Forget bread. Chocolate is the staff of life (or at least my life and my mother's). For any chocoholic out there, two must-tries are Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers and See's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips.
I ran across the wafers in a recipe for chocolate caramel cheesecake (which was fine but not heavenly. However, here's another chocolate cheesecake recipe I'm dying to try.) They were needed for the cookie crust. Somehow - who knows how? - I started munching on the leftover wafers by themselves, and before you know it I was hooked. Hid them from Mr. Food Musings and everything. It's like eating an Oreo without the sickly sweet filling. They're crisp and the not-too-sweet chocolate flavor makes your tastebuds scream, in their best Bo Duke imitation, "Yeee-haw!" I later came up with another good way to use the leftover wafers: in homemade ice cream sandwiches (recipe below).
Now, the other bit of chocolatey goodness I have to share is a particular chocolate chip. Besides being from See's Candy, which makes great chocolate right here on the Left coast, it just so happens, I might casually mention, to make the best chocolate chip cookies. That's right. THE BEST. Try them - I dare you to disagree. There are two secret techniques in this recipe which, if applied to nearly any halfway decent chocolate chip cookie recipe, would make it the best in the world. So hop to it - use my recipe or use yours but make sure you do the two secret things (recipe far below).
Catherine's Ice Cream Sandwiches
Yield: 6 sammidges
16 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
1/2 - 3/4 pint favorite ice cream (I'm partial to Haagen Dazs chocolate.)
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Let ice cream sit out 15 minutes, or microwave on low 30 seconds to soften.
2. Place 6 wafers on a clean surface. Eat two. Replace immediately with two more.
3. Scoop smallish amount of ice cream onto wafer. Repeat with remaining 4 wafers (oops! I mean 5 wafers. Replace one more.)
4. Top one ice creamed wafer with a fresh wafer and press down slightly to form sandwich. Repeat with remaining wafers. Wait!!! There's a wafer left!!! QUICKLY shove it into your mouth using both hands before Mr. Food Musings walks into the kitchen. When he does, give him a close-mouthed grin. Ensure no telltale chocolate crumbs are hanging off the corner of your mouth.
5. Spread chocolate chips onto plate. Roll ice cream sandwiches, ice cream side, along the chips. Press them into the ice cream so they don't fall off. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. If any chocolate chips remain, you know what to do. Just do it quickly.
The World's Best Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: approx. 15 giant cookies
This is the See's Original Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is printed on the back of all their jumbo bags of semi sweets. I've made three modifications which is enough to give it a new moniker, which I have enthusiastically done. Thanks to Shelly Carey of Hunter's Peak Ranch in Wyoming for the idea to add the Hershey's syrup. She's a cooking goddess for a reason!
1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar (I'm not fussy, so I use whichever brown sugar I have in the cabinet)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4-5 TBSP Hershey's chocolate syrup
2 cups See's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease up to four cookie sheets, if you have that many.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, then vanilla, beating till smooth.
3. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually stir into butter mixture, blending well. Squirt chocolate syrup over dough (I usually make 4-5 turns around the bowl**) and mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir.
4. Drop in huge spoonfuls** slighter larger than an extra-large egg onto cookie sheet. You should be able to fit about 4-5 spoonfuls per cookie sheet.
5. Bake 10-12 minutes, checking after 10 to see how they're coming along. If you have to bake in batches, remember that the later batches will need less time to cook since the oven and cookie sheets will be hotter.
**Indicates secret technique. Shhh!