Chocolate chip cookies #18

Chocolate chip cookies #18: Based on Blue-Eyed Bakers Salted Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Baked on 11/2/12.

First of all, I feel terrible for neglecting my webpage for the last ten days. I was so dedicated to fulfilling my post-a-day NaBloPoMo requirement in November, but due to several different factors that just didn’t happen. I won’t go into details right now, but I mostly blame Thanksgiving. Last Thursday I flew up to San Francisco to visit my brother and I didn’t have a free minute until I got back on Sunday. Not that being out of town is an excuse for not updating my webpage (I managed to keep it up for ten days in Hawaii last November), but it’s the best explanation I have for the lack of posts. But tomorrow is December 1st and I am going to do my very best to document the last month of 2012 to the best of my ability. We’ll see how that goes. But anyway, back to the cookies!

Since this is another salted caramel chocolate chip cookie, I’ll bet you’re wondering what the difference between this and recipe #17 is, right? Well, the answer is two very simple things – brown butter and toffee bits. I’ve already sung the praises of browned butter in chocolate chip cookies so it should be obvious that I think this is any improvement on any standard cookie recipe. Besides that, I included the caramel sauce in the batter, like in the previous recipe, but I added Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits along with the semi-sweet chocolate chips. I love using a mixture of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate in cookies, and the toffee just added another layer of caramel flavor. A third layer on top of the browned butter and caramel sauce, I guess!. Perhaps I went overboard, but these cookies turned out great. I didn’t follow any one recipe exactly, but combining two lead to a fantastic end result. I wouldn’t say these are my favorite chocolate chip cookies (that title still belongs to recipe #14 for now), but these are still excellent. I will be making them again.

Chocolate chip cookies #17

Chocolate chip cookies #17: Based on Framed Cooks’ Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Baked on 10/29/12.

I’m starting my Thanksgiving baking tonight which means I have cookies on the brain. So I figured it was only fitting that today’s post is all about cookies! Once again I don’t have a photo to share, but as I’ve said before, if you’ve seen one chocolate chip cookie bar, you’ve seen them all. But anyway, I tried my first attempt at a salted caramel chocolate chip cookie bar for a Halloween event at work and they were quickly gobbled up by my co-workers. However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome. I loved the idea of adding caramel sauce to the batter, but by my estimate the cookies were too dry and the caramel flavor wasn’t pronounced enough. But never fear! I believe I perfected the the salted caramel chocolate chip cookie in recipe #18 so come back next week to see what I did differently. Now it’s time for me to take my first batch of Thanksgiving cookies out of the oven. Then I need to go to bed because it’s getting late. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is only two days away!

My weekend

Since I don’t have any other topics lined up to write about, here’s a brief recap of my weekend. I was hoping to get up early enough to run some errands before the Florida football game yesterday morning, but I was too lazy so that didn’t happen. Weekends are for relaxing, right? Well, at 10 AM I fired up the Watch ESPN app on my iPad and started watching the Gators trounce Jacksonville State. Thank goodness for ESPN 3 or I wouldn’t have been able to watch this weekend’s game or last weekend’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette. That’s what you get when your team’s opponents are such small schools. The pro of watching games online is you don’t have to park yourself on the couch in front of the television for four hours. I carted my iPad from room to room and got a lot of of cleaning done during the football game on Saturday so that was a plus. And seeing the Gators win was pretty good too! After the game was over I went to Beachwood BBQ on Main Street in Seal Beach for lunch. It had been so long since I’d eaten there that I’d forgotten how good it is. I had friend pickles as an appetizer (they are amazing dipped in the house mustard) and a delicious bbq chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries on the side as a main course. It was a good meal, but I was stuffed afterwards.

I spent a couple of hours lying on the couch with my laptop to recover from lunch and then I decided to go see a movie. I used one of my movie passes to get a ticket to “Skyfall” at the AMC theater closest to where I live and then walked next door to Best Buy to pick up a copy of “The Amazing Spider-Man” DVD using a gift card. Two great movies that cost me nothing! I love it! Regarding “Skyfall,” it was different than any other James Bond movie. And I’ve seen them all. It was less laden with special effects and explosives than the most recent offerings which was interesting. Not that I object to either of those things – I’m a huge action movie fan, and “Golden Eye” and “Casino Royale” are two of my favorite Bond films. But Skyfall was more dramatic and more narrative than I was expecting. Maybe it was an homage to the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond movie or the fact that due to licensing arguments there was the possibility that this movie would never be made. Either way, I really liked “Skyfall.” It was a compelling story with some incredible performances by Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Javier Bardem. And I loved the ending. You’ll just have to see it to find out what I mean. When the movie was over I should have changed quickly and gone to the gym, but again I was too lazy. So I went home, lazed about, and went to bed early instead.

