Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate chip cookies’

So it’s been kind of an Irish month.  Okay, not really.  But I went to Globe, AZ in September and came across a bunch of cookbooks in an antique store.  I could have browsed for hours, but unfortunately didn’t have the time.  I did manage to find a sourdough book with a whole bunch of recipes using sourdough starter, which strangely enough is difficult to find online.  So I took my “friend” Paddy out of the refrigerator, freshened him up a bit, and made some sourdough bagels.

I’ve never made bagels before.  Using my starter had me worried as well since Paddy doesn’t seem to produce consistent results.  But at least this recipe didn’t require a 12+ hour rise, so if the end product wasn’t perfect, I wouldn’t be too disappointed.

So you boil and then bake bagels, eh?  Nifty process and it all went quite well.  I let my Kitchenaid mixer do the kneading, then left the dough to rise for about 3 hours.  Shaping the bagels was a cinch, then they rose for another 30 minutes before taking a boiling water bath.  I think the heat activated the yeast because they seemed to swell up well during the boil.  Then popped in the oven to finish before eating.  Texture wasn’t quite like I thought it would be for bagels, but they certainly made amazing ham, cheese, and avocado sandwiches.

A few weeks ago was my grandpa’s birthday.  His favorite cake is either chocolate with white frosting, or white with chocolate frosting.  I get kind of bored always doing the same kind of cakes, so I decided to experiment and make it a cookies and cream cake.  Chocolate cake and vanilla frosting would still be involved, but mixed in the frosting would be Oreos for a bit of a crunch.

Note to anyone wanting to try this: mix the Oreos in the frosting to help it all stick together.  I spread the frosting between the layers and then sprinkled cookie crumbs over it.  When cut, the layers didn’t hold together very well.  Overall, not my favorite cake.  I think the cookies just made me overly thirsty, so have a glass of milk nearby.  But a cookie crumb around the sides is a good solution when running out of frosting.

Just this past weekend, I went to see my good friends the Script (okay, they probably consider me more of a crazy fan) in San Diego and LA with my concert partner in crime, Jessica.  As always, I couldn’t show up empty handed.  But what kind of cookies should I make this time?  The list was long, but I settled on french macarons (now that I seem to have the hang of them), white chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies, and sugar cookies (to get creative with).

The macarons turned out well, except the vanilla ones had to bake quite a bit longer because the bottoms kept sticking to the parchment.  I’m not done learning about these delicate and frustrating cookies yet, but they were definitely more than presentable.  I realized for the chocolate macarons, I didn’t have any heavy cream to make chocolate ganache.  I took a chance (because I didn’t want to go to the store) and tried a heavy cream substitute comprised of milk and butter and by George, it worked!  I think I actually liked the ganache better with the heavy cream substitute because… duh!  Butter makes everything better.

The chocolate chip cookies were delish!  I still go with the good ol’ Toll House recipe on the chocolate chip bag.  I’ve found that as long as you take them out of the oven when they’re just slightly browned and let them finish baking on the cookie sheet, they’re perfect.  If you let them bake too long, they seem to be a bit dry.

Now for the sugar cookie fun.  I’ve done the band’s instruments before, meticulously hand painted with food coloring, so I didn’t want to do that again.  Seeing as how their new record #3 just came out (you can buy it here or on iTunes), I went with a #3 song theme.  Millionaires translated into round cookies with a gold Euro and writing underneath.  Six Degrees of Separation was done by making cookies in the shape of thermometers that measured six degrees.  Hall of Fame was done with Hollywood Star cookies with the band members names on them.  A hand cookie cutter folding the outside fingers down created the 3 fingers up cookies.  And Broken Arrow were also round cookies with a sky background and painted broken arrows flying across.  I wanted to do Kaleidoscope cookies but figured each one would take about 30 minutes to hand paint.

The cookie drop didn’t go as well as hoped.  Jessica and I went to the venue early to try to catch one of the guys.  We saw the tour manager so should have just given them to him, but he seemed busy.  After soundcheck, a guy who works at the venue said they were sitting down for dinner so probably wouldn’t be out for awhile.  I almost gave them to him to see if he’d take them back, but doubted they’d be delivered.  When I told Jessica this, she said “You don’t give your cookies to just any one.”  And my response was “no, just musicians.”  Ladies and gentlemen, my new slogan was born.  Ha!

