Friday, March 27, 2015

I call these Suuuuuuuuuuper Good Cookies

Last summer, I came across this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies and I was intrigued. I'm not really a pretzel lover (except the freshly baked doughy, salty kind) so I thought of other salty snacks. I have heard tale of people using potato chips in cookies, but I wanted to try panko crumbs. I liked the idea of the texture and saltiness that this would lend to the classic, steady, wonderful Chocolate Chip Cookie. I also added a few ingredients from my other favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe—the comination which I think makes a soft, chewy, chocolatey, semi-salty Suuuuuuuuuuper Good Cookie.

When I made these for my dear friend Jessica and her family, her son went crazy for them. After quite a bit of scientific research (aka: taste testing), we decided it's the best cookie dough you'll ever have. That's right, I said it, and I ain't backing away from it. I just dropped that gauntlet, and that mic. Now get to your own Very Official research and let me know what you think!

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces, or 200 grams—yes, my Europe is showing) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 bars of good semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks (I use 70% cacao)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or baking paper. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, wheat germ, flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat butter until soft and creamy. Add sugars at medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. 

Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats, panko, and chocolate, and mix until well incorporated. Seeing as how I'm lo-fi now with my lack of kitchen gadgets, I get in there with my hands and make sure there's no flour pockets left.
Roll dough into three equal sized logs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight (but eat some of that first—f'reals). Once properly chilled, cut off pieces that are about 1/2" thick and round the dough. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart, 8-12 per sheet—they will still spread a lot.

Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely before gently moving cookies to wire rack. They will be fragile, especially on the edges.

**Side note, the dough freezes really well, too. So I like to keep some cookie dough in the freezer that I can bake up for any occasional company or visitors that may come by (hint, hint).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hallo, and Coconut Encrusted French Toast

Aaaaaaand we're back! I've had a few friends try to talk me into getting the food blog back up and running, but for a while, I had approximately three jobs and was planning a move to Germany and then adjusting to said move. So, it's been a bit busy. But now, I've adjusted to my new life and and my terrible attempts at the German language and not getting lost in Berlin all day, errrrrryday.

There are definitely some adjustments that I've had to make—with different ingredients and measurements and other factors. For instance, cream cheese is lighter here and doesn't make as dense and thick of a cheesecake. Additionally, you can't find the brown sugar that we know and love (people always think I'm talking about turbinado sugar which is not even close) in the bigger grocery markets, but you can find it in some Asian markets. How am I supposed to make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar?!? Also, the granulated sugar is beet sugar, not cane sugar. These are only a few examples, and I'm sure I'll talk about more of them over time. So, this blog will be about new recipes, and different things I'm learning from living in a "new to me" place and also food love from my travels.

On to the goods...

As a freelancer, I have the luxury of working from home. Which means sometimes I make a fancy breakfast for myself because, I do what I want! American-style breakfasts aren't readily available and I needed some french toast. So I did a search through the recipes that I've clipped over the years and found this one from Two Peas & Their Pod. I obviously had to make some adjustments due to using what I had on hand—also, note that the coconut or "kokos" you can find here is different than the sweetened flaked coconut you can find in the states, which the original recipe calls for.

Coconut Encrusted French Toast

3 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup coconut flakes (we only have this kind here)
6 slices of whole-grain, nutty bread

Maple butter:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter

Coconut yogurt sauce:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg

Blueberries for serving

1. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place the shredded coconut on a plate. Dip both sides of each slice of bread into the egg mixture and poke holes in bread so it absorbs some of the batter. Dip both sides of the coated bread into the shredded coconut. Drizzle a little egg mixture on top of the coconut to make it stick to the bread.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan or a griddle to medium to medium-high heat. Cook the slices of bread until golden brown on one side and then turn and cook the other side.

3. Serve with maple butter, coconut yogurt sauce, and blueberries. (I also suggest fresh ginger or "ingwer" tea and poached eggs on the side—breakfast is the best/most important meal of the day, so get it proper!)