Wednesday, February 17, 2010

good kitchen tips

tons of great tips on this page from

chem them out!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

best chocolate chip cookie dough ever

i had to finally try the now infamous new york times jacques torres recipe. you know, the recipe that tells you to refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. this actually works for me because i could eat cookie dough all day long, so i just nip (what am i, british?) into the fridge and steal some. it's seriously ridiculous. and it does get better with time. it has THE perfect sweet to salt ratio. i can't gush about it enough.

original recipe here.
here is the recipe via the new york times with my notes:

time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (i just used semi sweet chips, cause i'm lazy and that's what i do.)
sea salt. (i didn't do this part i thought it had the perfect amount of salt as is)

sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. set aside.

using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. stir in the vanilla. reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours (i usually scoop them out on to sheets and refrigerate them like that until the hold their shape then freeze i freeze them until i'm ready to bake—usually at least 48 hours). dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. (again, i already scooped them out and ditched the extra sea salt) sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. (okay, another area where i differ. this timing didn't work for me, maybe it's an altitude thing? so i tried another batch at 375° for 12 minutes and it still seemed dry, so then i did 400° for 8 minutes, then, i found the magic formula. 385° for 10 minutes. and seriously, it is truly magic. so. so. good.)

yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

more granola bars

 so, it maaaaay seem that i am obsessed with granola. well... that's only because it's true. it's delicious and filling and i love oats and it's usually in the healthy vein of things. also, as i've said before, i want to avoid preservatives in my snacks, etc. so here is another recipe i tried, and this one is gluten free. this recipe was found on phoo-d via food gawker.

so i made some changes based on what i had on hand and really, whatever i felt like putting in. here is the original recipe.

and for my altered version:

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup coconut
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
      (****because i changed things a bit, i think this could use less honey and less brown sugar****)
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped dried fruit (i used a mixed bag)

pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil (or silpat). mix together the oats, wheat germ, seeds, and nuts and coconut on the baking sheet. place the sheet in the oven and toast the dry ingredients for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping a close watch to make sure they do not burn. as soon as the ingredients are toasted, remove the pan from the oven.

while the dry ingredients are toasting, line a 11x13 inch rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper and spray it lightly with cooking oil (this is an important step!)

place a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add in the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt. bring the mixture to a strong boil for two minutes stirring constantly. remove from heat.

place the toasted ingredients in a large bowl, and stir in the dried fruit. pour the hot liquids into the bowl and stir  until all of the ingredients are moist and well combined.

using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking sheet, pressing down to evenly spread out the mixture. fold over the greased waxed paper or add another greased sheet on top and press down hard all over the granola. set the baking sheet aside and let the bars cool for 2-3 hours until they are hardened.

once the bars are hard, peel off the waxed paper and turn the granola out onto a cutting board. cut the granola into bars by pressing straight down with a long knife (don't saw or they will crumble). the bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature individually wrapped in plastic wrap for up to a week.


i really loved this recipe and i think you should try it!

**UPDATE: I made this again and instead of whole flax seeds, I used ground flax and I liked it so much better!