Saturday, July 31, 2010


This is my new favorite oatmeal flavor.  You can swirl this blueberry puree into your  favorite oatmeal – instant,quick, old-fashioned or steel cut.  I happen to favor steel-cut oats, which I start the night before, then finish cooking in the morning.  With peaches and blueberries in season, I’ve been cutting a half peach and putting it in the pot with the oatmeal for the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Then I top the oatmeal with a swirl of homemade blueberry puree, about 1 Tbsp., and finish it off with soy or almond milk.   The blueberry puree is not terribly sweet, but it has an intense blueberry flavor that is quite pleasing to the palate.  It’s not  hard to make and is a great, more healthful  substitute for the overly sweet preserves and jams in stores.  Give it a try.
Source:  Judy’s Kitchen
Rating:  10 out of 10
1 pt. fresh or frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
In 1-1/2 quart heavy saucepan, combine blueberries and sugar.  Cook over medium heat till mixture bubbles.  Reduce heat slightly to keep mixture to slow boil, stirring as needed for about 15-20 minutes, or till liquid is reduced and jam consistency is reached.  Stir in lemon juice.  Puree with immersion blender.  Refrigerate.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It sounds weird:  a cake with no butter, shortening or oil.  How could it be good?  But  I decided to try it, with my adaptations, of course.  And I was surprised to find that it’s quite good, in fact, delicious. 
The pecans that go inside the cake have fat, and there’s fat in the frosting, even if it is reduced.  And, just in case you think this is a good diet recipe, just remember that wheat flour of any kind has more than 400 calories per cup.  My own opinion is that flour products contribute to weight gain as much as fat and sugar products.  Still, I did reduce the sugar by subbing stevia for part of it.  And, all things considered, this dessert has less impact on your diet than, say, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting….. that is, if you ration your portions.  Very hard to do, because these are unbelievably good.  They’re light but rich tasting and so very easy to eat.
The cupcakes will puff up as they bake and you will be thinking, oh my, such a nicely crowned cupcake.  But to your dismay, they will then deflate and sink a little.  I don’t know why they do that, but that’s why you need the frosting.  To cover them up and make them look pretty.  But to my thinking, any excuse to use cream cheese frosting is okay with me.
Pineapple Pecan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from
Rating:  9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS:  1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg
10 oz. fresh pineapple, chopped, then processed in food processor
(or 10 oz. crushed pineapple with juice)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Heat oven to 350F.  Set out a standard 6-cup muffin tin and a 12-cup mini-muffin tin.  Line both with paper cups.  Spray each of the cups inside lightly with non-stick cooking spray, if desired. 

In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking soda.  Add the egg, pineapple and pecans and stir with a spatula or spoon just till moistened.  Fill the muffin cups almost to the tops with batter.  Set in oven on middle rack and bake standards about 15-18 minutes and minis about 11-14 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns clean.  Cool on wire racks. 

When thoroughly cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 stick (2 oz.) butter or Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, cold

In small bowl, beat butter till it’s fluffy and light.  Gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating well after each addition.  Beat till smooth.  Gradually add cheese in little pieces, beating well after each addition till frosting is smooth again.  Keep beating until frosting is smooth, creamy and of spreading consistency.  (If you use liquid extract, you may need to add some more sugar to get the right consistency.)  (This frosting requires a lot of beating, probably about 10 minutes total, but the finished frosting is so creamy and wonderful, it’s worth it.)  Store unused frosting in refrigerator or freezer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Thanks to, picking a winner for the CSN $70 giveaway was effortless, unbiased and quick. As comments were received, each was assigned a number beginning with 1.  In all, there were 50 entries. I plugged the 50 into the random number generator at and instantly the number 23 came up. When I checked my master list, I saw that #23 had been assigned to Emily (EMSFS). Congratulations to the winner, and thanks to all of you who entered.

