Friday, November 21, 2008

bite-size pepperoni rolls

one thing that pat has been asking for me to send is pepperoni rolls. now, if you aren't from west virginia, you've never had a pepperoni roll. you may think you've had one, but my guess is what you've had is more like stromboli-with cheese and/or sauce- than what a real pepperoni roll is.

at it's simplest, a pepperoni roll is delicious home made bread wrapped a round a large piece of pepperoni. that's it!

i make my bread from scratch. i use a family potato bread recipe and buy large sticks of pepperoni that i chop up. for this batch i wanted to make bite-size pieces to ship. i'm not sure how they will hold up on the long trip overseas and through the heat, but it's worth a shot.

i found a big jar filled with a party mix that i dumped out that i could fill with the bite size pieces. it actually worked out perfect, one batch filled up the entire jar. i was so proud for picking the right size container!

chocolate candy cookies

so i'm trying to gather everything that i need to send pat a christmas package. it's gotten to the point now that i'll have to send him two boxes because there is too much stuff. for the past few days i've done a lot of baking trying to get everything together.

he had asked for cookies with caramel in them. he said i'd made them before but, for the life of me, i can't remember which ones or what recipe. so i tried something new. i was going to make chocolate rolo cookies but the commissary didn't have any rolo's. so i decided to experiement with different small and bite-size chocolates.

milky-way caramels
hershey kiss with caramel
mini reeses cups
in an early prediction i thought the milky way caramels would work the best. i ended up being very wrong. something about the caramel didn't bake well and it ended up just a very moist cookie with a little chocolate inside. everything else baked very well and i ended up most pleased with the hershey kiss with caramel cookies.

i used a basic chocolate cookie dough batter and then rolled and stuffed the cookie balls.
not to be outdone, the mini reeses cups tasted delicious.
chocolate candy filled cookies

15-16 of your favorite bite-size candies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

place candies in freezer for at least 6 hours.

in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and baking powder until combined and no lumps remain. in a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. beat in vanilla, then egg until smooth. stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined. let dough stand for 30 minutes.

preheat oven to 350 degrees

with hands, roll dough into 15-16 dough balls and plac on wax paper. press each ball of dough into a 2 inch circle. place candy piece in center and wrap dough around so the candy is evenly covered. make sure there are no cracks. roll into a ball. place about 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined bakin gsheet. bake in center of oven for about 8 minutes or until dry to the touch. let cool.

Monday, November 10, 2008

perfection disguised as a cupcake

Like I said before, I spent the week in DC to celebrate the end of the election and take a break from stress. My good friend Amber was gracious enough to let me crash at her place in the city. Being there just makes me miss it more and more. We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful Saturday we were given and we decided to walk to Georgetown. Not only did we just want to walk around and explore, but the ultimate goal was to sample the cupcakes at the winning bakery, Georgetown Cupcake.

If you haven't been following, the Washington Post has completed an 8 week competition of cupcakeries in the DC Metro area, The Cupcake Wars. They (editors, authors and staff lucky!) visited 16 bakeries and tasted 159 different cupcakes. They selected bakeries that sell cupcakes out of a storefront, visited them anonymously, bought one of every cupcake available that day, and tasted them within 2 hours of purchasing them. Week by week they would rate the bakery and the cupcakes tasted that day. They were able to give each bakery a score based on various criteria and then find the best cupcake overall.

Georgetown cupcake won an impressive victory with an overall bakery rating of 8.43 out of 10 and their Chocolate Ganache cupcake scoring a overwhelming 9.58! So, being so obsessed with cupcakes, I couldn't pass it up!

