Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hope you are taking care of yourself. I hope you’re inhaling, and exhaling as often as possible in an intentional sort of way. You know the way that involves a candle, some hot tea, and a little self-reflection. It sounds mundane, and you’ve heard it all before, but I believe it helps. I have found myself so overwhelmed with emotions over the last year, often finding myself tearing up for no reason, and all the reasons. Which probably explains why I’ve been baking so much. And I have no apologies for that. It started a month or so into the pandemic last year, and while it has lessened a bit, its definitely still happening more than the typical. Because I need dessert, and you all need dessert. So I come with the dessert for you.

These cookies were an experiment from quite a while ago, and I came across it in one of my food journals, decided to make them, and share them on social media where they took off. And ever since I have had someone send me an image of their cookies, and I love it. Because I feel like chocolate chip cookies have the power to keep us sane, but don’t let me deter you from professional help as well. Malted milk chocolate chip cookies will only take you so far.

I also put this recipe out into the inter webs one night, and forgot to mention the half of a teaspoon of kosher salt, and that the butter is blended with the sugar in the first step. That won’t happen this time, and I formally apologize to anyone who made them without salt. Forgive me! And yes, you can brown the butter for these, and yes, you can omit the malted milk powder but I don’t recommend it. I just know that not everyone will have access to it, but that shouldn’t keep you from a legit chocolate chip cookie. And I would like to give credit to Sarah Kieffer of the Vanilla Bean Blog for the pan banging method. This is not that similar to her recipe, so don’t expect that crinkle look, but it will give you an excellent chewy cookie, which is the only cookie I want in my life, unless we’re talking about Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Anyways, make these cookies, close your eyes, and clear your mind before taking that first bite. And let that chewy chocolate chip goodness wash over you.

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon malted milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 AP flour, not sifted
  • 2 cups, plus 1/4 cup blended chocolate chips.
  1. Heat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, blend the sugars, butter, salt, vanilla, and egg with a whisk until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. I like for most of the sugar to dissolve for a cookie that’s not granular. That drives me crazy, lol.
  2. Fold in the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and the malted milk powder until combined. Then, fold in the 2 cups of chocolate chips, and set the 1/4 cup of chips to the side.
  3. Portion the dough onto a greased, or lined cookie sheet, leaving an inch or so between each ball of dough. Lightly press down, but not too much, and use some of the chocolate you have left to press into the top of the dough. And save some for when they come out of the oven, or simply grab some more from the pantry based upon your personal love for chocolate.
  4. Bake for 6 minutes, then lift the pan about 3 inches off of the rack, and drop it. We want to deflate the cookie so that it is chewy, and dense verses fluffy. Bake for another 3 minutes and repeat. After an additional two minutes, remove the cookies from the oven and drop them for the last time on top of the oven or counter.
  5. Then, remove them from the sheet pan so they don’t continue to cook. We want to preserve that chewy situation that we are getting ready to indulge in. Allow to cool for several minutes, or grab a glass of milk, and dig in, because warm cookies are a gift from the Lord himself.

NOTES: The cornstarch, I’m told makes for a chewier cookie, so why not up our chances. As far why the baking soda is in the recipe, I’m not sure, since there is no acid to activate it, but I haven’t made them without it before, so I didn’t see the need to change it. Feel free to make them without it, and come back to let us know if you notice any changes.

And I believe this is solid brown cookie base, so take liberties with it. If you have butterscotch chips, toasted nuts, toasted coconut. Toss them in, and make the cookie your heart desires.

Morning Cake with Pumpkin, & Pistachio Streusel

Vegan Pumpkin Cake w/ Pistachio Streusel

Tell me all the things you enjoy about Autumn. And don’t worry, its okay if Autumn isn’t your season. No judgement here. But maybe there’s a characteristic about it that you appreciate. The golden evening light, the leaves changing colours, cooler weather, or maybe your a pluviophile like myself and love the rainy days. Either way you feel about it, it is indeed the season I prefer over the other three.

