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A while back I posted a recipe for a chocolate custard cheesecake dip.  Since then, I’ve been working on modifying the recipe to be stiff enough to actually be a cheesecake, and this Thanksgiving, I think I’ve got it!

My favorite part, besides the taste, is that it is no-bake (after the crust is made), so no complicated baking regimens to prevent cake from cracking or browning.

Chocolate Custard Cheesecake

Crust*:

Cream:

1 stick of salted butter

1/2 t. vanilla

1/2 c. brown sugar.

Mix in:

1 eggs

1 egg YOLK

Add:

1 1/2 c. flour

1 t. salt

1/2 t. baking POWDER.

Stir until just combined.

Add:

3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 c. sugar

Stir/knead until sugar and flour is incorporated.

Press dough into bottom and barely up sides of a large spring form pan (at least 9 inches in diameter).

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until crust is set, still soft, and only barely starting to turn golden (edges will be a bit darker golden brown).

*Alternatively, for an entirely no-bake cheesecake, you could use a traditional chocolate cookie crust (1 package crushed chocolate cookie pieces and 1/4 c. melted butter) pressed into a spring form pan.  Chill this in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the crust.  I haven’t tried this, just read it online.

Cheesecake:

In medium saucepan, whisk together and heat to a simmer on MED:

¾ c. (or 1 small can) EVAPORATED milk

¼ c. flour

Stir in until melted, and remove from heat:

½ c. chocolate chips

Separately, beat until pale:

3 egg YOLKS

⅓ c. sugar

Slowly pour warm milk mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.  (If not done carefully, there will be small pieces of cooked egg in the custard, which should then be strained out before the next step.) Return to MED-LOW heat.

Mix in:

(another) ½ c. chocolate chips

2 t. corn starch

Cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.  Keep stirring.

Separately, beat:

3 packages cream cheese (24 ounces total)

⅓ c. sugar

dash of salt

Pour chocolate custard into sweetened cream cheese and mix thoroughly.  Top crust with this custard mixture and chill at least 4 hours. When slicing, make sure knife goes all the way through crust; hitting chocolate chips feels like hitting the bottom of the pan sometimes.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Sometimes I play apothecary, and make all sorts of potions from various oils that I’ve collected.  Then I use these oils for the next few months for my beauty regimen.  The internet has fueled my research and guided my decision-making on the ingredients, but except for the deodorant, I have mostly just made up the exact proportions, and even then, “exact” is an overstatement.  I include the following information for your consideration, for my own reference, and not to be followed by anyone in a precise way.  If I have been learning the past several years that measuring is not so essential in cooking, it is certainly less important still in beauty products such as these.  Give it a guess.  Mess around with things.  Substitute.  Omit.  Supplement.  Have fun.  Learn.

 

Recipes:

 

Deodorant (makes ¾ to 1 cup)

Mix in 1-quart bowl, using a fork:

5 T. coconut oil

1 T. castor oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops lemon oil

3 drops tea tree oil

4 T. corn starch

4 T. baking soda

 

When thoroughly mixed, transfer to a container (at least 1 c.) with a lid.  OK to store at room temperature.

 

To use, apply about ¼ t. to each arm pit before dressing in the morning.  Thoroughly rub in, wiping any excess with a clean, dry rag.

 

Notes from experience:

This recipe works better than Toms, which I just tried for the first time, dismayed at its impotence.  It does not work as long as Dry Idea, which is my go-to store brand especially during high-sweat situations.  Of course, this recipe is primarily a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, though it is somewhat effectual at absorbing wetness.

 

It may be useful to note that if this cream gets much above 75 degrees, the coconut oil will melt.  It is still useful, but you may have to stir before using.  Also, if it melts and then re-hardens, it can sometimes separate.  There was one time that the coconut oil I had was apparently already thinner than usual, and I had to add extra corn starch to give it the right consistency.  This may have added to the separation problem and made it a bit irritating to my skin.

 

 

Facial Cleanser/Shaving Oil (makes about ¾ cup)

Mix:

¼ safflower oil

¼ c. grape seed oil

2 T. melted coconut oil

1 T. castor oil

1 t. sesame oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops lemon oil

5 drops tea tree Oil

 

To use as cleanser, dip fingers in solution and rub on face in circular motions.  Steam face by covering with a hot wet washcloth.  Rinse washcloth and wipe face with warm water until face does not feel oily or greasy.

