World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie (Seriously)

best chocolate chip cookie

I feel like I’ve been working on perfecting the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe for years. Since I was 6 actually. To me, there is nothing more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie. I’m sure the synonym for nostalgia is “chocolate chip cookie” in fact. And no matter how many times I thought I got it right, a new technique or trick seemed to fall in my lap. I mean, it is a rough life, eating all of those chocolate chip cookies. But someone has to do it. Someone has to find the best chocolate chip recipe in the world, right?

best chocolate chip cookie

The wait is over. I think I found THE WORLD’S BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Yeah, I know there are a lot of other recipes out there claiming to be the best. But do those recipes have a ooey, gooey, chocolately center? Do the other recipes have toffee-like, slightly crispy, slightly chewy edges? Are the other cookies fluffy, nutty, and with a hint of salt?

Trust me. These are the best. I dare ya to try them and not agree!

Note: Check out these tools to help with this recipe!

Print Recipe
The World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Seriously)
This is the world's best chocolate chip cookie recipe. The luscious, molten center is encircled in crispy, caramelly edges with obscene amounts of chocolate.
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, nutmeg, and salt into a bowl. Set aside. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Fold in chocolate and incorporate without breaking pieces. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. Scoop 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer cookies onto another rack to cool completely.
    best chocolate chip cookie with milk

Chocolate Chip Cookies with CBD!

IMG_7954So a lot has happened since I last posted. My small family of three settled down into our new New England life; our tiny munchkin grew into an energetic, verbal, challenging, sweet, goofy little person; my wife received her graduate degree and is alllllmost done with post-doc; I’ve cooked and baked more recipes than I knew was possible in one year; …and marijuana was made legal in a few (including our) states. Hokay so that last one isn’t necessarily a milestone we celebrated this year but you have to admit that progression, especially in today’s political landscape, is worth a few cheers. But what this new development DID bring me was a new discovery: CBD!

I’m not sure how late to the party I am with CBD but this stuff seems to be sky rocketing into the mainstream these days. Makes complete sense with the legalization of marijuana. What doesn’t make sense, however, is how the public (media? govt? who knows) still casts an unjust stigma on the hemp-based version.

For those who haven’t experienced the glory that is CBD, or don’t even know what it is, here is the Readers Digest version: CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of over a hundred phytocannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants that have been known to have incredible health benefits. THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound in the plant that makes you “high”. So when you ingest marijuana, you get that high along with the significant therapeutic attributes associated with marijuana use (thanks to CBD). But ingest CBD alone? No high, just incredible health profits! CBD’s potential as a treatment includes (but not limited to):

  • Pain reduction
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Autoimmune diseases 
  • Neurological conditions 
  • Metabolic syndrome (diabetes and obesity)
  • Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, alcoholism, ADHD, PTSD) 
  • Gut disorders 
  • Cardiovascular dysfunction
  • Skin disease (dermatitis, psoriasis, acne)

Here’s the problem, even though the government has tested CBD and its benefits, and it’s been legal long before marijuana use, bakers and chefs still can’t add it to their menus (Hello!! Tasty treats that help with anxiety or pain?? Why not?!?!). Maybe soon. But until then, you have to buy CBD oil for yourself (check out the awesome selection at  CBD Essence!) and try this amazing cookie recipe out!! If you thought chocolate chip cookies couldn’t get any better, try them with CBD! Talk about the ultimate comfort food! Not into the CBD thing? Try this recipe without it!!!

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The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yields 20 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2cups minus 1 tablespoons cake flour (8 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 ⅔cups bread flour (8 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 ¼teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 200mg CBD (See note)*
  • 1 ¼cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks) (See note)**
  • 1 ¼cups light brown sugar (10 ounces)
  • 1cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (8 ounces)
  • 2large eggs
  • 2teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼pounds bittersweet chocolate
  • Sea salt

Notes:

*The amount of CBD you add to the recipe depends on the concentration. I used a concentration of 65mg/mL so I added only a small amount to yield a 10mg CBD/cookie recipe. And while I suggest purchasing a higher concentration CBD oil (lasts longer, you won’t have to add as much oil to the recipe, and you won’t taste the CBD at all) it does get a little pricey. Especially if you’re not sure about the stuff yet, it may not make sense to buy a large amount. But my advice: you’ll want the large amount…Especially after you start to feel the amazing benefits.

