Alton Brown – The Chewy

I did it. I finally made the chewy Alton Brown chocolate chip cookie that everyone else in the blogosphere seems to have already made. Last night, after spending 2 hours studying European History, 30 minutes running at the gym, and another undetermined amount of time doing absolutely nothing, I figured I might as well use up my wasted time by making some cookies. I did continue to watch the first season of Gossip Girl as I baked – it was 20 bucks at Target last week!!!! Even though I’ve already seen it all, I can somehow never get my fix of Upper East Side snobbiness.


They are just like any other cookie, except have melted butter, much more brown sugar than white, and bread flour. Okay, so they aren’t exactly like every other chocolate chip cookie recipe, but they are still pretty easy to make. Too bad my dad is still out of town, because I think he would have enjoyed these better than a lot of the baked goods I often make – since they had mostly brown sugar compared to white sugar, they were not as sweet as usual.

Carson, my classmate said “Yum…..Yes, they are chewy without having to gnaw on them. They are soft without tasting undercooked.” So all in all, I say this cookie experiment was a success. They are pretty easy cookies to make, come out with a perfect golden brown color, have a nice chewiness and are not deathly sweet.

Grade – A
Make again – very likely



ADAPTED FROM ALTON BROWN ON THE FOODNETWORK.COM

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flower
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


  1. Heat over to 375 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat.
  3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  4. Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed.
  5. Add the egg, yolk, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  6. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Chill the dough, and the scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through for even browning.
  9. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.


Seven Layer Magic Bars

Being the klutz I am, I somehow managed to knock down everything off the side of the fridge the other night – magnets, stamps, newspaper clippings, etc. I really don’t know how I manage things like that, but somehow it happened. Thankfully I was able to pick everything up before the cat attacked as I’m sure he would have had a hay day with all those things to play with so easily assecible.

While I was picking everything up, I came across the magnetic clip full of recipes that I cut out from the food section of the newspaper every week or so, but which had been hidden behind ten take out menus to our Thai resturant of choice (they always get our order wrong even though we get food from them at least once a week). I looked through them and seriously found some recipes that are at least 5 years old but I have never made. What I did find was a recipe for seven layer bars. I’ve wanted to make these for soooo long! I swear, I buy graham crackers all the time with the intention of making them, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it. Well now was my chance!


These are by far some of the easiest bars to make. All you do is layer the ingredients, pop it in the over, and poof, you have yummy gooey delicious bars of joy. Of course, given such a simple recipe, I had to mess up. I was talking on the phone as I made them, so instead of using one stick of butter, I used two, giving me an excess of butter in comparison to how many graham cracker crumbs I had. I simply added extra crumbs to soak up the butter and it was fine.

They could have used 2 less minutes in the over because the coconut was starting to burn by the time I took them out, but they were still so good looking. I cut them into huge sqaures – and a few small ones for me to sample. I took some to hebrew school, along with the thousand other prizes I had picked out for my students, but still almost half of them picked the bars over bubbles, putty, yo-yo’s and a paint your own gnome (They’re a dollar at Target – very cool).

This will from now on be my go to recipe if I ever need to whip up a dessert pretty quickly – 5 minutes prep give or take and just 22-25 minutes in the oven. So easy!

Grade – A
Make Again – Absolutely!


ADAPTED FROM THE NEWS AND OBSERVER
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 cups toasted pecans – I just threw them in the oven a few minutes before adding them to toast lightly
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the dish. Spread the crumbs over the butter and press down firmly.
  3. Sprinkle butterscotch chips, followed by chocolate chips, followed by pecans, followed by the coconut.
  4. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.
  5. Bake for 22-28 minutes. Cool to room temperature before cutting. – I cut mine huge!

Mini Cakies

So my dad and step-mom left for Lithuania yesterday. Apparently Wendee has to give a speech and my father decided to tag along so that he could explore Vilnius. They seem to go to some of the most random places in the world. They sent me an email saying there are malls everywhere, so I guess it’s really not that different than America – HA! So anyway, I’m home all alone until next Saturday. Well I guess I still have two 100 pound dogs, a mad cat, and some fish to protect me, so I’m not really that worried. But since they aren’t home – I CAN BAKE WITH NO ONE YELLING AT ME!! YAYAY!

To start my week of what will hopefully be lots and lots of baking – coniciding with lots and lots of posts – I decided to make oreo/whoopie pies. I’ve renamed them mini cakies beacuse that’s what they are – mini cakes in cookie form! Basically, they’re baby cakes with buttercream icing in the center that I decided to tint pink because white just seemed boring.

They were so easy to make. Icing each one and finding matching sides was slightly tedious, but they looked so cool once I was done and they were quite delicious. As I said, they basiclly tasted like tiny cakes, but somehow, since they were in cookie form, they just tasted better. I put them on a plate, but when I went to pick one up a few hours later to eat, it was sticking to the plate. I quickly transfered them to plate covered in wax paper so they wouldn’t stick anymore.

When my step-nephew came over, he ate one and gave it a grade of A++. Thanks Skylar!!



ADAPTED FROM FOODISLUV.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla buttercream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together until well combined and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the brown sugar until creamy and fluffy – about 3 mins.
  5. Add the egg and beat until well combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, starting and ending with the flour. scrape down the bowl several times, ensuring that everything is well combined. mix just until all the ingredients are combined, do not over mix.
  7. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large circle tip, pipe out the batter in 1 1/2 inch circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch between each. dip your finger in water and shake off excess. With your wet finger, gentley press down the top of each cookie.
  8. Bake in for 8-10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  9. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar. Start on low speed until combined and then increase speed to medium and beat for approximately 3 minutes.
  10. Add vanilla and cream and beat again. About 1 min more.
  11. Match up cookies in like sized pairs. Spoon buttercream on one side and sandwich with the other.

