Saturday, November 29, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not sure how many of you have seen Sesame Street (the kids show). Well, cookie monster is a character on the show who is obsessed with cookies. Every time he sees a cookie, he becomes a little crazy and proceeds to devour it with such enthusiasm, it's hilarious! No idea what I'm talking about? To see Cookie Monster in action, click here.

So, what does Cookie Monster have to do with this post? Well, these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies could very easily turn you into a cookie monster who wants to devour them all in one sitting!!

I have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that I've used for years. I don't know about you, but I am a die hard fan of the soft and chewy type of chocolate chip cookie. Just the thought of them makes me drool!! One fine day (many years ago), I decided to see what would happen to my favorite cookie recipe by adding a bit of peanut butter. Well, after some experimentation, I think I got to the right level of peanutty goodness to compliment the chocolate chips. And, viola! A new cookie favorite was born!

The recipe I've used is based on a recipe from my Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking book.


All purpose flour - 4 1/4 cups
Baking soda - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1 1/2 cups, softened
Brown Sugar - 1 1/2 cups, firmly packed
White Sugar - 3/4 cup (increase to 1 cup for more sweet)
Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp
Eggs - 3
Peanut Butter - 1 cup (I used creamy)
Chocolate chips - 1 (12oz) bag of semisweet or bittersweet chips


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. It will look sort of like lemon colored whipped cream at this stage.

3. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and peanut butter. Blend well to combine.

4. Now, mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Once everything is well mixed, toss the chocolate chips in and stir to combine.

5. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Note: I find this easiest to do with a tablespoon sized scoop.

6. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes until barely light golden brown. They will feel soft and mushy if you try to touch them, but will firm up on cooling! If you continue to bake them until they appear firm, they will not be chewy after you've cooled them.

7. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk. :)

Seeing as how chocolate chip cookies are the quintessential American cookie, I'm sending these delectable morsels to Dhivi at Culinary Bazaar for AWED American. Hope all my friends in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One long acceptance speech!!

Well, as part of getting back into the swing of things (sort of!), I realized that I had received so many awards during my break that I never posted about. So, please bear with me as I thank everyone who has been so kind as to pass me awards!

1. The Blogging with a Purpose Award

This award was passed to me by Cham, JZ, and Veda. Thank you all so much! I am truly honored and will wear this on my blog with pride.

I'd like to pass this on to Indosungod, Uma, Sig, and Maheshwari. Enjoy, ladies!

2. The Yummy Blog Award and Yum-Yum Blog Award:

This award was passed to me of Sailaja of Sailaja's Recipes. Thank you!

Yum-yum blog was passed to me by Amrutha of The Chef in Me. I am so flattered!! Thanks!

I'm passing both the yummy blog award and the yum-yum blog award to Lavi, Dhivi, Cham, and Uma. Congratulations, ladies!

3. Rockin Girl Blogger

This one was awarded to me of Maheshwari and is definitely an honor to receive this from a blogger that I've admired since long before starting my own blog. Thank you so much!! I think that most of you have received this already, so I pass it on to all of you dear girls who rock!

4. Chocoholic Award:

I'm not sure how Anu knew it, but I am a chocoholic of the worst kind. When I start craving chocolate, do not stand in my way!! I adore dark chocolate and really don't understand why white chocolate exists (sorry!). Brownies are my ultimate chocoholic indulgence! Thank you, Anu for this one!

5. Inspirational Award, Butterfly Award, Hard Working Food Blogger and Good Job:

The inspirational blog award was given to me by dear Pravs of Simply Spicy. To receive this award from her means so much to me. She has one of the most inspirational blogs I've ever had the pleasure to visit! I adore her pics and recipes. Thanks so much, Pravs!

The butterfly award was passed to me by Anu of Chandrabhaga and Raji of Rak's Kitchen. Thank you for thinking my blog is cool!

Both of the above awards were passed to me by Anu. Thank you for these, too!

I'm passing all of these awards to Pravs, Valli, Sia, Sailu, Raaga, Sagari, and Cham.

6. Giant Bear Hug, Friendship Award, and Perfect Blend of Friendship

This bear hug was given to me by Cham and Sailaja.

This symbol of friendship was given to me by Sowmya of Creative Saga.

This perfect blend of friendship was given to me by Anu.

I'd like to pass all of these awards on to Cham, Lavi, Dhivi, Sailu, and Revathi.

I am so, so, so thankful and flattered to have received all of these awards. If I inadvertently missed anyone who has passed me awards, please just give me a swift kick in the pants and I will surely acknowledge them! Thanks again!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jammin' with Jamuns!

I have to say once again that I am so thankful for all of your kind wishes, thoughts, and prayers. Every comment that everyone has left on my last couple of posts have really helped to pick up my spirits. Each comment has made me smile and has touched my heart. I cannot thank you all enough for all of your support. I'm really lucky to have found so many kind souls in this world!

Ok, I should stop being so ultra sentimental before I start getting tears in my eyes! So, let's get to the subject of today's post, shall we?

This actually goes back to Deepavali. Somehow, I wasn't able to get my act together and take pictures to post right after Deepavali. Well, better late than never, right? :) I made these gulab jamuns for Deepavali along with carrot halwa (long gone before I could get the camera out), murukku (chakli), and thattai. I was truly lazy about taking pictures and this was the only one that I managed to click some photos of.

