinary hospital was forty-five minutes away so the kids and I were home by 8:45 Friday night after the visit with Brody. I then finished organizing the ice, the cooler, and chopped up the eatable garnish for the soup. Then I worked on finishing the eight page application to the MasterChef open casting call. Finally, I went to sleep at midnight and that 4:30 am alarm came way too fast.

MasterChef on Camera Shooting in Times Square

MasterChef on Camera Shooting in Times Square

On Saturday morning, the MasterChef crew wanted contestants there at 8:00 for morning filming, so that’s what I did. They filmed us in groups in Times Square chanting “MasterChef”. They then did individual on-camera pieces with every single contestant stating what we did for a living, where we were from and a finish on a “I’m your next MasterChef”, with much enthusiasm! Myself and a few others were then asked sign release forms.

After two hours at Times Square we all went back to the hotel to wait our turn to enter into the “plate-up” room. We met the tasting chefs and the first set of interviewers walking around with clip boards discussing your life and what kind of person you are. Well, I’m ecstatic to say the judges loved my Cold Cucumber-Fennel Soup! My number was announced first once again, as it was in the first open casting call that I attended back in October of 2015. Our group of 9 was on to the next interview part of the casting call and the remaining contestants from our group were dismissed.

At this point it was noon and my energy level was deteriorating fast even after having a coffee at 4:30 am, a mini can of coca cola at 8:00 am and a 1/2 of a coffee at 10:30. But once again, I am there ready to forge on. Worries of Brody are also going through my mind. The anticipation and excitement of picking him up after I leave NYC which also included dropping off Bella to her Tennis match, the rental car, picking up Reilly and then heading to Piper Veterinary to get our boy home!

Oh yes, we are back at the MasterChef interview room facing the last judge with his seductive English accent, a kind of 007 look to him, is now asking me to tell him about myself. What! Really? OK, everything I was hoping to express to him just went out the window and I’m thinking “just try and be your funny self Michel” and all will be okay, but that is not how it worked out. Although I was hopeful that I may still have a chance to get to thru this “personality” phase to my dismay I was not. I know more of me was expected in that last phase then I was capable of giving this time.

Well, I did make a kick ass dish once again and actually enjoyed this round of MasterChef open casting call much more then the first time. You can’t always plan your life events! Life happens as they say and you have to roll with the punches and enjoy every minute. Definite kudos go out to that MasterChef casting call team who were there working their tails off for a good twelve hours. There’s always another chance at the next casting call later this year when MasterChef comes back to NYC!

Hope you enjoy my chewy chocolate chip cookie show and the SECRET to their chewiness. Remember to grab a few for yourself because there are never any left over! If you are looking for some delicious appetizer’s you may want to try my baked sweet potato fries and green Goddess dipping sauce,  my crab cakes, or mediterranean layered dip. For a main course you could venture to my homemade bolognese sauce or even homemade pasta!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter- salted
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla pure extract
  • 2 lg eggs room temp
  • 2 cups – 1 bag of Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Add room temp butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar to mixing bowl with mixing paddle
  2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy – a couple of minutes
  3. Add in one egg at a time, thoroughly mixing after each egg
  4. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl and begin to add dry into creamed sugar and egg mixture
  5. Briefly mix until combined – you do not want to build gluten’s here
  6. Mix in chocolate chips by hand into cookie dough
  7. With a lg cookie scoop scoop cookie dough onto tray 2″ apart
  8. Bake 7- 12 minutes on 375º – I BAKE MY COOKIES FOR 7 MINUTES IN A CONVECTION OVEN
  9. Bake until they are golden around edges and still blonde-pale in the middle
  10. Take out and let sit on tray for at least 5 minute then move then to a cookie rack to finish cooling…enjoy!!

 

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These homemade chocolate crackle cookies will make you feel like a baker of fine cookies. The snowy white confectioners sugar and the chocolaty brown cookie dough make a beautiful contrast when the cookies bake in the oven and make all those crackle lines.  Now the inside is some what of a surprise when you first bite into it. By the looks you might think its a crunchy cookie. Then you sink your teeth in and that velvety texture hits your tongue, feeling lighter then you thought and then the chocolaty silkiness just melts away.

I have been baking these incredible chocolate crackle cookies for at least ten years and for the life of me I can’t remember where I got this recipe from. All my life I have always written down recipes that looked irresistible whenever I was in a waiting room with an assortment food or cooking magazines. So I unfortunately cannot give credit where credit is due. I did of course change the recipe a pinch with the baking time and chocolate used. It originally said 12-15 minutes but I only bake them for eight minutes with a five minute waiting period before I move them off the cookie sheet to a cooling rack this way they can solidify a bit more. Shortening the cooking time gives them softer, gooier center that melts in your mouth rather then a slightly firmer cookie. I use the confection on my oven because the bottom of my oven runs really hot on “bake” not being conducive for even cooking. The hot air circulates in confection mode in my oven giving a more consistent outcome. As for the chocolate, the recipe had called for Verona chocolate which might be difficult to find last minute so I have been using my Ghiradelli bittersweet or Perugina chocolate bars and those are both scrumptious!

