Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

A while back I did a cookie exchange with some friends, and I got a surprise when I bit into what I thought was a plain old chocolate chip cookie: a sprinkle of sea salt. I’ll admit that at first I was uneasy about salt on my cookies, but man was I proven wrong!

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When I asked for the recipe, my friend sent me a link to a blog called For Me, For You. The recipe there was adapted from a recipe that appeared in the New York Times. And so I give you this, a three-times-removed version of chocolate chip cookies with a hint of sea salt! I never tried the original cake flour/bread flour/Ghirardelli chocolate version because I’m not that fancy, but these cookies are pretty damn good anyhow and if they tasted any better I would get horribly fat. Another win: the recipe makes a huge amount of cookies (or a normal amount of cookies after eating a bunch of cookie dough).

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Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from For Me, For You and Jacques Torres
Ingredients

3  2/3 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (e.g. kosher/sea salt)
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Coarse salt to garnish

Directions
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy. Add in the eggs and the vanilla and mix on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients with the electric mixer, mixing after each addition. You may have to add in the last bit with a spoon.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop in large mounds with a spoon on to lined baking sheets and sprinkle with a few granules of coarse salt.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 mins. Cool a few minutes on the pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

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Enjoy with a nice cold glass of milk!
-C

 

Coming Soon… Dresser Facelift

I have decided that instead of being bummed about the longest, coldest winter ever and about delaying our house hunt yet again, I am going to take my mother’s advice and focus on the positive!

One project that I have coming down the pipes is fixing up my old dresser. I inherited it from my sister back when I was a broke graduate student, and at the time I did the bare minimum requirement of replacing the broken/missing drawer pulls. But now that my tastes have matured (or so I like to think), it’s time for a full-on makeover!

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As you can see, it’s kind of an organgey pine and some of the drawers are a bit crooked… and it’s damaged in places. Are you starting to wonder why I’m bothering at all? Me too. I do like the lines though and it’s a good size. Since my nightstand turned out so well, I decided to try Chalk Paint to spruce it up… but I can’t decide on the colour or finish!  At first I thought I would use Pure White and distress with tinted clear wax, like Katrina at Malenka Originals did with this beautiful piece:

Malenka Dresser Pure White

But when I saw how good my cream coloured metal chair looked in my bedroom, I started to lean towards painting it with Old White (a creamier shade), and doing a bit of subtle distressing with dark wax. Sort of like this one, except without the gorgeous stained top since mine isn’t solid wood (also from Malenka Originals):

Malenka Dresser Old White

Decisions, decisions!

I’m also going to update the hardware (again). When I first got the dresser, I pretty much went with the cheapest option that I could stomach. If I’m going to go to the trouble of painting it, I don’t want to scrimp on the knobs and then wish I’d splurged, since I have to look at it every day! Here are the ones I liked from Home Depot:

pull 3pull 2pull 1

knob 3knob 2knob 1

I want a less modern look than what is on there now, but at the same time I don’t want it to be too vintage-y, if that makes sense. As you can see, the top drawers will take 8 knobs in all and I don’t want it to be overwhelming. I’ve looked on Etsy and I will check out a few flea markets to see if I can get some salvaged ones, but I doubt I will be able to find 8 of a kind. I might paint the hardware as well, which will help me circumvent the problem of the knobs I like best having a brass finish (ick).

So what should I do? I’m totally torn!
-C

 

Is it Spring yet?

Not much to report, I’m afraid. I’m still working on the whale baby mobile for our dear friends S&K, who are due any day now! I am finished the whales but I still need to make the yellow fishes and paint the embroidery hoop to hang them from.

whales

And if you’re like my husband and wondering: no, that’s not a white squirrel sitting on the top left whale’s head.

I haven’t been able to finish a few other things that I’m working on because they require painting, and unless I feel like getting loopy on paint fumes, I have to wait until the weather gets warmer. I’m trying not to feel sorry for myself about how we have not yet found a house, despite looking for almost a year. Sigh. One day I will have my own space for painting/sewing/blogging and won’t have to rely on wheeling my craft cart in and out of the living room!

