Double Dark Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies

It’s Saturday (at the time of writing this) — finally. It’s been an awfully long week. I am so exhausted. Mainly because I’ve been fighting off a terrible cold that seems to be finally breaking. So what I needed was a night filled with #selfcare. Daniel is out tonight, so that means I have the house all to myself — well, almost. Little Mo has been snoozing all night in his big ol’ papasan.

How I took care of myself tonight? A face mask, Disney movies and testing a new cookie recipe. I’ve been dreaming of a chewy, gooey rich dark chocolate chip cookie filled with chocolate chips and topped with Maldon sea salt flakes. And I’ll be honest: I thought I would have to play around with this recipe a couple times before I would share the recipe. And SOMEHOW, they came out absolutely perfect — with a brownie, fudge-like interior and crisp edges. Exactly how I imagined them to taste. Don’t you love when things go that way? They often don’t — at least not for me.

So if you’re looking for an ultra rich chocolate cookie… look no further. I am at your servitude.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Serves:  20 big cookies

What You’ll Need

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder — I like to use Valrhona
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips + extra for topping
  • 1 tbsp Maldon sea salt flakes for topping

How You’ll Do It

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, or you can also do this by wooden spoon and brut strength.
  3. Once butter is fluffy, add in dark brown sugar, and mix for another minute or two. The butter mixture should be even fluffier.
  4. At this point, add in the egg and vanilla pasta/extract, and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients — baking soda, cocoa powder, flour and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix together the dough just comes together. At this point, add in the chocolate chips, and mix until everything is well combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrap down the sides, too, and be sure not to overmix.
  7. Line two baking sheets with parchment or spray with canola oil.
  8. Next, take a cookie scoop. I used one that was about 2 3/4 inches in diameter. Scoop dough onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1 – 1 1/2 inches between each.
  9. Once all the dough has been scooped, take a few chocolate chips and place on top of each cookie. Do the same with the sea salt.
  10. Put the baking sheets in the oven, and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes. The outside of the cookies should be crisp, and the center should be gooey and soft.
  11. Once they’ve reached this stage, take the baking sheets out of the oven, and turn off the oven. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for at least 20 minutes. They are way too soft to remove from the baking sheets right out of the oven — they’ll fall apart.
  12. After 15 minutes, the cookies should be cool enough to move to a cookie rack. Let the cookies cool for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.

Pan-Seared Duck Breast Over Caramelized Soy Brussel Sprouts

Happy New Year! The second half of 2019 really flew by, didn’t it? I mean, clearly, because the last time I posted a recipe was back in June. I’ve been busy, but I’ve also been lazy.

AND I’d like to blame my lack of food creativity on Dan, who likes steal my things — one of which is my yellow notepad where I keep all of my recipes. Its absence has given me the excuse to put my recipe experimenting on hold. But NO LONGER. Not because we found the notebook — no, it’s still lost in the ruins of our apartment somewhere — but because I’m putting my big girl pants on and admitting that I’ve been lazy.

Now that it’s 2020, and people like to use a new year as a way to make resolutions and goals, I’m making a few of my own:

  • Stop being lazy, and cook more!
  • Venture out of my comfort zone, and try new recipes I’ve never tried before.
  • Get better at baking, which, at the top of my list, are decorating sugar cookies and decorating cakes (yowzas, really out of my sphere of comfort).
  • Improve on my food photography — actually ordered two more Replica surfaces! (Thanks, PayPal, for the encouragement. You know I am so easily swayed.)
  • And last, but not, least, blog more often… let’s say at least once a month?

Are you setting any goals for yourself this year?

Today was a day! I am p-o-o-p-e-d. It’s the second and last day that I’ll be in the office this week. I thoroughly enjoy my work-from-home days. After getting home, I find my sweet honey boy has a cold. So, being the great girlfriend that I am, I made sure to cook him an excellent dinner, and this is what I came up with: pan-fried duck breast over caramelized soy Brussel sprouts. I think that may be a mouthful, and I hope it makes sense.

It’s a great weeknight dinner — seeing as though it takes ingredients that are, most likely, readily available in your fridge. And yes, duck is pretty swanky, so chicken thighs would do nicely in this dish, too!

Prep Time: 15 – 60 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves: 2

Close-up of duck breast with cilantro butter.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 duck breasts, skin on
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 juice of lime
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2-inch chunk of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 c Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp salted butter (I prefer Kerrygold), melted in microwave for about 20-30 seconds
  • 1/4 c cilantro, finely chopped