We knew it was a risk stopping by the Georgetown Cupcakes on a beautiful Saturday in the city, but we couldn't pass them buy. The line was down the street but seemed to be moving quickly. We waited in line for 30 minutes! I know, you may think us crazy. But trust me, the deliciousness wrapped in a sweet pink box was well worth the wait. In fact, I would wait longer if I had to. After finally reaching the stoop of the precious cupcakery you couldn't helped but be impressed with the tininess of the shop. As sweet and dainty as cupcake's are the tiny storefront was just as quaint. Every inch of the shop was packed with people, either waiting for miniature cakes or selecting their assortment. I couldn't just get one! A box of half a dozen was what I deserved :) They bake different flavors each day, but we were lucky enough to purchase, a couple chocolate ganache, a vanilla, a chocolate coconut, a lemon berry and a seasonal pumpkin spice. To celebrate this momentous occassion Amber and I decided to take our little cakes of heaven down to the waterfront to sit and enjoy. As you can tell from our photographs, they met all expectations and more!
Please, if you EVER get a chance, go to Georgetown cupcakes. While they Chocolate Ganache was unbelievable, I reccomend a sampling. The Lemon Berry was perfect! I can't see any reason why the shop doesn't deserve a resounding 1o out of 10! They owners are sisters, Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis. They both left their previous lines of work to open this bakery expanding on their knowledge of baking they learned from their grandmother. They are my inspiration as I have no culinary experience but would love to work and own a sweet cupcakery much like theirs. I hope you too get to enjoy their little cakes.

the new first family

The Obama camp finally posted some personal photos from Election night from the Obama family watching the returns. You can see the entire album by clicking here but I am posting a few of my favorites. What a beautiful family.

president elect

I know this a little late, but I spent the week in DC and hadn't had a chance to celebrate the amazing victory the election afforded us on November 4, 2008. In a fantastic show of progression, Americans voted Barack Obama the first African American president in the countries history. I'm not just excited for the change that has been promised to us, but to be part of such a monumental part of history is amazing.

I can tell my children that I woke up to stand in line for 2 hours before the sun was out to cast my ballot for Obama. I can detail the excitement that seemed palatable in DC after Obama was announced President Elect. The city was a buzz. Unfortunately Amber and I were too tired to make it into the masses, but we still felt part of the craziness. We heard cheering and hollering until the wee hours of the morning. DC elected Obama with a staggering 98% of the vote. So you can only imagine the streets filled with people of all colors celebrating together. As tired as I was, the cheers and celebration that kept me up all night weren't aggravating but comforting. You could feel it, that the right choice had been made.

Like President Elect Obama said, the change won't happen overnight and we have a long road ahead of us, but for my husbands sake and the countries I hope he tries. I couldn't be prouder of what our country has accomplished and I can't be any prouder to say...


Friday, October 31, 2008


As much arguing and controversy this election causes, none of it matters unless people vote. we might not all agree, but it shouldn't matter. make sure you vote on nov. 4 or vote early if your state allows. nothing is more important than making sure your voice is heard.

i'm voting because: i want my husband home quickly and safely, i want the education system fixed so no child is TRULY left behind, i don't like discrimination of any kind and that includes same sex couples, i want reform and most certainly change.

Hollywood Declares Themselves - Part 2

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

greatest invention....seriously

i'm not sure how we're managed to frame and hang pictures until this invention came along. now i don't actually own any of these frames yet but i'm going to purchase a bunch in various sizes so i can finally hang our wedding pictures. 5Second's new Slide & Store Frame ($17) takes the difficulty and distress out of hanging photographs.

The Slide & Store features an easy slide slot for quick display purposes (no matting required) and even has storage space on the back for ten more photos. Throw in a hideaway easel, which ensures the frame will self-straighten on your wall, and a hanging template, which shows you exactly where to nail, and you've got fool-proof photos.

Head to the website to get great tips on creating home photo galleries and get excited. I can't wait to decorate my walls!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

slow down and taste the sweet life

i just spent the weekend in savannah, ga. i had travelled down south for my aunt's bridal shower and completely fell in the love with the historic city. of course everything about the trip was wonderful, but i'll save the details for another post. i'd like to dedicate this post to cupcakes.

of course :)

i have read about this bakery before and heard about it from paula deen. my aunt has been craving these cupcakes since the preganancy so we were able to make a trip there for a cupcake breakfast. back in the day bakery is a nonchalant bakery that sits on the corner of bull street and 40th just after you past forsyth park.

the cupcakes were moist and the buttercream was sweet and buttery-just the way it should be. the coffee was basic and delicious. i've decided that the south has better coffee because every where i went the coffee was perfect.

