Gemütlichkeit in a COOKIE

BEST EVER Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 18 LARGE cookies or 24 mid-size cookies

(NOTE: you can double this recipe)

Ingredients

1 cup bread flour, sifted

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons kosher salt, OR 1½ teaspoons table salt (See note, below about butter)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, OR if you have only salted butter, just don’t add the salt, above)

2 tablespoons water, room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fine ground espresso powder (or coffee)

1 large egg

1 large egg YOLK

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

5 oz dark chocolate, chopped (OR add another 1/2- cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)

While these were placed onto the cookie sheet w/o parchment paper, bakers swear by it!

Preparation… Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a medium or large saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. The larger the pan you use, the quicker the process will be!
  3. Bring the butter to a boil, stirring frequently. As the water begins to boil out of the butter, the milk solids in the butter will separate, sink to the bottom, and begin to toast and brown. As this begins to happen, make sure to stir constantly so the butter browns evenly. It may become quite foamy, splatter a bit, and be difficult to see, so keep a close eye on it, removing from heat and continuing to stir if it starts to foam over.
  4. Once the butter has turned a nice nutty brown, remove from the heat and pour into a large liquid measuring cup to stop the cooking. Allow it to cool down for a minute or two, give it a stir, and carefully add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the butter to bring it back up to 1 cup (240 ml) of liquid.
  5. Set aside to cool to room temperature. To help speed this process up, you can place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. You want to make sure the butter is still liquid when you’re adding it to the dough later on, so make sure to remove after 15 minutes.
  6. In a large bowl, add the sugars, vanilla, espresso powder, and cooled brown butter. Cream together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the egg and yolk and beat until incorporated.
  8. Add the dry ingredients, about ⅓ of the mixture at a time, and beat between additions until just incorporated. It’s okay for there to be a bit of unmixed flour on the edge of bowl, this will be incorporated in the next step.
  9. Using a wooden spoon, fold the chocolate chips and chunks into the dough. Scoop the cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in 3-tablespoon-sized mounds. For optimal flavor, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or, even better, overnight.
  10. Evenly space the dough 3 inches (8 cm) apart from one another on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-14 minutes.

Once they are out of the oven, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Gemütlichkeit…Enjoy!

Pack the essentials (and more) for your trip to Leavenworth

Pack the essentials (and more) for your trip to Leavenworth

One of the reasons we believe in vacation rentals is the extra space to make room for kids, or dogs, and the gear you need to have fun!  And, your packing list is critical!   At the Leavenworth Vineyard Townhouse, we’re no strangers to effectively rounding out the essentials for any vacation home stay.  So, what do we have and what do you pack?

What’s at the Townhouse? 

See our earlier blog on the kitchen basics.  Regarding household items, we have the things you need to be comfortable.  That includes towels, bed sheets, blankets, nite lights, a port-a-crib and a baby gate that we use as a dog gate and even beach towels.

What we Do NOT have:  We tried to keep beach chairs but, well, that was a bad idea.  Big people sat in them…or very small people jumped all over them.  So, if you’re planning to go to the beach, BYOchairs.  We have a very basic first aid kit, but remember the sunscreen.  If there are regular medications to bring, put those on top of the packing list.  It’s not easy getting replacement medications and no fun searching the aisles for sunburn ointment.

Remember what your fur babies need:  We LOVE dogs and while we have a baby-gate, that’s just about all we have at the townhouse.  So, remember to bring food, bowls, and dog beds and/or crates. And, also, remember this is a different climate with different requirements for your dog.  Yes, we’ve picked ticks off our dog, and yes, his tender paws have been singed on hot beach rocks in the summer as well as “bitten” while walking along the icey trails in winter.

There is SO much to do…

Consider your activities possibilities, per season:  Will you be skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, or floating the river?  The details associated with this gear is SO important.  How many times have you rented boots because you forgot to pack them with your skis?  Yeah, us too!  We created a little chart, below, to remind you of things-to-take, per season.  Set those aside, next to your dry goods box.  On the day you arrive with everything you need to play-and-cook, you’ll thank us.

Reserve ahead of time:  A little advance planning will go a LONG way…There are some activities that you need to pay-to-play, such as rafting the river, horseback riding, or attending outdoor theater.  Be sure to reserve your group, online or over the phone, BEFORE you leave home.  The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce will help you get connected to all the outfitters in the area.  They are a very helpful resource to ensure you aren’t left waiting outside the gates with no tickets!

Activities, by season:

Let us know how we did in helping you prep for your trip.  Do you have any lessons-learned or surprise discoveries to share?  We would love to hear from you. 
In summary:
  Whew, all that effort just for a short getaway?  Well, we encourage you to extend your trip a day or two…you’ve sure earned it. Especially during peak seasons, such as during Oktoberfest and over the Christmas holidays, a little advance planning will ensure your trip is festive and fun for everyone.

