8/29/14

Winner for Harmons Gift Card!

The Random Generator selected entry #230, Alicia Cravens for the Harmons $100 Gift Card. Congratulations Alicia! I will email you and send the card out today.
Thanks to everyone who entered, and a special thanks to Harmons, who provided the card for this giveaway!

8/25/14

Harmons Grocery $100 Giftcard Giveaway!





Hey there. Want to win a $100 gift card to everyone's favorite grocery store?
You can spend it however your heart desires...



Take a cooking class at one of their classroom locations. The card will cover a class for you AND a friend.
Or use it to book a special party! Woot!




Use the card to buy gear to rep your favorite team. Harmons has sweatshirt, t-shirts, decals, lanyards, cups, hats, insulated bags, chairs, tables and lots, lots more.
GO UTES!
Oh, they have BYU stuff too.

I LOVE this little fold up table.
And that little people UTE chair. So cute.


Harmons has gifts for your family and friends.
And stuff for you, too.


Quality appliances. 



Fun dishes, items for baking, picnics, specialty cooking, and locally made gifts. 
Everything from aprons to hand made soaps.



Have you spent your gift card yet? 



Maybe you just want to spend it on GROCERIES. You're in luck. You've come to the right place.




Here's the deal. One winner, announced on Friday. Enter below.
Thanks to Harmons who sponsored this giveaway.
Good Luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

8/18/14

Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies (2014)



School starts up next week in our community. Is there anything better after a long day at school than a melt-in-your-mouth homemade chocolate chip cookie?
If you've ever made chocolate chip cookies, you've probably had a baking failure. Am I right?
Today, we are going to solve that problem. Once and for all.
NO MORE CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKE COOKIES.  Ever again.




In 2010, after months of testing methods and ingredient combinations for baking chocolate chip cookies, I came up with a recipe that works.  Every. Single. Time.
Since then, I've continued to update, simplify and improve this recipe. For the original recipe, with step by step photos, check out  this post.  This recipe is a one bowl, 20 minute (start to finish)  success.




I've made these cookies a few hundred times. Everyone- from young neighbor kids to folks in nursing homes love these cookies.
I know you're going to love them too.
Happy Baking!






ABK's Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies (updated 8/2014)
A Bountiful Kitchen (adapted from Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe)
print recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened *
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt ( I prefer coarse salt)
2 cups  or 1 (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F. If using convection, preheat to 375 as well.
For regular oven, place rack in middle of oven. When using a convection oven, you should be able to bake on all racks at one time.
Cut butter into pieces ( about 2 tablespoons each) and place in mixing bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid and power it on 2 (low).  After a few seconds, add granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until creamy (this takes just a few seconds). Add eggs, beating just until incorporated and smooth.  Never turn the beaters on high. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl to insure all ingredients are incorporated.
Dump 2 cups of the flour, soda, salt and chocolate chips all together into bowl with butter mixture. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to the top of this mixture. Slowly mix the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips together.  Do not over mix.  Turn the dough with a rubber spatula so the bottom of the dough is mixed into the top of the dough. This will insure the flour is mixed in properly and the chips are distributed evenly.
Using a cookie scoop, drop onto un-greased baking sheets, or baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place 6 scoops of dough on each baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
If using convection, bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. If using regular oven, bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be slightly golden and the cookie should not be wet on top.
Cool on baking sheets completely.
Yield 18 large cookies.

Tips:
(or my mini-epistle on cc cookie making and baking)
-Only use butter. Unsalted is best. The butter should be more firm than room temperature butter. I take it straight out of the fridge, and microwave it for about 20 seconds.
-*Our altitude is about 4,400 ft. So, I use about 2 3/4 cups flour total. The original Toll House recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups. If you are at sea level, you will probably need less flour than the 2 3/4 cup.
-Don't over beat the butter-sugar mixture, or the batter will become too soft, and your cookies will not be beautiful and puffy. They will resemble pancakes. 
-Don't sift the flour.
-There is usually a notable difference between using a convection and a standard oven. If you bake at the same temperature, for the same amount of time, the convection cookie will be done, with a beautiful, golden, slightly crispy outer layer. Still soft on the inside. And it will be taller than the cookie baked in a standard oven. Not everyone has a convection oven- if you don't, you can still bake a great cookie using a standard oven!
-I think two of the biggest mistakes made while baking cookies are:
1-Over mixing. This will cause the batter have too much air incorporated, producing a fluffy, instead of a chewy cookie.
2- Over bakingUnder baking is good! Not under baked to the point the cookie is wet and doughy, but just until the top sets, and the dough looks like it has a bit of a crust.
-Chocolate chips - For semi sweet,  I use Nestle Semi Sweet chips. You can't go wrong here. But for Milk Chocolate, we prefer Guittard . The chips are called Maxi Chips and are sold in a silver colored bag.
-If the cookie spreads too much, or the edges are not even, I take a small spatula and push the edges inward to create a cookie that is round. This has to be done immediately after removing from the oven. 
- High Altitude info: Not recommended-directions on Nestle Choc Chip package for high altitude- I have tried this variation, and don't like the result. The cookies aren't quite sweet enough, and have a crispy more cake like texture. Here are the directions on the package: (again I do NOT recommend using this method, but have printed it here as an FYI)  Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
-Last tip. Mound the cookie into a ball. I make them about the size of a golf ball. I use a cookie scoop, because it's easier for me. For years, I just used a spoon, and then shaped them by hand. Make sure to flatten the cookie just a bit before baking. To yield 18 cookies use a  2 1/4 inch scoop.