As far as Sunday goes, there really not much to tell. I went to the gym this morning to earn a few credits for Thanksgiving, which is the same reason that I can’t miss any of my spin classes during this short week. Holidays are fattening! The rest of my day can pretty much be summed up by these three words – made-for-TV Christmas movies. The Lifetime and Hallmark channels have been showing them almost exclusively for a while and now ABC Family has started too. I might not watch anything else between now and December 25th! I’m watching one right now called “Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade,” but it’s late and I need to get ready for bed. Even though it’s a short week I still have to work, go to the gym, and do a lot of baking before Thanksgiving. I’ll keep you posted!

Missing post!

It wasn’t until about noon today that I realized that I didn’t update my webpage yesterday. Oops! In my defense, I had a very busy, but not very exciting day so there wasn’t much to tell anyway. If I had posted it probably would have been more about how tired I am and I know how much of a snoozefest that is. I had to be at work at 5:30 AM which was even more annoying because I missed my usual Friday morning spin class, but luckily I got to leave around 2 PM. Then I ran some errands and went home to get some things done around the house. I still had a sink full of dirty dishes left over from the potluck on Thursday so I absolutely had to wash them last night. Also, I had several loads of clean clothes that I washed on Tuesday that hadn’t been folded yet so I took care that too. And since I missed my morning spin classes not just on Friday, but on Wednesday and Thursday too, I had big plans to hit the gym last night. However, I was so wiped out when I was done with my chores that I didn’t think I was actually going to have the energy to get up off my butt and go. Luckily I got a second wind around 7 PM when I was finishing up my chores so I threw on some workout clothes and drove to the gym. I only spent an hour on the elliptical since it was so late by the time I got started, but I got to watch the Laker game while working out. That was a plus. It was even better because the Lakers beat the Suns. Woohoo! I was feeling very accomplished when I got home last night even though it was incredibly late. I would have felt like a slug if I’d parked myself on the couch for hours instead. However, that’s sounding like a very appealing option for tonight!

Exhausted

The potluck at work today was a big hit. Everyone seemed really excited to get together a week before Thanksgiving and share a meal together. It was like a work Thanksgiving since we won’t be spending the actual holiday together (thank goodness!). As far as I could tell, folks enjoyed themselves so I was really happy with the outcome. And the food was pretty amazing too! I tried three different kinds of salad and two kinds of meatballs that were all delicious. It’s a good thing that I don’t eat this well every day! The food I brought was pretty popular too. I still can’t believe I pulled off making two main dishes and two cakes yesterday, but I’m glad I did. The two cakes were completely devoured (especially the white Texas sheet cake which everyone loved), but I brought some pulled pork and teriyaki chicken home with me because there were so many other tasty options for people to choose from. This should explain part of why I am completely exhausted tonight. It’s not going to be long before I climb into bed to get some much needed rest. Unfortunately I have to get up early again tomorrow, but luckily it’s Friday. I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

November cooking/baking

We have a potluck at work tomorrow that I organized, and because of that I think I over promised on the amount of food I signed up to bring. As usual, I was way too ambitious with my cooking/baking. Luckily it seems like I’m on track to have everything done with time to spare! Granted I took a half day off from work to accomplish that, but let’s focus on the positive, shall we? I tried two new dessert recipes for the potluck – pumpkin pie sheet cake (because it’s seasonally appropriate) and white Texas sheet cake (because my chocolate Texas sheet cake was a hit earlier this year). Both of the cakes are cooling on the table right now. Neither of them turned out too pretty, but I’m sure they’ll taste good anyway. I don’t expect to have any leftovers to bring home with me! As far as other food goes, I’m making a couple of tried and true favorites that I’ve written about before – pulled pork and teriyaki chicken. Both of these recipes require minimal preparation (which I already took care of this afternoon) and cook in the Crockpot without any extra effort. Perfect for potlucks. I’ll put the meat in my two slow cookers overnight, shred it in the morning, and warm everything up in the Crockpots before lunch. I just hope it’s going to be enough food! A lot of people have signed up to bring dishes tomorrow so I expect a large turnout. It’s going to be a great pre-Thanksgiving celebration for my co-workers. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Late night, early morning

It’s late and I have to get up early tomorrow morning so I don’t have much time to write. I managed to escape work long enough to go to my spinning class this afternoon, but then I had to go back for a couple of hours. There’s a last-minute event planned for Thursday and Friday that I’m in charge of so this week is going to be crazy. I can’t wait until it’s over. Right now I need to go crawl into bed and get as much sleep as I can before I have to be back at work early tomorrow morning. Good night!