**If you use a lower concentration of CBD (and therefore have to add more oil to equal 200mg) then subtract a tsp or two of butter so the cookie isn’t too oily.

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Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, CBD (if using) and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Fold in chocolate and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer cookies onto another rack to cool completely.

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New to baking with CBD? Have questions? Or just want to tell me how amazing this recipe is? Contact me! I’d love to hear from you!

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

Basil And Olive Oil Macerated Raspberry Ice Cream

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You guys, life has been buuusssyyyy. Between planning for my family’s upcoming cross-country move, all of the traveling we’ve done recently, work, and a growing (now VERY mobile) 10½ month old daughter, finding kitchen time has been a little bit of a challenge. So as soon as I learned that this past weekend was a free one, you better believe I made time to play in the kitchen! I don’t think I sat down once – it was perfect. And since the markets have now started to shift from winter to spring and summer produce, I took advantage of the fresh warm weather flavors I’ve been craving all winter. And what better way to welcome those warm seasonal vibes than with ice cream?

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I feel like I must preface this recipe with an apology to hardcore ice cream traditionalists. This isn’t your normal vanilla, chocolate, strawberry kinda ice cream. But what can I say? I haven’t played in the kitchen in a while and my creative juices are exploding every where. But with that said, I still think I can convert (or at least tempt) those plain ice cream lovers with this little beauty. Heck, this recipe may surprise even the most experienced ice cream enthusiasts. Basil in ice cream? Trust me. Olive oil macerated raspberries? Yup, you read that correctly. A little bizarre, I know, but definitely the right blend of slightly savory, a little tart, but definitely sweet way to wake up your palate to warm weather flavors.

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Basil and Olive Oil Macerated Raspberry Ice Cream

Yields 3 cups

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Macerated Raspberry Sauce

  • 6 oz fresh raspberries
  • 3 tbsp. fruity olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. sugar

Basil Ice Cream

  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup heavy cream

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For the macerated raspberry sauce:

Macerate is basically a fancy way of saying soften through marination. When you macerate berries, berries are tossed with a mixture of sugar, acid, and oils and left to sit so that the mixture can soften and break down the cells of the berries, extracting the juices inside and softening the skin. So even though it sounds like a fancy therefore difficult component, it’s actually quite easy. Toss all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly, then let sit for 1 hour. After an hour, place all but 2 tbsp of the raspberry mixture in a small sauté pan and cook until the liquid thickens slightly (2-3 minutes). Turn off the heat, add the remaining mixture, and cool until later.

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For the basil ice cream:

Bring milk, basil, ¼ cup sugar, and salt to a low boil in a heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let basil steep for 30 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until basil is finely ground. In a medium bowl, beat together yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1 minute. Add the milk mixture in a slow stream to the egg-sugar mix, whisking until combined. Pour mixture back into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats back of spoon (175°F).

IMG_5545Do not let boil! Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Let custard cool completely. Stir in cream and pour into ice cream maker (following the ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions). When the ice cream is set, spoon into an airtight container, alternating with raspberry sauce layers. Place ice cream in the freezer to harden (at least 2 hours). Enjoy!!

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Fudgy Beet Brownies

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As with zucchini bread and carrot cake, these beet brownies are a sweet dessert that are also chock full of a vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetable. They’re super moist, fudgey, and chocolatey brownies, and even the most vegetable-averse among us won’t be able to resist!