Monday, July 26, 2010



This recipe is also known as “best banana cake,” and Banana Cake VI, depending on which internet site you visit.  When I read the directions, my cynical mind rejected the recipe.  Baking a cake at 275F and then putting it in the freezer for 45 minutes sounded insane to me.  However, the person who dreamed up this method is a genius.  Never have I tasted a banana cake with such wonderful flavor and texture. 


The moistness and tenderness are incomparably the ultimate.  It’s the kind of cake you dream about at night and find yourself raiding the refrigerator for at 3AM to just sneak another piece of heaven.  My old favorite one-bowl banana cake recipe has dropped to second place, and there is a new king on the throne.  But I fear that I’ll be buying more bananas now, just to be able to make more of this incredibly good banana cake.  This, coming from one who is not a banana cake fan.  Pretty amazing.


I did make a few changes to the recipe.  First, I was put off at the amount of sugar.  I changed the ratio to equal that of my one-bowl fave recipe, cutting out 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. of sugar.  I used stevia in place of half the remaining sugar, to cut it even further.  Then I used applesauce and Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend in place of the butter, and half whole-wheat flour for added fiber.  Besides the extraordinary texture and moistness, the cake was also plenty sweet, and had a wonderfully complex flavor that went well with the cream cheese icing.  (I frosted one small strip of the cake with chocolate frosting for my hubby who does not appreciate the fine points of cream cheese icing.)  Plenty of toasted chopped pecans went over the top.  Everyone, but everyone, who tasted this went wild. 

Adapted from
Rating:  10 out of 10
1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/2 cup applesauce plus or unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup Smart Balance 50/50  Butter Blend (or butter)
1-1/2 cups sugar (I used 3/4 cup sugar + 3 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia)
3 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk (I used 1-1/2 cups sweet milk + 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar)
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Heat oven to 275F (135C).  Grease and flour a 9x13” baking pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with applesauce and lemon juice; set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light.  Beat in eggs very slowly, adding half at a time on medium-low speed.  Reduce speed to lowest setting and stir in vanilla.  Using lowest speed, beat in  flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour.  Stir in banana mixture.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour, or  until a toothpick inserted near center of cake returns clean.  (Start checking cake at 55 minutes.  Please note that the cake does not rise and the top is quite hard.  Rest assured it will soften before you eat it.)  Remove cake from oven and place (uncovered) directly into freezer for 45 minutes.  Take cold cake from freezer and frost as desired.

For cream cheese icing, in a large bowl, cream 1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick or 2 oz.), 1 tsp. vanilla powder (or vanilla extract) and 1-1/2 cups 10X sugar till smooth.  Cut 6 oz. cold cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese into 8 pieces.  Add one piece at a time to sugar mixture, beating well after each addition, for a total of about 8 minutes of beating.  Be sure each piece is completely incorporated and smooth before adding next piece.  This is just enough icing to frost this cake, with no leftovers. 

Frost cake; sprinkle nuts over top.  Yield:  one 9x13 cake

Thursday, July 15, 2010

$70.00 GIVEAWAY!

Just  how well equipped is your dining room?  I don’t just mean on the inside of your house.  How’s your outside dining room doing?  Either one, actually.

CSN has $70.00 for one lucky winner to spend at their dining room website.  While the prize does not include shipping, many of  the items are offered with free shipping.  And, yes, you can find items within the $70.00 range, so you don’t have to spend more if you don’t want to or can’t.  Personally, I would love to have some cedar grilling planks, since I love to grill fish on wood planks.  But then I wouldn’t mind having a wireless talking thermometer for oven or grill.   Hmmm, I might even go for a new grill cover.  I could easily spend a day searching CSN’s website, drooling over the neat stuff they have.