Strawberry and Blueberry Scones

This week has gone by mad crazy fast! I can’t believe it’s almost Friday. I only have about 3 weeks left of school. Hallelujah! In some ways, it is a little bit sad, but honestly, I can’t wait until summer and then NYC in the fall – although with the 80+ degree weather that is expected this weekend, I would say summer is already upon us in full force.

Anyway, enough reminiscing and on to more interesting things – baking that is. Today in french class, Ms. Jones was out with the french exchange students at the beach and we were left to basically fend for myself. Of course I spent half the period doing nothing and half the period looking at recipes. I then realized that Friday morning we have french first and I immediately blurted out “Who wants scones tomorrow?” Almost everyone’s response was a hearty “yes,” and so began my adventure of making scones.

I have never made them before, but they didn’t seem all that hard. Batch one turned out great, a little undercooked maybe – or so my dad said – but other wise good shape and form and nice aroma. The second batch, using a different recipe was a complete disaster. Note to self – never use fresh strawberries in a blender; everything gets mushy and unusuable. So after a failure batch, but still boxes of left over strawberries, I went back to the first recipe again. All of this result in one set of yummy blueberry scones and another set of what appear to be rather good looking strawberry scones, although the strawberries do look a little mushy. I hope they like them in the morning!


adapted from the foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

Scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (or 1 cup of fresh strawberries – whichever you prefer)

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  3. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
  5. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.
  6. Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape.
  7. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Glaze

  1. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the lemon zest and butter.
  3. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high.
  4. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Swirled Brownies

So tomorrow is my friend Jackie’s’ 18th birthday!! YAYA!!! Jackie loves socks, so last year I got her socks and this year I plan on getting her a biography of Benjamin Franklin. Why? you might ask. Well, she is going to Penn next year and I was reading in a college book and they had lists of different things you should have/get before you go to college. One of the things on the list for Penn was Franklin’s biography. I thought it would be funny – but I doubt she will get it at first.

Anyway, I had to make her something edible as well, and when I asked her what she wanted, she “Surprise me.” But soon after she said, “Brownies.” I didn’t want to make just plain chocolate brownies because those are just boring. I was going to do something with peanut butter, but when I returned home from school I realized that we were basically out of peanut butter. Oh no! So I settled on a mix – half brownie/half blondie. I just took a pretty basic blondie recipe, split it in half, added some cocoa to one half, and then because I felt like it, I put in about a cup or so of chocolate chips just to add a little flare to them.

The final result looked really cool – black and white with hints of chocolate chips that had melted in some places and stayed whole in other. They were a little dry. I took them out of the oven after 25 minutes, but they probaly could have used a few less, so a glass of milk I’m sure would complement them perfectly. I certainly hope Jackie likes them!


Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks, or chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan, line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil – making sure to leave an overhang on the sides – and grease that again.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together oil and brown sugar. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients and then add them to the brown sugar mixture. Mix well.
  5. Split batter into two separate bowls.
  6. Mix the one half of the batter with 1/4 cup cocoa, leaving the other half as is.
  7. Mix chocolate chips into blondie batter and then spread batter out onto prepared pan
  8. Drop the chocolate batter by heaping spoonfuls into the pan the blondie batter.
  9. Using or knife or spoon, marble the two batters together – as much or as little as you like!
  10. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. After 20 minutes or so, remove from pan and let complete cooling on baking rack.

Chocolate Crackles

So Saturday was prom! Very exciting. I had a purple dress and took a million and half pictures at a pre-prom party at my friends Bradley’s house where there were many more parents that students. Anyway, instead of getting my hair done at a salon, I had my friend Michelle come over and do my hair and makeup. As repayment for her services – she did an amazing job – I made her some yummy chocolaty crinkles. As I was in the middle of making them when I realized that we had no cocoa! Instead of making a mad dash to the store, I simply proceeded without and they turned out fine. Maybe a little more crumbly, but I thought that they were still pretty good.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to15 minutes.
  4. Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Strawberry Muffins

On my new health kick (Ha) I bought yogurt, cottage cheese, strawberries, etc… All healthy things. Well, when I opened the top to the yogurt, I discovered a recipe for strawberry muffins that looked quite delicious. No oil, whole wheat flour, and very little sugar. Since my parents were out of town, and it was the end of Passover, I pounced at the chance to make something new that I had never tried before. Well, the final verdict is, they are easy to make but they don’t have so much flavor. The fresh strawberries make them a little more wet than most muffins and they didn’t have much else by way of flavor. They are certainly an easy breakfast item – I put half in the freezer to toast some morning – but I’m not sure I would make them again. From the tops, they look just like plain muffins, but I promise that they have strawberries in them.


Ingredients

· 1 cup all-purpose flour

· 1 cup whole wheat flour

· ½ cup sugar

· 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

· 2 eggs

· 1 cup plain Stonyfield Farm Yogurt (I used French vanilla)

· ¼ cup melted butter

· 1 teaspoon vanilla

· 1 cup chopped strawberries – fresh or frozen

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 12 muffin tin or line it with paper baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar and baking soda.

3. In another bowl, stir together eggs, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla until blended.

4. Toss the strawberries with the flour mixture.

5. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until the flour is just moistened. The batter will be lumpy.

6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.