The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

Chocolate and Butterscotch Chip Cookies

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It’s been a long time ol’ baking blog of mine. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you baby. It’s just been a tough few months.

Okay, maybe not ‘few’. It’s been a long 7 months.

Quick summary: Did an internship with Coke, went through a bad breakup, left Singapore to study for half a year Hawaii, mended my broken heart in Hawaii and fell in love with the place.

I’m currently in Hawaii, definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been. It’s like living in a dream. A beautiful dream that I never want to end.

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Written by Musingsat

November 11, 2011 at 3:10 am

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

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

Unpretentious cookies- The Chewy

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There’s something special about chocolate chip cookies. It’s a crowd favourite and nobody can say no to a chocolate chip cookie… at least not honestly. It’s unhealthy, and yet oh so irresistible. You can dress it up with expensive dark chocolate, or dress it down with normal baking milk chocolate… and yet no matter what, it remains so unpretentious and true to itself.

I was chilling with a girlfriend the other day, and she was telling me how there were people who automatically judged her as a pretentious bitch based on her accent. Although she’s indian, the words that flow from her mouth naturally take on an American accent. And yet, that’s just the way she is. Born and bred in India and Singapore, she probably watched one to many American sitcoms as a child…

But the point is, none of those people know who she really is as a person. If they don’t even know who she really is, how can they judge her to be pretending?

Thank goodness chocolate chip cookies are naturally unpretentious… thus saving themselves from the heartache of being harshly judged by the uninformed world. These are cookies that you can safely bring for a gathering or to give away, without people deeming you as a show-off or something mean. Because as much as we wished that the world was made of puppies and sunshine… it’s not.

But no fear, ugly as the world may be… at least you still have chocolate chip cookies to eat. And they’re really good too. Although not as good as the Neiman Marcus cookies that I did the other round…but then again…I didn’t strictly follow the recipe, maybe if you do, they’ll turn out superb!

Alton Brown’s The Chewy

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour (I had no bread flour! So I subst with all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. (The butter must be REALLY hot at this step so that it can help in melting the sugar, don’t burn yourself!) Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough (this step is VERY IMPT. Don’t skip it! Chill for min. of 5 hours) then (scoop with an ice-cream scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Written by Musingsat

September 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies

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. =)

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