everyone was digging into the old fashioned cupcake; however, i'm a sucker for anything lemon and decided to taste the lemon coconut. while the lemon was nice and mild in the cupcake the old fashion won me over with it's sweet sprinkles and little flower decoration.

i encourage you to stop by the corner bakery whenever you find yourself in savannah, ga.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cookies and Cream

my cupcake this week looked too delicious to pass up.

cookies & cream

They look amazing and feature crushed Oreo's in the cupcake as well as the icing. I fudged with the icing a little to make it taste more like cookies & cream ice cream and it turned out great. I was a little less satisfied with the cupcake itself. It's try and pretty bland. It wouldn't taste like much if it didn't have the crushed Oreo's through out. I think I'll back off on the cooking time next time. But they look great! They don't taste so bad.......

i've eaten 2 already :(

Friday, September 26, 2008

A website I frequent, Cakespy, started a list called The Sweet 100. Their list includes "fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food"--but it's all sweet! They are encouraging readers to go through the list and see how many have you tried. I decided to see how many I knew and which ones I had yet to try. If you'd like, feel free to follow the same guidelines:

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.

  1. Red Velvet Cake
  2. Princess Torte
  3. Whoopie Pie
  4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
  5. Beignet
  6. Baklava
  7. Black and white cookie
  8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
  9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
  10. Kringle
  11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
  12. Scone with clotted cream
  13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
  14. Halvah
  15. Macarons
  16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
  17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls")
  18. Dixie Cup
  19. Rice Krispie treats
  20. Alfajores
  21. Blondies
  22. Croquembouche
  23. Girl Scout cookies
  24. Moon cake
  25. Candy Apple
  26. Baked Alaska
  27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
  28. Nanaimo bar
  29. Baba au rhum
  30. King Cake
  31. Sachertorte
  32. Pavlova
  33. Tres Leches Cake
  34. Trifle
  35. Shoofly Pie
  36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
  37. Panna Cotta
  38. New York Cheesecake
  39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
  40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
  41. Anzac biscuits
  42. Pizzelle
  43. Kolache
  44. Buckeyes
  45. Malasadas
  46. Moon Pie
  47. Dutch baby
  48. Boston Cream Pie
  49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
  50. Pralines
  51. Gooey butter cake
  52. Rusks
  53. Daifuku
  54. Green tea cake or cookies
  55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
  56. Crème brûlée
  57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
  58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
  59. Jelly Roll
  60. Pop Tarts
  61. Charlotte Russe
  62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
  63. Hummingbird Cake
  64. Jell-O from a mold
  65. Black forest cake
  66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
  67. Kulfi
  68. Linzer torte
  69. Churro
  70. Stollen
  71. Angel Food Cake
  72. Mincemeat pie
  73. Concha
  74. Opera Cake
  75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
  76. Pain au chocolat
  77. A piece of Gingerbread House
  78. Cassata
  79. Cannoli
  80. Rainbow cookies
  81. Religieuse
  82. Petits fours
  83. Chocolate Souffle
  84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
  85. Rugelach
  86. Hamenstashen
  87. Homemade marshmallows
  88. Rigo Janci
  89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
  90. Divinity
  91. Coke or Cola cake
  92. Gateau Basque
  93. S'mores
  94. Figgy Pudding
  95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
  96. Joe Froggers
  97. Sables
  98. Millionaire's Shortbread
  99. Animal crackers
  100. Basbousa

Cookies With 5 Ingredients...Seriously

I was searching the internet world for some quick cookies to make and stumbled upon these delicious peanut butter cookies made with 5 simple ingredients. I swear, just 5 and no flour! They turned out wonderfully and looked pretty as well.

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
melting chocolate
crushed peanuts

1. combine peanut butter, sugar, and egg in a mixer and beat until smooth
2. refrigerate dough for 30 min.
3. preheat oven to 325
3. remove dough and roll into 18 balls (more if you want them smaller) placing them 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet
4. flatten each ball with a fork to make a criss cross pattern5. bake for 18-20 minutes just until they are golden on top
6. cool for 5 min.
7. while cooling melt chocolate
8. dip one end of the cookie in the chocolate and cover with peanuts before it cools
9. let dry on a cooling rack and you are good to go!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Sis

Last weekend I had plans to travel and seem my sister Nancy over her birthday. I had a flight out of Norfolk Friday evening. Things were complicated when Tropical Storm Hanna decided to make a visit to the Virginia Beach area. I ended up spending my entire night in airports as I was rerouted and switched to get to Buffalo. Eventually I made it to the great state of NY, but not until midnight.