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Fudgy Beet Brownies

Yields 12
Ingredients:
  • 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 oz beets, cooked, peeled, and drained*
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-processed**
  • 1/8 tsp salt, optional
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Ingredient notes:
*If you plan to use canned beets for this recipe, you may want to leave out the additional salt. Canned beets contain enough salt needed for this recipe. But if you’re using fresh beet puree, add in the 1/8 tsp as written above.
**Conflicted about using natural vs. Dutch-processed cocoa powder? For this particular recipe, either powder will produce a tasty brownie. The Readers Digest version of cocoa powders goes like this: The difference between both powders begins with the acidity naturally found in chocolate. “Natural” processed cocoa powder retains those acids naturally found in the cocoa bean, leaving you with a more floral, slightly tart chocolate flavor. “Dutch-processed” cocoa beans have been washed in a potassium solution to neutralize their acidity. The result is a more mellow, creamy, deeper chocolate flavor. Both cocoa powders are delicious and in recipes where a leavening agent (baking soda and powder) is not necessary (like this one), the decision to use one vs. the other really just comes down to the baker’s preference. It’s not until when leavening agents are used when these two powders become less interchangeable. But that is for another day and another recipe.
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Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 8×8 baking dish. Purée beets until smooth and set aside. In small bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, and salt (if using) and set aside. In a saucepan over low heat, melt 6 oz of the chocolate along with the butter and sugar. Remove from heat, pour into large mixing bowl, and cool slightly. Stir beets into the melted chocolate mixture. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet batter and combine thoroughly. Mix in the remaining 3 oz chocolate pieces. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 28-30 minutes, until the center is set. Cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!
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Peanut Butter Middles

img_4841Since we are smack-dab in the middle of cookie season I had to bring out the big guns: chocolate and peanut butter. This recipe for Peanut Butter Middles has to be one of my all-time favorite holiday cookie recipes. I suppose they can be eaten all year long (and trust me, you will want to make them all year long) but I typically reserve this cookie recipe for my favorite time of year. This cookie platter standout may take a little more elbow grease than others but they are soooo worth the time and effort that go into making them. Just make sure you hide a few for yourself or you may wake up to an empty cookie box in the morning!

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Peanut Butter Middles

Yields 25 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ tsp. basking soda
  • ½ sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Colored frosting for decorating (optional)
Filling:
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup sifted powdered sugar
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Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Roll filling mixture into 25 – 1 inch balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place the peanut butter balls in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate dough. (This step will make it easier to share the chocolate dough around the peanut butter centers.)
img_4840In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda. In a large mixing bowl, beat brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat well. Remove the slightly frozen peanut butter balls from the freezer. Using lightly floured hands, shape about 1 tbsp. of chocolate dough around each ball of peanut butter, covering the peanut butter completely. Place cookie balls 2 inches apart on parchment paper or silpat-lined cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flattening to about ¼-inch thickness. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating.
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Gingerbread

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’Tis the season for cookies, cookies, and more cookies. And is there a cookie that epitomizes the holiday season more than gingerbread?? Even if it’s not your favorite cookie, you have to admit that it’s difficult to refuse those spicy-sweet treats this time of year. Whether you make gingerbread people or go all out with a gingerbread house, treating your family to a batch of these gingerbread cookies should be a must every December. This recipe has been my family’s go-to since I was a tiny baker. Some of my earliest Christmas memories were spent around the dining table with my sisters and dad as we constructed the tastiest gingerbread house on the block. If you haven’t dedicated an entire December day to Christmas music and gingerbread baking while being elbow-deep in candy decorations, then you’re really missing out. But even if gingerbread house construction is just out of reach this year, you can opt for cookie-cutter gingerbread cookies instead. And dont forget that sturdy royal icing (recipe below)!  

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Gingerbread 

Ingredients

  • 6 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  •  1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  •  4 tsp. cinnamon
  •  1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  •  1 tsp. ground cloves
  •  1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1 ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
  •  2 eggs
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Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a large mixing bowl on medium speed, beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Mix in the molasses and eggs. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Turn mixture onto a lightly floured surface and roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using either a cookie cutter or a gingerbread house template*, cut out cookies and place on a parchment paper or silat lined cookie sheet. Bake small cookies for 6-10 minutes; bake large cookies for 10-15 minutes. After baking, loosen gingerbread with a spatula to prevent sticking and allow to cool on the tray. After 10 minutes, transfer cookies to cooling rack and cool completely. 
Note: If you’re not going to use your gingerbread dough right away, place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate. Refrigerated dough will keep for a week. Be sure to remove the dough from the fridge 3 hours prior to rolling so it softens. 