I could have kept the prize for myself.  CSN offered it to me.  And I really wanted some of their great merchandise.  But, no, I decided to give it away to one lucky reader.  That may be you.  Don’t pass up this opportunity.
To enter this contest, do the following:

1.  Mandatory entryLeave a comment with contact information  and be sure to tell me what prize you want .   You can just copy and paste the name from the website with the item #.  Easy peasy.
2. For extra entries, pick more prizes.  For instance, leave a comment that says, “My second choice prize is………..”  “My third choice prize is…….”   etc.  Be sure to copy and paste the item name and # from the website each time.

3. How to get a triple entry (your name will be entered 3 times):  Just visit another blog and leave a comment giving my contest info and linking to my site.  Come back to my site and leave a comment telling me what you did (name of site you told about the contest and a link to that site).

There is no limit to the number of entries you can have.  But everyone must begin with the mandatory entry.  The extra entries are entirely optional.   You do not need to have a website or blog to enter, but you must live in the US or Canada if you pick an item with free shipping.  If you are paying the shipping costs, then it doesn't matter where you live.

The deadline for this contest is Sunday, July 25, Midnight.  Your time starts now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Woman's Day Magazine published this recipe in their April 2010 issue.  The red-white-and-blue theme would be perfect for July 4, right at the peak of blueberry season.  But the recipe seemed too sweet.  Guy & I prefer our desserts toned down a bit, and I could tell this would be over the top for us.  The crust was begging for whole wheat flour to blend with the almonds.  And, even though the red jam looked pretty, I wanted my own blueberry puree under the fresh blueberries.

These all turned out to be good changes.  The crust tastes almost like a graham cracker crust with a nutty undertone.  The lemon flavor comes through strong and complements the blueberries beautifully.  And this dessert is plenty sweet.  Because it's not over-the-top sweet (like so many of today's desserts), you can actually enjoy the taste of the blueberries.  Hubby, friend and I gave this dessert top ratings, and I’ll be making it again.  My only problem is I’m dreaming about this tart and can’t wait for another slice. 
Lemon Blueberry Cheese Tart
Adapted from Woman's Day
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

2 pt. fresh blueberries, divided use
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice

Almond Crust
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
7 Tbsp. cold butter, cut in pieces
2-3 Tbsp. ice cold water

Lemon Cheese Filling
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Prepare blueberry puree.  In 1-1/2 quart heavy saucepan, combine 1 pt. blueberries and
2 Tbsp. sugar.  Cook over medium heat till mixture bubbles.  Reduce heat slightly to keep mixture to slow boil, stirring as needed for about 15-20 minutes, or till liquid is reduced and jam consistency is reached.  Stir in lemon juice.  Puree with immersion blender.  Set aside to cool. 

Make almond crust.  Heat oven to 350F.  Coat a 9” tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray or oil.  Set aside.  In work bowl of food processor, combine almonds and sugar.  Pulse till nuts are finely ground.  Add flour and salt; pulse until blended.  Add butter; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Sprinkle with water; pulse until dough comes together.  Press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden. 

Prepare filling.   About 5-10 minutes before crust is done, wipe work bowl and blades of food processor with damp paper towel.  Combine cheese and sugar; pulse until blended and smooth.  Scrape down sides and bottom; add egg, lemon zest and juice and pulse till well combined and smooth.  Pour mixture into hot crust; bake 20 minutes, or till edges are puffed and center is set but not puffed. 

Cool completely on wire rack; cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.  Before serving, spread about 1/3 to 1/2 cup blueberry puree over top of tart.  (Use more or less as desired.  Use remaining puree as jam for toast, biscuits, etc.)  Sprinkle remaining blueberries over puree.  Yield:  8 servings

