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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever. Yup. I'm not exaggerating. I usually don't even like chocolate chip cookies, but these just have a richer flavor since they're made by browning butter. Mmm.

Snow days really are not good when you are supposedly "on a diet," because I either end up eating all of the snacks in my house or baking even more goodies to get fat off of.

Here is the recipe, from Cook's Illustrated adapted by Baker's Royale.

1 ¾ c unbleached all purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
½ t baking soda
14 T unsalted butter (1 ¾ sticks)
½ c granulated sugar (3 ½ ounces)
½  c packed dark brown sugar (6 ounces)
¼ c moscovado sugar (2 ounces) - you can substitute this with any type of brown sugar
1 t table salt - if you use salted butter, omit this.
3 t vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ c semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ c of chopped nuts (optional)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line two 18×12 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
2. Whisk flour and baking soda.
3. Heat 10 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted about 2 minutes. Continue stirring for another 1-3 minutes until brown and there is a nutty aroma. Remove from heat. Pour heated butter through a sieve into a heat proof bowl. Stir in remaining butter until completely melted.
4. Add all three sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully combined. Add egg and egg yolk, whisk until mixture is smooth and no sugar lumps remains, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes then whisk for another 30 seconds.
5. Repeat step four 2 more times until mixture is thick and shiny.
6. Stir in flour until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts until combined.
7. Use an ice cream scoop to form cookies. Place dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
8. Bake cookies one tray at a time, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking. Bake until cookies are golden brown and still puffy. Approximately 10-14 minutes.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How to get rid of cake mix when you're tired of cake

My mom bought a box of orange cake mix a while ago (don't ask me why, I don't know why either), and it's been sitting in our pantry for quite a while. It snowed today, again, and I was bored so I decided to do something with it.

Here's a cookie recipe which you can use to get rid of cake mix! This was inspired by lemon drop cookies, so I'm not sure if this recipe would work with other cake mixes like chocolate or vanilla, but citrus-y flavors are definitely a go.

Cake Mix Citrus Cookies Recipe
1 box of citrus flavored cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 tbsp. flour
2 eggs
Small bowl of confectioners sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375, prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
2. Pour out 1 box of cake mix into a medium-large bowl. If you're not too worried about wasting cake mix, take out 2 tbsp of the mix and replace it with 2 tbsp normal all purpose flour. This is to diminish the citrus-y flavor and make it a bit less pronounced- I found that without this modification, the cookies were almost TOO citrus-y. But if that's what you like, that's fine too!
3. Add 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil to the cake mix. Mix the ingredients together until cookie dough forms.
4. Roll up small balls of dough and drop into confectioners sugar. Coat with the sugar and place onto baking sheet, each cookie about 1-2'' apart.
5. Place baking sheet into oven and bake for 10 minutes. This varies depending on your oven so check the cookies regularly!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Takahachi Bakery in NYC

I forgot to mention this other bakery I love in NYC, it's called the Takahachi Bakery. They have a great selection of Asian style pastries and breads, but they also have a lot of other sweets like cupcakes, macarons, etc. This great combo of different styles is what makes Takahachi so appealing. It was so hard to choose what to get.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New York, New York

I love New York City. Anybody who knows me can I attest to how obsessed I am with it. From the scenery to the characteristic honking of cabs to the amazing food, New York has it all. I really need to get out of suburbia (help!).

I took these pictures at Eataly, which is an indoor food market located near the Flatiron Building. I love the food markets in NYC. Chelsea Market is another one of my favorites.

I also got to visit Magnolia Bakery's small store at Grand Central Station. Any foodie recognizes a Magnolia cupcake by the signature icing swirl. It tastes even better than it looks, though. The cake is rich but not too heavy, it's still reasonably fluffy. 

I don't know when I'll get to go to New York again, but hopefully I can soon. I'm going to England over Spring Break, but England isn't particularly known for it's food, so I'll just have to make do. Hopefully I find a few cute pastry shops here and there. 

Mom's Birthday Mocha Biscoff Cake

I made this back in August for my mom's birthday. It was a half-day long endeavor, but I was happy with the end result! It's a little hard after refrigerating it, probably because of all the butter (hahaha...) but once you let it thaw it tastes great! I used Sprinkebake's recipe, posted below. Next time I'll probably cut down some on the sugar.

RECIPE credits to 
modified slightly, I used butter instead of shortening
Espresso cake
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment circles. Grease paper, set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda and salt onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper.  Set aside. Combine water and espresso powder. Let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl. Place 1/4 cup of this mixture along with the white vegetable shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix until well incorporated. Add the rest of the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the espresso mixture; blend well. Add eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pans then turn out onto wire racks for further cooling.  Peel off wax paper and discard.
  4. For the heart template: Trace the bottom of a cake pan on wax paper, cut out the 9" circle. Fold it in half and cut into a heart shape.  Lay the paper heart on the cake and trim it down if it doesn't comfortably fit inside the cake's circumference.  Stack cooled cakes and place template on top; make strait cuts around the template with a serrated knife using a sawing motion until the heart shape is achieved. 
  5. Reserve cake scraps for breakfast, if desired. 
Biscoff filling
1 cup Biscoff spread or other cookie butter spread (I found mine at Trader Joe's!) 
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
  1. Place all ingredients except heavy cream or milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat until well incorporated.  If mixture is dry add milk or heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time until a smooth consistency is achieved.  Mixture should be thick but spreadable.
Mocha-Biscoff buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Biscoff spread or other cookie butter spread
1/2 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Combine softened butter, Biscoff and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until well combined. Add espresso powder and cocoa powder.  Mix again; scrape down sides of bowl and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.  
  2. Transfer half of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip. Pipe lines diagonally lines across the top of the cake (see picture for heart cake instructions) allowing the icing to overhang the edges. Smooth piped edges down onto the edge of the cake with a metal spatula. Frost sides of cake with remaining frosting. 


You're probably wondering what I mean by "stress-baking." 

Instead of sleeping or drinking my problems away, I bake. Test next day? Psh...I'll make time to bake. Baking is one of my favorite things to do, except I usually end up forcing other people to eat what I make in fear that I'll gain weight. Ah, the lifelong battle of having a metabolism as slow as a 100 year old turtle. Sometimes I really wish I could sell all the food I make at school, but we're only allowed to do that for clubs, and apparently my college fund account doesn't count as a club.