Cast Iron Skillet Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie…..or is it a cake?


Cast iron has been around for centuries.   Today, Lodge Cast Iron is the sole remaining cast iron manufacturer in the United States.   Located in the hills of Tennessee, the company produces a variety of cast iron cookware including their most popular item – the cast iron skillet.

Special care should be taken to preserve your cast iron so you have it forever.   Today’s pans come pre-seasoned, but it you have an older pan that needs seasoning,  just read up on the seasoning tips in my Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on cast iron cooking.  

Remember to re-season your pan after every use, even if you purchased it pre-seasoned.   Wash your pan out and dry it.   Then put a thin layer of neutral oil inside the pan (use grapeseed oil or vegetable oil)  using a paper towel to create a thin film.   You’re ready to create your next cast iron cooking dish!

Here is one of my new favorite cast iron pan recipes.    

Is it a cookie or a cake?    You decide.   I just know that it is absolutely delicious.    Serve the dish warm (let it rest for a few minutes before cutting) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie with Sea Salt Caramel
Makes one 9-inch cookie

This recipe is a combination cake and giant cookie.  Two types of chocolate chips provide various concentrations of chocolate.   Use a coarse sea salt for the caramel sauce and final garnish.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream


  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) plus 1 teaspoon softened unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks such as Nestle brand (approximately ¼-inch square pieces)
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup caramel pieces (Use Kraft Bits which are unwrapped small pieces of caramel or unwrapped caramel pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with the 1 teaspoon of softened unsalted butter.   Set aside.

 In a mixer fitted with a flat paddle, combine the remaining room temperature unsalted butter, white sugar, brown sugar and maple syrup on medium speed.   Add the vanilla extract then the eggs, one at a time.

 In a bowl, combine 2 ½ cups flour, baking soda and regular salt.  On medium-low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture.  With mixer on low, add the chocolate pieces and chips.

 In a small pan, place the caramel pieces and the heavy cream.   Put on low heat and slowly melt to combine, stirring often.   You can also melt the caramel pieces with the cream in a microwave, checking every 30 seconds and stirring until melted.

 Dip your fingertips in the remaining 2 tablespoons flour.   Press half of the dough into the cast iron pan using your floured fingertips.    Drizzle the melted caramel on the dough.   Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt.

 Divide the remaining dough into thirds.   Press each piece between you  lightly floured hands to form 5-inch by 1/3-inch disks.  Place the disks on top of the dough in the cast iron pan.  Using floured fingertips, press the dough disks to completely cover the bottom layer of dough and caramel sauce.   Making the dough into flat disks helps spread out the remaining dough on top of the caramel.

 Place the cast iron skillet on the center rack of the preheated oven.   Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed in the center of the cookie.   Be careful not to over bake .   The cookie will firm up as it cools.

 Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon coarse salt.   Let rest for 30 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.




Posted in Desserts, Holiday & Entertaining | Tagged , , ,

Tomato Feta Galette with Cornmeal Crust


Bring some color to your table with this delicious tomato feta galette.  I make it with a cornmeal herb crust. 

Galettes are nothing more than a free-form pie.   I like to call it the perfect pie for an imperfect cook.   Little tears make the galette even more rustic and delicious.   In fact, if the cornmeal crust gets some holes in it, just patch up with extra dough.

If you don’t care for feta cheese, a soft goat cheese makes a good substitute.   For more galette recipes, take a look at my Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.    It features three more galette recipes.

Tomato Feta Galette with Cornmeal Herb Crust
For a colorful galette, use various types of tomatoes.
Makes one 9-inch galette

Cornmeal Herb Galette Dough
If the dough tears when rolling out, simply use excess dough to patch.


  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup stoneground cornmeal, plus more for rolling
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (one stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or sage laves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water


Place the cornmeal, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  With the machine running, add the butter, piece by piece, through the feed tube.  Add the chopped thyme or sage leaves.   With the processor running, pour the water, a tablespoon at a time, through the feed tube.    The dough should come together when pinched.

Form into a disk and flatten out.   Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Place a piece of parchment on a work surface and dust with cornmeal.   Dust the top of the disk with cornmeal and top with another piece of parchment paper.   Roll dough out into an 11-inch round.   Remove top piece of parchment.   Place dough, with bottom parchment paper, onto a baking sheet pan.

Tomato Feta Galette

  • Ingredients
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons homemade breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup diced white onion, about one medium
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 6 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cream or half and half
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Slice the tomatoes into ¼-inch slices.  Place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess liquid.

Heat a sauté pan on medium heat and add 1teaspoons olive oil.   Add the onion and sauté until translucent.   Remove and let cool to room temperature. 

Roll out the cornmeal herb dough as described above.  Spread the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the galette dough round, leaving a 1-inch border.   Spread the sautéed onion over the breadcrumbs.   Place the tomato rounds in a single layer around the dough.     Sprinkle top of galette with the crumbled feta.    Sprinkle with the sea salt.

Whisk together the egg and the cream/half and half.   Fold the dough edge up over the galette sides.   Pinch the dough edges to create pleats.   Brush top for the pleated dough with the egg wash.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the crust is browned and crisp.   Cool for 10 minutes.   Drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with the sniped chives. 

Posted in Appetizers, Entrees, Vegetarian | Tagged , ,

Beets, Cara Cara Orange and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet and cars cara orange salad with goat cheese

Beet cara cara goat cheese salad

Making a summer salad is easy.  Ingredients are sometimes right out your back door in your garden or at a close-by farmer’s market.

Winter salads?   Well, that can be more of a challenge.

One of my favorite winter salads uses roasted beets (a mixture of various colors if you are lucky), shaved fennel, mixed greens and oranges.  My favorite winter orange?   Well that’s the Cara Cara orange.   

The Cara Cara orange, available December through April, is a newer addition to the American citrus market.  Sometimes referred to as a red navel, the Cara Cara is a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel.  Originating at the Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela, the fruit was brought to the United States in the late 80’s.   Because they’re seedless, these ruby-fleshed gems make the perfect fruit to perk up a winter salad.

Tossed in a homemade vinaigrette and garnished with a few pieces of goat cheese and you have a terrific winter salad.

Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese Salad
Look for seedless and colorful oranges like Cara Cara or blood oranges.
Serves 6

  • 2 large beets, red or yellow
  • 1 small fennel bulb, fronds (top) removed
  • 2 Cara Cara or blood oranges, peeled and cut into segments
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnut pieces
  • 4 cups red leaf or green leaf lettuce
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper


To prepare the beets -  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.    Place raw, cleaned beets on a large piece of foil and drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil.    Cover tightly with foil and place on a baking pan.   Roast in the preheated oven until tender – about 45 minutes to one hour depending on the size of the beets.  A paring knife should easily go through the beets when they are done.

 When the beets are cool enough to work with, place them under cold water and remove the skins.  A paring knife may be needed to remove all of the beet skin.    Cut into thin slices or wedges. 

Halve the fennel bulb.   Use a paring knife to remove the inner fennel core.   Using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the fennel bulb into thin slices.

Make the dressing by combining the honey, white wine vinegar, walnut oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.   Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Place the lettuce, nuts, sliced fennel bulb, chopped mint and oranges in a bowl.   Toss with dressing.  Place on a large serving platter or on 6 individual plates.   Place the cooked beets around the salad along with the goat cheese.








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