World peace cookies

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If you´re well known in the cookie buisness, you might have heard of these. If not, let me introduce you. These cookies come from Dorie Greenspan´s “Baking – from my home to yours”. When I finally got my hands on this book, I was kind of overwhelmed. First of all by its size and weight (it was a gift) – it was enormous! And secondly, and maybe most importantly, by the number of recipes. (I guess I should have predicted that, given its size, but – well, what can I say…) The book doesn´t waste a lot of space or pages on pictures – which I normally don´t think is a waste – on the contrary, it´s what makes me want a cookbook, and what makes me purchase it. But here, I´m thankful the pictures are left out to make room for more recipes. After all, it was a struggle to get that book, as you can read here

But, when I was going to start baking, I had no idea where to start. I mean, where does one start with over 300 recipes? And almost without any pictures to tempt me? Hmm. One starts at google, of course! I searched for “best, or favourite recipes”, and after a little googling, there were a few recipes that seemed more popular than others. One of them were something called world peace cookies. (Another was Swedish visiting cake, so that´s next on my list!) A cocoa-cookie with sea salt and chocolate chunks. Well, that didn´t exactly put me off! Though, normally I like my cookies non-chocolate. That is, without cocoa in the batter. But not completely without chocolate! Hell no! Bring on the chocolate chunks! But, I decided to have an open mind. So many people can´t be wrong. And it´s not like I dislike chocolate cookies, they´re just not my favourite. Until now.

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I made these for the first time a while ago, but they turned out butt ugly, delicious though, but not to be broadcast worldwide. Sorry guys, I´m shallow. These turned out better. And I know what you´re thinking: They´re not that good looking. And seriously, can they be that good? Isn´t it just another cookie?
No – it´s not. It´s a cookie, yes, but it´s a really, really good one.

The taste is rich and very chocolatey. It´s enhanced by the addition of sea salt. Oh chocolate and sea salt. How I love you two together. And my photos don´t really do them any justice, and that´s not just because of my lack of photo-skills, it´s because any photos of these cookies can´t show how yummy-tasty they are! Appearantly these cookies got their name, by Dorie’s neighbour who thought that a daily dose of these cookies would be enough to instigate world peace. Well, I don´t know about that. I see his point, but on the other hand, these cookies might as well start a world war. You get the point: They´re good.

World Peace cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chipsWhisk flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat gently just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment. Form each piece into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each tightly and chill until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: this can be done in advance – logs can be stored in the fridge up to three days before slicing and baking).

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Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space cookies 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), exactly 12 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool before enjoying with a large glass of milk.

Makes 20-22 cookies.

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Best. Cookie. Ever.

Ok. So this is it. This is IT. THE COOKIE. The one and only. Well maybe not the only, but definetely the one. The one I´ve wanted to be able to create in my own kitchen, meeting all my criterias for a perfect cookie: Crunchy edges, a chewy interiour, a deep flavour, a buttery texture and of course loaded with decent sized chunks of chocolate and hazelnuts. Ahhhh, what can I say – I`m in Heaven!!!

I´ve been meaning to make this for quite some time, but being the impatient baker I am, I´ve never got around to it until now. Cause this cookie needs some time and patience, my friend, but it´ll be worth it! So worth it… I promise! The reason why I baked them now, was simply to satisfy my chocolate chip cookie-cravings that appeard a few weeks back. But, I was able to resist the instant cravings, so that I wouldn´t give in for just any mediocre cookie. I wanted something more. Since I haven´t had a cookie in God-knows-how-long, this cookie had to be good, or actually better than good. So I searched for the recipe that would give maximum cookie-pleasure!

