Sunday, June 29, 2008

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie

So it's the end of June and I'm just now writing about Mother's Day, but don't judge me. :)

Back in April, a friend and I took an Italian cooking class at Sur La Table. I recreated the menu for my mom, but I knew that the light lemon cake we made in class just wouldn't do for her! Like mother like daughter, she craves a chocolate cream pie on special occasions. This is one of my favorite recipes, from my Good Housekeeping cook book, and I make it almost every year.

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie
One premade Oreo or graham cracker crust
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/2 t. salt
3 3/4 c. milk
5 egg yolks
3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melted
2 T. butter, cut into pieces
2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. heavy or whipping cream

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt; with a wire whisk, stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and boils; boil one minute. In a small bowl, with a wire whisk, lightly beat egg yolks. Beat 1/2 c. hot milk mixture into beaten egg yolks. Slowly pour egg mixture back into milk mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent curdling. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is very thick or until temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in melted chocolate, butter pieces, and vanilla until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Pour hot chocolate filling into crust; press plastic wrap onto surface. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 4 hours.

To serve, in small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form; spoon over chocolate filling.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cut-out Cookies

My sincerest apologies for the blogging delay... our new furry addition has kept us from doing anything not centered around him. :)

But, in that vein, I wanted to thank my in-laws for helping out with the dog so much, letting him play at their house during the day for the first few weeks, checking up on him, etc. What better way than with dog bone shaped cookies!

The recipe came from the back of a bag of Toll House morsels, but the cutting technique is all my own. ;)

Chocolate Chip Cut-out Cookies
2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c. (12 oz. bag) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.

Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan (or shallow cookie sheet). Spread cookie mixture onto prepared pan, with the intent of getting the dough as close to the edges as possible. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown (mine took less time, so watch it). Cool in pan on wire rack.

When cool, use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes, then transfer each to a cooling rack or cookie tin. Be sure to space each cut close to the previous cut so you get more cookies than scraps. :)

Dad wasn't sure if they were for humans or not!

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