8/13/14

Margherita Pasta (updated)





It's summer and if you're like me, you're thinking of every way to avoid turning on the oven, but not eat a sandwich or salad. Again. You're in luck. This recipe involves the stove, but only for a few minutes.
I originally posted this recipe in 2010, but have updated it a bit. Spaghetti Margherita is a simple and straight-forward dish. While the pasta is cooking, you can throw together the sauce.

Some people think- Margherita Pasta? Is that alcoholic? The answer is no. Legend (some question this) says that Pizza Margherita was created in the late 1800's, and named for Queen Margherita to reflect the colors of the Italian flag. The pasta variation followed.

I know I say this all of the time, but EVERYONE loves this dish. When I make it for my boys, they love it, even though it isn't a meat dish. Now that's saying something. Since they have never jumped aboard the "meat is not all that good for you and you should eat it sparingly" train.
Lazy summer days mean lazy summer nights.
This dish fits perfectly with that theme.





Spaghetti Margherita (updated 8/2014)
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

3/4 lb. spaghetti, cooked "al dente", drained
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (optional) optional, but highly recommended for flavor
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. Roma tomatoes (about 10-12) coarsely chopped or grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
additional basil leaves for garnish

Cook pasta. Set aside, or while pasta is cooking prepare sauce.
In large skillet, heat oil and butter over low heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant over low heat, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add basil, and pasta to pan with tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until all pasta is heated through. Just before ready to serve, pour into serving bowl, toss with fresh mozzarella and grated cheese. Serve at once with additional grated cheese, and more fresh basil if desired.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.

Tips:
-Fresh Mozzarella differs from mozzarella that is sold in most cheese cases at grocery stores. Some grocery stores, such as Harmons in Utah, make their own fresh mozzarella daily.
Make sure you are purchasing fresh mozzarella for this dish. Fresh Mozzarella is made from whole milk in small batches, usually round in shape and surrounded in liquid.
-If you aren't growing basil in your back yard, you can purchase fresh basil at farmers markets, grocery and garden stores. One plant will yield fresh basil for several recipes this summer.

8/11/14

Toffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies with Salted Chocolate Drizzle






Are you a chocolate and toffee lover? Me too. As a kid, my mom loved Heath Bars.  She always had a stash hidden in the kitchen cupboard. I loved the thin piece of toffee dipped in chocolate.
A perfect marriage of sweet, chocolate, salt and toffee. How good would that be in a soft and chewy cookie?
So good you could eat the whole batch without sharing.
Notice I said could, not would.
From my kitchen to yours.
Happy baking.


scoop and place on cookie sheets.
flatten out just a bit with your palm, then place in oven.


this is one of my cookie baking secrets. right after they are
out of the oven, reshape the cookies if they are not perfectly round.
 push the edges inward with a small spatula to form a  neat circle.
The cookies have to be hot, or they won't be pliable. 
After the cookies are cooled, drizzle with chocolate


sprinkle with coarse sea salt while chocolate is still soft.
Like my SALT container?
try to not eat the whole batch.






Toffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies with Salted Chocolate Drizzle
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup butter, slightly softened (microwaved for 20 seconds)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1- 8 oz package Heath English Toffee Bits, Bits of Brickle  (sold next to chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips for cookies

topping:
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips for drizzle
flaked or coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 convection or 375 regular bake.
Cream butter and sugars using low speed on  mixer, just until smooth.  Do not over beat.
Add two eggs and vanilla. Mix just until incorporated and smooth, about 20 seconds.
Add flour, soda, salt, Heath Toffee Bits and 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips to mixing bowl. Mix just until flour disappears.
Scoop cookies onto cookie sheet, I used a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop.
Place on parchment paper or lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or just until golden.
Remove and let cool completely on cookie sheet.
After cooled completely, place the remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until chocolate is softened and melted enough to drizzle.
Press the melted chocolate toward one corner of the bag. Squeeze out any excess air, fold down the top of the bag and snip a tiny corner of the bag off. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies and sprinkle immediately with flake or coarse sea salt.
Let the cookies sit until the chocolate is set up.
Makes about 30 cookies.