Wednesday, July 22, 2009

specialty swap

My whole life, my mom has been known for her killer chocolate chip cookies. At almost every event, party, or family dinner we could count on her whipping up a batch, and over time they became a thing of legend, a staple, something we all looked forward to with anticipation.

Once I got married, I forged a little side road off the path my mom had carved before me.  Mom's cookies were something that I wanted to leave to her, so I found my niche with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  I haven't had nearly as long to establish legend, but when Nathan came home telling me that the guys at work were wondering when our next party was because they were anxious for the left over cookies, I knew that I had found my specialty.  I love to bake, and I do experiment with other things, but this is a staple.

My idea for this post was to share my recipe with you, complete with all my helpful hints, and then in turn ask you to share your particular area of culinary expertise.  I think we probably all have at least one.

So here it goes. My recipe is adapted from the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie recipe, with only a few small changes.

*2 sticks of butter, softened (this is a big key!!! I try and leave my butter out for two hours before baking, because no manner of microwave softening is ever quite as good)
*1 1/2 c brown sugar (I add a little more than the recipe calls for, and it's always treated me right)
*1/2 c sugar
*2 eggs
*2 tsp vanilla (again, recipe calls for less, but for me, 1 tsp just wasn't enough, so I double up)
*1 tsp baking soda (and please don't add any extra there!  I did by accident once, and trust me, you don't want to go there)
*1 tbls cinnamon
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 1/2 c flour
* 3 c rolled oats
* 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chunks)

Mix sugar and butters, then add the other ingredients one at a time.  Stir in chocolate chips, preheat oven to 350, put generous sized balls of dough on the cookie sheet, and only bake for 9 minutes!!  This is very important. I always take my cookies out before they look done, but oatmeal is tricky because it hardens way more than you would expect.  So for soft cookies, bake no more than NINE minutes.  

And that's it.  Simple but absolutely delicious.  Now, if you have a few minutes, please share what your specialty is, and make sure you don't leave out any of your secret touches! Maybe we can compile quite a list of tried and true specialties here, so we'll have a few tricks up our sleeve in the days to come.


Penny said...

My specialty is my Mimi's Mac and Cheese. (She passed on-- so it's on me, now.)
1 lb. Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grate your own--- it makes a difference)
1 package Sargento's sliced sharp cheddar
1 stick melted butter (not margarine!)
1 package Ronco (or Luxury) Long Macaroni (no elbow!)
2 cans Evaporated milk
3 eggs
salt and pepper
Boil noodles per directions.
Mix shredded cheese, milk, eggs, butter, salt & pepper, & noodles in 9x13 pan. Layer the sliced cheese on top. Cover loosely with foil. Bake @ 350 for 30- 45 min. until eggs are cooked throughly. (It'll have the consistently of custard.) You might want to put a large cookie sheet on the rack under it or foil. Sometimes it bubbles over the edge of the pan.
I've brought this to every family gathering and church social. The one time I forgot about the dinner, I had a teenager "threaten" to go join another church. It's that good.
I have another local restaurant recipe for a banana caramel pie, if you're interested in that.
If you try this recipe, let me know. =)

Shaeffer Family said...

I LOVE this post! Just a few months ago my husband laughed at me when I told him that I wanted to have a "specialty". My dream is to have something that my family loves so much that even after they are grown and out of the house they want me to make it when they come home. I have been looking for the "perfect" man and cheese recipe for this because it seems like the perfect comfort food. I will definitely be trying Penny's recipe.

HONEY said...

This one is a hit in our family. We love anything with a Tex-Mex flavor. This makes a lot & freezes well- IF there happens to be any left over. I have taken it to gatherings, served it at my house & taken it to others who needed a meal. Always get requests for more!

Taco Soup
1 Lb Ground Beef
1 Pkg McCormick’s Taco Seasoning
1 Small Onion (optional)
1 Can Original Rotel
1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 Can Pinto Beans
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can White Shoepeg Corn
1 Can Yellow, Whole Kernel Corn
1 Lg Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Small bottle of Taco Sauce (8 oz)
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream for garnish
Corn Chips or Tostitos Chips

Brown ground beef & add Taco seasoning according to pkg directions. Add other ingredients, stir well & cook until thoroughly heated. Best when served over corn chips, top with shredded cheddar cheese & a small dollop of sour cream. May also be served in a bread bowl if desired.

Angie said...

oh my goodness, Penny, that mac and cheese sounds delicious! I'm so glad you left that because I have always wanted a good recipe that I can make from scratch. I'll let you know when I try it out!

patty said...

I love this post, and will have my HUSBAND make each one of these recipes. My specialty that my children will remember years from now will be that I loved them enough NOT to cook! LOL

Teale said...

I tweaked my this Cheddar Bis-QUIT** recipe for years until I was happy. We've had them for breakfast too!

**The recipe and the story behind the "BIS-QUIT" name is here:

Penny said...

That mac and cheese makes a LOT! You might want to wait for a family gathering or church social. One warning--- you'll be bringing that to every dinner from then on. Unless they're like my youngest! She's the ONLY one in the family that doesn't like it--- she'd rather have Kraft out of the box. Teenagers, ugh... (Not really--- she's a good one.)
All of my "specialties" came from my grandmothers or mom! =)

Ben and Audrey said...

i love your blog! i read it all the time! thanks for the cookie recipe! i posted one of my fave recipes on my blog. its actually a recipe i made up. its yummy! if you love mexican food.

here is the link to my post:

happy almost friday!!!

Megan said...

Wow. These all look great. I'd love to try those oatmeal cookies. (My sister used to make oatmeal cookies and then leave out the oatmeal because she didn't like it. They were more like lace cookies then!).

I never have one specific item I bring. I always make whatever best fits the occasion and I do have a few dishes I'm requested to bring. However, one of my favorites is Asian Chicken Salad. It's a keeper!!!

Asian Chicken Salad
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cut into bite size pieces
2 heads chinese (napa) cabbage, bite size pieces,(I often substitute with romaine lettuce)
6 green onions, sliced
2 packages roman noodles ( broken and w/out seasoning. Break inside the package, it's easier)
4-6 oz. sliced almonds
1 stick butter

DRESSING (I mix in my blender)
1 cup oil (I use olive oil)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar (I use a little less than 1/2 cup)
2 Tbls soy sauce
1/4 tsp.cayenne pepper

Brown noodles & almonds in butter, drain well in paper towels.
Slice onions, mix with cold cabbage and chicken
Mix all and pour dressing over all.

If you're making this for just your family, I'd recommend halving the recipe. I usually boil the chicken and then cut it into strips/bites and stir-fry it in a little of the dressing to give it some extra flavor. This doesn't save well unless you don't combine all the ingredients together. I often leave the extra ingredients seperate so I can have leftovers the next day.

Dawn said...

Tried your cookies, except I didn't have a whole bag of chocolate chips (made a couple of batches of monkey bread) so I added butterscotch chips to make up the difference. It was still very good! I can see how this recipe is your specialty! I am not sure what mine would be. I don't ever seem to stick to making the same thing twice.

Brooke said...

Do you think your mom would mind sharing her chocolate chip recipe. I've tried tons of recipes, but I cannot find one that I like.

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