If I had the time, or the people to feed, I would easily bake cookies every week and try out several different recipes, and it wouldn´t be so bad if some of them turned out just ok. But I don´t get to bake cookies as often as I´d liked to – so when I wanted to bake cookies, I didn´t want to settle for “just a cookie” – I wanted the best chocolate cookie ever. Period. (Don´t we all?) So I put my impatience and cravings aside and got baking. I even followed the recipe precisly, with all the important notes that would influence on the final result. (No, that´s a lie. I didn´t have cake flour…I guess it would be even better with that! Next time! Cause these cookies will be made again, and again…) And boy…..was it all worth it? – Hell yeah!

I mean, with a the title “The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie I Will Ever Need to Know How to Make For The Rest of My Life” – I knew this was a recipe worth trying out. The only thing it requires is a little patience due to the refrigerating, and some planning to get everything at room temperature before you dive in. This is no “I want cookies – NOW” kind of recipe. This is a “I want the best damn chocolate chip cookies that have ever graced this earth and I am willing to practice some patience to get them in my mouth” recipe.
It turned out that this recipe was from Jaques Torres, which I´ve been drooling over, and I´ve heard people raving over claiming it to be the best ccc-recipe, and I´ve been planning to make it forever, but never got around to make due to my impatience. And when this turned out to be that same recipe, just disguised under that promising title, I knew these cookies had to be made…



Chocolate chip cookies (adapted from Jaques Torres)

2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8 ½ oz.) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 ½ oz.) bread flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. (Unless you have a plastic guard that sits around the rim of the bowl, this will make a big mess at first, with flour flying everywhere. I found that carefully holding a dish towel around the top of the bowl helped a lot.) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard-size ice cream scoop – mine holds about 3 fluid ounces, or about 1/3 cup – scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Yield: About 24 cookies (I made over 30, but I guess I don´t make them US-sized!)

Lemon cookies

It’s Christmas. It’s cookie time.
Let’s get down to business.

I’ve already made a batch of gingerbread. They turned out well, but they also turned out to be many. I brought one jar to school, now there’s only two back. And at the time, it’s just me. So I’m munching gingerbread, and I’ll be doing that for some time. But nevertheless, I feel the urge to bake some more cookies. Just something else. Something lighter (if you can say that about any cookie) and maybe a little less Christmasy. I found what I was looking for. Even though I’m very traditional when it comes to Christmas – cookie wise anyway – I know there’ll be plenty of that, so why not try something else? It’s still a cookie. So it has a some Christmas to it.

The cookies are lemon and lime flavoured sugar cookies. I found the recipe at joythebaker, but originally it’s from Baking from my home to yours, (I crave that book! I’ve found so many recipes from that book on various blogs, and they’re all so great. But it’s not available here…) and I knew I had to make them rightaway. And so I did…

I didn’t have any lime, but that didn’t stop me as I had a ton of lemons. I just skipped the lime part and added some more lemon instead. And that worked out fine. But I guess the lime would make that little extra je ne sais quoi… Great cookies anyway! Go bake!

Citrus Sables

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter (preferably high-fat, like Plugra), softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted before measuring
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
2 large egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour.

zest of 1 lemon and zest of 1 lime

For the decoration (optional):
1 egg yolk
Crystal or dazzle sugar.

1. Beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Rub the zest of the lemon and lime into the granulated sugar with your fingertips, creating a fragrant sugar. Add the sugars and salt to the butter and continue to beat until smooth and velvety about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 egg yolks, again beating until well blended.

2. Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and pulse the mixer about 5 times at low speed for 1 or 2 seconds each time. Take a peek; if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, stir for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks uniformly moist. If you still have some flour on the bottom of the bowl, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to work the rest of it into the dough. You want to work the dough as little as possible. What you’re aiming for is a soft, moist, clumpy dough.

3. Scrape the dough onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long (it’s easiest to work on a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form the log). Wrap the logs well and chill them for at least 2 hours. The dough may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

4. When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and keep it at the ready.

5. To decorate the edges of the sables, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Place one log of chilled dough on a piece of waxed paper and brush it with yolk (the glue), and then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with sugar. Trim the ends of the roll if they are ragged and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies.

6. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each cookie, and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. Let the cookies rest 1 or 2 minutes before carefully lifting them onto a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula.

I decided to give them a little extra decoration, dress them up to be suitable Christmas presents. A nice frosty look to complement the sweetness. I made an icing from icing sugar, lemon juice and a little water. I love lemon-flavoured icing together with lemon-stuff! It’s so…..lemony! So these were right up my alley. But they’re delicious on their own, so it’s not needed at all. Plain, they would be the perfect accompaniement to a cup of your favourite tea, any day of week. But I made them festive and ready for Christmas. And they turned out quite pretty, I think. Don’t you?

What to do with blueberries take 1: Blueberry scones

Blueberry season is upon us folks! And that can only mean one thing. I have berry issues! It’s the same problem every year. And what a problem it is. Ohh, man…. where do I begin! Well, here! You see, here’s the deal.

I love berries. I love to pick berries. And once I start, I can’t finish until, well I’ve finished. Not a single berry will be left behind this maniac! If so, it’s because I’m planning to get back to it the next day. Or else, I’ll have trouble sleeping. I know, I’m weird.

I also love to buy berries when they look totally irresistable and are sold for next to nothing at the supermarket, cause they’re in season. So every year, history repeats itself. Suddenly my fridge is filled with all kinds of berries, and I have to find a clever way to either use/freeze/eat them. And of course I haven’t learned anything from the previous years and got myself a bigger freezer, so now I’m having berries with every meal. No, that’s not true. But every day, yes! And sometimes several times a day! It’s a luxury…that is good for me too! But enough of that already. I wanted to incorporate some of this deliciousness into baked goods. All I made so far was jam. Strawberry and something I call queen-jam. That’s a mix of raspberries and blueberries. It’s jam good! But berries and baking? Together? In perfect harmony? Well, there I said it. Perfect harmony.

Let me introduce you berries to sugar. And fat. Aka carbs and calories. You’re gonna get along and make a great team, for sure. I’ve seen it happen before! And I’m not to change a winning team. Now I just had to decide what to bake first. I have my eyes on a blueberry pie, but that I’m planning to make for the weekend when we’re having my family for dinner. Now I wanted something quick and easy, and I had narrowed it down to scones or muffins. And it suddenly became very easy. I’m not that much of a muffin-enthusiast, probably because I haven’t found a proper recipe. Scones however… It’s a love story.

I found a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, claiming to be the world’s best scones. I’m very easily lead on by those titles, I fell for it, and made them. Were they the world’s best scones? I don’t know. I haven’t really been that much around the scones block. I mainly eat the ones I get from my job. (That I’ve quit, so I better find a substitute recipe asap! I cannot function without scones) Were they good? Hell, yeah. But the thing is, I made them a little too thin. I managed to make 16, and the recipe yielded 8. So I guess mine came out a little crunchier and crispier than they should be. I’d like them to be a little more chewy, a little more dense. Just a little more. So, don’t do that mistake! Make the exact number according to the recipe, and let me know how it turns out!

I was planning on whipping up some cream to go with them, but I was lazy. But I discovered crème fraiche did the trick. And some day, I’ll do that clotted cream thing, just like the Brits. I’m daydreaming about having a tea-party complete with scones, clotted cream, lemon curd and all that goes along. But for now, serve them with a generous dollop of crème fraiche and some homemade jam on top.

The Cookie? really?

I’m not dead! BUT – my computer died on me, and I’ve been busy reading for my exams, so my blogging activity has been pretty lame. But that’s all in the past, now, right?

Because today I have cookies.
Some cookies I have been pr-e-tty exited about to be honest.
For various reasons:

1: I finally got to crack open my giant chocolate bar I bought at the airport in barcelona.
1 kg of pure dark 70% chocolate. Yes, 1 kg! I couldn’t resist that thing, it was coming home with me. Oh, how I love big food. It kinda turns me on…

2: Browned butter. I’ve heard this stuff transforms ordinar cookies into something quite out of the ordinary – and that’s what my eternal cookie quest is all about! Extraordinary cookies!

