For the cookies, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt over the cookie dough balls before baking; for the Mac & Cheese, a panko-butter-garlic-parsley topping. I personalized my Mac & Cheese a bit more with the use of orecchiette instead of macaroni and the addition of some sauteed pancetta to the topping mixture. Another bonus of this Mac & Cheese recipe is that it doesn't require boiling the macaroni. Instead, the dried pasta is tossed with the cheese and then covered with a thinner-than-usual bèchamel sauce. The pasta absorbs the extra sauce and bakes perfectly in just 30 minutes.
I started with the cookies...and never made it to preparing the Mac & Cheese that afternoon (see cookie dough dilemma, below). A few days later, when in need of a quick dinner, I was happy to have the ingredients on hand for the Mac & Cheese. Leftover Mac & Cheese saved me again on St. Paddy's Day, after spending the afternoon at Coronado's infamous McP's Irish Pub. Good thing I used Irish cheddar!
|Salted cookie dough balls|
|Leftover cookie dough dilemma|
Salty Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Bon Appetit, January 2013
Makes 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), coarsely chopped (I used 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add egg yolks, egg, and vanilla and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just to blend. Fold in chocolate chips or chunks with a rubber spatula.
Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt.
Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until just golden brown around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.
Here's the No-Boil Mac & Cheese...I'll borrow my mom's quote, after she enjoyed some of the leftovers - "That was about the best Mac & Cheese I've ever had! Seriously good stuff. Never cared for the sharp cheddar cheesy stuff, but liked to pick at the dryer, crustier corners and this is sort of like the whole thing is kind of crunchy. It certainly is blog worthy! Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed it a lot."
|Beautiful, golden brown panko crust|
|Just the right amount of creaminess and crunch|
No Boil Mac & Cheese
Bon Appetit, January 2013
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used orecchiette)
2 cups shredded cheddar, divided (I used Irish white cheddar)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until a very thin, glossy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove sauce from heat.
Toss pasta and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch or other shallow 3-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over (pasta should be submerged; do not stir) and cover with foil. Bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat (at this point, I sauteed about 1/4 cup chopped pancetta for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients). Add garlic, panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove foil from dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then panko mixture. Bake until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling, and top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.