 

This can also be used as a makeup remover if you are careful around your eyes.  Dip a tissue or cotton ball only a tiny bit into the oil, then rub gently across the makeup.  Finish by wiping clean with a wet washcloth.

 

For shaving, apply a couple of teaspoons per leg.  Do not rinse.  Shave, frequently rinsing/wiping razor.  Should provide a very close shave.  Rinse.  No need to wipe off.  Oils should not leave skin very greasy once rubbed in.

 

Notes from experience:

The essential oils in this mixture give a slight relaxing/tingling scent.  Before, I used peppermint, but that is unnecessary.  Struggling with acne most of my life, I like this treatment for softening my skin and reducing oiliness, but it is not the only thing I use on my face.  I also use a salicylic acid cleanser once a day, then witch hazel as an astringent, followed by a zinc oxide ointment (skin protectant and sunscreen).  In the evenings or when I shower, I use the facial oil, and do not add anything else to my face afterwards.

 

Hair Conditioner (makes about 1 cup)

Mix:

6 T. olive oil

2 T. safflower oil

2 T. melted coconut oil

1 T. castor oil

1 t. sesame oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops lemon oil

(optional: mix ¼ c. yogurt with 1-2 T. oil just before using)

 

To use, pour a couple of teaspoons at a time into the palm of your hand.  Pull through wet hair, using fingers to comb it through.  Pay extra attention to the ends of the hair, and avoid the scalp (applying to the scalp could cause it to be too oily, or make you over-rinse the rest of your hair).  When there are basically no more tangles, shape hair into a bun if long enough, and leave to soak in while you finish the rest of your shower.  After 10 minutes, release the bun and give your hair a quick rinse in cool water: literally, put head under water, then take it out again.  You may need to practice this routine a few times to get the right amount of oil on your hair and the right amount of rinsing, potentially adjusting for humidity in the weather.

 

About the ingredients:

First, my understanding is that many essential oils can be dangerous if used incorrectly, especially if pregnant or nursing.  I have not had problems with these recipes, but nor have I been pregnant or nursing.  If you have reason for concern, consult a professional (like a doctor or midwife).

 

Second, I am not obsessed about these things.  I usually buy the cheapest I can find, like the bottle of castor oil I found at a garage sale this weekend.  I do not subscribe to a certain brand, nor do I look for an especially high quality of any of these things.  As I understand it, the dangers of my method are that 1) some not-so-great chemicals may have been used in the processing; and 2) my concoctions may be weaker than those made with the highest quality oils (especially the essential oils).  I consider all of my recipes to be good enough  so far to make me happy.  Saving money is worth the risk, to my mind.

 

Coconut oil is popular, and can easily be found at the grocery store.  It is supposed to be antibacterial.  It can be relatively inexpensive.  The high melting point gives it the advantage of being solid at most room temperatures.  The oil is supposed to help hair growth.  I have tried using it on my skin and hair by itself, and found it far too greasy.  I’ve read that it is a sunscreen.

 

Baking soda is deodorizing.  It is also alkaline.  It may cause itching and drying of the skin if the proportions are too high.  I buy a big box in the cleaning section of Walmart to use for non-food recipes.

 

Corn starch is cool.  It has interesting physical properties when mixed with a liquid.  It is absorbent.  If you’re worried about the safety of this ingredient, search for a brand that is non-GMO.

 

Castor oil encourages circulation.  It is considered antibacterial.  It is also useful for encouraging hair growth.  Some people use it for cleansing, especially of the liver, but also of the lymph nodes.  I do not like the smell, and most sources discourage using it without other oils, so I keep it as a minor ingredient.  You’d more likely find this ingredient at a health food/natural store than at a regular grocery store or Walmart.

 

Tea tree oil smells like medicine.  I basically can’t stand it.  So I use it sparingly in things that will have other smells.  It is supposed to be pretty good for skin infections.  I think this is because it is antibacterial.  So people use it for acne, cuts, and burns.  This is one oil that tends to be sold by everyone that sells oils, including grocery stores sometimes; I think I’d look in the pharmacy area.

 

Rosemary oil is good for circulation and smells good.  I think it is also said to be antibacterial.

