The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

Archive for December 2010

How to survive Christmas without going crazy.

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I can’t believe this but I’m actually quite relieved that Christmas is over. It was an awesomely happy Christmas, but the baking and the present making was really quite tiring. Whew. But then again, most of it was really my fault. This year with the whole month mostly free, I wanted to up the ante and do something awesome.

So instead of buying gifts for people who could probably afford anything they wanted… I made all my gifts. And instead of baking gingerbread men again as usual, I made little gingerbread houses for all my close friends.

Which leads me to the awesome main theme of today’s post.

The Opinionated Baker’s Guide to Surviving Christmas Baking Without Going Crazy.

1. Do your research

Get your recipe from a trusted source to ensure no failures. It’s tiring enough to bake for so many people, failed attempts will just make things worse. Better yet, use a recipe that you have at least made once and be sure that you will be able to make it in large quantities without killing yourself.

Likewise, if you’re baking gingerbread houses, get your templates ready, cut them out and flour them. I got mine from here and I shrank them by half. It also helps to read all the house assembling tutorials for ideas on decorations and assembling details. I found this tutorial pretty useful.

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Written by Musingsat

December 26, 2010 at 7:53 am

Posted in Christmas, Cookies, Craft, Ginger

Brunch at Food for Thought (Review)

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Brunch always brings to mind a lazy sunny afternoon. A place untouched by time, with heavenly aromas of scrambled eggs and sausage wafting about like little fairies… No stress in mind and no deadlines to rush… Ahhh…

To celebrate mel’s birthday, we went to Food for Thought to try their brunch menu. There is something about the place that really delights me. Maybe it’s the roomy all white interior, or the delicious food… maybe it’s the smell of freshly cooked food wafting about the restaurant. Maybe it’s the fact that all the photos I took here turned out beautiful due to the superior lighting…. Or, maybe it’s how they’re always engaged in community projects like providing water for people in third world countries and education for the less fortunate.

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Written by Musingsat

December 8, 2010 at 9:59 am

The (not so secret) secret to chocolate chip cookies

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I cannot believe that the secret to good chocolate chip cookies is something so ridiculously easy. It seems unfair that after everybody’s frantic tweaking of ingredients, the addition of strange things like mayonnaise and such… in hopes that they would be the ones to stumble on the holy grail of perfect cookies… the trick was so simple. And why did it take us so long to figure out anyway? Tsk. I lose hope in modern science. It took a newspaper named The New York Times to famous-nise the technique..

Just chill the dough for 36 hours before baking it. Like that. The end. oh yeah, and eat immediately out of the oven… (like we ever could wait)

It seems that cookies just like people need time to mature. Thank goodness these cookies only take 36 hours. Although, i can think of many people who behave like they’d need to spend 36 years in my fridge before they should come out and interact with society. It seems that the time they have to reflect on their actions in the fridge helps the flavors to better permeate the cookie and yada yada, I wouldn’t worry too much about the “how” if I were you, but more of the “yum”.

I found these Mature Cookies to have an interesting layer of “skin”, it’s a little hard, like caramel and really quite fun to eat. It’s difficult to describe… you should probably try baking them yourself.

Another good trick to awesome cookies is to make them big. Use an ice-cream scoop to measure out your cookie dough and you should be safe… Unless you’re like me, surrounded by people worried about their weight. Then you just have to compromise on the texture and make them small, like those in the picture *sad face*. Making them big will help them to maintain the mix of texture within the cookie, from the crisp edges to the chewy middles.

I didn’t actually use the official Jacque Torres recipe, because who has bread flour lying around at home? ¬†Or expensive high end chocolate for that matter. I did use the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that I baked a while back (complete with ugly photos. =( ) just to prove that the technique works with all cookie dough recipes! No need to run out and buy bread flour and expensive chocolate! Oh joy oh rapture!

Thanks mel for spreading the good news and convincing the patience-challenged. =)

Written by Musingsat

December 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies

The Opinionated Baker

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My blog has been undergoing a bit of an identity change. It’s something that I’ve been contemplating for a long long time and it’s finally in motion! Just in time for Christmas too. =)

Written by Musingsat

December 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized