The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

Archive for August 2010

Childhood memories- The Gingersnaps That Bite Back

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I grew up on Marks and Spencer’s gingersnaps… the crispy cookie that goes so beautifully with milk encompasses a good bit of my childhood memories. There’s just something about the sharp taste of the spices, so beautifully different from the normal vanilla softness that attracts me.

So when I started baking, I began to search for a good gingersnap recipe, the first one that i found was from 17andbaking.com (awesome girl that runs this blog, she puts 21 yr old me to shame. =( ) The cookies were amazing! But somehow although tasty, they weren’t sharp enough for my palette… besides it used canola oil which is banned by my sister in our household…. Sadly, i resumed my search for gingersnaps, and found a great recipe on allrecipes.com.. unfortunately, it looked like it wasn’t going to work out. So i took the spice portions from 17andbaking, and tweaked them based on experience, added them to the proportions of the allrecipes.com, tweaked them some more…. and these are…

The Gingersnaps That Bite Back

They’re not really perfect yet, they don’t look pretty enough, but they do taste amazing and they pack a punch. Please don’t attempt these if you don’t like the taste of these spices because they are LOUD. You won’t ever get bored eating these, and I’d probably munch them with a glass of milk tonight. =)

Inspiration from allrecipes.com and 17andbaking.com

Ingredients

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter

1cup – 1tbsp raw sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup molasses

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir the mixture thoroughly to blend evenly.
  3. Beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the raw sugar, make sure both are well beaten until fluffy. Beat in the egg, and molasses. Mix in flour mixture in thirds, until a soft dough is formed.
  4. Roll into balls between your hands, size depends on the size of gingersnaps you like to eat! The bigger the cookie, the more likely it cracks prettily.Flatten ball on baking sheet and tap some sugar on the top. Place 1 1/2 inches apart.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until cookies are dark brown and crack, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.

I cool my cookies on the kitchen floor. =) It’s cleaned everyday. =)

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Written by Musingsat

August 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm

A new addiction- Oatmeal raisin cookies

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I have a confession to make. I strongly despise oatmeal raisin cookies… or at least, i did. I mean… OATMEAL? Rabbit food if it ever was. And raisins? They just remind me of hamster droppings. I’m more a double chocolate chunk cookie drenched in caramel sauce kind of girl. Unfortunately (or fortunately whichever way you see it), the people in my life love oatmeal raisin cookies…
So the other day, I attempted oatmeal raisin cookies for them. They failed miserably, turning out like oatmeal cakes instead…
Thankfully, the recipe below isn’t the one that produced the remarkable failure. It’s the recipe that I tried after the failure, which succeeded beautifully. I think I’m a convert…. these cookies are seriously addictive. They are definitely not rabbit food. My boyfriend is addicted as well, which is great, except i think i’d be baking these cookies forever.
Sadly, my sister feels that good as they are, the cookies are not yet the essence of awesome… they’re missing something. But i have no idea what it is, if you do try the cookies and find the changes, do let me know!
[Edit: I found my missing ingredient! It’s 1/4tsp of cloves]

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

adapted from bigoven
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups Butter
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup Sugar (I used brown instead.)
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking soda (I use less, like 1/2 tsp)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg (Considering increasing this next time to 1/2 tsp)
3 cups Oats quick or old-fashioned
1 cup Raisins
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (I soak the raisins in hot water to soften them as well.)

Beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add combined flour, baking soda, salt and spices; mix well. Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I roll the cookies into balls with my hands instead cos they hold their form well enough)

Bake 8-9 minutes for chewy; 10-11 minutes for crunchy cookies. (I had a lot of trouble with the timings given, what I do is to set my timer at 9mins and watch they carefully until they brown. Timings are iffy things, they work differently on different ovens. So watch yours carefully!)

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Remove to wire rack. Eat!!

Store whatever is left tightly covered so they won’t get stolen by greedy things…

Written by Musingsat

August 20, 2010 at 6:37 am

Posted in Cookies, Healthy, Oats

Minimizing wastage of sour cream!- Mozzarella bites

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After that chocolate cake, I was left with 1/4 cup of sour cream… how to use up such a itsy bitsy bit of sour cream??? Besides, I was feeling lazy…. so it had to be something easy!

Mozzarella Bites

adapted from  allrecipes.com

Ingredients (i divided the recipe by three because i only had that much sour cream)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I omited this because i hate baking soda. =P)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water (used milk instead)
  • 2 tbsp of mozzarella cheese because my mother wanted me to clear it up… don’t ask.

Directions

  1. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add sour cream and mix to a soft dough. Add additional water if necessary.
  2. With well floured hands shape dough into round biscuit shapes. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 12 minutes.

Written by Musingsat

August 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

Overcoming my fears- The Chocolate Domingo Cake

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The first time in my life that i baked a cake, it was a HUGE FAILURE. It looked beautiful, smelled beautiful and tasted like bitter cardboard.

That was the last time that i ever attempted cake baking…. until the other day, when my friends turned 21…

In junior college, we were a tight bunch and it seemed so cold to just purchase a cake from the bakery for them. So i swallowed my pride, and choked down my fear, and set about conquering The Cake.

To make matters worse, the place where we were meeting for their birthday was far from home and a normal cake with frosting/a cheesecake would never keep over the long distance. Travelling via public transport would also entail jostling and outright violence. Not a good cake carrying environment at all.

So i decided to bake The Chocolate Domingo Cake. Hailed as THE ONE by certain websites… i was banking all my hope on its amazingness…

Interestingly, this cake uses the reverse creaming method, and instead of just mixing it barely enough to moisten the dry ingredients, you have to beat it hard and beat it long. Much better in my opinion.

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Chocolate Domingo Cake

Ingredients:

42g Dutch cocoa powder
160g sour cream
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
156g sifted cake flour
200g castor sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 180′C.

In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining cocoa mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin (23cm diameter greased and lined springform tin) and smooth the surface with a spatula. The tin will be about half full.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre.

Let the cake cool in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto a greased wire rack. Reinvert so that the top is up and cool completely before wrapping airtight.

Decorate with icing sugar, no frosting needed!

And it was well worth the effort. =)

Written by Musingsat

August 2, 2010 at 10:19 am

Posted in Cakes, Chocolate