3: Chilling the dough. I always skip chilling parts in recipes, and I’ve never ever had the willpower or patience to chill (and not eat) the dough. And not having cookies either. But I believe in this. All good food gets better with time – or not all, but a lot of food gets better if you give it time to develope the flavours.

I mean, how can this possibly fail?
I searched the internet widely before finally deciding on the recipe. But these three steps were mentioned in so many “best chocolate chip cookies”-recipes, there had to be some truth to it. Quality chocolate – check! Chilling the dough – Check! And browned butter – Check! I even caramelized and roasted the nuts. Jeez. Those cookies better be good I tell you!

It was a tough battle between recipes, it came down to three, but I finally chose this one from SugarPlum.

Yield: 50 cookies
(Do feel free to half the recipe – how can anyone have 50 cookies around? Not me! And I also replaced walnuts with hazelnuts. I love hazelnuts and chocolate. That’s me.)

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

1 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200 C/375 F.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Boil 1-2 minutes, whisking frequently, until golden brown; stir in walnuts until well coated. Place on a sheet pan, and bake for 5 minutes or until well toasted; cool.

Melt 1 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue to cook the butter, whisking frequently, until it starts to brown and foam, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking soda; stir in 2 teaspoons salt until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup softened butter, brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar until well combined and grainy, about 1 minute; beat in browned butter for 1 additional minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined; stir in chocolate and walnuts with a wooden spoon until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. (You could speed up this process by placing the dough in the freezer for about 45 minutes.)

Drop 1/4 cup measures of dough onto cookie sheet, forming into large mounds, and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown around edges. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

So….the result. The verdict. The bottom line. The reward for beeing able to let the dough chill in the fridge for several days. (Though some of it strangely may have found its way into my mouth.)
Well, actually I’m a little bit disappointed. Not because the cookies were bad or anything, I just didn’t really notice the big-O-difference. With the browned butter, chilled dough and all. Maybe I didn’t brown it thoroughly enough. Maybe I overchilled the dough? But I thought letting it rest for long was a good thing. Or maybe my expectations simply were too high. They tasted delicious either way. A real crunchy outer crust and a chewy center – packed with chunky pieces of dark quality chocolate. I mean, that’s never wrong. Not in my book. But I’m left with a feeling I did something wrong, or missed out on something. I just don’t know what. I guess I just have to work on it. Practise my browning butter skills. Bake another sheet of cookies for a shorter time. I can start that rightaway, cause I froze most of the dough, so I can have fresh cookies at any time. Ahh, Bree van De Kamp would be so proud. My idol. But still. So many people can’t be mistaking and raving about this cookie for nothing, right? Any experiences out there? I want to get this right! Better roll oup the sleeves again, I guess! This cookie buisness is rough.

Do I dare…. French macarons

chocolate macarons

THE DARING COOKS OCTOBER 2009 CHALLENGE: MACAROONS

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

When I got to know this month’s challenge was french macaroons my first thought was YES! I love macaroons. I fell instantly in love with these wonderful creatures when I was in Paris a few years back. I was wandering down Champs Elysées, and spotted a bakery that I had to enter. There were lots of things to choose from obviously, but the macaroons stacked on the shelves immediately caught my eye. They were so cute, looking like sweet mini-hamburgers, I knew I had to try them. They had all kinds of flavours and colours, but I safed it, and chose the chocolate macaroon. One for me and one for my boyfriend. We went outside and sat down on a bench, and took these mysterious things out of the paper bag. (At this time I had never heard of macaroons, and didn’t know what to expect.) I took a bite – looked at my boyfriend who just did the same – we both smiled and started to giggle. It was sooo good! I didn’t know what to say but smile at this. That crisp shell sandwiched together with a thick layer of tasty chocolate ganache was probably one of the tastiest chocolate-things I had ever eaten. From that day, I was a dedicated macaroon lover.

