Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Current Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is our current favorite recipe for Chocolate chip cookies. Its from the King Arthur Flour website. I do not use the almond extract as recommended by the recipe and I use milk chocolate chips or butterscotch chips instead of semi-sweet.

  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Crisco/Vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips/any chips
Bring your eggs, butter to room temp.
Add the sugars, butter, shortening, vanilla, salt, baking soda, vinegar in this order in a bowl and cream on medium speed for atleast 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom intermittently.
Technically speaking. creaming is a process of mixing the sugar and butter well so that the sugar is partially dissolved in the softened butter. So if its looking grainy because the butter was too cold or the brown sugar was too hard, beat it some more until you see a creamier, sticking to the sides of the bowl kind of mixture. Make sure your butter is not melted before creaming because you will never be able to cream melted butter and sugar.
Enough about creaming! Add the eggs one at a time, stirring lightly between additions. Mix well for about 30 seconds. Add the 2 cups of flour, sifted and mix in spurts to avoid overmixing, After about 10-20 seconds of mixing, I usually mix the rest by hand. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. Drop tablespoonfulls on wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze the sheet for atleast 30 mins. Once frozen, I dump them all into a bag and place in the freezer for about 12-24 hrs. Next day, I preheat the oven to 350 and bake the cookies for about 9-12 mins until the cookies are pale golden at the edges. The top may look underdone but it continues cooking for a few seconds after you take it out. It also yields a chewier cookie.
Freezing the dough is supposed to bring out the caramel flavor in the cookies. For me its a make-ahead kind of conveninence. I can bake smaller batches as required. Nothing beats fresh from the oven, warm, chewy chocolate chip  cookies!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Nothing but the usual....decorated cookies for the Holidays.
Also pictured here are my new stackable cookie racks. I bought a set of 3 racks on sale for 7.99 at ACMoore yeah..!

These cookies were part of a tray of goodies I prepared for Altaf's workplace...I heard they got good reviews. Yay! Happy Holidays Everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rainbow cookies

These were cupcakes for little birthday girl Shivani who loves rainbows! The toppers are rainbow shaped iced cookies. I don't have a rainbow shaped cookie cutter but I was able to combine a few cutters to make these cookies ("jugaad" as they say back home in Bombay).
From the picture below you should be able to see I used a round cookie cutter, a tiny scalloped circle cutter and the bottom of a tulip shaped cutter. Each circle I cut into two using my bench scraper (not pictured but a knife would do). Then cut off the corners with the same. Cut out two scalloped circles and cut off a small portion. Shaped the  inner curve of the rainbow using the tulip cutter bottom (any small circle would do) and then pieced it all together.

The dough was very firm, straight from the freezer. I roll out the dough into sheets between freezer paper/wax paper/parchment/cling wrap and then freeze for 15 mins before cutting cookies. It preserves the shapes well when transferring to the final baking sheet.

Once the cookies bake, the shapes merge together to form a single cookie. They should still be handled carefully as the joints are a bit fragile. Let them cool completely before picking them up.
Here they are all ready to be iced!

The icing was Royal icing (Sweetopia's recipe) iced in 6 colors of the rainbow...I didn't feel like doing indigo :-) and piped on with parchment cones. I realized I did not have 6 piping tips in size 3 or 4..so I had no choice but to try parchment. This was my1st ever attempt with making and using parchment but it went a lot smoother than I thought it would and results wise you wouldn't know the difference. Speaking of differences...do you spot the odd one out in the cookies below? Arsh got to eat that cookie :-)

 The icing consistency I kept thicker than usual (about 8-9 seconds on Marian's 10 second scale) so that they wouldn't run or spread but at the same time would blend with each for a smooth top. I was afraid that the colors would bleed into each other but thankfully nothing of the sort happened.

Here they are with the clouds piped on in white.

And the final result...as toppers on the cupcakes!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Biscotti 1st attempt

My 1st ever attempt at biscotti. They were chocolate vanilla biscotti for our PTA meeting (I'm on the hospitality committee) and they turned out well. Everyone who tried one said they tasted good. It wasn't very difficult to make either...I just didn't expect the baking times to be this long. Biscotti is twice baked for crunchiness which had me worried. But these turned out somwhere between soft and crunchy without being rock hard. I did not have the vanilla bean paste or the mini chocolate chips or the espresso powder called for in the recipe below but I subbed regular vanilla extract, regular chocolate chips and instant coffee powder instead.

I'm going to try a fancier biscotti recipe the next time around, with more confidence!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Easy Burger Buns

Another easy to make KAF recipe :

We tried them last night to make Sloppy Joes. They require just basic ingredients and no potato flour and milk powder....so two thumbs up there. The buns turned out very good..soft but not pasty.

I used almost 1 cup of water and felt the dough was a bit too sticky so I added 2-3 tbsp more flour. Also based on reviews I used a little less than 1/4 cup of sugar (maybe a tbsp short).  I mixed the dough in my kitchenaid stand mixer with the dough hook for about 6 mins or so. The rest of the recipe I followed as is and the result was excellent. Total time was 10 mins to measure and mix, 1 hour to rise, 10 mins to cut and shape, 1 hour to rise, 12-13 mins to bake.

Let me know if you have any questions when making these.
- Serene