Monday, July 12, 2010


Oh, yeah, baby!  This is the one dessert you should make soon.  You don’t need an ice cream maker, either.  Just six ingredients to get to chocolate heaven.  It’s not a totally low-fat dessert since it calls for high-fat coconut milk and bittersweet chocolate, but it’s not as fattening as regular chocolate ice cream.  The thing is, it’s so delicious and it’s so easy to make at home.  If you’re counting pennies, this is an economical dessert that won’t take up a ton of your time.  010
Chocolate-Coconut Sorbet
Source:  Judy’s Kitchen
Rating:  10 out of 10
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. natural unsweetened cocoa (I used Pa. Dutch purchased from a local farm store)
2 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
1 cup Thai coconut milk
2 tsp. coconut-flavored rum, or pure vanilla extract if preferred
1 Tbsp. peeled, finely grated fresh ginger

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and cocoa.  Whisk well to combine.  Heat over medium heat till boiling.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate till it melts.  Cool completely.  In work bowl of food processor, combine chocolate mixture, coconut milk, rum and ginger.  Pulse till very smooth.  Transfer mixture to a 1-quart freezer container.  *Freeze till ice crystals form 1” around edges, about 1-1/2 hours.  Remove from freezer and beat with electric mixer or immersion blender (or put it all back into the food processor) till smooth.*  Repeat underlined instructions once or twice, then freeze till firm, several hours or overnight.  Yield:  about 1 pint011

Note:  If you want a deeper chocolate flavor, increase the cocoa and/or chocolate to your liking, but I found this to have plenty of chocolate flavor.
Coconut Milk on FoodistaCoconut Milk

Friday, July 9, 2010


My kitchen is pretty well equipped, except for an ice cream maker.  I’ve owned two of them in the past, and sold both at garage sales because I didn’t use them much.  They were the kind that use rock salt.  More modern ice cream makers are rock-salt free, quicker and easier to use.  But, still, how often would I use it now that my nest is empty? 
Here’s a recipe that you can make without an ice cream maker.  Of course, if you have one, that’s a bonus.  But you’ll still get excellent results without.  Mangoes are so cheap, and they’re so good for you.  It’s hard to imagine that something that is so good for you can taste so good.  This is a simple recipe that makes up quickly.
Mango Sorbet
Source:  Judy’s Kitchen
Rating:  9.5 out of 10
1-1/2 cups peeled, chopped, very ripe mango
3 Tbsp. peach preserves
1 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest, packed 
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1-1/2 tsp. Amaretto (optional)
1/4 cup water 

Combine all ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor.  Pulse till ingredients are well combined and smooth.  Pour into a freezable 1-quart container with a cover.  Freeze about 1 hour, or till ice crystals form about 1” around edges.  Remove from freezer.  Beat with electric mixer or immersion blender till smooth.  Return to freezer about one hour, till ice crystals form again as before.   Remove and beat once more before freezing until firm.   (You can remove and beat as many times as you want, but the sorbet will set nicely after just two times.) Yield:  about 1 pt.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This has become my new favorite blueberry muffin recipe.  America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) has refined the classic recipe and brought it to new heights.  Cooking down some of the blueberries into a jam and then swirling that into the batter with more blueberries makes for an intense blueberry flavor.  But that’s not the whole story.  The muffin itself is tender, delicate, flavorful and just sweet enough.   And ATK has added a crispy lemon-sugar topping that delivers the final knockout blow.  No exotic flavors here – just simple ingredients that blend beautifully to highlight the blueberries.  This is one great muffin recipe and you can be sure I’ll be making it often. 
Best Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Rating:  10 out of 10

Blueberry Jam:
1-1/4 cup blueberries
2 tsp. sugar
(ATK calls for 1 cup blueberries + 1 tsp. sugar, but I had too much batter for just one standard tin.  Because I added the mini tin, I needed more jam.)

Lemon-Sugar Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
(ATK calls for 1/3 cup sugar+ 1-1/2 tsp. lemon zest, but, again, I needed just a bit more.)

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
2 large eggs
1-1/8 cups (8 oz.) sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup nonfat Smart Balance milk + 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar)
1-1/3 cup fresh blueberries (I increased the blueberries by 1/3 cup.)