I have to say that the gulab jamuns were so much easier to make this time since I had Amma's help! I learned that the dough for the jamuns should be fairly stiff (sort of like poori dough). Also, the jamuns should be fried at medium temp.

If they're fried at too high a temperature, they will brown on the outside before getting cooked on the inside. On the other hand, if they are fried at a very low temperature, they will break apart in the oil! Just great, I thought! The key is to heat the oil at medium to medium low heat and keep the heat at a constant temperature. If you're not sure if the jamuns are cooked, just poke a cooked one with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, they're done!

I've read many, many recipes that say to drop the hot fried jamuns directly into warm syrup. I have to say that every time I've tried it that way, my jamuns wind up blowing up like over inflated balloons and collapse in the syrup. So, I did it Amma's way. I allowed the jamuns to cool until slightly warm before dropping them into warm syrup. I also let the flavors marry in the fridge for a day. The end result was perfectly soft, spongy jamuns!!! All it took was a little patience. Well, that's asking a lot of me (patience is not my forte!), but I finally managed to do it!


Nonfat milk powder - 1 cup
All purpose flour (maida) - 1/2 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Melted butter - 2 tbsp
Salt - pinch
Milk - enough to make a medium stiff dough

Syrup: (make earlier and keep warm)
Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Cardamom - crushed seeds of 2 pods

Oil to fry


1. Combine the sugar and water in a pan. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Then, add crushed cardamom and remove from heat. (The syrup should be slightly warm when adding jamuns.) If you like more syrup, just make 1.5 to 2 times the amount stated in the recipe.

2. Heat oil on medium heat. As the oil heats, combine flour, milk powder, baking soda, salt, and butter. Slowly add milk to make a medium stiff dough. Take small pieces of the dough (about nutmeg sized) and roll into balls. (Note: Keep in mind that the dough will expand and enlarge on hitting the oil, so make the balls smaller than you want the end size to be!) Keep the dough balls aside, covered with a slightly damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.

3. Slowly, slip the balls into the warm oil. You may need to fry them in 2 batches, depending on the size of your pan. Gently and slowly, shake the balls around in the oil to cook them evenly. When they are golden brown and rise to the top of the oil, remove them and allow them to cool until just slightly warm.

4. Add the cooled balls to the warm syrup. Allow the flavors to develop in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving, for best results. Warm jamuns before eating and enjoy every luscious bite!

Temptation in a spoon!

I know that many of you have passed awards to me in the recent past. I'll post them soon, so please forgive me. I am so grateful for each one! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back with Blueberry Scones!

First of all, I just want to say it feels really good to be doing something productive again! I also want to thank each and every one of you sweet girls who have been so supportive with your emails, comments and positive energy for me in what's been a difficult time. Without getting into too much detail, suffice it to say that I've been dealing with major health issues for a very long time and things were getting to be too much to handle in the past few months. My mind was just not able to function and somehow even blogging didn't seem like a release! I'm still going through a lot of procedures, tests, etc., but will definitely be blogging when time and energy permit.

So many of your comments touched me and goodness knows I've missed you all dearly! I love the unique connection that blogging allows all of us. To think that so many lovely women whom I've never had the pleasure of meeting are so encouraging and truly care about my well being has touched me in ways that I never imagined. You gals are the best!

Tired of my self-purging? Ok, ok, ok. Thanks for bearing with me! I'm getting to the recipe now. With the weather here getting colder and this awesome scone recipe in my drafts, I figured I'd give one last throwback to summer before kissing it goodbye (sigh).

I absolutely adore blueberries! I always have since childhood. So, all summer, I tend to be on the lookout for more recipes to use these gorgeous berries. This summer, I wandered onto the King Arthur Flour recipe website and found a recipe for blueberry scones that sounded awesome! (The link is here.)

These scones are almost more along the lines of drop biscuits. They're pretty easy in the sense that you just scoop the resulting dough out using a measuring cup or ice cream scoop. There's no requirement for kneading or shaping. So, you can bet I made these more than once!

They just melt in your mouth and the juicy, sweet blueberries provide a pop of flavor that is just amazing! Talk about a symphony of flavors!! Enough buildup, you say? Well, let's get to the recipe! I pretty much followed the recipe on the website, except to substitute 1/2 whole wheat flour for 1/2 of the all purpose flour.


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup plain, lowfat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients using your fingers until the butter crumbles so that some of it is like coarse crumbs and others are like peas. Mix the blueberries into this dry mix. Be careful that you don't break the blueberries while tossing!

3. Stir together the wet ingredients (eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, and lemon zest) in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir very gently, just until combined. The dough will be pretty moist at this point. Don't worry! It's supposed to be moister than biscuit dough! :)

4. Use a muffin scoop or 1/4-cup measure to scoop and drop the dough onto the prepared sheet, leaving about 2" between the scones. Brush each ball of dough with a bit of milk or cream, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

5. Bake the scones at 375 F for 20 to 24 minutes, or until lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into a scone comes out dry. Remove from the oven, remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with butter or jam and enjoy with tea!

Makes 12 scones.

Note: These scones reheat well, too! That is, if you have any leftovers... Just pop them in a 350 F degree preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes loosely wrapped in foil! :)

P.S. Best of luck to all those running the recipe marathon!