Tag Archives: Baking

Happy Baking

My mom baked. My grandmother baked. I bake.

When my mom passed, I inherited her boxes of recipe cards. Here is her recipe for Congo Bars, which I have been trying to adapt for high altitude baking.

You should bake these. Easy. Delicious. Dense. Slightly chewy. Use butter, not margarine (my mom was of the margarine era).

High altitude people: 1/4 cup LESS sugar. 1/4 cup MORE flour. 1-1/2 tsp baking powder only. And watch your baking time carefully.

A “small package of chocolate chips” is about a cup. Nuts? My mom used walnuts. OH, and I have no idea why they are called “Congo Bars.”

Hiatus and happiness in the kitchen

Jeez, what has been up with me?  We did a ton of great travels in December, January and February and I haven’t posted anything.  I swear, I will get on it.

In the meantime, I am in my happy place when I am in my kitchen.  When I travel, I miss cooking and baking and have been making up for lost time.  I’ve been cooking:  carrot soup, lots of curries, pizza, paella, pasta pie, shepherd’s pie.  I’ve been baking:  lemon bars, vanilla cake with lemon curd topping, cheese cake with (last summer’s canned) marionberry pie filling, and (today) chocolate chip cookies.

I joke with my husband that chocolate chip cookies are the only baked good he likes and I get sick of making them.  Luckily, he also likes cheesecake and brownies.  But really, chocolate chip cookies are IT, and they must NOT contain oatmeal.

I found a recipe online years ago when I was surfing the web at work (don’t tell anyone) and I wrote it in my day planner on the page for March 12.  Everafter, I think of these cookies as March 12 Espresso cookies.  I have changed them since then, a little, and have also figured out how to make them without dragging the Kitchenaid into it.  The trick there is to melt the butter, whisk in the sugar and then the egg.  Then let it sit a minute, then whisk again.  Repeat, and then add your other stuff.

The espresso powder is the secret ingredient.  These cookies don’t taste like coffee (I would know, as I HATE coffee) but there is a subtle extra flavor.  That said, if you don’t have espresso powder, the cookies are still great.

What else?  Instead of a cup of brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of white, I do 3/4 brown, 1/4 plus 3 T white.  And I chill the dough before forming cookies and baking.

That’s me, in my happy place, baking and cooking in my kitchen.  I swear I will put up some great travel stories and photos soon.image

My husband likes a little bit less chocolate, so there is only a cup of chips in here — and today, some pecans.