Make the jam:  Combine berries and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat.  Break berries with spoon and cook down to 1/4 cup.  Let cool.

Make the topping:  Mix sugar and zest together in small bowl.  (I used my mini blender.)  Set aside.

Make the Muffin:  Heat oven to 425F (400F for dark or coated pans).  Set baking rack to upper middle of oven.  Grease two muffin tins:  one standard and one mini, each holding 12 muffins.  Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl.  Set aside.

In a  small bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar till light, about 45 seconds.  In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil,vanilla, and buttermilk.  Add egg mixture and continue to whisk till well combined.  Fold wet mixture into flour mixture with a spoon or spatula.  Mix lightly and leave the batter slightly lumpy. 

Divide batter evenly among tins.  (ATK folds the blueberries into  the batter.  You can  choose to do this, but I found that some muffins got very little and others got a lot of blueberries.)  Divide the blueberries evenly among the muffins, pressing them down with your fingers. 
Spoon about 1 tsp. of jam onto tops of standard muffins, and use the rest for the minis.  Swirl the jam into the muffins using a skewer or chopstick and a figure eight motion. 
Sprinkle each muffin with some of the lemon-sugar mixture.  Place muffin tins in oven on center rack; close door; reduce oven temperature to 325F.

Bake minis 10-13 minutes (they won’t brown).  Bake standards 16-19 minutes, or till tops are set and toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool in pan 5 minutes before transferring to rack to finish cooling.  Yield:  12 standard + 12 mini muffins

Monday, July 5, 2010


I love Ina Garten.  Her recipes are simple and straightforward, and almost always comforting and delicious.  She does use a lot of high-fat ingredients, but sometimes substitutions can be made to reduce the fat content.  That’s what I did with her five-star-rated Blueberry Crumb Cake recipe.  Instead of sour cream, I used  Greek nonfat yogurt.  Whole wheat  and almond flours added some fiber to the crumb topping.  Using Smart Balance 50-50 butter blend doesn’t change the fat content, but does introduce some good fats to the mix.  The changes aren’t huge, but IMHO, every little bit helps.
Ina came through again.  This is a great recipe.  But, full disclosure……I made muffins instead of a coffee cake, and I should have made the coffee cake.  The crumb topping is just too messy for eating out of hand.  You need a knife and fork for this.  The cake itself is moist with excellent flavor.  And then there’s that great almost-crunchy topping.  What’s not to like?
Blueberry Crumb Cake Muffins
Adapted half recipe from Ina Garten, Food Network
Rating:  9 out of 10
2 Tbsp. sugar (I used 1-1/2 tsp. NuNaturals Stevia)
2-1/2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
big pinch nutmeg (I omitted)
1/2 stick  butter, melted  (I used Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend)
1/2 cup + 3Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used 6 Tbsp. white whole wheat + 5 Tbsp. almond flour)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I used 3 Tbsp. Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar + 1-1/2 tsp. NuNaturals Stevia)
1 extra-large egg (I used 1 large egg)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup sour cream (I used 1/3 cup blueberry Greek yogurt, nonfat)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350F (325F for dark or coated pans).  Grease and flour a 6-cup muffin tin, or line with paper cups. 

Streusel:  Combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg (if using) in a bowl.  Stir in melted butter, followed by flours.  Mix well and set aside.

Muffins:  Whisk butter and sugar till light.  Add egg slowly, while continuing to whisk vigorously.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream (or yogurt) and whisk again till very smooth and well combined.  Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, soda and salt over the wet mixture and stir gently with a spatula or spoon, mixing only till barely combined and still a little lumpy.  Fold in blueberries.  Spoon batter into prepared pan and top with crumbs, pressing them in slightly to help them adhere.  Bake 18-21 minutes, or till toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Of course, if you hit a blueberry you have to reinsert the pick.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.  Yield:  6 standard muffins

