The Key to Success[ful cookies]

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After watching a full season of The Great British Bake Off in one day, I find myself reconsidering my whole life and wanting to return to my baker dreams that I had just a few years ago. While I hope to get over this feeling soon, unless it might just lead me to bigger and better things (…food PR…), I know I need to appreciate being able to bake anything I can get my hands on.

No matter how intricate or beautiful the latest food trend is, nothing quite beats a classic chocolate chip cookie. The first thing I baked by myself were chocolate chip cookies, and I have luckily come a long way from the mess that those came out to be. For years I had classic tasting cookies, but their pancake shape was not quite right. Now, thanks to a  recipe my mom got from a friend [hence the random name], I know the not-so-secret key to the most picturesque, delicious chocolate cookies that I could ask for.

Darci’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: IMG_7002.jpg

2 Sticks of Butter

1 Package of (4 1/2 cups servings of) Instant Vanilla Pudding (🔑)

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1⁄4 Cup White Sugar

3⁄4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

2 1⁄4 Cups of Flour

1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

Chocolate Chips to Taste

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Process:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (convection bake).
  • Combine butter and white sugar (in a stand mixing bowl is easiest); Add brown sugar and pudding mix; Beat for about 2 minutes; Add eggs and vanilla; Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda (Optional: Save about a cup of flour and mix with the chocolate chips in a separate bowl).
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  • Mix the chip/flour mixture in with the dough. The dough gets fairly thick at this point, but that is normal.
  • Form balls of dough by hand or with an ice cream scoop. The dough keeps it shape pretty well when baked, so keep that in mind when choosing size.
  • Bake until the cookies are brown around the edges (I always go by color), about 13-18 minutes.

These always satisfy my sweet tooth and hankering to bake, and I never have an excuse not to make these cookies whenever my dad begs me to–even if he just wants to eat the dough. They’re just so easy on the eyes and hands. I wish I had a batch of these with me right now!

I would love to see any of your results! Are there any other classic cookies or baked goods I should master next?

Your Cookie Connoisseur,

Casey

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Tastebud Travel: Trying Indian Food

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Veggie Samosa

What’s #FoodieFriday without a sweet recipe? A very sad Friday if it weren’t for my most recent indulgence!

A Small Disclaimer: I’m a very picky eater–no matter where or with any cuisine–whose diet mainly consists of pasta, cheese, beef, and chicken.

I’m not normally one to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to food, but recently i’ve found myself craving new food combinations–even ones i’ve never even tried before. When my Anthropology class assignment literally told me to eat at an authentic, new restaurant and “BE ADVENTUROUS”, I knew I had to go past my Chinese take-out favorites. I would love to travel to India one day, even if I don’t necessarily get the guts to do that amazing looking Rickshaw Run, so yesterday I combined my school work with my personal curiosity of the country’s cuisine.

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Main Course

My mom, who had never had Indian food either, came with me to try something new for herself (and because she’s the best).  Kama Bistro in La Grange (IL) was a good starter restaurant because it considers its menu full of “contemporary” Indian cuisine with influences from other cultures. We told the waiter about our lack of experience with Indian food, so she was very kind with explaining things and giving suggestions.That and some of my previous research–because this was magically an assignment at the end of the day–led us to this:

What We Tried:

  • Vegetable Samosa
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Aloo Gobi
  • Plain Rice
  • Naan
  • Yellow Dal (I think? My mom kept calling it lentils…)

IMG_9524Of course we could not skip dessert, no matter how full we were. I think we went with the most American option, that beautiful Bitter Chocolate Delight beauty to the right, but it was also the only option without nuts–and my oral allergy syndrome would not appreciate any of those.

I found some of the tastes familiar, probably because of one of the spices that I could not quiet put my finger on. I liked the kick of spice that some of the dishes just barely had, because I can barely handle mild buffalo sauce on a good day. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but I’m glad the flavors were not too overwhelming. I was not blown away, but I enjoyed my meal.

Final Thoughts: I would gladly go grab Indian food if any of my friends had a craving, but don’t wait on me to be the one to suggest it first! To be honest, my favorite part was the naan bread with the Chicken Tikka Masala coming as a close second.

What is everyone’s experience with Indian food? Should I have tried something else on the menu? Any other picky eaters out there hesitant to try new foods? 🙋

Stay Curious,

Casey