Monday, 15 August 2011

Deeper, darker...


So I have itchy fingers sometimes. This means I can't quite leave a recipe alone, even if it is a good one. What did I do? I took the Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and tweaked it. All in the name of using my newly purchased organic muscovado sugar of course. (wink, wink)

I'm happy to say that this cookie tasted like I thought it would. While the original recipe has a straightforward vanilla-sugar-chocolate-chip taste, this one has deeper caramel-toffee undertones. I'd like to think as one being perfect for a cup of tea and the other for coffee.

In case you're wondering - yes - I'm reading 1000 Years of Annoying the French by Stephen Clarke courtesy of the Toad. It's a thick book, so I've taken to reading a chapter every night before going to bed... hence the shadows in my photo of the cookies. 

Deeper, Darker Chocolate Chip Cookies

160g plain flour
35g corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
130g salted butter, at room temperature
60g castor sugar
20g  light brown sugar
10g dark muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
100g semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
30g toasted walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven at 120 Celsius.
  2. Sieve plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and sea salt together. Set aside. 
  3. Cream butter and three sugars until pale.
  4. Add in egg and vanilla essence. Cream for 1 minute, until well combined. 
  5. Gently fold in the sieved flour mixture by hand.
  6. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts. Fold this in gently by hand as well. 
  7. Cover mixing bowl with clingfilm and chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 - 45 minutes.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator.
  9. Make small round balls and place about 2 inches apart on a baking paper lined tray.
  10. Bake at 150 Celsius for about 15 - 20  minutes until the edges turn a light golden brown.  
  11. Cool cookies on the tray for about 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  12. Once cooled, pack cookies away into an airtight jar.  


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Aglio Olio my way

This has become one of my favourite meals for dinner. It's simple, quick and delicious. I suppose you could call it an 'instant' homemade meal. It takes just a wee bit longer than two minutes - the time needed to cook a packet of Maggi mee - but the results are far better. Won't you try it?


Aglio Oglio with Bacon

Angel Hair pasta
Bacon
Chilli Flakes
Garlic
Olive Oil
Parmesan
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Once boiling, put in the pasta. Cook until al dente (about 2 minutes). Remove from stove and drain the water, reserving some.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil and the pasta to cook - chop the garlic and cut up the bacon.
  3. Pour a little olive oil into the now empty saucepan and put it back on the stove. 
  4. Once the oil has heated through, add in the bacon. 
  5. Cook bacon for about 1 - 2 minutes, then add in the garlic and chilli flakes.
  6. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the bacon becomes a little deeper in colour.
  7. Add in the drained pasta and splash in some of the reserved water. Mix thoroughly until everything is well combined. (add a little more water if the pasta becomes very dry)
  8. Once the water has just about evaporated, remove from the stove immediately and transfer to a bowl.
  9. Sprinkle on some parmesan and it is ready to eat. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Contemplations

I love this pretty plate. Eight of which I lugged back home from Cambodia.

Work has been difficult. A long month in and out of the office and a nagging migraine that got worse with an unappreciated email from a colleague made me send a note off to the Toad  in desperation last weekend. I received a reply saying to 'contemplate the world universe and all that' and to 'rest'. So I did. I'm proud to say that two loaves of bread got made, as well as these lovely cookies. 

Yes, I should confess. I belong to the minority that loves crunchy chocolate chip cookies. My favourite store-bought chocolate chip cookies are Famous Amos. I love them so much that I have been looking high and low for a recipe that will hit the spot like Amos' cookies do. Some years ago, when the franchise brought in a no-chip version that was chock-full of macadamia nuts, I went wild. I visited a Famous Amos outlet almost every day to get my fill of them. Alas, it was not to last as that particular version suddenly ceased to exist after a few months. Perhaps I was the only person who liked them without the chocolate chips?! Who knows? 

Anyway, after many experiments I'm sad to say that I haven't quite found a recipe that even comes close to Famous Amos. 

Nonetheless, when I did bake these for the first time, I thought to myself - now here's a chocolate chip cookie I'll be baking again and again. Bake them again and again I did. While they are not quite Amos' they still taste great to me. Especially on the day after. Most importantly, they are crunchy cookies... and can be quite addictive if you're not careful. Be warned! 

The recipe is from Bakertan of Baking Library, who in turn got it from Bakingmum. I've re-written the recipe here for ease of reference and also because I changed it a little to suit my taste, however you should check these two blogs out as they have some lovely recipes.

My little lovelies.
Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Baking Library 

150g plain flour
45g corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
125g salted butter, at room temperature
65g castor sugar
40g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
150g semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven at 120 Celsius.
  2. Sieve plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and sea salt together. Set aside. 
  3. Cream butter and both sugars until pale.
  4. Add in egg and vanilla essence. Cream for 1 minute, until well combined. 
  5. Gently fold in by hand the sieved flour mixture.
  6. Add in chocolate chips and fold this in gently by hand as well. 
  7. Cover mixing bowl with clingfilm and chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 - 45 minutes.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator.
  9. Make small round balls and place about 2 inches apart on a baking paper lined tray.
  10. Bake at 150 Celsius for about 15 - 20  minutes until the edges turn a light golden brown.  
  11. Cool cookies on the tray for about 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  12. Once cooled, pack cookies away into an airtight jar.  
Please note that the oven I have at home is a hot piece of equipment, which means I always have to keep the temperature lower than usual or everything that goes into it just burns to a crisp. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!


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