macarons ready to be sandwiched

I dreamt about it, and started exploring the net looking for recipes, just to realize this was a big thing in the baking world. Big, because of its delicioius taste, its super cute look, the varieties in taste, filling or colour, but also, if not mostly because making macaroons is an art. It takes time. It takes practice. And there are a gazillion ways on how to supposedly get the best result, and I have a long looong way to go when it comes to making perfect macarons. So, after my first thought, I started to move from Yes! to oh-oh, No….. My two previous tries didn’t turn out too well. Not too bad either, but I didn’t get those characteristic feet around the edges. And they were a little uneven in size and shapes. The taste was good, but they were quite flat, and not very impressive looking. Not like the mini-hamburger I had in mind. More like a crèpe, I’m afraid. But third thimes a charm, right?

So, I rolled up my sleeves, put on my apron, and started to bake with great confidence. A little too confident maybe. I had read about what to do to ensure the feet. Letting the piped shells rest for some time before popping them in the oven, stacking them on several baking trays and not over-folding the batter. I tried it all. Though I think I failed at the last one. My bowl was a little too small, and it was hard to fold the batter properly, and it sunk together too much at the end. And my piper was not acting very cooperative, so the batter turned more and more runny as my kitchen got more and more messy.

my macaron shells

I eventually gave up and spooned the batter onto the tray instead, and popped them in the oven. And to my disappointment, no sign of feet. I still had a slight hope maybe one of my 3 trays would grow some feet, but no, not this time either. Arrgh. My kitchen turned against me today, ever had a one of those days? First I managed to continue whisking above the eggwhites, in the air, leaving eggwhites all over my kitchen bench. Then, my piping-instrument was just acting just evil, also leaving a great mess, only this time brown and chocolate flavoured. I had a real yin yang thing going on there… Then, I dropped my bowl of grinded almonds on the floor…. And then, no feet! I think I deserved some feet today. But the taste was good, though. I made all the shells with cocoa powder and decided to be more creative with the filling. I had plain chocolate ganache of course, and used that as a base. I also made some with coffee flavour and some snickers-macaroons, with peanut butter and ganache. Not overly creative, but what can I say – I’m a chocolate lover!

peanut butter and ganache

chocolate ganache

They were all quite good, despite their sad apperance. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I didn’t have too great expectations. So somewhat surprised, I found them really good! They had a crispy edge, with a softer chewy texture, and with a heavenly thick layer of chocolate gancache in between, the missing feet were almost forgotten. The peanut butter-chocolate ones, aka snickers macaroons were delicious too. You gotta love that peanut-chocolate combo! I can’t really say I feel any closer to mastering the art of French macarons yet, but after all, I am an amateur. It was a fun challenge though! And a tasty one! Here’s the recipe!

snickers-macarons

Dorie’s chocolate chip cookies

cookies

Now that autumn is here, there’s something in the air. Something besides leaves and water. Something that makes you crave things, like baked desserts, apple pies and to me also cookies! Chocolate chip cookies, to be exact. It might have something to do with the post where I found this recipe as well. Maybe. But still, I’ve had cookies on my mind for some time now, so it was time to put thoughts into action. Like every other baker, I’m on an everlasting search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Though, I’m not sure if I really want to find the perfect recipe, I mean, the fun is searching and trying, right? Anyway, when I stumbled upon this recipe at slowlikehoney, especially with those mouthwatering photos, I knew I had to give it a try. The fact that the recipe was from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, from my home to yours, gave me even more faith in it. I don’t have the book, but I think I have to purchase it on Ebay or something, because I’ve come across so many delicious things from that book, and everybody says it’s great. So, definitely on my wish list!

