Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie-Presentation

No one in my family seems to know where this family favorite pecan chocolate chip cookie recipe originated. During our childhood we were suddenly blessed with these chocolate laden cookies. Best guess is they originated either from a magazine or a kind neighbor. The chopped pecans (optional) give them a nice crunchy texture.

Speaking of crunch, play around with the baking time. Since ovens vary, 8 minutes seems to produce a soft, chewy cookie. Whereas, 9 minutes produces a crunchy cookie. Because of the personal nature of chocolate chip cookies in the United States, you can omit the nuts or substitute another crunch. Play with the ingredients. If you do, please leave a comment for our readers.

If nothing else, the following statement should generate some comments. Please note! Anyone outside the United States, Chips AHoy!(R) cookies are NOT representative of chocolate chip cookies in the United States. Do not make any judgments based on this product. These family favorite pecan chocolate chip cookies are more representative of what passes for a proper cookie. Slightly raised or mounded in the middle with a slope toward the edges. The cookies should be light to moderately browned. And, most importantly of all, there are chocolate chips in every bite.

That first bite into a chocolate chip cookie is very important. It can evoke memories from our childhood. The distinctive scent of their baking defines “comfort food” for many Americans. These are some of the many reasons these cookies represent and reserve a spot near and dear to residents of the United States.

Family Favorite Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Family favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe found tucked in my grandmother's prayer book.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cookies
Servings: 40 cookies
Author: John
Cost: $10.00

Equipment

  • Large Glass Bowl
  • Hand mixer
  • Baking sheets
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Butter Softened
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar Packed
  • 1/2 Cup Table Sugar
  • 1/2 Tspn Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tspn Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tspn Vanilla Extract
  • 2 3/4 Cups Flour All-Purpose
  • 12 Ounces Semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 Cup Pecans Chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Place butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl.
  • Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and shortening together (about 30 seconds).
    Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie-Mixing
  • Add the packed brown sugar, table sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • Beat until mixture is combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Beat in as much flour as possible with the hand-mixer.
  • If the mixer struggles to mix, stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in chocolate morsels and pecans.
  • Using a teaspoon, place rounded spoonfuls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet 2-inches apart.
    Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough
  • If desired, flatten dough mounds to circles about 3/4-inch thick.
    Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie-Before Baking
  • Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.
    Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie-Baked
  • Let cookies cool, on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before cooling further on a wire rack.

Odds and Ends (for these Family Favorite Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies)

  • Unlike my yeast recipe for No Knead Bread, the rising agent for this bread is achieved through incorporating air into the dough, the addition of eggs and baking soda.
  • This is an old recipe, it lists Shortening and butter. The shortening helps the cookies hold their shape. The recipe was tested without shortening and adding additional butter. The addition of shortening produces a superior cookie.
  • Refrigerate the dough in between batches. I found it helps reduce the chance the cookies will start baking on a still warm cookie sheet.
  • I line my cookie sheets with silicon cooking mats. The recipe states un-greased cookie sheets but I have had cookies stick. Using the silicon baking mats will save any finish on the surface of your cookie sheets. It will also prolong the life of your bake-ware.

Molasses (American) Gingerbread

Molasses (American) Gingerbread Baked

This recipe originated from a handwritten recipe found at an Estate sale so the author is unknown. Research points to this recipe originating from Europe. It was then brought over to the 18th Century United States. Whereas European versions were more cookie-like (think the familiar gingerbread people cookies of Christmas), the U. S. version tends to be sweeter and more cake-like. Hence, the recipe is christened molasses (american) gingerbread.

This recipe was originally baked in the Northeastern portion of the early United States as a curative for an upset stomach. What points to this recipe’s origin is the sweetness, and strong flavors.

In the colonial United States, sugar was expensive so alternative sweeteners had to be used. In colonial America, molasses and honey were inexpensive alternatives to our now relatively cheap white sugar. Processed sugar was normally imported and usually ended up in the homes of the upper classes. Additionally, white sugar, at the time, most likely originated in the Caribbean. White sugar was sometimes avoided due to the slave labor that was used to produce the expensive additive.

Also in the colonial United States, rising agents were often bitter. Due to this , this molasses (american) gingerbread recipe tends to be big on flavor. To mask the bitter aftertaste of the leavening agents, molasses or honey were added in addition to cloves, allspice, cinnamon and, ginger.

Unlike yeast recipes such as this No Knead bread recipe, there is no rest period needed. The rise is accomplished through the baking soda activated through the addition on boiling water.

Molasses (American) Gingerbread, 18th century medicinal treat

This version of an American classic gingerbread cake, began as a digestive aid for an upset stomach.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time37 mins
Total Time52 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gingerbread
Servings: 16 Slices
Author: John
Cost: $10.00

Equipment

  • Large Glass Bowl
  • Small Glass Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring Cups
  • 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Butter Room temperature for prepping the pab
  • 1 Tspn Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Molasses Unsulphered
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Butter Unsalted, at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Cups Flour All-Purpose
  • 1 1/2 Tspn Ginger Ground
  • 1 Tspn Cinnamon Ground
  • 1/4 Tspn Allspice Ground
  • 1/4 Tspn Cloves Ground
  • 1/4 Tspn Nutmeg Ground

Instructions

  • Grease either an 8-inch x 8-inch or 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with some softened butter.
  • Ensure the rack is in the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Place baking soda in a two cup measuring cup and pour a cup of bowling water. Set aside and let baking soda dissolve.
  • In a large glass bowl, combine the molasses and eggs with a wooden spoon.
  • Add a quarter cup of butter, sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and allspice to the molasses mixture until batter reaches a smooth consistency.
  • Add the baking soda and water mixture to the batter. Stirring until the batter is smooth.
    Molasses (American) Gingerbread Batter
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
    Molasses (American) Gingerbread iUnbaked
  • Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. The gingerbread is done when the bread springs back when lightly touched.
  • Let the gingerbread rest in the pan for about 20 minutes.
    Molasses (American) Gingerbread Baked
  • Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, a dusting of powdered sugar, or whipped cream.

