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Sheet Pan Steamed Salmon

Sheet Pan Steamed Salmon

This simple, elegant salmon dinner comes together in 40 minutes!

Twice Baked Potato Skins

Twice Baked Potato Skins

I’m improving potato skins by stuffing them with a delicious filling and baking them twice. A classic appetizer, improved.

A Special Baking Project

A Special Baking Project

Hello, reader!! Long time, no see! I apologize for my absence, but I’ve been cooking a very special baking project. I dropped off the face of the blogging world for a hot minute, because I’ve been working on this:

baby number 3

That’s right, people, baby number 3 is on their way! I’m almost 15 weeks along, and it’s been an adventure.

My pregnancies have not been easy. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to carry babies, but it is a grueling process for me. I get very sick, for one thing. I stopped blogging because I haven’t been able to cook in months. How does a person write a food blog when they can’t even turn on the stove without getting sick? The answer for me is you don’t. You take a break and get through it. Thankfully, the nausea is starting to ease up, but I’m not out of the woods yet. Really, I won’t be until I deliver this baby, but it gets better.

I also have SI joint dysfunction (just during pregnancy, thank goodness), which causes enormous pain and affects my mobility later in pregnancy. It started to rear its ugly head at 10 weeks, but it’s eased up a little bit lately. I’ll take what I can get.

We got the cute ultrasound picture above because I’ve had some new complications this time around, including a sub chorionic hematoma and a Mallory-Weiss tear. A sub chorionic hematoma is bleeding that occurs when the placenta tears away from the uterine wall a little. Mine was not huge, and is healing, but it was scary. A Mallory-Weiss tear is when you get a tear in your esophagus due to excessive vomiting. You then vomit blood. It’s lovely.

I regale you with this information not to complain, but to commiserate. There are people out there for whom pregnancy is just a beautiful, joyous time, and I am truly happy for those people. I am unfortunately not one of them. Like I said, I am grateful that I’ve been able to carry my babies, but every time it has stretched me to my limit. I know there are a lot of us out there who really struggle during pregnancy. It’s normal to not love being sick and in pain. I’m glad I have my therapist this time around, because pregnancy is so, so hard mentally and physically for me.

The good news is that while we were getting the above ultrasound in the ER (we were there for the sub chorionic hematoma), we found out that baby is a girl!! 3 little girls. My oldest is so excited. She used to tell me that she wanted ten babies in our family, but they all had to be girl babies. The rest of us are thrilled as well.

Now that my nausea is improving, I’m hopping back on the blogging train. I can’t promise I will be able to post every week to start. I’m still sick, just not as sick. I will test recipes as I’m able, and I promise to share my findings with you! If you have any ideas you’d like me to test, please leave me a comment! Talk to you soon!

How to Make Freezer Cookies

How to Make Freezer Cookies

Freezer cookies enable you to bake delicious cookies at a moment’s notice. You never know when a cookie emergency will happen!

Creamy Mushroom Soup With Chicken And Brown Rice

Creamy Mushroom Soup With Chicken And Brown Rice

Creamy mushroom soup with chicken and brown rice is the perfect fall or winter meal. This soup will warm you up and make everyone happy.

Austrian Parsley Potatoes

Austrian Parsley Potatoes

German and Austrian food has many great qualities. One of these being that so much of the food from this region revolves around meat and potatoes. Is there anything more comforting than potatoes? I don’t think so. When you really look inside your heart, what do you look forward to the most at holiday meals? I’m guessing the mashed potatoes are in the top three.

Parsley potatoes are a lighter, simpler cousin of mashed potatoes. Plus, parsley is green, which I believes makes these potatoes health food. I’m pretty sure that’s how that works.

parsley potatoes

How to Make Parsley Potatoes

Parsley potatoes could not be simpler to make. All you have to do is peel, quarter, and slice the potatoes into about 1 inch chunks. Then boil and drain the potatoes, and put them back into their pot. Add butter, salt, and parsley and mix together. Ta da!

However, because these are so simple, there are a few things that are crucial to get right. First, use a very waxy potato like the Yukon gold (any “gold” potato). Russets will just fall apart on you and you will be sad.