I remember when I started baking, my favourite thing to make was probable chocolate chip cookies. Only, we didn’t call them that. My mom has a recipe from her mother, and there, they’re called Old Virgins. Or Gamle Jomfruer, in Norwegian. A kinda strange name for a cookie, indeed, but despite the name, I loved baking and eating them. I remember them as crunchier than a regular ccc, but just as good! And back then, (jeez, it sounds as if I’m waaay old) I hadn’t tasted another ccc, so to me, it was the best. But now, with all my cookbooks, and all the recipes on the internet that are available, I felt that my mom’s old virgins could not possibly be the best. I mean what are the chances? But now, many recipes later, I think maybe they’re not so bad after all. They never were bad, but maybe they were actually better than I imagined. I know for sure I’ve made my batches with not-even-close-to-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies. And wouldn’t it be nice if I came back to that recipe, after all that searching? Like closing the sircle. Hmm, interesting thought. I’ll have to make them again soon to taste what they were really like.

But that was a degression and really has nothing to do with these cookies, because they were, I think, pretty close to perfection! Even though I overbaked them slightly, they still had a chewy center and crispy edges, and large chunks of chocolate and roasted hazelnuts. Just the way I like it. And they even remained chewy, or soft, after cooling, which is not always the case. Hmm, I wonder if this could be it? When do you know, really? I mean I can’t really omit that there is a better recipe out there. But maybe I’ll never get my hands on that one, so for now, I think this is as good as it gets. Chocolate chip cookie heaven.

chocolate chip cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?
Origin: “Baking: From My Home To Yours” by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:
● 2 cups/ 4,5 dl flour
● 1 tsp. salt
● 3/4 tsp. baking soda
● 230 grams/ 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
● 2,3 dl/ 1 cup sugar
● 150 grams / 2/3 cup light brown sugar
● 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
● 2 large eggs
● 300 grams 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I didn’t use all that chocolate, half of it was enough for me)
● 2,3 dl/ 1 cup chopped walnuts (I used hazelnuts instead)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven 190 C degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together.

3. Beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth (you can use a stand mixer, but I don’t have one so I used a hand mixer). Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. By hand with a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate and nuts. The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. (Normally, I put it in the fridge for just a half an hour just to firm it up but this time I couldn’t wait. )

4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10 or 12 minutes, or until they brown at the edges and are golden in the center. Pull sheet from oven and allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool to room temperature.

Serve while hot with a large glass of cold milk. Ahh, the sweet smell and taste of home. Try this recipe today, you won’t be sorry.

Daring Bakers – Chocolate covered marshmallow cookies

coco marshmallow cookie

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

The challenge for july is my second as a daring baker, and a bit more of a real challenge than my first. I chose to make the marshmallows, because I’ve always wanted to try making that at home, but I never got around to actually do it. But a kick in my ass from the DB was just what I needed. So today, on a lazy Sunday, I made marshallows for the first time! I’m glad I did it today when I had the enitre day free, because it turned out to be quite time consuming. At least for me. But hey, I’m not a pro! It was a little messy, the dough was sticky and there were chocolate all over the kitchen and my legs at one point, but it was worth it when I look at those pretty little things now. They look so sweet!

There were three stages of this challenge.
1: The cookie. 2: The marshmallow. 3: The chocolate.
First I started to make the cookie dough. I reduced the amount to 2/3, because I wanted a smaller cookie to marshmallow ratio. More of the good stuff! The dough making itself was no problem. I wrapped it in cling foil and put it in the fridge. Meanwhile, me and my boyfriend went for a walk. Picked some flowers, spotted some raspberries I had to taste, and when the sun appeared, we had to have ice cream. I was given a giant soft ice, oh man, it was so big, even for me. 15 cm height from the cone? Needless to say lunch was excluded. Back home, the dough was nice and chilled. On a floured surface I started to roll out the dough, trying to get it as thin as possible. This was a problem because the dough stuck to the bench and my fingers. I added more flour, but it was still very sticky. With a whisky glass I cut out small rounds of dough, and did my best to transfer them to a baking sheet, still as a round. After a while a started making balls with my hands and pressing them flat instead. It was just easier. And some time later I had many, many cookies. I think I made about 40 small cookies. I baked them until golden brown, and allowed them to cool on a rack.