I had the chance to see Nancy's lovely decorated apartment and have a fantastic meal at the Buffalo Chop House. Nancy also ordered a beautiful birthday cake from a little bakery near her school, The Dessert Deli. The bakery was definitely a dream for me. It was around breakfast when we picked up her cake and I purchased a lemon buttercream cupcake for breakfast....delicious!

Nancy had called me when she first designed her birthday cake with the bakery. She wouldn't tell me much about the cake just the flavor: two layers or white cake with a layer of chocolate cake with chocolate raspberry ganache and buttercream icing. I know, your mouth is watering. She said when we saw what the cake was our response would be, "AWWW, Nancy!" because it would be so her. Well, that's exactly my response. Here's the cake:
Of course! A Tiffany's box. It was perfect and delicious and the outside was buttercream, not fondant and it was so smooth!

We had a great weekend, I just wish I had more time to spend up there with her. I had to leave on Sunday so it was a short weekend. My grandparents also travelled up with my parents to surprise Nancy for her birthday. She was so happy to have them there and show off her apartment and her town.

Applesauce and Cinnamon Cupcakes

Another baking adventure.

I just recently purchased a new cupcake book:So I have more than enough recipes to last me while I'm baking to relieve stress. I had been baking a lot of thickly sweet cupcakes and decided that something a little more muffin like and fruity was in need. I selected a recipe for Applesauce and Cinnamon cupcakes. What a wonderful combination! Plus the recipe inludes walnuts and raisins...mmmmmm.

They turned out better than expected. The first batch wasn't sweet in the slightest so I ended up making a second batch and adding just 1/4 c. of additional extra fine sugar. Those turned out the best!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

saying good-bye to my sailor

what a rough morning.

i had to get up very early to take pat to the ship by 6am. he was heading out for his deployment today. after i dropped him off i came back home to get a couple more hours of sleep. his ship wasn't pulling out just yet. i then headed to the pier to check the ship out and say fairwell to my sweetheart before he left for 7 months. saying good-bye to him gets harder and harder each time. it's very dramatic watching all the sailors dressed to impress and manning the rails of such a large ship. it's breathtaking and altogether overwhelming. it gives you a strong sense of pride watching these brave individuals as they prepare to head off to who-knows-where and leave there loved ones behind.

i think i would have been angry if i had woken up this morning to a sunny day. luckily it was overcast and windy conditions which fit the feeling of the day. on the pier there was almost a chill in the air. it was so windy and every once in awhile it sprinkled down some rain. for some reason, that little bit of rain was comforting.

i was able to board the ship for a quick tour. i didn't see much, and to be honest, that was just fine with me. as soon as i stepped up the ramp to the quarter deck i felt funny. it wasn't just that it was a tremendously huge ship, it was partly because i felt like i didn't belong. it seemed awkward and strange with so many uniformed men running around preparing for their long journey. at one point pat had to leave me alone to run and change into his uniform. i wasn't allowed to be down where they sleep so i stayed in their mess hall. wow. i sat there, for what seemed like forever, waiting for him to come back in his dress whites and dixie cup hat. as dirty and raunchy as you think sailors and marines are, you are correct. i was the only woman in the room and felt like i had stepped into some frat house where everyone dressed the same. it's very cold on the ship: not what i expected. for some reason i had picture hundreds of men crowed on a hot sweaty ship shoveling coal into the engine room like on the Titanic. pat often talked about how cold he gets in his rack at night. so i suppose the air conditioning is a blessing. needless to say, i was happy to step off of the ship onto the warm pier; however, i had to leave pat on board and that was heartbreaking.

i sat on the pier for almost a half hour watching the men prepare. i contimplated leaving but decided to wait to see them man the rails. i'm glad i did. i heard them call for the sailors to go on deck and used my camera to scan the ledge looking for a glimpse of pat. to my surprise he showed up. he was right in front looking crisp in his white uniform. i was surprised that the excitement of seeing him brought tears to my eyes. i kept hoping that i was too far away for him to see me because i didn't want him to see me cry. he made a few hang guesstures telling me he loved me and that made me lose it. i can't explain to you the emotions that run through you watching your loved one like that. it's painfully unbearable.