This homemade gourmet chocolate crackle cookie just may become a holiday tradition for you and your family too. Easy to make, oh so chocolaty and melts in your mouth! What more could you ask for in a cookie? Hope you enjoy the show 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 stick of butter softened to room temp
  • 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. bag of a bittersweet chocolate chips- Ghiradeli

Directions – Pre-heat oven to 350º to bake cookies :

  1. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and set aside
  2. Place bitterswewet chips in a pan over double boiler and melt – you can use a microwave – heat 20 seconds and stir and 10 more seconds and stir but be very careful not to burn the chocolate in the microwave
  3. Cream room temperature butter with light brown sugar in your Kitchen Aid mixer
  4. Add in 2 eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition
  5. Add vanilla and melted chocolate and beat briefly til combined
  6. Alternatively, begin to add dry sifted ingredients and 1/3 cup of milk all awhile mixing
  7. When completely mixed turn out dough onto 3 pieces of saran wrap
  8. Fold up in saran wrap and shape dough into disks, chill at least 2 hrs. – overnight
  9. You can also freeze at this point for a later date
  10. Take dough out and cut into 1″ pieces
  11. Roll each of the pieces into balls
  12. As you shape the dough into balls place them into a bowl full of confectioners sugar and roll around to completely coat
  13. After the balls are coated place them onto cookie sheet 2″ apart
  14. You will need to periodically rinse you hands to remove the dough accumulating on them
  15. NOTE: The dough rolls into balls the easiest when your hands are rinsed and a little damp
  16. Bake for 8 minutes on 350º
  17. Remove and let cool on the cookie tray for 5 minutes before you transfer the cookies to a cooling rack
  18. Let cool completely before to stacking on serving plate

 

“Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake”

“Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake”

ghostpeepstwoThe name “perfectly chocolate chocolate cake” pretty much sums it up right there although you won’t know how easy it is to make this homemade gourmet chocolaty cake until you give it a go! This incredible cake and frosting made from Hershey’s Cocoa Powder I have been making for almost 20 years now!  Once you see how easy it is to make these moist and chocolaty homemade cakes you’ll never go back to the box again! Besides on my blog you can find these recipe’s right on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa canister.

I was first turned on to the recipe by a mother-daughter baking team that I met about 20 years ago. They were professional baking contestants from the Midwest who had won numerous times. My quest at the time was to find the “perfect” chocolate cake and their answer was the Hershey’s Cocoa recipe. Not that the name itself on the back of the Hershey canister for this chocolate cake recipe wasn’t “perfect” enough I just couldn’t take the irony of it all so off I was trying out the recipe and baking this cake! It had such a lovely texture without being too dense or heavy. It was oh so chocolaty and moist to top it off. The amount of steps and effort put in to making this cake is pretty much equal to that of making a box cake so why would you ever resort back to making box ever again. You know me, I test other recipes to make sure I have the best and I always go back to the Hershey Cocoa recipe!

The Hershey’s “perfectly chocolate chocolate frosting” is one that should not be over looked either. The frosting is amazing and one of my favorite go to recipes totally blowing away that “canned” stuff with the plastic lid. I am really excited for these recipe’s to become a couple of your favorites too. You may find your friends and family requesting “your” perfectly chocolate cake for their next visit! I hope you enjoy the show!

You should check out my Green Goddess Dip & Sweet Potato Fries for an appetizer!  what ever you do DON’T FORGET TO ROAST your PUMKIN SEEDS! And how about some green ghoul Best Guacamole Guacmole Ever!  Or be creative with another dessert placing eatable eyballs on top a homemade Chocolate Meringue Pie!

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Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar  -(Hershey recipe calls for 2 cups white sugar)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder -(Hershey recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda -(Hershey recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp)
  • NOTE: I like to use 1 1/4 tsp baking powder & 1 1/4 tsp baking soda instead of the “Hershey” recipe that calls for 1 1/2 tsp for both because this produces a cake that is a little more moist because it doesn’t rise fully, and sometimes I even use 1/2 tsp baking powder & 1/2 tsp baking soda for a cake that has more of a pudding texture (not too dense or heavy either …just pudding like) Have fun!
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

TO MAKE GHOST CAKE THIS IS WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

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Find at “Michaels Stores” No. 1-3                                                                                                               Find at “Fresh Market” No. 4

  1. Ghost peeps
  2. Eatable eyballs
  3. Cookie Icing to write on small Hershey chocolate bars for tomb stone’s “RIP”
  4. Spider web stretchy candy (stretchy cotton candy-like) – stretch all around base & in between chocolate bar tomb stone’s
  5. Confectioner’s sugar sprinkled on top to look like a dusting of snow!
  6. Hershey chocolate bars-small ones-write on back “RIP” with Icing in bottle SHOWN ABOVE
  7. Glue candy eye’s and anchor tomb stone’s to cake with the cookie icing

Directions for Cake…NOTE- I Bake My Cake On Convection:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º
  2. Grease and flour 2 – 9″ round baking pans
  3. Add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine
  4. Add in eggs, milk vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes
  5. Stir in 1 cup boiling water til combined (batter will be thin)
  6. Pour evenly into cake pans
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes –NOTE: I ALWAYS take the cake out at 30 minutes!
  8. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes
  9. Remove cakes from pans, place on cookie racks to cool completely before frosting
  10. I cool for 1 hour then immediately frost the cake

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 1 stick of butter melted
  • 2/3 cup Hershey Cocoa
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions for Frosting:

  1. Melt butter and add to lg bowl
  2. Add in Hershey Cocoa and vanilla and whisk til smooth
  3. Alternate adding in a tbsp of milk and 1/4 powdered sugar while beating on medium speed til smooth
  4. When texture is smooth add in more milk and powdered sugar until all is gone and it’s the thick creamy consistency you want