not so flat cookies

The marsmallow was a little challenge as well. But after all, it is called daring baker challenge. I replaced the corn syrup with golden syrup, and combined it with water and sugar in a saucepan and brang to the boil. I don’t have a candy thermometer, and really not much experience with candy making, so I didn’t really know exactly when it would reach soft ball stage. I had an idea about how it would look, though, and trusted my instincts. It boiled for a few minutes, but when it started to colour, I removed it from the heat. It had thickened a lot, and was a lot more sirupy then before, but not quite firm enough to shape a ball. But I didn’t want it to caramelize either, so I let it be like that. I added the gelatine and poured this mix and vanilla into my already whipped eggwhites. Then I continued whipping until it would turn stiff. But it wouldn’t. So I added one more eggwhite. Uh uh, still not. I added more gelatine. Noooo. And after some more gelatine I finally saw it starting to thicken, and gradually turning stiff. I transfered it to my dessert decorator (pastry bag) and piped a marshmallow kiss onto each cookie. They looked so sweet at this point and I had just enough marshmallow for my cookies! Hooray! 2 down, 1 to go!

naked marshmallows

The chocolate.
This should be easy enough. Chocolate and oil in a bowl over simmering water. When it was completely melted I was ready to start dipping. I was a little afraid the marhsmallows weren’t stiff enough, and that this would turn out even messier than the cookie dough, but it was no problem at all! They were all stiff, so that was easy peasy. When done, I sprinkled some of them with coco, and waited for the chocolate to set. It was said to take about 1 to 2 hours, but after that time they still weren’t completely set. So I put it in the fridge. It seemed to help, at least as long as they were chilled. Once they reached room temperature they started to melt again. But after all it’s summer, and what’s the problem storing them in the fridge anyway? Fine by me. Nevertheless, I decided to try making them firm. You see, I had a lot of excess chocolate, so I thought I would give them a double dip. I just added some more chocolate, cause I have a feeling I might have used too much oil. So once again, I gave them a little chocolate bath, and put it in the fridge. They seemed a little firmer, but I can’t really say whether they set or not, because I put them in the fridge right away. So with a little extra effort they came out really well! They were so cute, looked quite professional (some of them, anyway) and tasted absolutely delicious.

coconut sprinkled

This was a great challenge that I really loved. Finally I’ve made marshmallows at home. And it wasn’t as hard as I imagined, so I’ll probably make these again. I was a little sick of everything sweet when they finally were done, but the next day they tasted divine. It was the perfect after dinner sweet. Perfect size, just a mouthful. I have a feeling I’ll be munching on these the rest of the evening, and the evenings to come. There’s really no other way. Chocolate covered marshmallows are all I see when I open the frigde. They’re everywhere! And there’s 40 of them. I’ll just have to work my way through everyone of them. Well, I guess worse things could happen.

mallows

Melt in your mouth scones

scones

When I served these scones to my very scone-loving friend yesterday, the first thing she said was – Well, first there was a mmm-sound, but the second thing she uttered was: They really melt in your mouth! (Or literally, she said melt on your tongue, because that’s what we say in Norway) Little did she know that this recipe was actually named “Melt in your mouth scones”. So, I guess that leaves me no other choice than calling them that, though I feel I steal the heading from it’s origin. But, at least I’ve explained myself.