 

And lemon oil smells good, clean, having a sort of fresh scent that cuts through other ones.  It is soothing and astringent.  If I didn’t have this oil, I might use lemongrass oil.  You can use regular lemon juice, but then you’d have to refrigerate your product, which hardens the oils and makes everything take longer.

 

Safflower oil has Vitamin E, which I have long understood to be good for skin, and which my regular conditioner advertises as a special ingredient.  It is rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids.  These things are good for fighting acne, reducing blackheads, and strengthening hair follicles.  It is a blood thinner and helps with circulation.  I found mine on clearance at the grocery store.

 

Grapeseed oil absorbs easily into skin, and is both astringent and antioxidant, so it helps treat things like wrinkles.  It is anti-inflammatory and helps skin retain moisture.  The linoleic acid is the likely cause of its acne-fighting properties.  It is a source of Vitamin E, which helps skin recover from scars.  It is also supposed to strengthen hair.  This oil is also found at grocery stores.  I noticed that Trader Joes has a decent price.

 

Sesame oil has a nutty scent, and it is a light, absorbent oil.  I had some extra, so I put a tiny bit in.  The dark color can transfer to hair, but there is not a significant amount in my recipe, so it probably won’t make a difference that way.  Zinc in this oil is good for the skin and immune system.  And the copper in it helps the body’s blood production and blood flow.  I am not sure where I got my sesame oil, if it was in the Asian section of my grocery store or if I went to an Asian market to pick it up.  Either way, it is probably way cheaper at the Asian market.

 

Olive oil is my hair’s favorite.  If it didn’t leave my hair smelling like salad dressing, I’d use just it.  It has anti-oxidants, Vitamin E, and is anti-inflammatory.  However, this oil tends to clog my pores, so I do not use it on my skin much.

 

Some other popular oils are jojoba, argan, and almond.  All of these are more expensive, which is the only reason I haven’t used them.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

 

 

 

 

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serves 4

Boil a pot full of water.

Add, stirring gently:

1 c. WuFuYuan black tapioca boba (“ready in 5 minutes”) pearls

Wait until the pearls float. Cover. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit another 6 minutes. Strain. Submerge for 20 seconds in cold water. Strain again. Pour into a medium mixing bowl.

Squirt onto pearls:

1/4 c. honey
Separately, heat until sugars dissolve:

1 c. water

2/3 c. sugar*

1/3 c. dark brown sugar

Pour 1/2 c. of this over the honey/boba mixture and let sit for 1.5 hours.
Meanwhile, boil:

4 c. water

Remove from heat, and let sit for 1 minute.

Add:

1/2 c. dried jasmine (or 1/4 c. green jasmine loose leaf tea).

Cover and steep 15 minutes (ONLY 8 for tea!!). Strain infusion into a pitcher. Add the remainder of the sugar water.

Add:

1.5 c. half and half.

Refrigerate.
When ready to serve, mix:

1/4 c. boba

2 T. of the accompanying syrup

1.5 c. milk tea from the pitcher

some ice cubes (to complete the cooling).

Drink with a straw wide enough for the pearls.

 

*I used Moreno cane sugar, which is coarser.  Some bloggers making their own bubble (boba) tea said they use raw sugar, which has more flavor – not just sweet.

I purchased my tapioca pearls at a nearby Asian market after doing some quick research on Amazon.  The brand I got usually had more the 4 stars online, so I felt confident in giving it a try.  It seems like every brand of the tapioca boba pearls is different, and they have instructions on the packages usually, but I extended the cooking time for mine past what the package said, as a compromise between the package and the recipes I was seeing (and also convenience, since I wasn’t organized enough to strain them when the package instructions said).

The dried jasmine was hard to find, but one of the Asian markets in the Denver metro area does carry it.  A good quality jasmine-infused green tea will work fine.

Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk instead of half and half. I might try it if I want the tea as a dessert instead of a with-(curry)-dinner drink.

What I’ve read says that the boba doesn’t keep very well in the refrigerator after it’s been cooked (not more than a day), so you may want to cut the recipe down if you’re only making one or two servings.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I am not very good at baking cheesecakes.  The first ones I ever made were no-bake, involving whipped topping and no eggs.  But I am avoiding whipped topping, so I’ve been trying my hand at baking.  But it is a lot of work, and the cake tends to crack or brown on the top edges.