Next, don’t overcook your potatoes. Parsley potatoes should be fork tender, but not disintegrating.

parsley potatoes

Use the best butter you have. If you don’t keep any “fancy” butter around, don’t let that keep you from making these by any means, but if you have some nice butter kicking around, this is a great time to use it. When butter is one of only four ingredients, it pays to use a European butter if you can. I keep some Kerrygold from Costco in my freezer for just such occasions. European butter has a higher fat content than American butter, giving it a very silky texture and richer flavor. Kerrygold is also very yellow, which I enjoy.

Take time to get the seasoning right. This is no time to just guess on the salt levels. Add half of the salt called for in the recipe (1/2 teaspoon), stir it in with your butter, and taste. It probably will need more salt, but it’s good to ere on the side of caution. You can always add salt, but it’s very hard to take any away. You’ll know that the parsley potatoes have enough salt when the flavors really shine. The potatoes will go from bland to satisfying.

parsley potatoes

What Should Parsley Potatoes Be Served With?

You really could serve parsley potatoes with anything, especially anywhere mashed potatoes could be found. They would be great with Wienerschnitzel, steak, grilled chicken, goulash (coming soon!), or as part of a holiday meal.

Parsley potatoes are such an easy, herbaceous, hearty side dish, and I can’t wait for you to try them.

parsley potatoes

Sharing Is Caring

If you enjoyed this post, would you please share it with your friends? Everyone needs a great new potato recipe. #athometestcook @at_home_test_cook.

parsley potatoes

Parsley Potatoes

Gracious Cooking
These potatoes are a delicious side dish made from just four ingredients.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Austrian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 to 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt divided
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Peel the potatoes. Quarter them, and then slice into 1 inch pieces.
  • Place the sliced potatoes in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until the water reaches about 2 inches above the potatoes.
  • Set the pot over high heat. When the water starts to boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, pull a potato out with a spoon, and test it for doneness. You want these fork tender, but not falling apart. If the potatoes are still hard, check them every couple of minutes until they are done.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander, then put them back into the hot pot they came out of. This will dry them off a little bit.
  • Add four Tablespoons of butter and one half teaspoon of salt to the potatoes. Stir to combine. Taste the potatoes for salt. If they need more flavor. add more salt. Also, if they are too dry, add more butter.
  • Add one Tablespoon of your chopped parsley to the potatoes. Stir to combine. If you'd like more parsley, add as much as your heart desires. Serve immediately.

Notes

Leftover parsley potatoes re-heat nicely in the microwave.
Keyword butter, Parsley, Potato
Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Enjoy these sweet, but not too sweet, apple cinnamon muffins for an autumnal breakfast or snack. Pop some in the freezer for next week.

Crockpot Yellow Chicken Curry

Crockpot Yellow Chicken Curry

Make fragrant Thai style yellow curry with tender chicken and perfectly cooked vegetables at home in your Crockpot!

Soft, Chewy, Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft, Chewy, Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission for items bought through some of the links in this post, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Gracious Cooking.

Look, I know that a lot of people claim to have the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Those people are wrong. After eight years of testing and hundreds of batches of cookies, I’m telling you, these are the perfect chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft, slightly crispy on the edges, full of chocolate chips, and topped with a flourish of flaky salt. Did I mention that the dough doesn’t need an overnight stint in the fridge? The dough doesn’t need an overnight stint in the fridge. Cookies wait for no man. Or, no (wo)man waits for cookies?

chocolate chip cookies

Where Did the Chocolate Chip Cookie Come From?

The chocolate chip cookie is one of America’s, nay, the world’s greatest inventions. To me, there is no better cookie on this beautiful planet Earth and, like many of the greatest inventions, the chocolate chip cookie was an accident.

 In the 1930s, Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, added broken chocolate bar pieces into her cookie batter thinking that they would melt. Instead, the classic dessert was born.

Alessandra bulow for epicurious

Little did Ruth Wakefield know that her “failed” culinary experiment would lead to the most perfect cookie ever. Her invention can now be seen in any bakery, most American homes, and you can even buy them by the bucket full at some state fairs.