I found the recipe at savorysweetlife, and after one look at that picture, there was no going back. It looked divine, like the rest of the photos there. A really beautiful blog that’s become a recent favourite of mine. And now that I have all this raw jam, this was perfect. It didn’t take long either. Within 30 minutes you can take a bite into these babies. I haven’t made scones for many many years, because I get my supply from work. And I’ve been thinking they are the best, so why bother making my own? Well, I’m glad I did. They were so delicious, and with a completely different texture. Light and crumbly and let’s net forget, they melt in your mouth. Say it with me! Melt in your mouth! Ok, I think you’re ready. I think you got it by now. Make these scones, bring out your best china, serve them with jam, butter or cream and a cup of tea, and feel them melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:
4,5 dl flour
1 ts baking powder
4 ts sugar
1/2 ts salt
4 ts cold butter
1,7 dl heavy cream
1 egg slightly beaten
1 ts vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200 C. Put flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter in a food processor. Pulsate everything for a few seconds, until everything resembles course meal. Transfer everything to a large bowl and stir in the heavy cream, egg and vanilla. Mix together until the dough is slightly sticky, but dry enough to be rolled out. On a floured surface roll out the dough and cut in desired shapes. I rolled it out, cut it in 10 pieces (though it was meant to be 16, but they must have been miniature scones) and made little squares with my hands. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, but not for too long. They are best served while still warm. Especially paired with a thick layer of homemade jam and whipped cream. It’s allright, there’s hardly any sugar in them, so you need to even it out. Enjoy!

scones and tea

Satisfactory chocolate chip cookies – but not the best ever

chocolate chip cookies

At least this batch wasn’t. But don’t be mislead by the title of this post. The cookies are good, great actually! Nothing wrong with them, I guess I just hoped for more. But that is so individual, so they might be perfect in your taste! I love cookies, and like so many others I’m on an everlasting search for the ulitmate chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even so, I haven’t experimented that much with it, so whenever I see a recipe that includes the words “best” and “ever” I’m intrigued. Easily influenced, me? Nooo….

This was one of those recipes. Simply named: Best chocolate chip cookies ever. I found it on one of my many favourite food blogs: www.visionsofsugarplum.com
And the photos were so tempting too, by far the most beautiful cookies I have laid my eyes on. They looked soo delicious. These cookies had to be made.

I had faith in this recipe. There were several aspects that made me believe this could be it. The holy grail of chocolate chip cookies. Number one: Browned butter. Butter is good, so browned butter in addition had to be even better. Never heard of that in a cookie recipe before, so I was curious about this. Number two: Yeast. In a cookie recipe? Really? Interesting. Number three: Chilling the dough. Ok, that’s probably no culinary epiphany, but I’ve never done it before, cause when I bake cookies, I crave them and want instant satisfaction. Anything that will slow me down will be left out as far as it goes. There were several other tricks that made this recipe special, but these were the things I focused on. The original recipe from visionsofsugarplum follows, but I made a few adjustments. I used regular salt instead of kosher, I replaced granulated sugar with demerara, and used toasted hazelnuts instead of walnuts.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (60%)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue to cook the butter, whisking frequently, until it starts to brown and foam, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking soda; stir in yeast and salt until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined and grainy, about 1 minute; beat in browned butter for 1 additional minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined; stir in chocolate and walnuts with a wooden spoon until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. (You could speed up this process by placing the dough in the freezer for about 40 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a cookie sheet.

Drop 1/4 cup measures of dough onto cookie sheet, forming into large mounds, and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown around edges. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

Makes 16 large cookies

When I took them out of the oven, the first feeling of disappoinment hit me. My cookies didn’t look anything like hers….. Her cookies looked a lot better. But hey, it’s what inside that counts, right?
I snapped a few pictures, and took a bite. Hmm. Chewy and soft, but not so much crisp and buttery. And according to Emily, hers were all that. But, I guess I have to blame myself and no one else. I didn’t really measure up the butter, and I have a feeling I might have used to little. I was missing that crunchy buttery feeling only butter can give. When will I have to learn. Measure when baking!!! Especially with new recipes… I have to make this again to do the recipe justice. You live you learn I guess. Some just slower than other. But this is starting to sound like a cookie disaster, but it wasn’t at all. They were good, but not good enough to conclude that this is the best chocolate chip cookie ever. The hunt continues!