Royal Icing

Yields 7 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar  plus more if needed 
  • 2 egg whites (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Set aside. In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar mixture gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Cover the bowl with a damp towel as you decorate your cookies so that the icing doesn’t dry out.
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*Print your gingerbread house template (there are hundreds available online) before baking your gingerbread house. Cut the gingerbread according to the template, bake, then re-cut using the template again to ensure straight and accurate measurements. This will create the secure framework for the house, safeguarding it against any disappointing collapses. 
 
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Mixed Berry Fruit Leather

img_3536Phew! Anyone else exhausted (and still full) from Thanksgiving? *Raises hand* What a fun-filled, food-coma holiday, though! But if you’re like me, you’ve probably been chowing down on those healthy, crunchy greens and fruit since Sunday. That doesn’t mean we have to give up on our daily sweet treat, however. In an attempt to clear up some kitchen space (before holiday cookie season kicks into high gear) and satisfy her sweet tooth, my wife came up with this delicious recipe for to use up the extra fruit we had lying around. This updated, healthy version for fruit leather takes that childhood classic and combines frozen berries, a little honey, and fresh mint. Super easy, super healthy, and super portable!

Mixed Berry Fruit Leather

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups frozen berry mix (we used blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5-6 sprigs mint (about 1/3 cup)
  • juice and zest from 1 lime

Defrost the berries in the refrigerator overnight. Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Spread mixture evenly on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place cookie sheet in a 170°F preheated oven for 7 hours, rotating tray after about 4 hours. The leather is ready to take out of the oven when the texture is firm to the touch, and not sticky. Cool completely. Cut leather in half, roll up, and cut strips. Tie the rolls with kitchen twine. Leather can be stored in an airtight container for about 1 week.

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Whiskey and Browned Butter Pecan Pie

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I may have said it before, but one of the reasons I grew up wanting to be a chef was because of the memory-triggering power of food. One bite of a favorite food and you’re instantly transported to your childhood, your first date with your husband or wife, the first Thanksgiving you ever cooked yourself, and thousands of other memories that warm you up and spread joy with a single bite. If I had to name my favorite memory-triggering food, I would say it must be my dad’s pecan pie. Pecan pie is actually not my favorite dessert nor my favorite pie! But a Thanksgiving without the smell and sight of my dad’s famous pecan pie quietly waiting on the dessert table just wouldn’t feel right. My version of my dad’s masterpiece dessert includes browned butter and whiskey, two ingredients that add a little extra oomph to an already perfect recipe.

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One reason this recipe is sooooo yummy: buttah

Whiskey and Browned Butter Pecan Pie

Yields 1 pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • ¼ cup ice water

Filling:

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. whiskey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

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Keep an eye on your butter as it browns – don’t let it burn!

With a food processor, combine flour, salt, butter, and sugar and pulse machine until the mixture looks like small pebbles.  Add the ice water slowly until the dough comes together into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or place in the freezer for 15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle. Fold dough into quarters and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about ½ inch. Fold overhang under the edge of pie pan and crimp. Place crust in the freezer for 20 minutes. To par-bake the crust, preheat oven 400°F. Line frozen crust with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and remove the pie weights and paper/foil, then let cool before filling. (Note: I prefer to par-bake my pecan pie crusts because the filling is syrupy and thin. Par-baking before you fill the crust will result in a crisp bottom-  a delicious contrast to the soft filling.)

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Lower oven temperature to 350°F. To prepare the filling, start by melting the butter over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the butter as it melts and boils – the goal is to brown the milk fat in the butter (this will take 2-3 minutes). Once the butter starts for brown and smells nutty, immediately stir in the sugar, salt, and corn syrup to stop the butter from burning. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl and cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the whiskey, vanilla, and cider vinegar. Beat in each egg, one at a time. Stir in the toasted pecans. Pour mixture into par-baked crust and place in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set (toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle). Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. This pie can be made 2 days in advance.