Monday, August 11, 2008


i recently came across this crazy and addicting site on a blog I was reading. I can't stop. you can create outfits and post them as sets. it gives you a great visual marker for outfit pairings. it's like laying your clothes out before the first day of school!

see my pairings and favorites here

Tiny Spaces

I am amazed at hour curious our kittens are. They can find the strangest toys, the most absurd trash to get into, and the tiny spaces to hide in. I was working and heard some commotion in the family room. It was loud enough that I was concerned something had fallen on one of the kittens. When I went into the family room to look I found the kittens as you see in this picture. Emmit had decided that tiny space where the DVD's were was perfect for him; however, he'd have to knock the DVD's out to fit inside. How adorable.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rainy Days and Kittens

Today is a pretty lovely Sunday. I'm enjoying the lazy time and just playing in the apartment with the kittens. They are getting so big! They are still kittens and love just playing with anything that moves. They are fascinated with the rain. Every time it rains they run up to the window and just sit there lookin. Today they have been batting at the windows and trying to catch the rain drops.

Home Decorating

I have become a slacker in posting. Since Patrick's been home we have spent a lot of time together and I haven't taken the time to sit down and write. Today I'm alone since Pat is at duty and have a little bit of time to catch up. We've been trying to finish putting together the apartment and and catch up on some business since we have time. We still have giftcards from the wedding that we haven't used and have been trying to determine what we need to complete things. We recently spent some time at Pier One and purchased a new rug. Our kitchen has been lacking and the cold tile made it difficult to walk around. I love the rug, unfortunately so do the kittens. They like to chew on the corners and we since we haven't put anything rubber underneath they like to run and slide on it. We have the same problem with the bath mat in the spare bathroom. They are strange kittens, but we love them just the same.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cupcakes Rock!

I'm not sure why I always feel my baking is disastrous. Last night I took my delicious mini-cakes to my friends house and they loved them. They were very complimentary of my icing and the tastiness of the little morsels. I too have to agree. I think when I'm baking I'm just to close to the project during the actual process. I eat too much batter and pay too much attention that I don't appreciate them when they are completed. Next time I make cupcakes I will not taste the batter and wait until they are cooled and completed to taste and critique. I forgot the post the recipe for the White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes. This recipe comes compliments of

7 ounces white chocolate (make sure it's baking chocolate)
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1.Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stire in sugar. Note that when you add the sugar the mixture will separate and look pretty funky. This is ok, the butter will rise to the top.
4. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
5. Add teh vanilla. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Mixture will thicken and you should no longer see butter floating on top.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture. Return to the electric mixer and mix until blended.
8. Roughly chip the cranberries and coat with a thin layer of flour (this is important because of the thinness of the batter. The cranberries will fall to the bottom of each cake). Stir into the batter.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups 2/3s full and transfer to a 375 F oven.
10. Set your timer for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes is up, turn down the oven to 350 F.
11. Set your timer for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is up rotate the pans.
12. Set your timer for 7 minutes more. Test the centers with a toothpick and remove the cupcakes once it comes out clean.

The Icing
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) Cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar (possibly more)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1. In a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool for 2 minutes.
2. Using and electric mixer beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy.
3. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
3. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla, and clove and beat at low speed scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl until light and fluffy. Add more powedered suger to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.

To assemble just top the cooled cupcakes with the frosting and decorate with dried cranberries.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beauty Is Not Wrapper Deep

I found a fabulous website with beautiful cupcakes. I decided, after reading through a few recipe's that I was fully capable of baking a simple recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes. Doesn't that sound delicious?

