Monday, 21 May 2012

Kitchen Sink Cookies

I’m moving closer to work!  As I’m in the process of packing, I’m purging all the things I don’t need, which feels phenomenal!  In the kitchen, I have bits of left over baking ingredients that I thought I’d use up.  Result: Kitchen Sink Cookies!  A mash-up of leftovers.

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Inspired and adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook
Makes 17.

Toasted Coconut Make ahead
Toast ¾ cup of shredded coconut by placing on a baking sheet and baking in oven at 350 degrees until golden.  Take the sheet out after the top is golden, stir to expose un-toasted bits, and place back in the oven.  Keep an eye on it because it will brown quickly.

Pretzel Crunch Make ahead
1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped pretzels
¼ cup milk powder
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup melted salted butter

1.  Heat oven to 275 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat.
2.  In a medium bowl, mix chopped pretzels, milk powder and sugar.
3.  Add melted butter and toss to coat.
4.  Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until toasted.  The sugar will turn golden and caramelize.
5.  Cool before adding to cookie batter.
Left: Toasted coconut; Right: Pretzel crunch
Cookie Recipe
½ cup salted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½  egg
½ teaspoon vanilla syrup or ¼ teaspoon extract
¾ cup bread flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coffee grounds (not instant, and not used coffee grounds!)
¾ cup butterscotch chips
¼ cup chocolate chips
Toasted coconut from above recipe
Pretzel crunch from above recipe

1.  In a large bowl, cream butter and both sugars with a beater on medium high for 2-3  minutes.
2.  Add egg and vanilla, and beat for 7-8 minutes. 
3.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low just until dough comes together (1 minute).
4.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Fold in with a spatula.
5.  Scoop dough using an “average sized” ice cream scoop ¾ full and place on a baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Do not bake un-chilled dough.

To bake:
6.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
7.  Place cookie dough rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat, 4 inches apart.
8.  Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet before removing to a rack.

Bake after chilling in the fridge.

Verdict: These cookies were fantastic!  I loved the crunchy and caramelized components in the buttery cookie.  The coffee grounds give it an interesting flavor, too!  I brought them in to work and they were gone by lunchtime!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Baking Fails

My friend invited me to her tea party and I planned to bring a baked treat.  Well, I didn't end up bringing anything because I had a baking FAIL!  I told my friend what happened and she said that she never knew me to fail.  So I thought I'd post all my fails (or at least the ones I captured, because there's been a lot!).

Let's start with what I had planned to bring to the tea party.  It was supposed to be a malt blondie with ganache swirls.  These (below) are not blondies.  They were more like dense cakes with chocolate on top.  No swirls, not chewy, dry, and no malt flavor.  FAIL!  I froze them and sneak them into the boyfriend's lunchbox.


Next up, what was supposed to be a sourdough rye.  I was soooo excited about this bread because it used a sourdough starter.  Well, after the final rise of 8 hours, I was supposed to bake it, but I had to go to work, so I just put it in the fridge.  When I came home, it had deflated.  I baked it and as you can see below, it didn't rise.  Maybe if I brought it to room temperature before baking?  The bread tasted great, it was just a bit dense.

The day came when I wanted to make macarons.  For my Dad's birthday, I wanted to make something without butter, so I opted to make coffee macarons with ganache filling.  I was so confident that I would knock these out of the park (French macarons are hard and they have whole classes devoted to teaching the technique? Pshhh, I can totally do it the first time).  WRONG.  I think I babied the batter and didn't stir it enough because the batter was stiff and no feet formed.  The final product was pretty tasty (better than ones I've bought!) and my Dad seemed to like them, but it was still a FAIL. I'll definitely try again!

Finally, my most recent fail.  For Mother's day, I wanted to make my mom loaves of fluffy milk bread with swirls of red bean and taro paste.  Well, the loaves turned out dense and not at all fluffy. I realized the yeast was dead and I had overworked the dough.  FAIL! I still gave it to my mom though.
Fail on the left.  What it's supposed to look like on the right.

Hopefully, I'll have better luck next time!


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Cop Doughnuts

I threw the boyfriend a surprise congratulations-your-a-cop/welcome-home party.  Since he got back from 6 months of training to be a police officer, I gathered our friends who dressed up like cops and surprised him at a restaurant!  I wanted to make cop-themed party favors, and what better than mini doughnuts?  Plus, I attached fake violation tickets!

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Baked Vanilla Mini Doughnuts
I’m just going to refer you to this site because I followed the recipe exactly.  Actually, I thinned out the icing with more milk to make it easier to glaze the doughnuts.

To top with sprinkles, dip the doughnuts in the icing and then in a shallow bowl of sprinkles. 
Pipe batter into doughnut molds.
After baking.

Dip doughnut in icing, then in sprinkles.

Verdict: These doughnuts turned out so cute!  They were mini vanilla cakes shaped like doughnuts.  The guests liked them and the boyfriend said “What a delightful little treat!” haha! I’d recommend serving them the day of, as they sweated a bit in the plastic wrapping.  I think people got a kick out of the fake tickets.  I tried to make them funny violations like: a ticket for taking too long to order!