I feel rejuvenated in Autumn. Theres a feeling of newness in the air and I breathe it in deeply. Its so much more than changing of the harvest and what makes it to your dinner table. Its a season that exudes the joy of gathering together. Gathering together around fire pits, along porch verandas and the holding of hands down neighborhood streets. Its mornings met with slow sunrises that you’ll actually get to catch if you’re a late riser.

It doesn’t have to be Autumn for me to be in the baking mood. I know some refuse to turn on their ovens during the warmer months, but I’ve never been one to say no to my cravings. Especially when that craving is for cake. A baked good who’s presence I enjoy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which makes this Morning Pumpkin Cake with Pistachio Streusel the perfect cake to get your Autumn baking off to a good start. And I have every intention of trying this with butternut squash, and sweet potato puree. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Vegan Pumpkin Cake w/ Pistachio Streusel

Vegan Pumpkin Cake w/ Pistachio Streusel

Morning Cake with Pumpkin, & Pistachio Streusel (Egg-Less)

Prep: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 40-50 minutes

3-½ cups White Lily AP Flour
2-¼ cups White Granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice
1 teaspoon Vietnamese or Saigon Cinnamon
2-¼ cups Canned Pumpkin
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 cup Coconut Oil
⅔ cups Lactaid Milk
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar

Pistachio Streusel
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, chunked
1 1/2 cups White Lily AP Flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Heavy smidge kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

METHOD:
1. Streusel: combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Coat the butter with the dry mix. Smush the butter between the side of your index finger and thumb while mixing it into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mix. Be careful not to over mix. Place back in the fridge while you make the cake.

2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan or two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. If you use the 9-inch pan, there will be extra batter left. Make muffins with it, or refrigerate it up to 3 days.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Add pumpkin, oil, extracts, milk and vinegar to flour mix. Fold gently until just moistened. Be careful not to over-mix.

4. Spoon batter into the pan/s, cover the top evenly with the streusel. And bake for 45–50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.

5. Allow bread to cool in the pan/s on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Vegan Pumpkin Cake w/ Pistachio Streusel
Vegan Pumpkin Cake w/ Pistachio StreuselNOTES:

I’ve only tried this recipe with the ingredients listed, so I can not promise you that substitutes will yield the same product that I was happy with. If you do try substitutes, and you’re happy with the results, please return to leave a comment and let others know.

Cured Egg Yolks

So, I think we should start this off on a note of honesty. I rarely make cured egg yolks because it calls for such an inordinate amount of sugar and salt and you can’t really reuse it once it has absorbed all of the moisture from the yolks. But if you have egg yolks that are still intact from making meringue or an egg white omelette, then this is one of the many things you can do with them. Remember, no yolk left behind.

The process is simple and nothing to be intimidated by. You could even do this with your kids, if you have them, but if not – then by yourself or your significant other is just fine. This technique is guaranteed to impress your friends, assuming they aren’t already in the ‘egg preserving’ circle. When I first made these, we had to take off to East Tennessee for a week because my mother-in-law passed out, hit her head and was hospitalized. So, my yolks actually sat in the fridge for 9 days before I got back to them. At this point, they were nice and dry so I didn’t bother putting them in the oven to dry them out more – but you may need to if you let them go the recommended 3-6 day period like most guidelines say to do. And if you want a softer version, simply let it go for 12-hours and you will achieve a runnier egg that is great for serving with crostini and smoked fish, or maybe just a schmear across your morning toast.

img_4905-1This procedure is from The Splendid Table via America’s Test Kitchen. And once you learn the process, you’ll be able to riff and create your own seasoning blends and find out what flavor profiles you do and don’t like. In this batch I added five bay leaves, and a heavy teaspoon of crushed red pepper flake. The spice took a little bit but not enough to make a significant difference, so I would up the quantity next time until I achieved the level of heat that I desire. But enough chatter, the recipe is below and if you make them, tag us @thesaltedtable on Instagram, I’d love to see your results!