Baking the cupcakes seemed simple. I followed the directions perfectly. The author of the blog using these quaint little Nut and Party cups as her cupcake wrapper. They make the cupcakes look so sweet; however, they are a little hard to eat out of. I had filled a few of the first cakes too much and there was some overflow, but most were looking scrumptious. They tasted delisious! I did run into a small problem. The cranberries seemed to fall to the bottom of the cupcakes. It's not bad, it made for a carmalized treat at the bottom of each cake. I think the next time I make these I'll coat the cranberries in flour and layer through the batter as opposed to folding them in as is.

So here's the catch: They look amazing and petite and delectable. Something about the batter isn't just right and they are very messy to eat. Now for the icing: The recipe had a list of ingredients that I purchased; however, when I went to mix it together some of the ingredients weren't in the directions! Most importantly, Philly Cream Cheese. I made my own version of cream cheese icing since the directions were lacking. I think the flavor takes away from the delcious morsels of cake.

I let them sit overnight in the refrigerator and they set up nicely. Out of the fridge they fall nicely in one piece out of the wrappers. I plan to take them to a small get together this evening and have my friends critique them. I will not give up.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Revival of Chocolate Chips

So I took the cookies to a friends house last night and they were a hit! I've actually had 2 today. I don't know if they just needed to marinate for a night or what. But they are delicious and perfect with a hint of salt. MMMMMmmmmmmm. They taste like you bought them in a deli or a bakery and that's what I was going for. I'm extremely stoked that I've found the perfect recipe :)

When Cupcake's Go Bad

So I've been doing a lot of experimenting with baking. Every time I step into the kitchen things either go wonderfully correct or disastrously wrong. My chocolate chip cookies turned out the be some of the best I've ever made. Tonight I attempted Orange Blossom cupcakes. Again, I ran into the same problem: I don't read everything before I attempt the recipe. I did have all the ingredients. I couldn't attempt the frosting for the little cupcakes because it required a candy thermometer and I don't own one. There was no way I was going to attempt something that had to be heated to a specific temperature without the thermometer.
I made little mini cupcakes because I think they are cute. I didn't watch closely and they are little dry because they cooked too long. I got impatient and made mini cakes that are almost perfect but didn't cook long enough.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Can't I perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies?

So if you know me at all you know I love to bake. I aspire to be an amateur baker. I love cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes and all pastries. There is something soothing and calming to baking and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

With that said, I have been trying to perfect the chocolate chip cookie. After last night I think I'm amazingly close. I found a recipe on a blog I like and she claimed that she had made the best chocolate chip cookie. I think that's hard to do because everyone likes their cookie differently. I love a crispy yet chewy cookie with equal parts sweet and salty. I make the same mistake every time I bake: I don't look in the cupboard before I go buy ingredients. I just assume what I think I have and what I don't. I'm always wrong. This time I thought I had enough light brown sugar. Of course I didn't so I had to substitute with dark brown sugar because I was halfway through the process by then. Although dark brown sugar is good in some instances. In this one it made the cookie a little to salty for my taste.

In my experience if the batter comes out tasting absolutely delicious the cookies aren't good. I don't know why, but I'll LOVE the taste of the batter and then the cookies will flop. Well I tasted one fresh out of the oven and was disappointed. The cookie was too salty and hardly sweet enough. Although they look beautiful, they just weren't the taste I was going for. I haven't given up. I will make them with the correct ingredients because I'm SO close.

P.S. I did taste the cookies this morning and to my surprise they tasted delicious! I think a room temperature cookie is the way to go. The flavors are set and the crisp and chew are there. I'm pleasantly surprised by this discovery :)

I have included the recipe that was found in The New York Times, from Dave Leite and Jacques Torres.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c. minus 2 tbsp. cake flour
1 2/3 c. bread flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bitterseet chocolate chips (60% cacao content like Ghirardelli)

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer ftted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. (this part can be very
messy. If you have a plastic guard use it!) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. The dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready, preheat oven to 350 F. Remove the bowl and allow to soften. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard size ice cream scoop (although I just used my hands!) scoop mounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheet, making sure the space them evenly. Bake for 15-20 min. until goldent brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 min. then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

yield: About 24 (5 inch) cookies