I’ve also been working on some behind-the-scenes stuff on my site. Don’t you hate how often the things that take the most work have the least visual impact? I can’t tell you how long I’ve spent trying to get decent social media buttons on my posts to make them more share-able. The plugin that comes with Jetpack on WordPress was not particularly attractive- it looks okay on other sites that have more going on, but since the theme I have is pretty minimalist it looked really shabby. So I kept installing and uninstalling different plugins until I found this awesome one: Simple Share Buttons!

Now there are handy buttons at the bottom of each post, where you can share content on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Reddit. And they match my theme! If there are other platforms that you think I should add, please let me know.

Next up on my virtual project list is watermarking all of my photos, wheeeeee! Seriously though it’s been fun learning some (very) basics about web design. My husband has been a huge help… He might not be very good at telling the difference between a felt water spray and a squirrel but he is very helpful to have around when my website goes to hell in a handbasket.

Anyone else have fun projects lined up for when the snow melts (if it ever melts)? I can’t wait to paint my old dresser and find new hardware for the drawers.

-C

 

Retro Metal Accent Chair

The other day I drove to sweet and scenic Almonte, Ontario to visit some of the cute shops there. It’s about a 45 min drive from Ottawa but well worth it, especially if you like browsing through antique shops, vintage housewares, or one-of-a-kind boutiques while you eat a freshly baked pastry!

I wasn’t really looking for anything particular, but I saw a few things that tempted me; like a vintage bird cage filled with pillar candles at Tin Barn Market. But in the end the only thing I couldn’t say no to was a retro metal chair from one of the many antique shops that line the main street (I knew it was a good find when someone passed by me lugging it back to my car and  commented “Great chair!”).

Never mind that there’s no space for it in our current apartment- and I don’t really know what I want to do with it- but it was only $35. I was sure that I would think of a spot for it eventually, and would regret not taking it home. I might decide to paint or distress it to give it more of a vintage patina, right now it’s a creamy white finish with a tiny bit of the metal showing in places.

Any ideas for what I can do with it?

Maybe next to an old cupboard with some vintage mirrors?

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(from Pinterest, original source unknown)

Or stick a throw pillow on it?

metal chair with throw pillow

(from NestaHome on Etsy)

Or use it as a plant stand?

metal chair plant stand

(from Julia Haney Montanez on Pinterest)

In the mean time, I put it beside my re-vamped night stand in the corner of our bedroom, where I used to have a larger chair (which allowed me to pile way too many clothes on it- maybe now I’ll be neater). And I will continue to dream about where I will put it when we have a bit more space.

-C

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Cherry Cupcake Recipe

Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

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Today’s post is a bit of a diversion but it’s still a DIY of sorts… remember cherry chip cake mix from those childhood birthday parties? Well, a friend of mine made these a few weeks ago and kindly shared the recipe with me (and then another friend kindly translated it, since it was en français). The recipe is originally from Jasmine Cuisine. There are tons of other yummy looking recipes on her site, one more reason for me to learn french!

These turned out almost as yummy as they did when my friend made them (I forgot to add the almond extract and the bottoms got a bit tanned in my turbo-hot oven. Sad face).

Cherry Cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup maraschino cherries
1 tsp flour (to coat cherries)

Frosting

3/4 cup butter
3-4 cups of icing sugar
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp milk

Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin trays with paper cups.
  2. Drain the cherries well, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Finely chop the cherries and coat with the 1 tsp flour, mixing gently. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cherries and mix to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the unsalted butter with the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  6. Fill the paper cups about 2/3 full with the batter and bake for 20-25 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack before frosting.
Frosting
  1. Cream the butter and slowly add the icing sugar, alternating with the maraschino cherry juice and almond extract. Add milk for a thinner consistency or more icing sugar for a thicker consistency.
  2. Use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes. Top with coloured sugar, more chopped cherries, or silver dragées.

Enjoy!
-C