Fortunately a few minutes later, one of the band’s crew members walked out to the buses and took the cookies.  I’m still not sure if the band ever saw them though since they went on the crew bus.  Oh well.

Was a great couple of shows and so good to see those guys back at it.  Now my count is 10 Script shows and I’m eagerly awaiting the next one, which will most likely be Atlanta in a couple weeks or Vegas in a month and a half.  No, I don’t have a live music problem . . .

 

 

Sourdough Bagels:

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 gallon water plus 2 tablespoons sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine sourdough starter with eggs and oil.  Mix together flour, salt, and sugar. Add to starter mixture.  Add enough additional flour for the dough to leave the sides of the bowl.  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary.  Cover with a cloth.  Set in warm place free from drafts until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Turn out onto floured surface and divide into 8-10 pieces; shape into balls.  Punch a hole in center with a floured finger.  Form a doughnut shape by gently enlarging hole, working each bagel into uniform shape.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Add sugar to water and bring to a boil.  Drop each bagel into the boiling water one at a time.  Boil only 4-5 bagels at a time.  Cook for 7 minutes, turning once.  Drain; place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375F for 25-35 minutes.  Bagels should be golden brown and crusty.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Settled in my condo and adjusted to my new kitchen (still not thrilled with the electric stove), I’ve taken to hosting dinner parties for friends and family.  I think I should be Martha Stewart’s apprentice.  I’m getting better at cooking (though I can’t say I didn’t know how to cook, I just never did) and find it really fun to have people over rather than go out to eat.

My parents were the guests at my first dinner party.  I made pan-fried pork chops wrapped in prosciutto with capers and spinach, and a rich chocolate mousse, recipes courtesy of Curtis Stone.  It turned out well, but the pork was a bit too lemony.  Lesson learned.

I had nine friends over for my next dinner party.  It was BYOC (bring your own chair).  It was right before St. Patrick’s Day so I served up some beef and guinness stew with potatoes, soda bread, and apple/blackberry crumble.  My friend Roddy also brought a Shepherds Pie.  It was great fun, but I made way too much food.  Three months later, I still have a few tupperware containers each with a serving of stew in the freezer.  And I ate one the other day.  And I didn’t get violently sick.  How long does frozen stew last?  Oh well, still have a lot of soda bread in the freezer as well too.  Maybe that should get thrown.

Shortly after that party, I had my aunt, grandparents, parents, and brother over for some pan-fried chicken with a green olive, onion, and tomato topping, baked potato wedges, and tiramisu.  That was quite a success as well, except my grandpa wouldn’t try the tiramisu after he found out there was brandy in it.  I didn’t really think it was very strong, but the others could taste it.

The tiramisu had been a previous Daring Bakers Challenge that I didn’t complete, because I didn’t have the time.  It was something I had always wanted to make, so since I had done part of the challenge in making the lady fingers from scratch (and freezing them, of course), I decided it would be a good dessert.  Plus, I love living alone, but I can’t keep up with eating all the things I bake.  So if I don’t have friends/family over to help me eat the goods, they go to work the next day and get devoured within an hour.

I don’t really have any new baking techniques to report on at the moment.  The baking that I’ve done recently are things I’ve made before, like pumpkin muffins, apple pie, chocolate chip cookies (for Tyler Hilton, Reckless Kelly, and Ari Hest ), and brownies.  I shall try to do something new soon, I’ve just been busy with work and globe-trotting, not to mention my new-found enjoyment of cooking, that I haven’t had much time for the sweet stuff.  But I’ll come up with something soon that is sure to impress you.

Read Full Post »

I think I’m starting to get lazy and careless.  This is not good seeing as how I’ve only been at this for a month.

I went to open mic night a week ago and decided to make some chocolate chip cookies to take to Walt, the man who runs it.  He’s been requesting more ever since I made him some over a year ago.  So I g0t out my favorite recipe for it and started mixing.  When I got to the part about adding the sour cream (yes, it uses sour cream as the acid that counters with the baking soda), I decided to substitute lowfat plain yogurt since I had made a point of buying it, yet letting it nearly spoil in the refrigerator.  I had already added the sugars though, but didn’t feel like the addition of a LITTLE more sugar would cause harm.

I also added the additional one cup of flour more than the recipe calls for so as not to end up with chocolate chip flat-as-a-pancake cookies.

