Throw Back Thursday: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The throw-back Thursday recipe post is back!  I know some of you have missed it and to tell you the truth, so have I.  I really enjoy making these recipes and I enjoy remembering the story behind them as well.

Today's recipe comes from my husband.  When we were dating 12 years ago, he decided to try and impress me with his baking ability.  At that time his cooking abilities were just ok at best and so I was a little leery of him cooking me anything.  He went through several recipes and instead of sticking with one (which I thought he should do), he combined several recipes together to make chocolate chip coffee cookies, because he knew I loved chocolate and coffee.

I can admit know that I was worried about tasting them when they were done.  But boy did he surprise me!  He made the most wonderful cookies.  One bite and I was hooked...on the cookie and the man!

I thought I would share that recipe with you today and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  He still makes them for me, in fact he really wanted to make them for this post, but I asked if I could try my hand at it.  While these cookies turned out really good, I think I should have let him make them.  He definitely has that special touch.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookie Ingredients
Cookie Ingredients
So let me say a little something about the ingredients.  It calls for instant coffee.  I normally have instant coffee at home.  Not to drink of course, blech, but to use in various recipes.  Of course when I went to retrieve it, I found out that I was out.  So I decided to try it with regular coffee, but still follow the instructions.  THEN I found out that my husband just makes extra strong coffee and uses that!  Geez! I wish I would have known.  So in the coming pictures you are going to see coffee grounds in the cookies.  Guess what?  It ain't so bad!

First you want to dissolve 1/3 cup of instant coffee in 2 tablespoons of hot water.  Then while it is dissolving (and cooling at the same time), cream together 1 cup of butter and 1 1/4 cups of sugar.

Butter and sugar creamed together
Butter and sugar creamed together.
Once the coffee has cooled, add it to the butter and sugar mixture along with 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix well.

Batter with coffee added
See? Coffee grounds.
Then in a separate bowl, mix together 2 2/3 cups of flour, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add that to the coffee ground mixture. Once you have that mixed well.  Add in 2 cups or one 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookie Batter
Cookie batter, yum, yum!
Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, or in my case a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies Ready to Bake
Ready to go into the oven.

Once they are done, let them cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookies
Yummy cookies!
These are so good, even with the coffee grounds.  I love the flavor of coffee and chocolate together and these were perfect.  Well almost perfect. ;-)

If you want a printable version of the recipe, then click HERE.

Try this recipe out and let me know in the comments below what you think.

Mushroom Swiss Burger

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mushroom Swiss Burger

I know it has been a little while since my last post.  Life has happened and unfortunately some things had to be put on the back burner.  However, at Henslee Farm Adventures, we are trying very hard to get back to where we need to be, especially since winter will be here before we know it.

It seems strange to be talking about winter when we have had some absolutely beautiful days.  In fact the temp is supposed to be up to 80ºF today!  It is days like these that we like to take advantage of the nice weather and grill outside.  Steve's favorite meal happens to be burgers and fries.  Well this day he decided he wanted a mushroom swiss burger.  It sounded good to me, so I thought I would share with you how we make our mushroom swiss burgers.

First, I am going to let you in on a little secret of how I make my hamburgers.  I don't even tell Steve how I make them because he swears that plain is best.  So I secretly season the meat before cooking and of course he loves it!

Hamburger Ingredients
Burger ingredients
We use ground beef that we have had butchered.  Seriously folks, if you haven't tried grass-fed beef you need to.  Of course you can use just regular hamburger from the store.  And another kind that is really good is what my grocery store calls Boston Burger.  It is 60% beef and 40% pork.  This makes wonderful burgers and meatloafs!

To make the patties, I put 2 lbs. of hamburger in a bowl and add in 4 splashes of worcestershire, 2 tablespoons of mined onions, and 1 tablespoon of seasoning salt.  I mix this with my hand until just incorporated.  You don't want to over mix.

Making Hamburger Patties
Carly loves to help me cook!
You can see we make some pretty big patties.  There will be some shrinking, but if you make an indention in the middle, there will be minimal shrinking (I forgot to get a picture of the indention).  Then you grill to your taste.  We like ours medium well.

Usually while we are grilling, we take the opportunity to grill onions as well.  We love grilled onions!  I slice them pretty thick, put them on some foil and drizzle them with some extra-virgin olive oil.

Onions ready for grill
Onions ready for the grill
I also found some great seasoning at our local farmer's market.  The lady that makes it smokes her salt with applewood.  Man is it ever good!  She calls it Stove-Side seasoning.  You can use it on just about anything.  Besides the salt there are other things she puts in there.  It is definitely yummy!  You can also use just plain kosher salt, or a seasoning blend of your choice.  After I season the onions, I wrap them up in a foil packet and put it on the grill.  We do flip the packet after they have cooked about 10-15 minutes on one side.