 

So I had an idea, for a stiff cream-cheese flavored chocolate dessert/dip.  I did online searches for recipes for anything like it, and couldn’t find any; apparently people don’t usually add cream cheese to their custards.  I was on my own inventing this dish, then.  With this recipe, you’re getting the eggs (like traditional cheesecake) to add flavor and stiffness, but cooking them on the stovetop (in milk or cream like custard) instead of in the oven.  I think it turned out great!
In medium saucepan, heat to a simmer:

1 can evaporated milk

Stir in until melted, and remove from heat:

½ c. dark chocolate chips

Beat until pale:

3 egg yolks

⅓ c. sugar

Slowly pour warm milk mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.  Return to MED-LOW heat.

Mix in:

(another) ½ c. dark chocolate chips

2 t. corn starch

Simmer until it thickens, about 5 minutes.

Separately, beat:

2 package cream cheese (16 ounces total)

⅓ c. sugar

dash of salt

Pour custard into sweetened cream cheese and mix well.  Chill at least 4 hours.

Eat plain or dip graham crackers, strawberries, pretzels, or chocolate chip cookies.

May also be frozen like ice cream.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This is a recipe describing the way I have been experimentally baking these days.  Recipes are not the boss of us; they are tools and guides, and the more we understand about what makes a good dish, the less we have to follow exact measurements and specific ingredients.  
I just can’t call these cookies.  Because if I call them cookies, people expecting cookies will frown at me, and think I’m a bad baker.  These are healthy(er) things shaped like cookies, with chocolate chips like cookies, but not really cookies.  They are a dessert.  
I told my friend’s kids, who sampled these, that I would send their mom the recipe.  I don’t particularly expect her to make them, and I don’t especially expect any of you to make them either.  As her husband pointed out, they’re pretty expensive cookies.  One advantage of
them, though, is that they are gluten and dairy free, and with growing numbers of people attempting such dietary restrictions, I thought I’d try them out. 
Process in a food processor for
5-10 minutes, scraping sides occasionally, until it makes a
“butter”:
3-5 hands-full of almonds and/or
cashews and/or peanuts (peanuts will have a stronger flavor) (substitute 1/2 cup
total nut butter from a jar if you want… keep extra on hand in case the dough
is too soupy)
Add:
1 can drained garbanzo
beans/chickpeas (Watch for good deals on these, places like Big Lots or HMart or
Trader Joes, or get your friends to give you the about-to-expire ones off their
pantry shelves…)
1 egg (or egg yolk, particularly if
you’re short of nut butter, as the whites will make the dough
runnier) (The egg is optional, but I think it greatly improves the texture.)
A sprinkle to 1/2 tsp. of baking
soda
A sprinkle to 1/2 tsp. of baking
powder
A sprinkle to 1/2 tsp. of salt
(on the lesser end if the canned beans were salted, or if you are using a nut butter from a
jar, which happens to have salt as the ingredient, or if your nuts were
salted)
1-2 hands-full brown
sugar
A quick pour of
vanilla
A drizzle of maple syrup or honey
(optional) (I want to try molasses.  Molasses is amazing.  But it will also
overtake the other flavors.)
Process these with the nut butter
until smooth.  If dough is so soupy that it won’t stay in a blob on a cookie
sheet, but rather will puddle before it even starts to cook, you need more nut
butter.  Another option is to sprinkle some oats in there.  (Apparently there is
some debate that I don’t understand about oats having gluten or not.  Choose
according to your level of intolerance and hype-acceptance.)
Add:
2-4 hands-full chocolate chips
(Guittard Real Semisweet or some other allergy-friendly brand if you care about dairy
free or soy free)
Stir this in by hand.  
Chill
dough.  Like, make these before a meal, chill during the meal, and pull it out
after you’ve rinsed the dishes and the table, to bake some up for
dessert.
Preheat oven to 350.  Drop small
spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Cookies will start at about 1.5 to 2 inches and
spread to about 2.5 inches as they bake.  They bake for 15 minutes.  (Other
recipes I read said 20-25, but it doesn’t improve the texture and it does give the bottoms a kind of weird burned bean taste…)  Nut Butter Bites won’t remove from the
pan as easily as cookies, because they don’t have the same kind of greasy fats
as butter or Crisco.  I didn’t have much trouble, just know that there will be a
little bit of cake-like residue on the pan, like the inside of a used muffin cup
liner. 
I think they’re best warm.  They’re
better if 1) you’re not expecting a cookie, and 2) you don’t think about them
being basically hummus with chocolate chips. 
These nut butter bites are good for
you, though.  There is protein from the beans and nuts.  Nuts and beans have
minerals in them, and vitamins, that we US Americans need and don’t get enough of.
And the nuts (not so much peanuts, keep in mind) have those useful kinds of fats
that we don’t get enough of either. 
Cashews are high in: protein,
fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, and
zinc.  They have anti-oxidants and monounsaturated-fatty acids (good for your
cholesterol). 
 
