Chocolate Chip Cookie Secrets

I have four chocolate chip cookie secrets I want to share with you. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked, “Why are your chocolate chip cookies so good?” Then I tell them about many moons ago when I bought a cookie from the Mrs. Fields cookie store at the old Southglenn Mall.

chocolate chip cookies cooling on counter

It had to have been around 1989 or so. It was so good. A tad crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It wasn’t gooey on the inside. I don’t like gooey. But it was soft. And the cookie was rather plump, not flat. So I asked. “What makes these cookies so good?” The young gal on the other side of the counter told me the secret…four secrets actually. What generosity! What kindness.

Secret #1: Follow the Nestle toll house cookie recipe, except add 1/4 cup more flour. Be sure your flour is pressed into the measuring cups.

Secret #2: Be sure to use softened (but not too much so) Real unsalted butter and then truly cream it with the sugars. Don’t be in a hurry with this.

Secret #3: Chill the dough really well in the fridge, until the ball is almost hard.

Secret #4: Bake the cookies about 9-10 minutes until they are just starting to brown. And THEN…..drum roll please…

Take them immediately off the pan and cool on the counter.

“Cool on the counter?”

“Yes, on the counter,” she said.  “It traps in the moisture. Trust me. It makes a big difference.”

You probably already make great chocolate chip cookies. But in case you needed a little help? You’re welcome.

Gluten Free Peach Almond Crisp

Gluten free peach almond crisp is a must in our family. Why? We love peaches and we freeze peaches and we love anything crisp. Oh, and I ADORE almonds. When you make this recipe, feel free to choose your own word: crisp, crunch, cobbler. Whatever! I just like a TON of the topping. So my recipe errs on this side, the side that has more calories. Sorry. But if it matters, this recipe is gluten-free! And even if you aren’t gluten-free you will still want to make it this way. Trust me. (I say trust me a lot.)

picture of finished peach crisps alongside a bowl of almonds and a bowl of peaches

My daughter and her husband are coming to visit for Thanksgiving. She is gluten-free so we have been learning the art of baking and cooking without gluten in the Flanders family. (She doesn’t like it when I announce to people that she is gluten-free. Sorry Jenna.)

I decided to create a recipe using the gluten-free flours I already have on hand, trying it out again on a student of mine who is coming over for dinner. Both he and his wife are gluten-free. I often use my students as guinea pigs because students are hungry. Thus, they forgive me easily even if my recipe is horrible. But this recipe is WONDERFUL because 

Peach Burrata

I about died on my wedding anniversary eating Peach Burrata. Yes, my personal chef and I recently had our 31st wedding anniversary. Each and every year this is a big deal. Life throws its major curve balls and still being married each and every year is a miracle to be celebrated. So, we jaunted over to our favorite Italian place.  Farro restaurant is chef owned and operated by Matthew Franklin. This chef is down to earth AND he is creative.  Matthew inspires my own personal chef. His food is rustic Italian and it is accessible and it is REAL food. He often uses Colorado’s seasonal ingredients and he always outdoes himself. But this time? I have no words. I am so glad I ordered his special appetizer: Peach Burrata. Here is a picture of our version.

Peach Burrata

Did I already say that when I was at Farro, I about died as I was eating the Peach Burrata?  I like these types of near death experiences because they are a glimpse and experience of heaven. Of course my reaction intrigued my personal chef of 31 years. So, he stole some off my plate.  He about died too. I mean honestly, we both about died on our wedding anniversary.

As is his typical fashion,

Watermelon Sorbet

There are many versions of watermelon sorbet recipes on the web. This is mine, seasoned with fresh mint from the backyard garden. If you don’t have this ingredient, then simply replace the fresh mint with 1/8 t. of peppermint extract.  But there is a secret ingredient you can’t skip or replace.  It is what makes this icy goodness smooth going down!

This recipe does require an ice cream maker. I use the Cuisinart 1.5 quart. But apparently you can make sorbet in your freezer. Google “making sorbet without an ice cream maker” and you’ll get a lot of ideas. Use this recipe for the ingredients but follow the instructions on using the freezer to process it. Or, save your pennies and get one of these bad boys. I love this machine.

Oh and for the record, this recipe is by me, the gardener, not my Personal Chef. Yes, believe it or not, once in a while I do find myself in the kitchen. To make and thus enjoy, read on!