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“Peanut Butter and Jelly” Crème Brûlée

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One of my favorite ways of finding inspiration for new recipes is taking classic, well-known foods and turning them into something unexpected. There are so many wonderful flavors out there, and even though the culinary world is growing faster than you can imagine, sometimes tried and true recipes are even better than the most elaborate or creative ones. And what’s simpler than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Still to this day, I have a soft spot for a good old PB&J. And because one of my wife’s favorite desserts is crème brûlée, I just had to play around with these two culinary classics.

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“Peanut Butter and Jelly” Crème Brûlée

Yields 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. basic, creamy peanut butter, not old-fashioned or freshly ground (the oils will prevent the custard from setting properly)
  • ½ cup sugar, plus more for topping
  • 3 egg yolks
  • seedless red grapes
  • ¼ tsp. oil (avocado, coconut, canola, or vegetable)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix the egg yolks, sugar, and peanut butter together in small bowl. In saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream until frothy (but don’t let it boil).

At this point, you want to mix all the ingredients together — HOWEVER, pouring the hot cream over raw eggs could cause the eggs to curdle. Therefore, you’ll need to mix them together at a slow pace, “tempering” the eggs so that they don’t clump. Pour the cream, 1 tbsp at a time, into the bowl with the eggs, sugar, and peanut butter, stirring to incorporate after each addition of cream. Once you’ve stirred in about ¼ of the cream, add this peanut butter-cream mix back into the saucepan of warm cream and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.

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Pour the mixture into small ramekins. Place the dishes in a large cake pan and pour water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the filled ramekins. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the crème brûlée is set. While they are baking, toss a small bunch of grapes in the oil and place in a toaster oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they are soft. When the grapes are roasted, take them out of the oven and lightly sprinkle them with sugar. Cool the crème brûlées for 1 hour before serving.

img_4424Once the crème brûlées are set and the grapes are roasted, lightly sprinkle the tops of the crème brûlée with sugar and torch until golden brown. (Small hand torches specifically for crème brûlée can be found at kitchen supply stores or online!) If you don’t have a crème brûlée torch, it’s also possible to use a toaster oven for this process. Turn the toaster oven on broil for 5 minutes, and pop the ramekins in for 1-2 minutes until the sugar caramelizes.

Serve with roasted grapes. You can also serve them with my Mulled Wine Biscotti!

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Mulled Wine Biscotti

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Apparently as soon as the weather dropped below 65°, I went into full holiday baking mode. These past few weeks have been taken over by my former pastry chef life… and I love it! Thanks to nostalgia, I feel the need to be in the kitchen baking nearly every day. Recently I was inspired to come up with a baking project that uses one of my favorite holiday scents: mulled wine! Mulled wine has been associated with my holiday season for as long as I can remember, even before I was old enough to enjoy its taste. Whether it was the smell that permeated from my dad’s kitchen, warming up my hands as I walked through a Christmas market in Germany, or the warm mug perched on the floor in front of me as we watched holiday movies in front of the fire — mulled wine will forever be one of my most cherished holiday scents.

img_4402 What’s not to love: cinnamon, citrus, nutmeg, and delicious red wine that warms you up before you even take your first sip. This recipe challenged me to get my holiday gears moving by finding a way to combine all of those warm, spiced flavors into a crispy cookie.

Mulled Wine Biscotti

Yields 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 2¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup almonds, slightly toasted and rough chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Over high heat in a small saucepan, reduce red wine for 10 minutes. (You should be left with about 3 tbsp. red wine syrup.) Stir together sugar, butter, red wine syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add in the eggs and stir until incorporated. Stir in flour, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cranberries, almonds, and salt until just combined. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.

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Using moistened hands, halve dough and form 2 loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 300°F. Cut loaves into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. Serve with a cup of coffee, hot tea or cocoa, or mulled wine, of course.

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