Almonds boast about the same list
of beneficial nutrients, with less selenium and more calcium. 
 
Peanuts have a little less health
benefits, but they’re still present, including protein, iron, B vitamins, and
zinc.
Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) boast
protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium.  They are mild phytoestrogens,
so they serve to naturally balance estrogen levels in our bodies (against
synthetic estrogens from meat and dairy and pharmaceuticals.) 
Maple syrup has zinc.  It’s nothing
compared to molasses, though, which offers calcium, iron, magnesium, and selenium.
A lot of these ingredients are good
for your digestion, liver and hormones, energy and strength, bone health,
skin health, heart health.  But they still have sugar, so don’t go too crazy
with them! 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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Cream together in a stand mixer:

2 sticks of butter

1 t. vanilla

1 c. brown sugar

Add:

1 egg YOLK

2 eggs

Beat well.

Mix in until just combined:

3 c. all purpose flour (I live near Denver, CO.  If you live at a lower altitude, reduce flour by 1/4 to 1/2 c.)

1 t. salt

1 t. baking POWDER

Pour in:

1 1/2 to 2 c. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

1/2 c. white sugar

Stir/knead until sugar and flour are incorporated.

Refrigerate dough.

After at least a few hours (until the dough is thoroughly chilled) scoop out 3-T. sized cookies. Shape into balls, then flatten to about 1/4 inch tall and about 2 1/2 inches diameter.

Bake at 350 for about 14 minutes (ovens vary, adjust bake time accordingly). Sprinkle a little extra salt if desired, immediately upon removing from oven. Remove from pan and let cool briefly on a rack before gobbling up every gooey bite.

I don’t know about you, but it drives me crazy when I find a recipe on a blog and I have to scroll through pages of prep photos and stories about husbands, children, and grocery stores before I get to the need-to-know information to make the food!  So I put my recipe at the top.  But I do want to let my regular readers know that I have been researching and testing chocolate chip cookie recipes for about a year now, and I’m very happy with these results.  There is a more complicated recipe that I like slightly better, but this version is one of the best I’ve *ever* tasted!  

My sister makes amazing cookies.  I think that three things make them amazing: her laziness (using a stand mixer and taking frequent, sometimes day-long breaks), the huge size of the cookies, and using margarine.  I want big, soft, not-too-cake-like cookies myself, but faster and with butter instead of margarine.  These cookies are not crumbly.  They are not crunchy like store-bought cookies.  They are not flat.  

I like the flavor of butter in my cookies.  These have it. 

I like my cookies to have extra dimension in their flavor: sweet, chocolate, butter, salt, and a touch of caramel.  These accomplish that.

I like my cookies to be just a tiny bit gooey in the center, and not dark brown on the edges.  Here they are.  

A long time ago I read a suggestion of adding extra fat without too much extra liquid, by adding an egg yolk.  I’ve tried with and without the extra yolk, and I think it makes a difference in helping the cookie to stand up and stay gooey.  

Baking powder makes the cookies fluffier/taller than baking soda.  

Adding the white sugar at the end causes the outsides to caramelize during cooking, for an ever-so-slight crispiness encasing the soft cookie.  Using a little more brown sugar than white also contributes to the deeper flavor.

I’m liking Guittard’s Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, all GMO free, yummy flavor, and excellent melting.  They’re sold at my local Safeway and Sprouts stores.  

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Studies in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes I crave different aspects of chocolate chip cookies, resulting in a situation where there is no *perfect* recipe for me.  But I want to know which things to change in order to get what I want. So I’ve been experimenting.

~ I live in Colorado, not in the mountains, but considerably higher altitude than sea level.  If your altitude is lower, you might want to reduce the amount of flour you use.