First tray comes out of the oven and what do I have?  Chocolate chip flat-as-a-pancake cookies.  No problem, those will be the reject cookies set aside for my family (They can’t complain.  The cookies still tasted good).  I stirred in more flour and the next batch was better.  Still a little flatter than I like, but I once added a lot of extra flour to the batter and ended up with high and dry cookies.  The extra sugar from the yogurt made these pretty sweet, but not in a bad way.  The gold-star cookies went to Walt, with a few leftover for Matt the Electrician‘s wingman Scrappy Jud Newcomb.

Next baking project was a bit more important because the result would be consumed by my friends.  I wouldn’t exactly call them critics, but I have a reputation to uphold.

Once again, a look in my fridge showed me a bottle of buttermilk nearing expiration.  So you know now that I don’t like to wash dishes (don’t worry, I DO wash them though) and I don’t like things that I’ve paid for go to waste.  So I found a nice little chocolate cake recipe that called for buttermilk.

Near the end up mixing up the batter, I went to add my dry ingredients and realized I only had about half the amount of cocoa powder that I needed.  Well crap.  I’m lazy and didn’t feel like making a grocery run, so I just added some hot cocoa mix.  Probably not the best substitution, but the label said it had cocoa powder in it.  To be on the safe side, I filled one muffin cup with the batter for taste-testing and baked it with the cake.

Um… the outcome definitely would have raised questions about my baking ability.  Not chocolaty enough, and no amount of rich frosting would have saved it.  Into the garbage it went and out came the no-fail recipe for a chocolate chip cake.  So I wasted the buttermilk and had to use even more ingredients.  Fortunately I had every thing available for this cake, just had to run out to the grocery to buy more cocoa powder for the frosting.  Alas, the trip was unavoidable.

At this point, I had wasted quite a bit of time.  Earlier in the day, I rolled out and baked all the sugar cookie dough I had made a few days ago.  Then I made a failed chocolate cake.  So once the good chocolate chip cake was baked and cooled, I didn’t have much time for decorations.  And decorating is my favorite part!  I love being creative.

To make it simple but pretty, I figured I’d frost it with a rich chocolate buttercream and then make a little white chocolate bow and ribbon to go on it to look like a gift.  I’ve made a 3D chocolate bow before by melting down chocolate and spreading it thin on waxed paper, then looping the paper so the chocolate ends touch eachother, and chill till hard.  Then I take the chocolate loops (about 4 of them) and arrange them like a bow with a couple straight pieces as the ends.  Bad explanation?  See the “Piece of Cake” section for a picture.

I melted down some white chocolate that was white/red swirled so that it would make a pink bow.  The color actually came out quite red.  Then to make it pretty and shiny, I added a couple drops of corn syrup.  Whoa chocolate!  What the hell?!  The chocolate totally seized up into a lump.  And it wasn’t even shiny!

Brilliantly, I concluded that if I added some water to the chocolate, it would be a nice spreadable consistency again.  After I mixed in some water, I went to the internet and googled “chocolate corn syrup.”  Immediately, pages about molding chocolate came up.  I flashed back to Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss and thought, “hmmm… I may have something here.”

I went back to my lump of chocolate which had stubbornly separated from the water.  Apparently, the two don’t get along.  I dried the remaining water off the chocolate just like I blot all the nasty grease off pizza.  Then I stuck the stuff into the freezer since I didn’t have two hours to chill it.

Ten minutes later, the chocolate was super hard and unworkable.  Back in the microwave it went, taking me right back to where I started.  I took the now warm lump and kneaded it a bit.  It still wasn’t very workable because it was kind of dry.  It definitely didn’t want to be pulled like the pulled sugar (see Lesson 1).  But like the pulled sugar, I got a rose made.  Yes, it took several attempts before I got the finished product.  But I proudly displayed the red rose on the cake and piped some white chocolate to say “Happy Birthday.”  Underneath, I formed rose petals out of the molding chocolate and arranged them to say “Ali,” who was the birthday girl.

All-in-all, pretty interesting day, definitely a long one.  With the sugar cookies, two cakes, and decorations, I had been going from 11 am to 9 pm.  But I think the birthday cake lived up to my reputation.  Cookie Kelly can hold her head up high… for now.

Chocolate chip cookies:  B+

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake:  F

Chocolate Chip Cake:  A

This little baker needs a few days off, at least until Monday, Labor Day.  I also need to bake something for Paolo Nutini to take to his show on Tuesday.

chocolate chip cookies chocolate chip cake

Read Full Post »