How You’ll Do It

  1. Make the marinade by mixing 1 tbsp of canola oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, light brown sugar, black pepper, garlic, chili and ginger in a medium bowl.
  2. Once the marinade has been well combined, add the two duck breasts. The duck should be submerged in the marinade. Let them sit in the marinade for at least 15 minutes, up to 60 minutes in the fridge.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat your cast iron or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pan on medium and add remaining 1 tbsp of canola oil.
  4. While your pan is heating up, preheat the oven to 375° F.
  5. When your pan is nice and hot, remove the duck from the marinade (don’t throw that marinade out!) and place it in the pan skin side down. Sear the duck on each side — about 2 minutes on the skin side and 1 minute on the other. You just want to make sure the skin side is well caramelized. Once caramelized, set the duck aside on a separate plate.
  6. With the same pan, add the Brussel sprouts and onions. Stir, making sure you’re getting all those nice brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Then add in the remaining marinade and stir until everything has been evenly combined.
  7. Turn off the heat, and place the pan in the oven. Let the Brussel sprouts and onions cook for about 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  8. Take the pan out, and add the duck breasts on top of the vegetables. Return the pan back into the oven, and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  9. While the duck is finishing up, combine the melted butter and the cilantro. Set aside.
  10. Turn off the oven, remove the pan from the oven and let the pan rest for about 10 minutes.
  11. While resting, pour over the melted cilantro butter over the duck. This MAKES this dish.
  12. Plate up, and enjoy your super restaurant-worthy weeknight dinner.

Crispin’ & Crunchin’ Fried Chicken

Ah, fried chicken. My forever love.

I don’t think anything delights me more than the sound, the smell and taste of a perfectly fried piece of chicken. I’ve been asked before what I would eat if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life—that answer is fried freaking chicken!

It has to be done well though. I’ve eaten my fair share of fast food fried chicken in my day, and the king of fast food fried chicken is Popeyes. Hate me if you want, but that’s the truth. The seasoning is always on point, and the crunch is even more on point.

As a kid, I ate it on a weekly basis. It was a family favorite—and still is to this day. I used to think it was so hard to make… I actually thought anything that involved deep frying was difficult to make. In actuality, it’s not! It just takes a little time, patience and dishes!

Below is my go-to recipe for fried chicken—adapted over the years from research and influences. The latest? Potato chips, courtesy of Snoop to the Dogg.

Fried chicken babies served with the other breakfast classic—bacon!
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Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes—With a Twist

Summer is here, and I don’t think I could be more delighted even if I tried. The sun that gracefully beams its rays against my skin and the warm breeze that delicately blows through my hair give me great feelings that I can’t get enough of. I am so much happier when the weather hits 75 degrees or higher.

And so when the weather starts getting warm, my mind, body and soul just want fruit—all of the fruits! Berries are a huge thing in our apartment; we always have containers in the fridge. Dan can go through five containers of raspberries in a week, and I’ll eat strawberries every morning with whatever I’m eating—by themselves, in my cereal, on my toast and, obviously, sandwiched between fluffy pancakes.

Saturday was a glorious day. I slept in until 9ish, which is rare for me, because I am accustomed to the daily 7:30 a.m. alarm clock. But when I woke up, I had this insatiable desire to eat strawberry shortcake, so this inspired me to get creative in the kitchen to “whip” up something fun and sweet. Alas came my stack of fluffy cardamom pancakes—and sandwiched between them are balsamic strawberries and a limey labne whipped cream.

I think these pancakes are going to be my summer brunch anthem, because they’re so fresh with the strawberries and the citrusy whip—and the pancakes just serve as a delicious vehicle to stuff all that goodness into my mouth. This dish is already pretty sweet, so maple syrup is optional; but who doesn’t love a little bit of extra sweetness?

Also, can I just say that I really love adding balsamic to almost any kind of fruit? Because fruit holds so much sugar in it naturally, the acidity of the balsamic really brings the sweetness out—no additional sugars needed! Outside of this pancake recipe, I love adding balsamic to fruit and then adding it to salads, or even as a side dish to a very savory, high-fat meat. It adds that extra layer of flavor that you didn’t think you need, but you really do!

Cardamom pancakes with balsamic strawberries & limey labne whipped cream.
Cardamom pancakes with balsamic strawberries & limey labne whipped cream.
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Meatballs & Marinara

Aside from the fact that my brother and I were first-generation kids in our family, we lived a pretty “American” life. We had went to school; we made a good number of friends from school; we hung out with those friends; we also had neighborhood friends; we frequently hung out with those friends; we participated in those candy fundraisers, which required us going door to door; we did extracurricular activities (him karate and basketball, and me ballet, tap and gymnastics); and we ate what American kids ate—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese and, of course, spaghetti and meatballs.

Yeah, you could say that spaghetti and meatballs is technically Italian, but the spaghetti and meatballs we ate came out of a can—a Chef Boyardee can. And back in that day, that was equivalent to a prime rib!

I remember having dozens of cans in the pantry… it was a glorious era. Fast forward to present day, I no longer eat canned spaghetti and meatballs. (Thank God.) Now, I make my own meatball mix and roll them into huge balls of meaty delight, and I even make my own marinara. And not to toot my own horn, but Dan’s step mom, who just happens to be Italian, says they taste just like her Grandma’s. And if that’s not a compliment, well then… I really don’t care what you think 🙂

These meatballs and sauce can be mopped with a crisp and buttery piece of garlic bread, or you can also mop these up with an unnecessarily large amount of pasta—your choice. No carb is a bad carb.

OH, and if you’re a lazy bum (it’s okay), you can use jarred marinara if you’d like! But I will always say… go with the homemade marinara. It takes like an hour.

Note: I like to make this the night before, because the flavors have time to come together. ALSO, I’d wear a big apron or something you don’t mind getting dirty, because it’s a messy one!

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