~ Parkay margarine makes Stephannie cookies.  She’s my sister, and around our friend circles, they are famous.  But I don’t like margarine.  I want my cookies to have butter.  This brings up problems.  Because butter makes cookies flat.  In any case, Parkay is saltier than unsalted butter.  Use salted butter and/or add extra salt.
~ Use enough salt.

~ Adding flour does not fix flat cookie recipes.  I mean, if you add enough, they’re not flat anymore.  But they’re barely cookies anymore.

~ I read in some awesome cookbook at a friend’s house one time, and it has changed my baking forever, that it is very useful to add other forms of fat than butter.  Go figure.  My first attempt has been to add an extra egg *yolk* (I think the recipe book suggested this).  I’ve tried a bit of coconut oil, which is supposedly a dough conditioner anyway.  I can’t tell a difference.  I’m starting to wonder if I use a higher-quality butter if it would yield better (fluffier, but still tender) results.

~ If you brown at least some of the butter before using it, it adds a nutty and/or caramel dimension to the flavor.

~ Play with adding just a hint of spice, like cinnamon or nutmeg.  Add some flavor and warmth.  Everyone I know experiments with vanilla amounts, too – that is, they splash it instead of measuring.  Some brands of vanilla extract have a funny flavor; use a vanilla that you like.

~ Use a good kind of chocolate.  Dark, semi-sweet, and bittersweet, are by definition basically the same thing; different companies apply the terms to distinguish their products, but they don’t have a definite meaning.  Different companies use varieties of ingredients.  I don’t know what you like.  If you’re a normal American, you might just want to go with Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips for the comfort of familiarity.  I read recently that Guittard melts very smoothly.  70% bitter is not sweet enough, I know from my most recent experiment – especially when you’re experimenting with reducing the sugar.

~ Don’t reduce the sugar.  1 1/2 c. sugar (brown and white mixed, in different proportions), 3 c. flour, 2 sticks butter.  Those are the basics.  Don’t skimp.

~ Use enough chocolate.  Chocolate helps the cookie to have structure.  Don’t let your dough be too warm when you mix the chocolate, or it will melt.

~ Other firmer ingredients can also help the structure of the cookie, like other kinds of chips – toffee, for instance.  Or you can add dried fruit.  I also like some recipes that have uncooked oatmeal mixed in.

~ I’m curious, based on an article I just read whether the darkness of the brown sugar affects raising.  Does darkness describe levels of acidity?  If you added just a touch of a different sweetener, could that help?  Particularly, I’m thinking about a tablespoon or less of molasses.

~ Leavening: the Toll House recipe calls for baking soda.  My favorite oatmeal cookie recipe has baking powder.  My most recent attempt had both.  The jury’s out, but I suspect baking powder gives a better rise, especially if you’re letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for a while.

~ You must refrigerate your dough.  It enhances the flavor mixtures.  But the main reason is that it keeps the cookies from spreading too quickly.  Flat cookies mean all sorts of unpleasant things like crispiness, only one layer of chocolate chunks, or not fitting as many on a pan without them running into one another.

~ I’ve learned that baking powder, at least, responds quicker in a slightly hotter oven.  I’m considering starting hotter (425??) for a minute or two, then reducing the heat (350).  It’s all about helping the rise.

~ The pan you use matters.  I think the metal, the shape, the color all contribute to how your cookies bake.  I don’t know your oven or your pans, but if something works for you, take note and keep using that!

~ Do *not* over-bake.  Take your cookies out when the centers aren’t jiggling, and the edges are beginning to brown.  Do not wait until the tops of your cookies are brown if you want a soft gooey cookie.  You can let the cookies rest for a bit on the pan before removing to cool.  Another thing you can try is to squish the edges of your cookies towards their centers after removing from the oven, to keep them from setting so flat.

~ If all else fails (and sometimes just because), supplement your cookies with cheesecake dip, ice cream, salt, milk, hot drinks – to complement the tastes.

~ Also if the cookies get stale for some crazy reason, carefully re-hydrate using steam (or butter?).

~ Try freezing extra cookies, and remove about 15 minutes before eating, for a cold chewy treat.  You can freeze the dough, too, but I have very little experimentation with that.

~ To reheat in a microwave, make sure you use power settings below 5 to prevent crunchy burnt spots.  I find that about 30 seconds on power 3 works best in my microwave.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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