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Jahresarchive: 2006

Cold Weather, Warm Cookies

The weather here in S.C has been playing tricks on us. We were wearing shorts under sunny skies and 80 degrees last week and today it’s chilly but the sun is still bright and warm. I crave something light but still chocolatey when it’s like this. I have been baking dozens of different types of chocolate chip cookies in the past year trying to find that elusive "Perfect One" and I think I have found the ones that fit both our preferences.
I am a sweets fanatic (duh…), and B. is known as the Cookie Monster. I don’t eat cookies or even thought I liked cookies until I had these a few minutes after they are out of the oven. Buttery, melt in your mouth and soft in the center. For me a cookie is like a mom: scents of vanilla, crunchy on the edges but the womb is soft and warm. Once these are cooled and in a tin, I could care less about having one and generally prefer a nice slide of Gateau de Savoie or a big spoonful of Fudgy Brownies, but not with these.. straight out of the oven, still burning my tongue ever so slightly.

These cookies are courtesy of Tish Boyle, Food Editor for Chocolatier Magazine. The plate is resting on one of her books, Chocolate Passion, co-authored by Moriarty.

Soft Baked Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/ 2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
2/3 cups walnuts (optional, I omitted these)
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, whisk together the melted butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate and walnuts. (the dough can be refrigerated, well wrapped for up to 4 dyas or frozen for up to a month) (if you’re gonna make cookie dough, wouldn’t you want to use it right away?…I’ve always found that part of recipe rather funny)
Using a 2tbs. scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared sheets , spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake 2 sheets at a time 15 to 18 minutes, until just browned around the edges. The centers should be soft and slightly puffy (just like my mama’s belly)
Makes about 2 dozens…if they make it to your tin on time!

How I spent my Sunday

While B. is busy fixing the gazillions things left to be perfected around the house, I am busy making sure that my oven can indeed bake and speedbake and that I can run danishes as well as cookies as well as homemade strawberry jam…at the same time. If it can’t take the heat…I definitely need to upgrade!

Weird thing: up until last year I was the pastry chef for a small family owned French restaurant. I used to make 100+ baguettes a day, creme brulees, tartes tatins, tartes au citron, chocolate cake, cheesecakes, nougat glace, and creme caramels, every single day, in one day…now I feel slow when I only make 2 to 3 things. I kinda enjoy spending the time, putsing around on the computer while the dough rises, but I miss my Hobbard, I miss my steam oven and my prooofbox…but then I remember why I left: no dweeb big chef who thinks I am after his line job (not in a million years), I can spend $$$ on chocolate and not have the owner raise her eyebrow because she does not know what brand of Valrhona makes the best gateau. I should stop my rant now, and leave it for the (I feel) next post: "from pastry chef to personal trainer"

The above picture is some of what I did over the weekend: Baguette Monge courtesy of the French blog Papilles et Pupilles ,,,, 10 Grain Sandwich Bread from the same blog and ciabatta rolls, handwritten recipe from a baker friend of mine.

Baguette Monge: ingredients for 3 baguettes

– 500 g. bread flour

– 100 g. starter

– 5 g. yeast

– 10 g. salt

– 27 cl. warm water

Put the yeast into a bowl, add 10 cl water and let bloom for 20 minutes. in another bowl, mix the flour and salt. Form a well with a spoon and add the yeast/water combo, add the rest of the water and the starter. Mix well with the dough hook and either knead by hand or still with the mixer for a few minutes (up to 12). Let rest in a covered bowl for 20 minutes. Divide the dough in 3 parts and shape into rounds, let rise another 40 minutes. Form into baguettes and put on a baking sheet, let rise 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425. Sift some flour over the baguettes and cut slits on top with razor blade. Bake for 20 25 minutes.

This bread comes from the Kayser Bakery, located on Monge street in Paris.

Starter: from Eric Kayser, 100% Pain.

Day 1: mix 50g. warm water and 50g bread flour. Let stand at room temp.

day 2: add 100g warm water and 100g flour, add 20g sugar. Let stand at room temp.

Day 3 : add 200g water and 200g flour. Let stand 12 hours.

Remove quantities as needed for recipes, if not used within 8 days, refrigerate and add more water/flour if the starter seems to lose life.

Pain de Mie or Sandwich Bread:

Mix 1.5 tsp. yeast in 80 ml. warm milk. In stand mixer bowl with dough hook mix 400g. flour (I mix 1/2 bread flour, 1/2 10 grain flour), 15g sugar, 1 tsp. salt, add yeast mixture plus 160ml. warm water, mix well and add 30g soft butter until the dough comes together, knead for a few minutes. Let rise in a draft free place until doubled. Punch dough down and form into a loaf, put into a greased loaf pan and let rise again until doubled. Bake in a preheated 400 oven until sounds hollow when tapped.

Easy peasy….