“Contrary to popular belief, diamond is not the hardest material known to man. The hardest material in the universe is dried egg yolk. And one day, it will revolutionize the construction industry.”
Ron Brackin

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Cured Egg Yolks

1.5 cups white granulated sugar
1.5 cups Diamond kosher salt
4 egg yolks
5 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1 1-2 inch deep dish

Method:
1. Combine sugar, salt, red pepper, and bay leaves in a blender and pulse until ingredients are combined well. Bay leaves and crushed red pepper should be sugar size particles.
2. Pour half the mixture into the bottom of your dish. Take an unbroken egg and use the shell to make indentions in the sugar/salt mixture, or you may use the back of a spoon. Make four spaces and place a yolk in each one. Cover the yolks with the remaining mix.
NOTE: I lightly pressed my fingertip on top the yolk to remember the placemat for later retrieval.
3. Cover the dish securely with plastic wrap and place pan in the fridge. Once the eggs are ready. Do a quick rinse to remove any residual mixture that is still attached. Place them on a wire rack in a 150 degree oven and let them go for about 1.5-2 hours or until your level of dryness is reached. That’s it! Your are ready to grate those babies over soups, pastas, salads and sandwiches. Enjoy!

NOTE: I simply wiped mine off with a damp paper towel and allowed them to dry at room temp before placing them in a weck jar for safe storage. Eggs are good in the fridge up to a month, if they last that long.

A video clip and close-up of the final product:

 

(ENDED) Cooking Class: Southern Supper + Stories w/ University School Evening Classes

Do you enjoy cooking classes? Do you like the one-on-one interaction with a culinary professional? Do you enjoy eating a meal you got to watch be prepared in front of you? Well, I’m offering you just that on February 9, 2018!

It’s going to be my third year teaching a cooking class with my friends at The University School of Nashville, and I’m truly excited for this year’s class. I’ve decided to share with you some stories from my life growing up in East Tennessee. And I hope that doesn’t feel as boring as I think it does, because you haven’t lived until you’ve gotten off the school bus and seen squirrels being skinned or a turtle boiling in an extra large stock pot. Also, spoiler alert, I don’t recommend this class for my vegetarian/vegan friends. Sorry.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience a class with The University School of Nashville, then you are missing out. There will be wine, delicious food to gather around, and hopefully you’ll leave with some ‘new’ friends who love a good meal just like yourself! Did I mention, there’s wine?

http://www.eesomeco.com

Once you register for the class by clicking this link, you will receive an email from USN about the location of the class. Its typically in the home of a parent of a child who attends USN, and the kitchen is always spacious and houses everyone comfortably for the evening. There’s no worrying about the tall guy standing in front of you like a concert at Exit/Inn (you Nashvillians understand where I’m coming from).

http://www.eesomeco.com

Feel free to bring an apron with you if you would like to assist me with any chopping, stirring or maybe just some taste-testing. I encourage all of those things whole-heartedly! I’ve always been a believer that food taste best when enjoyed with company, and I look forward to sharing that belief with you. And I’ll leave you to be the judge once the class is over!

Not too mention! Half the fee goes to fund a need-based scholarship endowment at USN. So you’re eating for a good cause! At least, that is how I see it! There’s more info below from the USN Evening Classes website below. See you there friends!

HOW TO REGISTER 

Online: Go to the Class Catalog to sign up for classes.  We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Phone: Call 615-321-8019 between 9 am and 3 pm weekdays beginning Thursday, December 7th.  Have your class numbers and VISA/MasterCard/American Express credit card information ready.  Please do not leave registration information on the voice mail system: it will not be processed.
Mail:  Print out the registration form and mail it with a check (made out to USN Evening Classes) or your VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit card information to:
USN Evening Classes, 2000 Edgehill Ave., Nashville, TN 37212. Registration forms will not be processed until December 7th, 2017.
Students are not considered registered until full payment is received. Students will receive a confirmation vie email or mail.  Please note: only registered students may attend class.  We do not allow students to bring guests. Students may enroll in most classes up to the date of the class, space permitting.  Instructors cannot accept fees.
These images were taken for a photoshoot for Trim Menswear by my talented friends at Eesome Co.  If you check the website, you might see a familiar face! And grab some incredibly comfortable t-shirts while your at it!

A Simple Soup For Winter

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“Writing is a lot like making soup. My subconscious cooks the idea, but I have to sit down at the computer to pour it out.”
Robin Wells

I don’t have any profound lines for you about what this year will hold. I only know that I want more out of it than I received last year, and I have every intention of seeing it through. I have so much creativity compressed inside me, that there have been moments when it almost brought me to tears. I didn’t know how to harness it and where it should be unloaded. I felt an overwhelming sense of grief for all the words and images that I held inside, and it felt as though there wasn’t enough time to properly organize it all. Like possessing an armful of files but no file cabinet, and no one near to pull a drawer open for you, leaving you to drop the contents that you worked so hard to produce, on the cold hardwood floor. I hadn’t felt the desire to sit down and write in sometime, well that’s a lie, I have been writing. I’ve been writing in my journals on a regular basis. But I have not felt the desire to sit and write here in this space for some time. I made all the meals, and composed all the dishes. I even took the photos, but I wasn’t inspired to pour it into this space. But I’m back. And I pray you are inspired by all that I have to give you this year.

Winter is giving me ‘all the feels’ this year. If you don’t know – it is truly one of my favorite seasons alongside Autumn. There is something about stark blue light and sea of gloom in the sky that keeps the light at bay that gives me life. I can’t explain it and I probably shouldn’t try. But I feel a certain sense of revival, the deceased leaves have made their final descension and dance amongst the writhing grass. It’s the season of warm blankets, warm mugs full of tea, and bonfires surrounded by the laughter of friends. It’s also the season for soup-making, and if there is one thing my palate will never deny, it’s a bowl of soup. I like to consider soup the epitome of comfort foods.

There are so many variations that can be birthed from the ingredients in your fridge. A simple chicken noodle soup could be a hearty vegetable soup the next day and a creamy concoction the next. It is simply your perspective on the ingredients that you have to work with. I find it rather annoying when someone feels they have to run to the store to create something exactly the way they think it should be. I say, put radishes in, if you don’t have any celery. Add some bok choy if you don’t have cabbage. Soup is forgiving, it’s not demanding and it won’t ask you to be someone who you’re not, so don’t stress about the lack thereof.

I rarely buy the ingredients to prepare soup. I typically keep frozen broth in the freezer or containers in the pantry, and there’s also coubillion cubes, but steer clear of the ones with palm oil if you can. And I more often than not have vegetables lying around or partial leftovers from the previous nights dinner or that afternoons lunch, that can be added to the mix. This turkey soup was birthed from the turkey legs I had leftover from Thanksgiving. We don’t eat a lot of turkey throughout the year unless it is on a sandwich in the sliced format. Quite often the critics are giving turkey the thumbs down, saying that its bland nature is much worse than that of chicken but I still look forward to a small helping once…or twice a year.

This recipe is pretty similar to how I enjoy eating my chicken noodle soup. Which is with a copious handful of green onions if they are available. I simply enjoy the bright tangy bite that it adds to the rich chicken broth. So this whole bowl of soup is essentially less than five ingredients, because why complicate something simple like a good winter soup?

Simple Turkey Soup

1 quart chicken broth
1 cup pulled turkey meat
2 green onion stalks sliced
3 dashes of Texas Pete or Tabasco
fresh ground black pepper

Method
1. I simply heated my chicken broth up until it came to a rolling simmer. Then, I add some dashes of Texas Pete and taste it to see if its to my liking, and adjust. Pour yourself a bowl of the broth, add your pulled turkey meat. It’s up to you if you want to heat the meat prior to adding it to your broth. I put it in cold and let the broth warm it through for me.

I finished it with a copious palm of the green onions and that’s it. Enjoy.

NOTE: The next day you could add some frozen vegetables to this soup for a heartier version as well as some noodles, barley or rice. You could even add some heavy cream or crushed tomatoes to completely transform it into something different. Just adjust your salt and pepper accordingly.