Friday, July 25, 2014

Super Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

These. Are. Gooood.

Don't really want a lot of fluff in this post. Just simply, the best chocolate chip cookies.

But in case you're wondering... My boyfriend requested something sweet (so glad he has a sweet tooth - major bonus to our relationship;) so I looked for a proven recipe and I based mine off two that swore up and down that they were the best chewy chocolate chip cookies ever...

Super Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Tips:

1. Add cornstarch for a chewy cookie - Google this. It works. I didn't have time to dive into the science of it.

2.  Use 2 + different type of chocolate chips - Not rocket science, once you think about. It is, after all, a chocolate chip cookie. ;)

3. Chill - Dough has to be chilled for at least 2 hours. Very important. Also, rise the cookie sheet so that it is cool when you place new cookies on it after each batch so that your cookies don't start to melt before you put them in the oven.

2 cups + 3 tbs flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg (my own addition)
1 tsp corn starch
12 tbs butter, melted, cooled (but not so that it re-solidifies)
1 cup packed, light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups total semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips and chunks (I used nestle)

1. Melt butter in microwave (until there are still some chunks - this took about 1 minute in my weak microwave - and stir until completely melted). Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cornstarch and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. In a cup, mix eggs and vanilla

4. Using a hand mixer or whisk, mix butter and sugars (they wont dissolve completely - texture will still be sandy)

5. Add in egg mixture until well combined

6. Using a spatula, fold in dry ingredients until just combined

7. Add chocolate chips (and any other mix ins - I think nuts would be a great addition!)

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop dough and plop onto saran wrap, wrapping each cookie dollop separately. Once wrapped, roll into ball and toss into fridge to chill. This seams like a lot of work - but its much easier than dealing with the tough dough after its chilled. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat to 325F. Bake cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet for 11-13 minutes depending on how big you made each cookie. Trust me, try one test cookie before you do an entire batch and save yourself any big mistakes.

Remove cookies from oven when they are still slightly under cooked and cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Cookies are even better the next day!!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Breakfast in Bed - Buttermilk Pancakes

Ah... a lazy Sunday morning.... or catch-up-on-the-things-you-didn't-get-to-between-Monday-and-Saturday...morning. Am I right?

Don't you live for long weekends? Its kind of like life gives you a make-up day for all the other lazy Sunday mornings you've missed.  (I say all of this like I'm lazy-day deprived or something. Totally not the case. ;)

Quick: first thing you think of when I say "Lazy Sunday Morning"....

If you didn't say breakfast in bed, try again. If you said pancakes you must be an expert lazy-day-er like me ;)

These were fabulous. Super fluffy just like the recipe promised. Don't be turned off by the sour cream. You won't taste it. (and besides, buttermilk tastes pretty terrible on its own but we don't question that...)


Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
Recipe courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker adopted from Cook's Illustrated. My comments in italics. Fantastic pancake making tips from CI here.

Serve with real maple syrup and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice:)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
2 eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 to 2 teaspoon vegetable oil, for greasing the pan

DIRECTIONS:
1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with a few streaks of flour). Do not over mix. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes before cooking.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using a paper towel, carefully wipe out oil, leaving a thin film of oil on the bottom of the pan. Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter into pan in 4 places.  *do not spread the batter or swirl it around to try to make a perfect circle - the batter will spread and do this on its own. If you do, you risk loosing the fluffiness* Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately. *You can keep pancakes warm in a 200F oven - place ont he rack - do not stack* Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as needed.

*Note 1: This recipe was formulated using lower-protein flour such as Pillsbury and Gold Medal. If you use flour with a little higher protein content like King Arthur, you will need to add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of buttermilk. I forgot about this at first, and when I mixed the batter I saw how thick it was. I added 1½ more tablespoons of buttermilk and the batter was perfect.

*Note 2: If you make these on an electric griddle, preheat it to 350 degrees F.


p.s. I made these for someone who is not a morning person - but they did the trick. ;)

enjoy your lazy day :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in Budapest

Did I really let 6 years go by without visiting this wonderful city? Lets not do that again...
 
Budapest, 2012 - Freedom Bridge
 
 I know I will leave my heart here again... Had such a fabulous time... Operas, Thermal Baths, Ice Skating, a few parties... even a pig slaughtering. What a wonderful life... I am (wishfully) looking at jobs here ;)

And.. the FOOD...

Mulled wine (forralt bor) is my new favorite. Apple cider, you remain a close runner-up.

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my nagymami (grandma) and wanted to share this recipe with you (a few more to come...)
 
Christmas Crescents
Karácsonyi (Pozsonyi) Kifli
 

The following recipe uses metrics and standard american measuremets. If you need to convert anything, go to wolframalpha.com (awesome computational website. makes math super simple) 
 

Dough
1/4 kilo flour
1/4 kilo butter (250g), softened
pinch of salt
1-2 tbs powdered sugar
2 dk fresh yeast (not the instant/dry kind)
1/2 tbs crystal sugar
2-3 tbs sourcream (full fat)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
 
Poppyseed* Fillig
15 dkg ground poppyseed (grind, then weigh)
10 dkg powdered sugar
1.5 dl milk (full fat 2,8%)
a pinch of ground nutmeg and/or lemon zest is optional
 
Walnut Filling
15 dkg finely ground walnuts (grind first, then weigh)
7 dkg crystal sugar
1.5 dl water
a touch of rum essence/extract
 
Make the dough...
1. Beat flour and butter in your Kitchen Aid (or a lot of muscle!). As the machine mixes, add a pinch of salt and ab 1 - 2 tbs powdered sugar. Let the machine keep working its magic at medium speed and add the sourcream.
 
2. While the flour mixture is still going, start the yeast. Add the 0.5 tbs sugar to the warm milk (NOT hot, this will kill it). Id say you need about 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of milk. Stir a bit and add the yeast. Wait. It should start foaming. The height should double.
 
3. Your flour is mixing most of this time and should look kinda wet and sandy. Add the egg and egg yolk and continue to beat. The mixture should look a little like cookie dough.
 
4. Turn off the mixer and rest for a bit. 5 min. Now add the yeast/milk mixture and continue beating on medium until the dough comes together and is no longer sticking to the side of the bowl. You can help a little here and scrape the sides a bit. Let the dough rest and start the fillings...
 
 
Cook the filling...
 
Combine ingredients (separately for walnut and poppyseed, of course) and cook in a pot on low/medium heat until thickens. Done. Lick spoon. YUM... do we really even need the dough???
 
*Poppyseed (pictured below) is kind of tough to get by the kilo in the States. If you can't get any, make double the amount of walnut.

 
 
Assembly...
 
1. Kneed the dough 1-2 minutes and divide into 4 pieces
 
2. Roll each section into a circle about 15 inches in diameter (until its about 1/2 cm or 1/3 cm thick)
 
3. Cut into 12 triangles (like you would a pizza)
 
4. Add a few teaspoons of filling to the widest part of the triangle and roll it up. Shape it so that has that crescent shape.
 
5. To create that marbleized glaze, brush the top of each with egg yolk and let that dry in a cool place (fridge). Then apply another coat of egg yolk.
 
Bake...
 
In a preheated oven at 175 - 180 C  for about 30 min (but watch it, I didn't check the exact time when I made these with Grandma :)