Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comfort Food

What's better on a snowy and blowing day than to bake some comfort foods? I had that urge yesterday and started off by rubbing mustard, bbq sauce, brown sugar, and some liquid smoke all over a ham, then covered it in tin foil and baked it on low for 4 hours. To go with it I made hash brown casserole, which is  rich and creamy and topped with bubbly cheese.
Today I'll get my school goodies done, and I'll try hard not to eat (too) much. Every household grew up on certain homemade staples, which turn into comfort foods for those kids. Then we turn around and make them for our kids. In my house, I grew up on dad's sweet biscuits, mom's kitchen sink cookies, grandma's tea biscuits and grandpa's apple butter. Mike's childhood faves were cinnamon twists and any kind of square his mom would make, then he'd steal them out of the freezer. Needless to say, our kids always ask for those same treats.
While apple butter and biscuits are usually always in the pantry, it's the comfort of making these things together, as a family, that will really stick with them through the years. That is the real essence of 'comfort food'.
Here is one of ours...Jacey's Chocolate Chip Cookies. It took me awhile to find this recipe, as it was tweaked so much and in my memory...I never write things down enough, and usually the palm of my hand is my measuring spoon, but I think the amounts listed will work just fine. Jacey's name is in the title as she came up with some of the measurements, making it her own.


2-1/4   cup flour
1          tsp baking soda
1/2       tsp salt
3/4       cup butter, softened                                   
1/2       cup sugar
3/4       cup light brown sugar (we usually don't pack it;there isn't much difference)
2          tsp real vanilla extract
2          eggs
2          cups choco chips (Jacey likes milk chocolate, but we usually mix with semi sweet)
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until creamy.  Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  The more you whip the dough the softer the cookie; they will stay soft and chewy for two weeks...if they can last that long in the cookie jar!  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoons (we use a 1-inch cookie scoop, which is why the cookies have tiny bumps on top) onto  an ungreased cookie sheet.
     Bake 9 minutes (no more) or until lightly browned.  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Makes around 5 dozen cookies.   

Feel free to substitute the sugar for any low-cal sugar like Splenda, which works well too. We've added nuts, raisins, craisins, and butterscotch chips over the years as well. But the plain old chocolate chip cookies rule this roost.

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