Monday, July 31, 2006

Baking cookies as a Thank You...

Finally some good news on the Phoenix house... we accepted an offer and the closing went smoothly today! With reports on TV left and right talking about just how bad the market is getting for sellers (and always mentioning Phoenix...), I think we feel pretty lucky given just how many houses were for sale. So one more thing done with the whole move! We used the same company that moved us from Minnesota to Phoenix to move us out here and we ended up with the same person, Crista, who both times made our move as easy on us as possible. I don't think we could thank her enough for all the work she did on her end. So, what could we do? Bake something of course!

I went looking for a big cookie that I could stuff with the new (well, brought back after popular demand...) Dark Chocolate M&Ms that we picked up at Sam's Club. Big, Fat, Chewy Dark Chocolate M&M Cookies is based on a recipe from allrecipes that used chocolate chips. These cookies are as advertised- very big and soft with a sticky chew to them. I did take the extra step while I melted the butter to let it brown just a bit to enhance the nuttiness. I also refrigerated the dough for a good 3-4 hours to help control spreading - they are very much like the large bakery style cookies you would find in the grocery store. Be sure to give these plenty of room on the baking sheets to expand while baking - I let them go long enough to get a light golden around the edges, but still somewhat underdone in the middle to keep them soft with that much-loved chew. We overnighted most of them to her, but had to save a couple because they were so good with the dark chocolate M&Ms. We hope you enjoy them Crista!

Dinner tonight is the first recipe this week that highlights the fresh corn we got at the market. Smoky Corn and Black Bean Pizza is a simple pizza with a crisp whole wheat crust and has a tangy barbecue sauce instead of a tomato base. Instead of using a store bought crust, I made our favorite Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe early this morning, let it rise once and then set it in the refrigerator until 20 minutes before I wanted to stretch it out. The dough is made in the food processor and comes together in just minutes - you could even use quick-rise yeast if you wanted to skip the rising. I like the flavor that develops better when you give it a longer time to rise though.

The dough is always very consistent for us - soft and easy to stretch. I prebaked the dough for about 5 minutes at 500 on a pizza stone, slathered the crust with BBQ sauce and then topped with a mixture of fresh corn, black beans and diced plum tomatoes. Smoked mozzarella graces the top to finish the pizza - don't skimp on this part, be sure to use smoked if you can, as it brings so much flavor. After another quick trip in the fiery oven, the cheese is melted, the crust is crisp and we couldn't wait to dig in. Sweetness from the corn was a nice backdrop to the smoky sauce and gooey cheese - the little bit of leftovers may just have to be breakfast tomorrow!


  1. Congrats on the sell of your home! I'm sure you're glad that's over with.
    The pizza looks oh so yummy.
    And I'm sure the cookies will be a big hit.

  2. wow if the cookies came with the deal I would have bought the home myself!!]


  3. Congrats on selling the house - and that pizza looks fantastic. So do the cookies.... everything always looks great!

  4. congrats on the house........those cookies look yummy, can you use normal m&m's in the recipe? cos we only get those types here

  5. YUM YUM YUM... :) I love cookies that you can chew!

  6. Jeff let you use those dark chocolate M&M's for something??!! ;-p

  7. This was the second pizza recipe I read this there some sorta pizza guild I didn't know about?

  8. Congrats on selling the house - I bet that's a major weight off your shoulders!

    Those cookies look GREAT! They look like they'd taste just like those ones you can get in the shopping malls - the super big, super buttery and chewy M&M cookies that are so good! Will definitely have to try these out.

    Just saw another choc chip cookie recipe that called for browned butter - in Cook's Country I believe? That recipe used dates to cut down on butter etc - healthier choc chip cookies.

    I think I'll just make yours instead! ;-)

  9. I LOVE those dark chocolate M&M's.

    Congrats on selling the house!

  10. Glad you sold the house so quickly!

  11. Everything looks fantastic (as usual), Joe. COngrats on the sale!

  12. Tammy - you have no idea how happy we are!

    Teddy - I was about ready to offer free cookies for a year!

    Helios - Thanks!

    Lexi - Of course! Use whatever you wish!

    Abster - Me too!

    Erika - The bag is hidden for baking use only... until he finds them that is!

    Wheresmymind - Maybe! :)

    Jeph - It really is a huge weight gone. It was hard to try and "move on" with not being able to get the house sold and having to worry about the maintenance of the house.

    Barbara - They are so good!

    Emily - I wish it would have been quicker, it has been listed since April.

    Nic - Thank you!

  13. Hi Joe, I just made and posted pizza too! My dough recipe is a little different from yours. Actually yours sounds easier. I made mine in a bread machine which takes about 1 1/2 hours! I printed your recipe and will try it next time. Although I wonder how this recipe would turn out in the bread machine using bread machine yeast. What do you think?

  14. I don't see why it wouldn't work in a bread machine, just make sure the dough has enough room to rise (it makes a 1 pound dough)