It has been awhile since the holiday baking blitz, and something about an early spring and forthcoming Easter has me baking up a storm. You know it means a lot to you when you rent a Zip car in torrential rain and after-work traffic and visit a paltry Superstore to stock up on 10kg of flour. Note to self, never attempt a Superstore run alone again. I have bruises and a short fuse as a reminder.
Homemade bread is the latest craze at home. One evening of devotion to a timer and a rising regimen equals two loafs of satisfying wheat bran dough, although stopping Mr. Dandi at a couple slices of warm buttered bread is impossible. From bread I moved to doctoring up my favourite bran muffin recipe with cinnamon, orange zest and vanilla. I could put orange zest in everything, from chocolate cake to poppy seed pancakes. If something is missing and your recipe has holes in it, chances are you need a little zest. I recently made Bon Appetit‘s Molasses Chewies (sans the brown sugar glaze), and they were such satisfying cookie bars. Next time I attempt them I envision a bit of zest and definitely a notch up on the pinch of black pepper.
Finally, I made some chocolate chip cookies. I haven’t touched a basic choco chip recipe in years (something about plain white dough, as everything needs molasses and brown sugar in my opinion), but I was intrigued by Canadian Living‘s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I knew I would get a few high fives if these came out of the oven. Success. I think the pecans and heavy handed vanilla really sell these toothsome treats.
Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups semisweet-chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix wet, add dry and chocolate/nuts. Roll or drop tablespoonfuls and bake at 375°F for 8 to 9 minutes. Cool on pan for 3-5 minutes before transferring to rack.
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cinnamon (I upped to 1 heaping tsp)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ginger (increased to 1 tsp)
½ tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of black pepper
½ cup butter
1 ¼ brown sugar (I only bothered with 1 cup)
¼ cup molasses
¾ golden raisins
½ coarsely chopped pecans
Mix wet, add dry just until combined. Add nuts and raisins. Transfer dough to pan; smooth top. Bake in 9 x 9 greased/floured pan for 33 minutes at 350°F. Cool completely in pan on rack. Slice!