Leave a comment or drop us a line at info@leavenworthvineyardtownhouse.com.  We’ll pass it along in our next update to guests.  At the Leavenworth Vineyard Townhouse, our goal is to help ensure your stay is affordable and comfortable.  We believe in the restorative power of extending your weekends, now and then.

 

Food LOVE…prepping for your trip to Leavenworth

One of the reasons we believe in vacation rentals includes the amenities found only in a fully appointed home.  Especially if you like to indulge your cooking skills, or just save a HUGE amount of money by eating in, your packing list is critical to ensure you have fun!   At the Leavenworth Vineyard Townhouse, we’re no strangers to effectively rounding out the essentials for any vacation home stay.  So, how do we prep our kitchen packing list?

What’s at the Townhouse? 

We have the very basics and a bit more.  Here’s what that includes:

How-to remember what you need to bring

This was a trick learned over years of forgetting ingredients.  So, we’ll go step-by-step.

  1. Start with meal planning: We start with a grid that has the number of days and the meals within the day.  In this sample, we’re planning for a 4-night stay, but you can do the same for any number of nights you plan your trip.  We LOVE doing this because it gets everyone on the same page for when-we’re-eating-in and when-we’re-eating-out.  Remember, there are shops in town that cater to our snack-loving selves. Also, we often find something delicious to bring back to the Townhouse at the Cheesemonger’s Shop or at another delightful deli.

    Sample Meal planning (sample nearly-homemade recipes, below):

  2. Prep what you can, ahead-of-time: For example, do you want to make chocolate chip cookies instead of the “nearly homemade brownies” – GREAT!  Just mix up all the dry ingredients and stow into a plastic bag in your dry goods box (more on that, later).
  3. Get your grocery list in order: Review your menu. Compare your ingredients needed against our supplies list and start making your list of what to bring with you and what you may decide to purchase, in town.

    Grocery items packing list:

  4. Pack it up and/or stage it, ahead: Dry goods go in a cardboard box.  Goods that need cooled or frozen before you travel, set them aside, organized in your refrigerator.  When the time comes, all that you have to do is lift out of the ice box and into your cooler.  The key is to pack, logically, ahead of time.

    Nearly homemade recipes:
     

Whew, all that effort just for a short getaway? 

Well, we encourage you to extend your trip a day or two…you’ve sure earned it. At peak times, like the Oktoberfest and Christmas Tree Lighting celebrations, a little advance planning will ensure your trip is festive and fun for everyone.  We’ve learned meals-at-LVT instead of eating at a restaurant make everyone happier when it’s crazy-busy in town.

Do you have any lessons-learned or surprise discoveries to share?  Leave a comment or drop us a line at info@leavenworthvineyardtownhouse.com.  We’ll pass it along in our next update to guests.  At the Leavenworth Vineyard Townhouse, our goal is to help ensure your stay is affordable and comfortable.  We believe in the restorative power of extending your weekends, now and then.

Easy + Delicious (Nearly) Homemade Brownies

Easy + Delicious (nearly) Homemade Brownies

At the Leavenworth Vineyard Townhouse, we believe in making the most of our kitchen. And an easy + delicious way to do that is to bring along four ingredients, and to employ our utensils, bowls, and pans to whip up a chocolatey treat. These brownies are a FAN FAVE in our circle of friends and colleagues and will soon be with yours, as well. Here goes:

All you need to mix up some delicious brownies is FOUR ingredients. (Wine optional)

Four ingredients:

And just one more....please add

REMEMBER: Drop the oven temp to 325 just before putting your pan in the oven

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Beat the eggs, add to the brownie mix then add the melted butter and WATER to the mix.
  3. Coarsely crush the Oreos in a large bag with your hands or a rolling pin. Leave some pieces larger and mix most into the batter. Batter will be thick. Reserve about 1/3 of your bag and sprinkle on top.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake for 50-60 minutes (remember to DROP the oven temp back to 325 degrees).
  5. Check done-ness by inserting a fork or knife into the brownies. Sometimes I have to “pop” the temp to 350, again, in the last few minutes. When your implement comes out (mostly) clean, you are good to go. When in doubt, underbake. It will always “coast” to done.

Bring 4 ingredients, we've got the rest to make these YUMMY brownies.

NOTE: You can swirl in warmed peanut or other nut butter into one side or throughout pan, to make a chocolatey-nut-buttery dessert. These may or may not be gone before they are done cooling!

The First FIVE of Twenty-five...of the best things to see-and-do in Leavenworth, WA