Sunday, August 18, 2013

Skillet Peach Cobbler

Last week at our local farmers market, I picked up some beautiful peaches. I love fresh peaches, any fresh summer fruit for that matter. Peach season is a little late this year because of the mild, wet summer we have had in the Midwest. I came across this recipe in my Cook's Country Cookbook. You can use either fresh or frozen peaches, but I used my fresh in season peaches. The recipe calls for 5 lbs of sliced peaches, but I used slightly less (about 3 1/2 pounds) and it turned out just fine. I must say, I originally started out with 5 lbs but by the time I got them home, we had to eat a few! The cobbler is easy to throw together. You start by cooking the peaches in the skillet and then assembling the cobbler in the skillet and baking it.

Overall, this recipe is very good. The cobbler topping reminds me of a snicker doodle the way it is covered in cinnamon sugar. The dough, however, was a little complicated. The recipe calls for you to knead the dough for 30 seconds are mixing. The dough is very soft and sticky and kneading it was near impossible. After trying to knead it on a floured cutting board, I finished kneading it in the mixing bowl and refrigerate the dough until ready to use. I also had to spoon the dough on the peaches verses "breaking" the dough in pieces. Other than that, the recipe was very easy to put together.

Skillet Peach Cobbler
from Cook's Country

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 lbs peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch*
Cobbler Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Filling: Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet** over medium heat. Add two-thirds of peaches, sugar and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and simmer until the juices have evaporated and the peaches began to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Add remaining peaches and cook for 5 minutes until they are heated through. Whisk lemon juice with cornstarch andd stir into peaches. Cover skillet, and take off heat.
Topping: While peaches are cooking, whisk flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk and butter until dough forms. Do not overmix. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon. Spoon or break dough into 1 inch pieces and space them about 1/2 inch apart on the top of the peach mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake on the middle rack in a 425 degree oven for 18 to 22 until the top is  golden brown and peaches thickened. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving. Can be enjoyed warm or cold!
It's great on the second day as well!

 Tip: While peeling peaches, fill a bowl halfway with cold water and lemon juice. Put peaches slices in the bowl while preparing the rest of the fruit. This will keep the fruit from browning before use.

*original recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons. I didn't feel that all the cornstarch was necessary as the peaches thickened up well on their own. I may omit it next time as most of the peach juice evaporated from stove top cooking.

**A nonstick skillet is suggested. I do not have a nonstick skillet so I used my regular stainless steel skillet and it worked great. Just make sure you watch the peaches for any sticking or burning. I left the temperature at medium to medium-low.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies have to be my favorite sweet treat. They're addictive! I recently came across this recipe via Pinterest. I had heard of "The New York Times" cookie recipe before but had never tried it. I'm always interested in trying new chocolate chip cookie recipes so I figured I would give this a shot. The cookies are crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. The recipe suggests adding a sprinkle of sea salt on the top of each cookie. I thought it may be weird but it actually gives it a nice sweet/salty combination.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
from The New York Times

  • 2 Cups minus 2 tablespoons Cake Flour
  • 1 2/3 Cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (I used sea salt; original recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) of butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (Original recipe calls for 20 ounces, I had a 24 ounce bag so what's an extra 4 ounces?)
Sift dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment*, cream butter and sugars together until light in color and fluffy. About 5 minutes. Reduce speed and beat in eggs, one at a time and mix well. Stir in vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, about 10 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerated dough for minimum of 24 hours and up until 72 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 2 tablespoonful** of cookie dough  onto cookie sheet for each cookie. Lightly sprinkle the cookies with sea salt and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Allow cookie to cool on cookie sheet slightly, transfer to wire rack and cool, or eat warm!

*I used my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. You can use any stand mixer, hand mixer, or beat by hand.
**original recipe calls for 3.25 ounces balls and cooking for 18-20 minutes. I like slightly smaller cookies so I opted for 2 tablespoons of dough.

Helpful Tip: This cookie recipe makes a lot of cookie dough. Too much for just my husband and I alone. I bake about half the dough and froze the rest for a later use. I prepared the balls of dough and froze on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, I put the cookie dough in a gallon size freezer bag. A week later, I needed a quick snack to take to a friends house and I whipped these out in no time!