Friday, July 2, 2010


If you do enough internet surfing, you can find just about anything.  And if you’re searching for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, you have quite a few to choose from.  I picked this recipe, not because the ingredients are out of the ordinary, but because the author touted his technique as being the key to an extraordinary cookie. 
The recipe, itself, is just a tollhouse cookie recipe with lots of nuts and chocolate chips.  He basically says that if you beat the batter to death and refrigerate it for at least 6 hours, you’ll get a phenomenal cookie.  And maybe you will.  I refrigerated the dough longer – about 42 hours – and that may have messed things up.  Everyone loved these cookies, especially my hubby, because of the abundance of nuts (I cut out 1 cup of the chocolate chips, but there were still plenty). 
Stevens says he learned his creaming technique for this cookie from Flo Braker’s The Simple Art of Perfect Baking.  The trick is to add the eggs slowly, taking about 3-4 minutes.  This results in a fluffy batter, like whipped cream cheese.  My batter did indeed have that spongy, light texture.  But baking at 400 degrees didn’t work for my first batch.  At 9 minutes, the centers were raw and the bottoms were greasy.  When those cookies cooled and were rebaked at 350F for 10 minutes, it resulted in very crispy edges with a soft chewy center.  These were even better than the cookies baked at 350F which were softer all the way around. 
Some other glitches:  I had to add more flour, possibly because I live in the coastal south, or because of the high humidity levels, or could it be that he scooped and I lightly spooned and swept?.   I only got half as many cookies as Stevens did with my golf-ball sized dough, so his golf balls are mighty small. 

This recipe might be worth making again, but I have other less complicated recipes that I like better, so I probably won’t go to the trouble.   If you do decide to try these, please let me know by leaving a comment.  Maybe you’ll think these really are the ultimate. 

P.S.  Here are links to some of my favorite chocolate chip cookies:  Blue Ribbon Fair Cookies, Prize-Winning Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dried Cherry Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Chocolate Chippers with Coconut Flour, Three Chip Cookies, Extraordinary M&M Cookies, Todd English's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Yockelson's Large and Luscious Two-Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Chocolate Gingerbread Drops, Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Copycats.

W. Richard Stevens Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
Source: and
Rating:  8 out of 10
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2-3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp. lightly spooned and swept (11.5 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used 1/4 tsp. NuNaturals pure stevia extract + 3 Tbsp. sugar)
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla (I used 1 tsp. homemade vanilla extract + 1 tsp. homemade vanilla powder)
2 cups walnuts coarsely chopped (I used toasted broken pecans)
3 cups (18 oz.) chocolate chips (I used 1 cup Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks + 1 cup Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips)

Sift the dry ingredients together three times in a medium bowl.

Beat  butter in mixing bowl of a heavy duty mixer with paddle attachment until it is lighter and clings to bowl (30-45 seconds).  Add both sugars in a steady stream using medium speed.  Continue to cream butter and sugars for 4-5 minutes, scraping down bowl twice.  When done, mixture will be light in color and fluffy in appearance.

Whisk eggs with vanilla in small bowl and add to butter and sugar mixture very slowly, using medium speed.  It should take 3-4 minutes to add the eggs.  The mixture then appears fluffy, looking like whipped cream cheese.  Using lowest speed, gradually add dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate and nuts.

Using about 2 Tbsp. dough, shape into golf-ball-sized balls and place on cookie sheet right next to each other.  Cover with waxed paper, then aluminum foil crimped tightly at edges and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.  Remove and let warm to room temperature 30 minutes.  While cookies are coming to room temperature, heat oven to 400F. 

Place balls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing about 3” apart.  Flatten a little to resemble a hockey puck, about  3/4” high.  Make edges go straight up and down, and make a slight depression in center with finger. 

Bake 8-10 minutes (or longer), till edges are golden brown but center is 1” pale.  Let sit at room temperature 5 minutes before taking off baking pan. 

Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.  Yield:  18 cookies