Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why I'm not baking

I may be a bit too occupied to bake and blog for a while. This little girl is going to be taking up a lot of my time and attention!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cold weather cookies

We had some snow & ice last week (mostly ice!), so I was off work for a day and a half. I decided to spend my time baking cookies!

What better shapes to make than mittens and snowflakes?

 I need to be a bit neater on my snowflakes, but I was in a rush and just making them for fun.

I brought these to work the next day to share.

I used wet on wet icing to add the designs to the mittens so they would lie flat.

I also made some hats to go with the mittens, and as I didn't have a hat cookie cutter I freehanded it. Andrew thought they looked like UFOs. Maybe they would have turned out more hat-like if I had drawn them out first. Icing is not the easiest thing to draw freehand with.

The cookies were yummy, and my coworkers and I ate them all the next day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Elephant and Giraffe Birthday Cookies

These elephants and giraffes were made for Andrew's cousin's birthday (ages ago!).

He loves the zoo!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Different people have different ways of coping with stress. I cope by baking. It's cathartic. Especially when I bake something I've baked before, and I know it will turn out just fine. We had a bit of an emergency yesterday, so when it finally got handled, I decided I needed to make chocolate chip cookies.

My favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies is Alton Brown's thin chocolate chip cookie recipe. He also has a puffy and chewy recipe that taste the same (amazing!) but have different textures. 

Before my cookie project began, we had a bit of an emergency at the house. The pipe burst under the sink and started spewing water all over my bathroom! Thank goodness I was at the house at the time. I called maintenance and figured out the turn the water off. After about 2 - 3 minutes of spewing water, my bathroom was flooded with about an inch of water, the carpet right outside the bathroom was saturated, and water was pouring into the floor vent. This caused water to start leaking out of the ceiling in the kitchen. I threw down all our beach towels to soak up the water in the bathroom, and waited for maintenance to come.

After three different groups of workmen came in and out, we finally got the sink fixed, the water sucked out of the carpet, and a nice big hole in our ceiling in our kitchen. It's drying out, and hopefully the hole will be patched up Monday.

Anyway, back to the cookies. I started by putting one egg, 2 ounces of milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla in a bowl. Real vanilla is important here. 

I whisked the mixture gently with a fork and left it to come to room temperature while I got together other ingredients. 

Next, I added 2 1/4 cups flour and 1teaspoon each baking powder and kosher salt to another bowl.

Regular salt would work, but I think the kosher salt is really what sets this cookie apart. The salt is more corse and it makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey. 

I should have sifted these ingredients together, but I didn't feel like cleaning out my sifter, and stirring them with a fork has worked for me in the past.

Next, I got together a cup of white sugar, half a cup brown sugar, and 2 sticks of unsalted butter (I only had one stick unsalted, so I used a pinch less salt in the flour mixture and a stick of salted butter).

Of course, a bag of chocolate chips.

The butter was already room temperature, so I beat it in the kitchen aid for a minute. If it hadn't been soft enough, I would have put the sticks in the microwave for 5 seconds. I'm sure I'm not supposed to do that, but sometimes I just don't have the patience to wait for butter to soften on its own.

Then I added the sugars.

I beat them until combined.

Then I poured in the egg mixture.

And I beat it until combined.

I added the flour mixture by the cup full, beating until combined between each addition.

And finally, I added the chocolate chips.

I just turned the mixer on stir for a few seconds to get then mixed in.

I set the oven for 375 and covered two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Then I used a scoop to scoop out 6 cookies per sheet.

When I make smaller cookies, like these, I can fit 8 on a sheet. They spread out a good bit when baking.

I bake them for 5 minutes, turn them in the over, and check on them after 3 more minutes. The cooking time varies depending on the size of the cookie and the oven. Our oven runs hot, so the big cookies took 10 minutes and the little ones took 8. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.

We had guests over for dinner, and these were dessert. They might be Andrew's favorite thing I bake!

For the full recipe, go to food network's site and look up Alton Brown Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Friday, January 7, 2011


So, I decided to make soufflé for Andrew and me. I like baking things I haven't ever baked before just so I can say I've tried it.

The cheese souffle turned out pretty good! It did fall a bit after it started to cool, so I'm sure I did something wrong, but they looked nice and souffle like right out of the oven, and they tasted cheesy and delicious!