Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks Butter Divided
1 whole egg and 1 yolk
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Bread Flour
1 1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pan place 1 1/2 sticks of butter, and place over medium heat. With a wooden spoon stir butter until it is melted and starts to foam. Switch to a heatproof spatula and scrape sides and continue to stir butter; after the foam subsides keep the butter moving by stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Once you see brown bits and it starts to have a nutty smell remove from heat. In a wide mixing bowl place 1/2 stick of butter and brown butter then stir until the butter melts. Add sugars and honey. In a separate bowl combine flours and baking soda; whisk to combine. To the butter sugar mixture add the eggs, salt and vanilla then whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, then whisk for 1 minute. Let it rest again, and then whisk. After each whisking the dough should get a little lighter. Rest and whisk one last time, then add the flour mixture and fold into the wet ingredients. Once fully combine add chips and let rest for 15 minutes. Using a 2 inch scoop distribute 12 even helpings of the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes until a light golden brown. Cool on wire rack and enjoy. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Jewish Apple Cake
3 medium apples, peeled cored and diced
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan.
2. Sprinkle apples with 5 tablespoons white sugar and the ground cinnamon (I could stop here and just eat this by itself). Toss to coat and set aside.
3. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.
4. In the mixer combine butter, sugar and oil until light and fluffy.
5. Add eggs one at a time until well blended. Then add orange juice and vanilla.
6. Reduce blender speed to low and add flour. Mix until well combined.
7. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Place half apple mixture over the batter then pour the remaining batter and sprinkle remaining apples on the top.
8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 to 80 minutes. Let cake cool in pan, if you can.

Cinnamon rolls

•1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
•2 eggs, room temperature
•1/3 cup butter, melted
•4 1/2 cups bread flour
•1 teas salt
•1/2 cup white sugar
•1 pkg yeast (1/4 ounce or 2 ½ tsp if you buy in bulk like me)
For the Filling:

•1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
•2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
•1/2 cup butter, softened
For the Icing:

•3 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/2 cup butter, softened
•2 cups confectioners’ sugar
•1/2 tsp vanilla extract
•1/8 tsp salt

1.                   Dissolve, yeast in warm milk in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Mix well. Knead dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour otherwise you will be pick dough off your hands for hours. Put in a bowl and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Now here is the great thing about making any kind of dough. If you aren’t ready to use it, go and let out some aggression and punch down the dough. I call it dough therapy. Do this until you are ready to move to the next step.

2.                   In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

    3. Spray work surface, whatever it may be (counter top or grandma’s antique table) with cooking spray or sprinkle flour on it otherwise get out your chisel to get the dried dough up.

       Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread dough with 1/2 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture and pat it down.

4.        Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls (or smaller rolls). Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled. This should take about 30 minutes. 
5.       Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls in pre heated oven until golden brown, about 18–20 minutes.

6.       While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on while they are still warm so that it melts into the roll.

Nutella Stuffed French Toast
Recipe Makes 6 stuffed French toast
2 eggs
About a cup of milk
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
Splash of vanilla extract
12 slices of whole wheat bread (that makes it healthy)
A jar of Nutella

1.       Preheat griddle to 350. Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar and vanilla together well.

2.       Lay out 6 slices of bread and smear on the Nutella (use as much or little as you like), then top with remaining slices of bread.

3.       Rub a teaspoon of butter on the griddle. Coat each sandwich in the egg mixture until completely coated.

4.       Place on griddle and cook until golden brown on each side.

5.       Slice on a diagonal to show the chocolatey goodness. Dust with powdered sugar; serve with your favorite breakfast sides and enjoy.

I must say that these were soooo good that I didn’t even need any syrup. I can wait for you to try this and let me know how you like it. Enjoy and be blessed. I think I’ll go get another helping.

Pho Noodles with Beef
For the Broth
8 cups of Chicken Broth
1lb round steak, sliced crosswise into 1 inch strips
3 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
3 star anise
1 unpeeled onion, cut into quarters lengthwise
½ peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger (to peel use the back of a spoon)

For the Bowl
½ lb linguine-width dried rice noodles (banh pho)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
3 cups bean sprouts
1 cup thinly sliced onion or shallots
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh Asian basil (I like Thai basil), cilantro or mint, or a combination
½ cup thinly sliced green onion
¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (I just cut the lime, that way you can use as much as you want)
2 fresh jalapeno chilies cut into thin rounds
1 ¼ pound boneless rib-eye, strip or flank steak

To prepare the broth, combine chicken broth, sliced round steak, cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise in a large stock pot. Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat. Your house will smell AMAZING.
Meanwhile, brown the onion and ginger to bring out the flavor: heat a large skillet over medium high heat until very hot, about one minute. Add onion and ginger and cook until browned on all surfaces. Then add to broth, and boil for 1 hour.
While broth is cooking soften the noodles by immersing them in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Remove broth from the heat and stir in fish sauce, sugar and salt. Strain broth into a large saucepan, discarding the solids.
About a half hour before serving, prepare the noodles, beef and accompaniments.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a rapid boil for the noodles; also bring broth to a boil as well.
Slice the steak, drop the broth and cook until medium rare.
Right before serving cook noodles by dropping them in water, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Be sure to break up any clumps.
Drain noodles and divide them into 4 bowls, top with steak, bean sprouts, onions, herbs, green onions, and chilies.
Ladle hot broth over noodles and serve with lime.

Roasted Chicken Salad
2lbs bone in chicken breast
1 cup of Craisins
½ cup of finely diced red onion
About ¼ cup of miracle whip or your favorite mayo (I don’t really measure, I go by creaminess)
About ¼ cup of sour cream
Brine for Chicken
1 cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 gallon of water

To brine Chicken, combine all spices and sugar in a large container.
Add about 2 cups of hot water. Stir until salt and sugar is dissolved.
Fill the container with cold water then add chicken and cover.
Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The longer you leave it in brine the more salt drawn into the meat.
To roast the chicken, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove chicken from brine and place on cookie sheet and pat dry.
Roast chicken for 30-40 minutes or until internal temp is 170 degrees.

Remove chicken from oven and let cool.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, move to a cutting board.

Remove skin and bones, chop into small chunks.

Add diced red onion and Craisins to chicken in a bowl.

Next, add miracle whip and sour cream to bowl. Add little at a time until desired creaminess is reached.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Oven-Roasted Pulled Pork Sliders
Based on Tyler Florence recipe
Dry Rub
3 tbsp paprika (I used smoked)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dry mustard
3 tbsp coarse salt
1 (5 -7lb) pork shoulder or butt

Cider Vinegar Barbeque Sauce
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
½ cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic gloves, smashed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground black pepper
12 hamburger buns or sliders

1.          Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

2.       Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

3.       Put the pork in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours. Basically, roast the pork until it's falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.

4.       To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

5.       Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks and "pull" the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. I just used my hands, and sampled as well. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat, then I used a good bottle sauce like Sweet Baby Rays.

Now when I have pulled pork I like coleslaw, but I used all my homemade skills on the pulled pork and one of the sauces, so I bought a bagged broccoli slaw mix (change it up a bit), but I did make my own dressing.

Broccoli Coleslaw
2 bags of broccoli slaw mix

 2/3 cup Miracle Whip
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt or celery salt

1.       Whisk all ingredients together, pour over slaw and toss to coat.

This was my “spring into Spring” meal. Now I know that barbeque is usually a summer time thing, but spring is close enough for me. I hope you give this a try and taste a little bit of summer in the spring.

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