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Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough Bites

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I am that person that lives out of her purse.  I lean towards oversized carry-all purses that can hold so many things at once that I often lose my hand in their depths.  As someone perpetually on the go, this habit is a life saver.  Need a pen?  Check.  Need a some propel mix for my water?  Check.  Need a water bottle for that water?  Check.  Need a book about Andrew Jackson?  Check.  Some iphone cords?  Check.  Three pairs of headphones, two of which are broken?  Check.  Every receipt from the past three months?  Check.  Okay, maybe it’s half a life saver and half a bottomless pit of junk.

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Either way, one time that this obsession with shoulder-hung space is handy is the movie theater.  When I was in high school there was a place right next to the movie theater that made the most amazing kung pao chicken over noodles.  I would get it to go, hide it in my purse strategically under other objects, and enjoy it during the movie.  Over the years I’ve snuck everything from the expected Twizzlers to oversized burritos into movie theaters, all with the same result- one happy viewer.

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One of Dan’s favorite snacks to bring to movies are chocolate dipped cookie dough bites.  They sell them at the movie theater and in drug stores, and they’re pretty neat little snacks.  While I prefer Sour Patch Kids and popcorn over something chocolatey, I will on occasion swap him for one of these dough balls.  They’re tasty and I mean, seriously, who doesn’t like cookie dough?  So, as a method of cheering him up midweek between two emotionally draining family vacations, I made him chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookie dough bites.  And they are fabulous.  As a resident of the wild side, I used real egg in my dough.  If you prefer to play it safe, there’s a pretty good list of substitutes for egg in baking here.  Once you’ve solved the basic question, to egg or not to egg, the recipe is easy and straight forward.  I halved a standard cookie dough recipe, melted two bars of semisweet dark chocolate and went from there.  I may even smuggle some of these in to the special foodbloggers screening of Julie & Julia next week (more on that to come!)

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Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough Bites

2 bars semisweet dark chocolate

Dough:

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 stick butter, softened

Mix together butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla.  Stir in flour and baking soda.  Stir in chips.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper.  Spoon out teaspoon sized dollops.  Don’t worry about them being too ball-shaped right now, you can form them later.  Refrigerate 1 hour.

About 20 minutes before your dough is finished cooling, break the chocolate into chunks and melt in a double boiler.  When it is melted, pour into a bowl.

Remove your dough from the fridge.  Spread out a second sheet of wax paper.  Form each piece of dough into a small ball.  Dip into the chocolate using forks (it’s too hot for fingers!!), tongs, spoons, or whatever tool you have accessible.  Coat the ball entirely and then place on the wax paper.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours, then serve.

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Baking with Flax Seed

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I’m the first person to stand up and protest when my favorite foods are butchered in the name of diets.  When I’m trying to be health-conscious, I opt to have a larger salad and a lean piece of meat.  I’d rather have a smaller piece of pie with no ice cream than a large piece of pie whose integrity has been degraded by whole wheat crusts or sugar substitutes.  There are certain foods, however, that I think work really well once they’ve been healthed-up.

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When Dan and I travel to visit people, we try and tailor the food we bring with us to their tastes.  I always try and remember who would prefer the banana cream pie and who would rather the pumpkin muffins.  When we’re going to be in a mixed crowd, we like to bring a variety of foods that all can enjoy, no matter their taste or health requirements.  This week we visited West Virginia (and parts of western Maryland) with Dan’s parents, his sister, her husband, and their daughter.  I brought my bourbon white peach pie and an array of bagels.  I decided to make our personal favorite, jalapeño.  I also decided to make flax seed bagels.

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image courtesy of wikipedia

Adding flax seed to baked goods does a few things.  For one, the health benefits of flax seeds are incredible.  Flax seeds benefit the heart, fight cancer, and for all the good press they get, they probably fight crime.  Flax is also a good substitute for shortening, eggs, and other oils.  According to some of the research I did, adding flax requires a little extra water, the ratio being 1:3, so for each tablespoon of flax seed you add three tablespoons of water.  When you add flax to a baked good, you should lower the baking time and potentially increase the proofing process.  Everything I read suggested that the changes will vary depending on what you’re making, and that you really just have to experiment.  For the bagels, the one notable difference was that the dough became really sticky, which was a little harder to handle.  However, they tasted great and everyone appreciated the heart-healthy breakfast option.

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Dan and I tandem biking on the Rails to Bike Trail in Hanover, Maryland.

Here are some great reference articles:

ameriflax

fresh food perspectives

ehow

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Bourbon White Peach Pie

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There are certain flavors out there that seem as though they were tailor made for each other.  Peanut butter and jelly, tomatoes and basil, apples and caramel, bourbon and white peaches.  There is something incredible about the way the flavors of white peaches and bourbon play off each other.  Similar to how the cinnamon in the honeysuckle sorbet brought out the honeysuckle flavor, the bourbon in this pie doesn’t stand out by itself, it simply illuminates the subtle flavors of the white peach.

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While I love all peaches and nectarines (okay, I love all stone fruit), I think that white peaches and white nectarines are my favorite.  Part of that love is aesthetic.  I love the slightly pink tint to the fruit when it’s very ripe, and I love the splashes of red and pink around the pit.  It almost looks like tie die or spin art, the fruit has these swirls of different shades of pink set against a clean, white palate.  I also love the way they taste.  When eaten alone they’re sweet, sweeter than yellow peaches, with just a hint of tartness.  When baked into pies they can be lost, which is why it’s important to pair them with flavors that accentuate their strong points.

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As far as bourbon is concerned, I can’t say that I’m much of a bourbon drinker.  I sometimes drink it with coke, but I don’t have the stomach for it solo, or neat as Dan has instructed me to describe it.  Not that I have a taste for any liquor neat- it’s been years since I’ve taken a shot (you could measure this to the minute since the ill-fated last tequila shot on my twenty-first birthday) and I’m the first to admit that it doesn’t take much to put me over the legal limit.  Nevertheless, I appreciate what liquor can add to a recipe- vodka added to a marinara sauce alongside some heavy cream makes a delicious pasta.  Wine added to blueberry soup creates a savory summer dish.  And, as it were, bourbon added to white peaches yields a sweet and complex pie.

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As I mentioned above, white peaches are known for their sweetness.  For a fruit that is low in calorie and high in fiber to be so rich in natural sugars adds a huge value to a pie, as it allows you to cut down on the amount of sugar that you have to add.  When baking with stone fruit, I like to add a combination of ripe and almost unripe peaches and nectarines.  I find that the ripe fruit bring all the flavor, whereas the harder fruit allow just the smallest amount of crunch after the pie has baked.  I don’t like when fruit pies are exclusively unrecognizable mush- I want people to go AH! and remember this is fruit they are eating.  It’s important to give credit where credit is due.  Thank you, white peaches.  And, thank you bourbon.

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Bourbon White Peach Pie

5 white peaches

2 nectarines

1/4 cup flour

1/8 cup white sugar

1/8 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp bourbon

1 tsp vanilla

Pie dough (recipe here)

1 tsp cinnamon (for pie crust)

1 egg (for wash)

2 tbsp sugar (for wash)

Peel the peaches and slice them.  They should be sliced thinly, but not squared.  Toss the peaches in flour, sugar, bourbon, and vanilla.

Spread half the dough in the pie dish and add the filling.  Roll the other half of the dough out on the counter and cut into strips.  Create a lattice shape pattern with the strips.

Whisk egg and brush over pie crust.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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