Here is the Epicurious article referenced in the quote.

chocolate chip cookies

Let’s Talk Equipment

I use my beloved, beloved Bosch mixer to whip up my cookies, and I always make a double batch and freeze some dough. I use the metal whip driver and cookie paddle attachments for maximum cookie efficiency. Before I got my Bosch, I used a Breville mixer, which my mom got me when I graduated from college, and it served me very well for many years. It could not handle a double batch of dough though.

Now, do you need a stand mixer? Nope! You can mix up cookies with a hand mixer, or even a spoon and a bowl. It will just take more time. And arm muscles.

COOKIE SCOOPS ARE TOTALLY WORTH IT. I put off getting cookie scoops for way too long. Just get the scoop. I use a #40 cookie scoop for perfectly sized cookies. They hold about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dough.

Don’t bake your cookies on a greased, bare baking sheet. The bottoms will be too brown and crunchy. Use either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

chocolate chip cookies

How to Make The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

First, soften your butter. Do this either by leaving your butter out on the counter until it is soft, but still cool, or cheat and use the microwave. I show you how in this post.

Next, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until the mixture gets lighter in color and a little bit fluffy. Like this:

chocolate chip cookie dough

Next, add your eggs and mix until combined. I add all of mine at the same time, but add them one at a time if you’re using either a hand mixer or a lower powered mixer. Add the vanilla extract.

Whisk your dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add them in one addition to the mixer. I used to use two additions, but I learned in Dorie Greenspan’s cookie book that she only does one addition to prevent overmixing of the first addition. If it’s good enough for Dorie Greenspan, it’s good enough for me. Cover your mixer bowl if you can. Mix on low power until combined.

Next, add two cups of glorious chocolate chips and mix until combined. You’re technically not supposed to mix the chocolate chips in with a mixer, but I always do.

chocolate chip cookie dough
Hello, beautiful.

Let’s Discuss Chilling the Dough

Many chocolate chip cookie recipes call for chilling your dough overnight before you bake the cookies. This does not work for my cookie lifestyle. I don’t want cookies tomorrow, I want chocolate chip cookies right now. So, what I do is I start pre-heating my oven after I’ve made my dough, and I stick the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge for as long as it takes to preheat the oven, about 20 minutes. Chilling the dough a little bit does help the cookies not spread, and it makes them easier to scoop.

If you happen to have time, like if you know you’re bringing cookies to an event, then often I will make the dough the day before and bake the cookies the next day. The cookies that were chilled overnight have a slightly browner color, and a slight increase in caramel notes.

After your oven is ready, scoop out 1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoon of dough into mounds on your cookie sheet, spaced evenly apart.

chocolate chip cookie dough

Bake the cookies for between 8 and 10 minutes. They are done when the edges start to brown. Don’t let them get too brown, they will be overbaked. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt, like Maldon salt. This really makes the flavor of the cookies pop.

Let your chocolate chip beauties cool on the cookie sheet long enough for them to set up, then transfer them to a wire rack.

Next, devour your glorious creations, and rejoice. Maybe share them with your friends and family. Maybe…

chocolate chip cookies

If you make nothing else on my site, make these cookies! Please tag me when you do @at_home_test_cook or #athometestcook. I can’t wait to see them!

chocolate chip cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies of Your Life

Gracious Cooking
These chocolate chip cookies are soft in the middle, have a slight crunch to the very edge, and will make all your worries disappear.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 30 cookies

Equipment

  • baking sheets
  • parchment paper or silicone baking mats

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • flaky salt I use Maldon salt.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the eggs. I add the eggs at the same time, but feel free to add them 1 at a time if you wish. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the mixer in one addition. Cover the bowl of your mixer if you can, and mix on medium speed until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Add your chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
  • Scoop out 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon mounds of cookie dough about 2-3 inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I use a #40 cookie scoop for this.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. In my oven, they are perfect at 9 minutes. You want to just see a little browning around the edges, then it's time to pull them.
  • As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle them with flaky salt.
  • Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet until they are set, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Repeat until the cookie dough is gone.
  • Enjoy your perfect cookies.
Keyword best, chocolate chip, Cookies, Quick & Easy
Peach Galette, or Lazy Pie

Peach Galette, or Lazy Pie

Peach galette is flaky, buttery pie dough wrapped around a sweet, perfectly soft, cinnamon kissed peach filling.


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