Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ebony and Ivory

I have been working on Maria's wedding cake. Maria has a favorite baker named Dorie Greenspan who is the author of numerous cook books including Maria's favorite, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Maria wants her wedding cake to be from Dorie's book so we have tried a few different chocolate cake recipes to find the perfect one.

We first tried a milk chocolate cake with Vanilla Swiss Meringue frosting. The cake was not quite chocolaty enough and frosting (though fun to work with) was like eating raw butter (not too tasty!)

Next up: we tried a devils food cake with chocolate frosting. This cake has four different kinds of chocolate (cocoa, bittersweet, semisweet, and unsweetened). It has a dark, fudgey, moist interior spotted with chocolate chips which is perfectly contrasted by the fluffy chocolate frosting. (I took this cake to a ward party...hence the decorations.)

It was perfect! If you read my previous post (I'm in Love!) you'll know that I am not a big cake fan but this was absolutely delicious. Yea!

Sticking with the black and white theme. I made some chocolate crinkle cookies with chocolate chips and a dollop of raspberry jam in the middle. They were very rich...but absolutely delicious!

Little Cuties but Big Flops

I have made a bunch of cute little treats here and there but haven't posted them...all of them turned out super cute but were not very tasty!
Maria and I are always trying to perfect our French Macaroon Recipe. I tried to make Martha Stewart's Macaroon frosting for these was disgusting! But they looked oh so cute!

If you haven't hear, I am helping with my friend Maria's wedding. She is having a black and white theme so we thought these Black and White Stripe cookies might be good.

The dough was a chocolate/vanilla shortbread that was pressed together and then accurately sliced (this was pretty fun such I'm such a scientist at heart!).

The cookies looked oh so cute when they were finished...but the taste was very...blah!

These little appetizers were made for the cooking contest we had for FHE. The choux pastry was filled with a mixture of eggs, mayo, bacon bits, and Dijon mustard. They looked so cute when they were plated...but they were absolutely disgusting!!!

I'm in Love!

Holy cow! I didn't realize that it had been so long since I posted something on my blog. I have been so busy with finals and presentations and etc. etc. etc. Hallelujah that summer has finally arrived!

So I have titled this post "I'm in Love!" and it's totally true! I have finally found what I have been looking for for the past 15+ years...the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

It may be surprising for people to learn that Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite dessert. You might think that cake is my favorite since I make so many of them but I don't really like to eat cake...I just think they are fun to decorate.

Chocolate Chip Cookies are the most perfect dessert. A little bit of chocolate mixed with a buttery soft cookie...what could be greater? The dough is yummy before it's cooked and the cookies are yummy when they are warm and gooey right out of the oven but I think they are even yummiest when they are frozen and dunked in ice cold milk!

There's only one problem...the post-oven fall. Don't tell me you haven't experienced it. You put your delicious balls of dough in the oven and then watch as they spread and rise. They look so perfect and golden and then you take them out of the oven and...splat...they go flat. How depressing!

But recently I found a recipe that is perfect. It is chocolaty and buttery and crisp and soft. But best of all the cookies stay poofey when they come out of the oven...I think my life is complete! Sigh...

One Pot Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Abigail Johnson Dodge in The Weekend Baker

Makes 26 cookies

8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut in 4 pieces
½ cup (4 ounces/113 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces/71 grams) granulated sugar
1 ½ cups (6 ¾ ounces/191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips (feel free to substitute white chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips)
½ cup (2 ounces/57 grams) coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts are my favorite – no need to toast), optional

1 – Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners (I like the Silpat).

2 – Put the butter in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside to let cool, about 5 minutes.

3 – In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Once the butter mixture has cooled, add the egg and vanilla and whisk until blended. Pour in the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts, if using.

4 – Using a small ice-cream scoop (about 1 2/3 inches/4.25 cm in diameter) or 2 tablespoons, drop scant 2-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, arranging them about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) apart. (At this point, the loaded cookie sheets can be slipped into the freezer until the cookies are frozen, about 1 hour. Then transfer the cookies to heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, remove from the freezer, arrange on lined cookie sheets, and leave on the counter to thaw slightly while the oven heats.)

5 – Bake 1 sheet at a time (make sure to use a cooled sheet for the second batch until the cookies are light golden around the edges and puffed, about 12 minutes. If these cookies are over baked, the won’t come out chewy. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, lift the cookies from the sheet onto a rack and let cool completely.

Storage: Layer the baked and cooled cookies between parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You don’t even need to thaw them completely. They’re just as delicious cold.

BIG Cookie Variation: Scoop 1/4 – cup portions and arrange 3 inches (7.75 cm) apart on prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the mounds slightly with lightly floured fingertips. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are light golden around the edges and puffed, about 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool as directed for the regular sized cookies. Makes 10 cookies.