Monthly Archives: January 2012

The softest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies

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A few months ago I bought a new cookie sheet – a Martha Stewart cookie sheet to be exact. With that cookie sheet came a recipe for the softest chocolate chip cookies I have ever made in my life. I am by no means obsessed with Martha Stewart, but this recipe is just that amazing. This cookie sheet was the first Martha Stewart housewear item I have ever bought, but based on this recipe alone, I’m impressed by Martha. The cookies stayed soft, even after they were cool and even days later. This has yet to happen with any other cookie receipe I’ve tried. If you’re like me, then you hate it when you spend all your time mixing, measuring and spooning cookie dough just to have hard cookies. After all, it’s those melt in your mouth ones that are the best! I’ve made this recipe numerous times (including two nights ago) and everyone loves them! Try it out and trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies [makes about 3 dozen]

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup [2 sticks] unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar [I use dark brown sugar instead]
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups [about 12 ounces] chocolate chips [Hershey’s makes mini milk chocolate kisses for baking and that’s what I use.]

[All the ingredients you’ll need and definitely use the mini kisses in lieu of normal chocolate chips]

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium until light and fluffy. [I just mix it by hand with a large spoon.] Add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
    2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
    3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. [I remove them from the baking sheet immediately.] Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

[Cookies straight out of the oven on my Martha Stewart cookie sheet]

[Cookies! Golden brown and cooked to perfection.]

After baking these, it’s hard to resist eating them right away. Even though the recipe states it yields 3 dozen cookies, I normally get at least 4 dozen out of a full batch. Also, I’ve used light brown sugar, but the dark brown sugar just gives the cookie dough a richer taste. These cookies will change your world.

Happy munching!

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My year of anti-resolutions

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10 days into the new year and I’m surrounded by people attempting to keep their new year’s resolutions and live a ‘healthier’ lifestyle. Everywhere you look, their are ads for diets, gyms and quick fixes to help you attain that ideal physique.

Take my office for example. I work at a small firm where almost everyone who works there is male. Since January 3rd, all except a couple of men in the office have been on some sort of diet, with the most popular being a liquid diet. The most interesting liquid dieting being the one where you drink 8 different types of juices a day and those drinks are supposed to give you all the nutrients you need for the day. That’s it – just juice, no solids. You’re drinking everything from fruit and veggie blends to the all popular coconut water, which tastes awful and is not more hydrating than water. Now, I’m not a scientist, but when you have men who are used to eating large, filling meals of burgers and fries or chicken and rice plates from the Halal carts (aka street meat) and they switch to a liquid diet, you’re going to have a few unhappy campers as their bodies adjust. Last week you should have seen this place – you would have thought I worked in an office full of women – moody, temperamental and on edge men filled their desks. This behavior was coming from guys who sit around and talk about who can do the most push-ups, with some guys claiming they can do 500 (ha!) to challenging each other in the boxing ring when they have a disagreement and feel then need to show how masculine they are. Those arguements typically go something like this:

Guy #1: “Let’s take this to the ring. Put on some gloves and we’ll see how many rounds you can last.”

Guy #2: “You couldn’t last one round with me!”

Guy #1: “I’d knock you out first. I used to box in high school.”

Guy #2: “You’d last like 1 minute against me. I bet you can’t even handle the speed bag.”

Guy #1: “I use that at the gym.”

You get the picture. After being around this neurotic and narcissistic behavior for too long and in an attempt to not disappoint myself this year, I am not making any new year’s resolutions. Let’s face it, a week into January I was still noshing on some Christmas candy, so if I had vowed to cut out sugar from my diet I would have already epically failed. Although I am cutting back on caffeine and alcohol consumption, I am doing so not as a new year’s resolution, but to help me with my running. Instead of unrealistic resolutions, I have decided to make this year my ‘year of dabbling’ by learning new things I’ve always thought were interesting or doing things I love and have not made time for in the recent years. Some of these things include:

  • speaking french
  • painting
  • hot yoga/yoga in general
  • running races [as it’s been an entire year since my last one]
  • zumba
  • photography [esp. black and white]
  • reading
  • cooking [afterall, I need to try all those recipes I’ve pinned on pinterest]
  • hiking

The difference between what I am doing and what the 99.99% do, is that I am not  setting a goal to complete [insert unrealistic resolution here]. Instead, I’ll do as little or as much of everything as I want. So, if I only learn 10 words in French, well guess what, that’s 10 words I didn’t know before, so kudos to me. I refuse to be dissapointed by things I don’t accomplish this year. I’ll try hard and do what I want/can.

Cheers to my anti-resolutions.

New Year, New Attitude, New Blog

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After much deliberation, I have decided to start a new blog to chronicle my life, thoughts and feelings. Many have asked me why I stopped blogging after my summer in Israel and the answer is simple: that blog was specifically created for that trip. Hopefully this blog will satisfy the needs of those curious about the life of Julie Brooke. Also, this should offer as much excitement and randomness as its predecessor and no, this isn’t a DIY blog even though I am addicted to pinterest. As much as I wish this could be, the reality is I don’t have enough time to make projects and cook non-stop and then blog about it. But trust me, if I  eat or make something amazing, you’ll know!

As far as the new attitude goes, I’m convinced that since moving to New York almost 6 months ago, that I have become somewhat of a pessimist. It must go along with the territory. A vast majority of people up here are debbie-downers and complainers…hardcore complainers. Everything is a complaint…it’s too hot, too cold, there’s too many people on the subway, too many tourists in the streets, etc…you get the picture!  So, with the new year, I am determined to be that neverending optimist again! Time flies too quickly to always be complaining.

So, here’s my toast for 2012: May this year challenge me mentally and physically, teach me humility, the true meaning of grace and help me grow spiritually, so Happy New Year! Bring it on 2012.