Homemade Chai Spice Blend, spice up your Pantry

Chai Spice, a Versatile Pantry necessity

Chai Spice is a warm and aromatic blend of spices. This Homemade Chai Spice blend is a versatile necessity for any pantry. The ubiquitous Starbucks introduced me to Chai spice. On a date, Starbucks served up an Iced Chai Tea Latte. From that point, I was hooked.

Chai Spice Blend, a versatile necessity for any Pantry
Chai Spice Blend, a versatile necessity for any Pantry

Chai Spice, a Versatile Go-To Spice

Every baker should reserve some room in their spice cabinet for some chai spice. It is a versatile spice that is handy in baking, drinks and smoothies.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
0 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Spice
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 17 Teaspoons
Author: John
Cost: $10

Equipment

  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 2 Teaspoons Cardamom ground
  • 2 Teaspoons Allspice ground
  • 8 Teaspoons Cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Cloves ground
  • 4 Teaspoons Ginger ground
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Pepper ground

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together and place in a covered spice container.

Use this versatile Homemade Chai spice blend in a myriad of ways:

  • In your morning oatmeal
  • As an alternative to Cinnamon Toast
  • In your tea
  • Add it to homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Spice up your next batch of pancakes
  • I could go on, but you get the picture. Be creative.

What follows is a brief history of Chai. Chai spice is known as Masala Chai (spiced tea) in India or, more simply, Chai. Originally, Chai was not sweetened, had no milk component, nor any tea and was used more as a relief for upset stomach or intestinal issues.

It is not known for certain where Chai had its origin but most sources suggest it originated in a royal court 5,000 to 9,000 years ago in either India or present day Thailand (Siam). The modern version of the teas seems to have taken form in the 1930’s when black tea was added into the mix. Popularity surged in the 1960’s due to cheaper tea production methods.

Adding this spice blend to your larder delivers big flavor. Every region or nation has their own blend so add or subtract from the list. I add some vanillas bean to mine to infuse a smoother flavor to the mix. Be creative and feel free to add your favorite addition in the comments below.

***Nutritional NOTE:

Nutritional information should not be relied upon to make dietary decisions. It is provided for informational purposes only; your results could vary significantly from what is listed here.***

Dutch Oven No Knead Bread

This Dutch Oven No Knead Bread is super simple. There are only 5 ingredients and they come together quickly. However, you need to do some planning with this recipe. There is a 12-18 hour rise and another 2 hour rise. This recipe is based on the technique pioneered by Richard Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan.  If you are pressed for time, you can shorten the first rise. The long rise time develops the flavor of the bread, so, you will be sacrificing flavor for time. Choose wisely.

I used a 6 quart Lodge Dutch Oven for this project. I also used a floured piece of Parchment paper rather than flouring a tea towel (I have a mental resistance to using a tea towel for some inexplicable reason). It worked out fine but the exposed parchment paper gets crispy during baking; be careful when using to lift the bread out of the oven.

This is a recipe of patience. Don’t rush this recipe and you will be rewarded with a rustic, artisan-style loaf of home baked bread.

Dutch Oven No Knead Bread

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time21 hrs
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 Slices
Calories: 197kcal
Author: John

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 Cups Bread flour
  • 3/4 Cup Rye Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dry Yeast
  • 1-1/2 Cups Water Cool
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Salt

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together bread flour, rye flour, salt and dry yeast.
  • Add water and stir with a wooden spoon. The dough should come together as a shaggy, sticky dough.
  • Cover and let rise for 12 to 18 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  • I used parchment paper for this step rather than a tea towel. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured piece of parchment. Use a rubber spatula or bench scraper since the dough will be sticky.
  • Using lightly floured hands, fold the dough over, pivot the parchment paper 180° and repeat three or four times.
  • Turn the entire dough ball over, seam side down, and cover with plastic wrap. place on a wooden cutting board rather than leaving on a cool surface. Let rise for 2 hours.
  • 30 minutes before the end of the second rise, move the top rack of the oven to the lower 3rd of the oven to make room for the Dutch Oven. Fire up the oven to 475° and place the Dutch Oven on the rack to preheat.
  • At the end of the second rise, remove the plastic wrap from the dough, remove the Dutch Oven from the oven, remove the lid. Exercise caution during this step since the oven will be extremely hot.
  • Using the parchment as a caddy, place the dough and parchment in the oven, replace the lid to the Dutch Oven and place it back in the oven.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 to 30 minutes until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. (An internal thermometer, inserted in the center of the bread should register 200°.)

***Nutritional NOTE:

Nutritional information should not be relied upon to make dietary decisions. It is provided for informational purposes only; your results could vary significantly from what is listed here.***

Helpful Hints:

Mix well but don’t over-mix. All ingredients should be stirred until they are all incorporated

Don’t overwork the dough. The less you handle the dough, so much the better.

It is helpful to use parchment paper to transfer the dough to the pot.

Be careful when working with the pot and oven. 475° is very hot. Exercise care when handling the Dutch Oven as it comes out of the oven to remove the lid.

Let the bread cool completely. The flavor develops further as the bread cools. Don’t give in to temptation to devour the loaf while still warm.