Thursday, August 4, 2011

3 C's: Country Concert, Chow Mein, and Chocolate

Let's start with the Rascal Flatt's concert I went to with Kaitlin.  It was an absolute blast.  Her mom and cousin went with us, and we tailgated at the Verizon Amphitheater with subs and Coronas.  Ballin'.

How do I love Sara Evans?  Let me count the ways.  She was flawless.  It's nice to hear a voice that hasn't been auto-tuned to death.  Don't get me wrong, auto-tune can be used for some cool effects, but to hear someone with a crystal clear voice just can't be matched.

I'm pretty sure she was singing "A Little Bit Stronger" at this point.  Her set was simple and feel-good.

Then came the big boys!  Oh yeah, they definitely came in three separate doors down staircases.  It was fantastic and a little over-the-top in all the right ways.

I really liked the background they used here.

They played a little bluegrass ditty!  Basically, it was a blast.  They worked the crowd, we danced, and fun was had by all.

That same weekend my sister's mother-in-law came for a visit.  Miss Susan is an incredibly nice lady who happens to make bangin' chow mein.  I'd show you a picture of it, but I was too busy eating it.  No joke, 4 bowls in 2 days.  The beef gets a little marinade-time with what we call Happy Cow Sauce.  I have no idea what the real name is because I can't read Chinese.  I have a jar of it my sister gave to me, so I'll make some chow mein soon for you guys.  The Happy Cow Sauce gives a bit of spice to the beef, which takes on a caramelized quality during cooking that flavors the noodles.  Then you have bell peppers, onions, and carrots for even more flavor.  I might be obsessed.

Now for the chocolate.  I had a hankering for a chocolate cookie, and I had some chocolate chips that needed to be used.  Thus the triple chocolate chunk cookie bar was born.

We've got: all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and three kinds of chocolate.  I used semi-sweet, white chocolate, and half a 60% cacao Ghiradelli bar.  I wasn't messin' around when I said I wanted chocolate.

It starts out like your average cookie.  Cream together the butter and sugars.  Fun fact:  I didn't have quite enough brown sugar, so I Googled brown sugar substitutes.  Turns out you can use raw sugar in place of  brown sugar, so I topped off my light brown sugar with raw sugar.

It's so fluffy! Despicable Me anyone?

Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.  Sift the cocoa over the mix to get rid of lumps.

Mix it together and add your vanilla extract.  Yes, that's a tablespoon.  I'm not afraid of some serious vanilla flava.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add it to the wet ingredients in two stages.  Mix until just combined.

Chop up the chocolate bar.  The pieces don't have to be minuscule or anything.  Just smaller than they were originally.

Stir in the white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and the chopped bar.  It put me in a special chocolate reverie.

I decided to do cookie bars at the last minute because I didn't feel like portioning the dough into cookies. I know, lazy.  It goes in a 9x9 pan if you're doing bars.  For once I had the right size pan!  If you decide to do cookies (and just so you know, these would be excellent for ice cream sandwiches), drop them by the tablespoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes for the bars, 10 minutes for the cookies.  You'll get something like this.

And b-t-dubs, we had Dolly Parton chicken breasts for dinner.  Holy moly.  I thought they would start singing "Jolene" to me.

It turns out the bars are ooey gooey and everything you want from all that chocolate.  They're just sweet enough, and 20 minutes was just perfect because I like my cookies and whatnot a little underdone.  It comes from a lifetime of eating cookie dough.  If you prefer a more "together" cookie bar, leave them in a few minutes longer.  But see all the different chocolates?  There's the sweet white chocolate and the melty semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolates.  Heaven.

This just begs for a glass of red wine.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars (makes 16)
Adapted from The Food Network

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
8 oz. white chocolate chips
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 oz. Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate bar

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl.
  • Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.  Sift cocoa powder over wet ingredients and beat to combine.  Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Add half of flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Add the rest and mix until just combined.
  • Chop chocolate bar into small sized pieces.  Stir both chocolate chips and chocolate bar pieces into cookie batter.
  • Spoon batter into a greased 9x9 pan and spread evenly.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cut into squares when cooled.

1 comment:

  1. YUM!! I had a great time with you! Cannot wait for you to come visit me in Savannah! Feel Free to bring any sweet/salty treat you want to make!