The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie — Comfort Food Feast

by in Family, Recipes, January 16th, 2013

Chocolate Chip CookiesWe all get a bit territorial over our chocolate chip cookies. Some like them so crispy a discernible crunch ensues. Others like them so soft that it’s unclear whether they ever reached the oven. In the end, however, there’s no argument over this cookie’s ability to bring us back — especially when a glass of milk is involved. Preheat those ovens. It’s time for some cookies.

The recipe for classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, in reality, needs no fiddling. It’s soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Just out of the oven, the chocolate chips are so gooey they stick to your fingers.

Still, Food Network Magazine has its own take on the many faces of the chocolate chip cookie, perfect for those a bit particular about consistency. Check out its recipes for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies and even Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Get more chocolate chip cookie recipes from family and friends

Hot Spots: Three Unique American Chilis

by in Food Network Magazine, View All Posts, January 16th, 2013

Texas Bowl of RedWarm up with three regional chilis and see why each has a cult following. The experts share their recipes with Food Network Magazine.

In Texas, chili is practically a religion, with one important tenet: Keep it simple. That means no beans and, often, no tomatoes — just beef and spices. “Texas red,” as the locals call it, gets its distinctive dark red color from a big shot of chili powder (a mix of spices that usually includes paprika, cumin and cayenne). Texans cook it low and slow, just like their barbecue, until the chili gets thick and the meat is super tender. Texas Chili Parlor in Austin serves one of the most well-known versions: The Austin American-Statesman called it “legendary,” and owner Scott Zublin says his customers put away up to 250 gallons every week. You can order it mild, hot or extra-hot; the recipe Zublin gave us makes a moderately spicy chili. To turn the heat up or down, just adjust the amount of chili powder. 1409 Lavaca St.; txchiliparlor.com

Try the recipe: Texas Bowl of Red (pictured above)

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Chatting With the Round-1 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Chefs Kenneth Johnson and Sean ScoteseIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will ultimately crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

What to Watch: Bobby’s Dinner Battle

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Bobby's Dinner BattleIf you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at the prospect of entertaining a houseful of party guests or cooking a meal for your opinionated relatives, then you can begin to imagine the pressure under which home cooks find themselves on Bobby’s Dinner Battle, Bobby Flay‘s newest show that challenges three teams of home cooks to prepare three-course dinner parties for this professional chef and restaurateur. Although they don’t have formal culinary training, the contestants are not simply kitchen novices. They consider themselves to be some of the best home cooks in their area and pride themselves on their ability to craft full-flavored, restaurant-quality meals using advanced techniques in their kitchens at home.

Each week, Bobby will travel to a different city where new groups of home cooks must put their best culinary chops forward in themed challenges to create event menus with limited time and money. Bobby will be joined by a special guest in each city, and these esteemed dinner party guests will help judge the competitors on the taste and presentation of their offerings, plus how well they’ve embraced the given theme.

Tune in to the series premiere of Bobby’s Dinner Battle on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 10pm/9c.

Salted vs. Unsalted Butter and Self-Rising Flours — Your Baking Questions Answered (Part 1)

by in How-to, January 15th, 2013

Baking 101Home bakers often ask, “Why can’t I use salted butter in a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, especially when salt is listed as a separate ingredient?” Right? I totally get the question. Why wouldn’t you just use salted butter and call it a day?

First, let me say that I never use salted butter. Not to bake with, on my toast in the morning or for any recipe that calls for butter.

Call me a control freak; however, the reason is that the salt added to salted butter varies depending on the brand you buy. All salted butters are not created equal. So why take your chances when baking? Just buy unsalted butter and start with a clean slate.

This leads me to the next most-asked question:

“Why can’t I use self-rising flour for all baking?” I totally comprehend this question too. It sure would eliminate buying a variety of flours, right?

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Vacuum-Fried Snacks — The Next Best Thing You Never Ate

by in News, January 15th, 2013

Vacuum-Fried Snacksby Vince Camillo

What’s the next best thing you never ate?

The staff of Food Network Kitchens might know. We see (taste and smell) ingredients and products just before they make themselves known to the national palate. Sometimes one of our on-air chefs brings them into our kitchen, sometimes we find them during restaurant dinners or in grocery stores, at home and away. Each month we’re going to share one with you, along with tips or recipes. And we know that many of you devote a good amount of time to exploring, tasting or simply getting dinner on the table, so let us know what you find that might just be the next best thing we never ate.

If you’ve ever eaten a vacuum-fried banana chip (or any vacuum-fried fruit or vegetable), you may have been staring into the bag of the next big thing. Though the bag you remember was likely empty, because once you eat one of these puffed little disks of pure banana essence, you’ll realize that you can’t stop — the most important indicator of a successful snack.

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10 Interesting Facts About Scotch Whisky

by in Drinks, Shows, January 14th, 2013

Iron Chef America Battle Scotch WhiskyLast night’s Iron Chef America battle between Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Chiarello brought one of my favorite tipples to the forefront: Scotch whisky. Instead of breaking down the ingredient like I usually do, here are 10 interesting facts that you may not know about this Secret Ingredient:

1. The term “whisky” is actually derived from the Gaelic words uisage beatha, which in turn came from the Latin Acqua Vitae or “water of life.” It’s thought that the name refers to the fact that these spirits were first used by monks for medicinal purposes.

2. The oldest reference to the production of whisky is not in fact in Scotland, but in Ireland, where it is believed that monks began distilling spirits as far back as the fifth century. The first reference from Scotland is found in the Exchequer rolls, the accounting records for the royal finances in 1494, where an allowance was made for “eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae.”

Keep reading for more facts