Now for the mushrooms.  I have seen many recipes for the mushroom sauce for burgers, but I concocted one of my own with what I normally have on hand.

Mushroom sauce ingredients
My ingredients for mushroom sauce.
I know what you are thinking, it doesn't look like it would be that good, but trust me on this.  I lucked out and was able to get some mushrooms on sale at ALDI, one of my favorite places to shop!  Also the brown gravy mix I get at ALDI as well and love it because it does NOT have MSG in it.  I love this gravy mix for when I want a quick gravy, it is always so good and cooks up easy.

First I washed my mushrooms by wiping them off with a damp paper towel.  You do not want to submerge them in water because they will absorb the water and you will end up with mushy mushrooms (ha ha!) in the end.

After washing them, just slice them, not to thin because they will cook down.

Mushrooms in pan
Fresh mushrooms in the pan.
I add a little extra-virgin olive oil to my pan and put the sliced mushrooms in.  Then I took advantage of that smoked salt and seasonings and added a little bit of that.  I cooked this on medium heat.

Mushrooms that have been sauteed
Cooked mushrooms
After they have cooked down to where they are soft (again I don't want mushy ones), then I am ready to season them.  I add in two splashes of worcestershire sauce, then I take about a 1/2 teaspoon of the brown gravy mix and sprinkle it over the mushrooms.  I cook it for just a minute more and then I have my mushroom sauce!  So easy!

Mushroom sauce for hamburgers
My mushroom sauce!
All that's left is to build my burger.  I of course got the swiss cheese at ALDI as well, I love their selection of cheeses!  Steve put the slice of cheese on the burger while it was still on the grill so that it would be nice and melty.

Mushroom Swiss Burger
My burger, nom nom nom
Here is my burger.  I of course had to add some grilled onions to it as well.  And let me tell you, it was so good!

Steve wanted me to share with you his burger so here it is...

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Tator Tots
Steve's burger, looks pretty good!
We decided to go with a side of tator tots instead of fries this time.

The burgers were awesome!  The mushroom sauce was perfect.  I hope you try it and let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Old Fashioned Apple Butter - A Family Tradition

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Have I told you how much I love fall?  Enjoying the cold, crisp days.  Fresh apples from the orchard.  Corn mazes, and pumpkin carving.  What's not to love? 

Another reason I love the fall is due to a family tradition that was started by my niece and her husband.  Actually it is a family tradition that his family started and they decided to carry it on.  Making old-fashioned apple butter!

Stirring the pot...literally!
When I talk about making old-fashioned apple butter, I am not talking about using an old recipe, but about the process of making the apple butter.  We make it outside, over an open fire, in a big kettle.  I have a picture in my head about how pioneers must have done something very similar. 

Our apple butter making day includes a gathering of family and friends.  We use this time to visit with each other and tell stories.  We also catch up on what is going on in our lives as well as relive the past.  And of course we each take a turn stirring the pot. ;-)

Carly's turn!
It is a true group effort.  I wouldn't want to try and stir this all by myself.  It does get tiring after a while.  And before the apples break completely down, it can be quite hard to stir.  While the apple butter is cooking, we eat a potluck lunch, and continue visiting with each other. At the end of the day, when the apple butter is cooked, we each get to take home a pint jar to enjoy. 

I talked to one of the men that was there and we discussed how people used to come together to help each other out.  They would have a big barn raising, or help each other butcher, make soap, etc.  It was a way to lighten the load of work that was very taxing.  For us in this process, we helped each other out by taking turns to stir to make the process easier.

Drew's turn!
To the pioneers this was their social time.  To be honest, it is my kind of social time as well!  It is a great way to pass down the traditions of the old ways of doing things.  To be able to pass down these types of traditions to our children is the whole reason why we moved to the country and started our farm in the first place!  We wanted our children to learn the "old" ways of doing things.

Steve's turn stirring!
When it comes to a recipe, our family doesn't have one written down for the apple butter.  Each year it is slightly different, and each year it keeps getting better.  I can tell you that my niece uses apples from a local orchard, apple cider for the liquid to help break the apples down, and spices which consists of sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. 

I will tell you my niece's secret to making the apple butter over the fire.  She starts it on her stove first and then puts some of the apples in the blender.  To be honest, if we had to cook down the apples from slices, it would take all day!  This helps to hurry things up a bit, which I can't blame her for doing.  Once it goes into the pot, it simmers for several hours before its ready to be eaten. 

Steve would say I'm always stirring the pot! ;-)
I always enjoy these times.  I love creating new family traditions and continuing on the traditions of our ancestors.  I hope to be making apple butter with my family and friends for many more years to come!

Let me know in the comments below what types of traditions your family has.

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