Redemption!

I’m baaaaaack!

As I mentioned in my last post, things have been a bit hairy lately! I’ve recently had some additional responsibilities added to my plate at work, and the next two months are filled with deadlines and travelling. When I come home from work, it’s been hard to motivate myself to do the housework or tackle the DIY projects I’ve got on my to-do list, let alone sit in front of a computer again. Leanne posted this quote the other day and I gotta say, it’s been helpful to remind me to take one thing at a time.

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But, no matter what comes up, a girl’s gotta eat!! Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who picks up the slack in lots of areas, including in the kitchen! It’s so nice coming home to dinner ready on the table. His enthusiasm for the kitchen is almost as big as mine: he loves to experiment and try new things. He recently made Thai coconut chicken curry with sautéed baby bok choi. Talk about yum!

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But dessert was definitely the piece de resistance: Chocolate-bottom berry tarts!Image

We had the hardest time coming up with an actual name for these. Berry chocolate-bottomed tarts? Chocolate berry bottom tarts? Who knows. These babies were Un. Real.

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His tart pastry was made from scratch and was perfectly buttery and flaky. The berry filling – made from raspberries, blackberries and blueberries – was tart and tangy. But the real star was the chocolate on the bottom. What a delightful surprise!
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Everybody has a thing, in the kitchen, right? You know, their spectialty. Pies are normally Alex’s thing. His pastry is always perfect and he always manages to nail the filling and flavour combinations bang on. He’s a dedicated pie man too – last year, our oven stopped working a day or two before my birthday. That didn’t stop him from making me a strawberry pie and a birthday cake.. and barbecuing them both. The cake got a bit scorched and he had to remove the top lay over it, but the pie . . . wow. You never would have known he didn’t bake it in an oven! Everyone (especially me!) was so impressed. I’m a lucky woman.

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So like I was saying, pies are his thing. But mini pies are his thaaang. I mean, who doesn’t love mini versions of everything? This girl does.

I digress.

We generally like saltier snacks in this house. But every once in a while, we love us some sweets, and there’s nothing better than a good old chocolate chip cookie. One recent Sunday morning, I decided to whip up a batch of my mom’s tried-and-true chocolate chip cookies.

I started by preheating my oven to 375 F and combining 2 and ¼ cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer, I beat a cup of softened butter, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, ¾ cup of packed brown sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract until it creamy. Then I added two large eggs, one at a time.

Once all my wet ingredients were combined, I gradually beat in the dry ingredients.

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When everything was combined, I was about to stir in two cups of chocolate chips, when I realized . . . I didn’t have enough. Then it hit me – Alex used almost all of my chocolate-chip stash for his tarts. Oh. No. I had one cup of chocolate chips, which was not nearly enough.

Racking my brain and my cupboards for something else to add, the thought of baking half-chocolate-chip cookies wasn’t appealing to me. I could have added chopped nuts, but I am not a fan of nuts in my chocolate chip cookies . . . and we didn’t have any. As I spun the rack of my lazy susan over and over again, it hit me. I had just picked up some toffee bits at the bulk food store! YES!

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Chocolate and toffee is a match made in heaven. I added a cup of toffee bits to my cookie batter and spooned the dough onto ungreased baking sheets. And just before I popped them into the oven to bake, a stroke of genius came over me. What goes better with toffee than anything? SALT. I grabbed my kosher salt and sprinkled some on top of each cookie dough ball.

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The cookies baked at 375 F for about nine minutes (or until perfectly golden brown). We could hardly wait to get our hands on these babies, and they did not disappoint. I had to hide them in the freezer so they were out of plain sight, but they didn’t last long. Oh, and I made the rookie mistake of placing the dough balls way too close to each other, so some of the cookies stuck together as they baked. Didn’t change the way I felt about them though. These were a hit!

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Now, I’m off to catch up on housework and put on a giant pot of Italian Wedding Soup for dinner. Have a great Sunday, everyone!

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