Thursday, July 17, 2008

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are not chewy, but not crispy either. Nor are they powdery. These are soft cookies. Soft, as in cake-like, light, but not squishy. They would dissolve in your mouth, not melt.

These are some pretty tasty cookies.

I think the reason for the soft texture is that all the ingredients are beaten in. This adds quite a lot of air into the batter, making the final result light. I have been told that to make chewy cookies, the best way is to use melted butter. I don't if if this is true, but seems to make sense. Using melted butter would eliminate the creaming step, therefore incorporating less air into the batter. In turn, the cookie will not rise as much, resulting in a denser, chewier, texture. If you want to try this I the best way would be too mix the melted butter (cooled until you can put your finger in it easily) with the eggs, and combine the sugar with the flour mixture. Then you slowly incorporate the dry ingredients with the egg-butter. Stir or use an electric mixer until you get a smooth dough. If you try this, please tell me about it, I would love to you your results!

I found the cookies to have a slight "baking soda" taste that I did not really like. No one else could taste it, but I think that next time I make the cookies, I will use baking powder.

If you do not know how to cream, please visit my explanation about it.

Now for the recipe: it is Baking Bite's "Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies" with my comments in [brackets]

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda [next time I will use 2 tsp baking powder]

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups brown sugar [I used slightly more than 1 cup]

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda [powder] and salt. [I sifted everything together, but note that since the recipe does not specify sifted flour in the ingredients list, you should measure the flour unsifted first]

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light, about 2 minutes.

Beat in vanilla extract and egg until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in all the flour mixture, stopping when the dough has just come together and no streaks of flour remain.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Place slightly rounded tablespoons of dough on baking sheet. [here, basically use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out dough and a knife to remove most of the excess]
Bake for 9-11 [it was more around 15] minutes, until just golden around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. [let the cookies cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then let them cool completely on a rack to prevent the bottom from getting soggy]

Makes 3 dozen.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Peach Crumble

First of all, this is not peach cobbler (recipe). From what I understand from wikipedia, crumbles and crisps have a topping that crumbles and does not have leavening. On the other hand, cobbler is fruit topped with something that is leavened, either cake-like or biscuits.
Anyways, back to the crumble. I found this recipe in Cook's Illustrated (July/August 2006) and I decided to make it for the Fourth of July. The vanilla in the topping was a delicious counterpart to the acidic peaches, but during the hour and a half between the moment when I took it out of the oven and the moment I served it, the topping had dissolved a little into the peaches.


Peach Filling
  • 3 1/2 lbs ripe but firm peaches
  • 0-1/3 cup sugar (depending on how sweet the peaches are)
  • 1 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 3-5 tsp lemon juice (depending on how acidic the peaches are)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeng
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt (exclude if using salted butter)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp butter: soft and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 c sliced almonds
  1. Slice the peaches into 4-6 slices (about 3/4 inch width at the fattest part)
  2. Toss the peaches with the the sugar (if using) and lemon juice, and let sit while you are making the topping.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if convection)
  4. Combine flour, sugars, 1/4 cup of almonds, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl and rub the butter into the flour (this is called cutting the butter into flour)either using your fingertips, a food processor, or a pastry cutter until the mixture forms clumps.
  5. Stir in the remaining almonds.
  6. Transfer mixture to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread into a flat, even layer. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. While the topping is baking, drain some of the peach juice into a small bowl with the cornstarch and spices. Mix the liquid back into the peaches and toss them like a salad.
  8. Transfer the peaches to a 9" pie plat or an 8x8" nonreactive dish (glass is best.)
  9. When topping is baked use a knife or spoon to break it into 1" pieces.
  10. Pick up the parchment paper and pour the topping on top of the peaches. Even out the layer.
  11. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling around the edges.
  12. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Poll Results! Which type of chocolate do you prefer?

6 (50%)
5 (41%)
1 (8%)
No me gusta chocolate!
0 (0%)

Votes so far: 12

Poor little white chocolate, only 1 vote! Here's my theory why: the thing we all love about chocolate is the flavor and feeling we get from it. White chocolate has no cocoa powder, therefore does not taste like chocolate. Personally I like white "chocolate", but dark chocolate just has so many more deep flavors. To you milk chocolate fans, I suppose that you enjoy the sweet creaminess of the light brown squares. I find milk chocolate too sweet, but then again, I find many, many things too sweet, so dark chocolate is the sweet for me.

If dark chocolate is considered a candy, it is my favorite.

Everyone likes chocolate! Yay!