Baking with milk chocolate

Sunday, February 14, 2016
I'm convinced there are some items that packaged goods companies put in stores specifically to trick the occasional shopper who doesn't know any better. One of those products is milk chocolate chips.

I'm the one who buys most of the groceries, but on occasion Andrew takes a list and does the shopping. And whenever I ask him to buy chocolate chips, he comes home with a bag of milk chocolate chips. (It wouldn't occur to me to write "semi-sweet chocolate chips" on a shopping list, just like it wouldn't occur to him that there's a difference.)

It's a first-world problem, obviously. But for those of you who bake, you'll know milk chocolate is best used in chocolate bars. It's really too sweet to be used in baking (where semi-sweet and dark reign). Why would anyone create a product like milk chocolate chips, other than to confuse occasional shoppers and force their spouses to buy a second bag?

So I went looking for a recipe that actually called for milk chocolate chips, and I found this winner. These are perfect for Valentine's Day, or any day when a chocolate overload is desired. The cocoa in the recipe helps tone down the sweetness, and every bite is loaded with three kinds of chocolate.

So the next time Andrew shows up with milk chocolate chips, I know exactly what to bake. Of course, the last time he offered to go to the grocery store, I wised up and specifically requested semi-sweet chips. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to specify what size, which is why he returned with a 2 kilogram (5 pound) bag of semi-sweet chips.

Looks like I've got a few rounds of these cookies in my near future.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

(Adapted from Add a Pinch)

1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place semisweet chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside.

Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add vanilla.

Turn mixer speed up to medium-high and beat until pale, light, and fluffy, about 7-10 minutes. Turn off mixer and slowly stir in cooled melted chocolate. Stir in dry mixture until combined, then stir in milk chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoon scoops of cookie batter onto baking sheets, leaving 3 inches between cookies to allow them to spread.

Place in preheated oven and bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from the baking sheet. (They're fragile while warm, so let them cool completely before moving.)

What a 2 kg bag of chocolate chips looks like.
(See egg for scale.)

Super Bowl food

Sunday, February 7, 2016
This post is a bit late coming. You already know what you're serving to watch the Super Bowl, right? Some of you are probably reading this after the outcome of the game has been decided, which is why I'm not posting a prediction here.

So hold onto this recipe for the 2017 Super Bowl - or better yet, for any occasion when you need a delicious casual meal.

My youngest daughter - that's right, the picky eater the one with very specific ideas about what she likes to eat - found the recipe online. I promised to make it as long as she ate the pepper, and didn't just use it as a bowl. She promised, and we all loved the combination of righteous (peppers!) and indulgent (sloppy joes!).

I said I wouldn't make any predictions today, but I will make one: I'll be making these terrific Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers again, and soon!

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers
(inspired by Host the Toast and Rachael Ray)


3 bell peppers (any combination of red, yellow and orange)
1 Tbsp canola oil (first amount)
1 Tbsp canola oil (second amount)
1 pound ground chicken or ground beef
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp steak seasoning blend
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, chopped, optional (I forgot to use these, but I think they'd be great)
Brown rice, cooked according to package directions (to serve with stuffed peppers)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a paring knife, cut around the stems of the peppers to remove them. Cut peppers in half and remove any leftover seeds or membrane. Coat pepper halves with 1 Tbsp canola oil. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp canola oil to a skillet, and add ground meat. Pour brown sugar and steak seasoning over the meat and mix to blend. Add chopped onions, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire, and cook until meat and onions are browned.

Add tomato sauce and tomato paste to skillet, reduce heat to simmer, and cook another 5 minutes. Set aside.

After the peppers have cooked for 15 minutes, pull them out of the oven, and stuff with sloppy joe mix. Cook another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top each pepper half with shredded cheese. Bake about another 10 minutes.

Garnish with green onions and serve with brown rice.