Quest for my Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie

(My project to document my observation of past bakes…)

I’ve been on the quest for my favourite chocolate chip cookie for the longest possible time. Preferences for chocolate chip cookie can be varied: some like it crunchy, others like it chewy; some like it thick, others like it thin; some like it big, others like it small….. Also chocolate chips can be milk, dark, white… Chocolate chip cookies could be paired with cocoa batter, other with dried fruits such as cranberries and raisins, or with oats, or with nuts…. The combinations are endless!

My aim is to master 2 types of basic chocolate chip cookie: crunchy and chewy. Also the winning recipes should be easily varied to add nuts, fruits, etc. I have about 16 chocolate chip recipes of different combinations (and the collection will definitely grow!) – all of which I will eventually test in my quest to find my favourite chocolate chip cookie. I have previously tested 5 recipes, and I wasn’t entirely satisfied L.

While working in my Chinese New Year Test Kitchen, I found a winning recipe for the crunchy chocolate chip cookie. I came across it in a blog by Didally and the recipe was posted by Connie in the Kitchen Capers Forum – thanks to Connie and Didally for sharing the recipe. Some pics for your viewing pleasure…

Don’t they make you wish to grab them? 😛

Some notes about the recipe:

  • This recipe can be made in advance and kept in the fridge. I personally prefer this way so that the butter wouldn’t melt too much.
  • I also usually leave the dough in the fridge prior to baking.
  • I used a 5ml measuring spoon to shape my dough to get even round shapes. Some may find it too small, but they turn out bite-size, much like the size of Famous Amos cookies.
  • I bake these cookies for about 12 min…. Bake at lower heat only for the 1st half or until the cookies appear dry (as opposed to wet, then turn pans around and bake at lower and upper heat, till edges are golden brown. The cookies may turn out soft, but will turn crunchy as they cool down. If they still remain soft, bake them again.
  • The cookies will lose its crunch after being left in the open for too long. Hence, it’s imperative to keep these cookies in air-tight containers. Otherwise, you could put the cookies in the oven to crisp them up again.
  • One batch makes about 90 bite-sized cookies.

I made 10 bottles of these for family and friends….phew! Will try to make the presentation more professional next year….

Will be trying out a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe next…

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Tiramisu – Updated

I’ve posted an update on my attempt to make tiramisu yesterday….  See here.

Back at School….

I’m a student again – signed up for elementary Japanese courses at a CC which started this evening. I saw a poster at the void deck announcing the commencement for elementary Japanese course only yesterday. Thanks to the internet, I was able to register at a short notice.

Today I studied basic Japanese phonetics. I think I’m going to have a hard time remembering the Hiragana and Katakana words – imagine spending 1½ hours learning how to pronounce about 26 – 30 basic sounds. Hubby says he want me to write 2 pages everyday and will test me….. 😦

TV Dramas I am Watching

Besides baking, my hobby is to watch Chinese/Cantonese TV drama serials. Lately I’ve been watching Dreams Link 又见一帘幽梦,a drama produced in China. This drama serial is based on a book by Qiong Yao 琼瑶, 一帘幽梦. If you like soppy love dramas, this drama is for you. This version of 一帘幽梦 is certainly better than the previous one in the 1990s – slightly less melodramatic and much better-looking leads.

Because of this drama, I came to like Alex Fong 方中信, or rather his character Fei Yun Fan 费云帆. Fei Yun Fan is such a true gentleman and romantic guy that I think such a person only exists in the world of storybooks…. *dreamy smile*

Because of Alex Fong’s excellent portrayal of Fei Yun Fan (at least in my humble opinion), I watched another TVB drama helmed by him, The Building Blocks of Life 建筑有情天. Well I think I like him better as Fei Yun Fan. While I admire Issac Chung’s (Alex Fong’s character in The Building Blocks of Life) passion for architecture, his love life is certainly a mess. After watching The Building Blocks of Life, I have the following thoughts:

  • How things turn out is dependent on a person’s reaction. A person’s action can cause a particular reaction; but if he adopted another action, the reaction would be different and the results could be vastly different.
  • As a person grows or immerses himself into a different environment, his thinking, his tastes and preferences will change. So even if it’s his habit/love for the past 7 years, anything can change….Nothing is forever or cast in stone…..

What shall I watch next?

Tiramisu

It’s the first time I baked after CNY. As my parents’ anniversary is approaching, I made one of my mum’s favourite cake – Tiramisu – today. Recipe was adapted from Cuisinette who posted in the Imperial Kitchen Forum.

Some pointers that I noted while I was making Tiramisu:

  • I found out that good logistics planning is required. Firstly, I checked whether the fridge could accommodate my mixing bowls. Next, I also had to plan what to whip first as the bowl and whip used to beat the cream should be well-chilled prior to beating the cream, and whipping egg whites require a clean bowl and whip.
  • Check out a you-tube video on how to whip cream to medium/stiff peaks – I find that it’s useful. For a link to this video, please see “Cooking Tips” on the left.
  • The syrup to soak the ladyfingers required 2 tbsp of melted chocolate. I used about 40g of 55% chocolate.
  • Next time, I would melt the chocolate prior to preparing the syrup.
  • I used an aluminium disposable tray and used 34 lady fingers. In the end I got excess syrup – think I used only 1/3! Not sure whether my ladyfingers are soaked to the extent that I like….will need to check it out.
  • The amount of cream was sufficient for the tray.
  • For the cream, I used 500g mascarpone cheese as I did not want to have any left-overs. I also increased the Baileys to 40ml.

The Tiramisu is now chilling in the fridge…can’t wait to check out the taste. Will post an update on the taste and photos…..

Update on 25 February:

  • I prefer a stronger alcohol taste. I will add additional Baileys and/or Kahlua to the mascarpone cheese.
  • I used a total of 100g of sugar in the cream mixture – sweetness was just nice.
  • I think the ladyfingers were sufficiently soft. Therefore I will reduce the syrup.
  • To seriously consider doing the tiramisu in smaller pans if the tiramisu is to be divided into portions to be given away….

Some pictures for you to enjoy….pardon the untidiness….

Very Easy Apple Pie

(My project to document my observations of past bakes….)

Apple Pie

I adapted this apple pie from Delia Smith’s recipe. This pastry is easy to handle. Her tips appear to be really useful. One of them is to leave the butter outside for a while, till you can insert a knife through the butter. Her theory is if it is too hard to cut, you will exert more strength to cut and rub in the butter, and more time required to achieve the dough. This may result the butter to melt. If it is not too hard to cut, you could rub in faster and minimise the amount of butter melting. Another tip of hers about preventing sogginess of the pie crust also works! Do read Delia’s tips before attempting the pie – I think they are useful.

In all, the pie is delicious and is really easy to make. Hubby loved it and told me to keep the in a permanent folder J

Some notes:

  • I replaced lard with an equivalent amount of butter. Crust was still crunchy, in my opinion.I used about 6 granny smith apples to make up 700g of the fruit. The apples were washed, peeled, cored and sliced thinly.
  • I replaced caster sugar with brown sugar for sprinkling onto each layer of apples. I also sprinkled cinnamon onto each layer of fruit.
  • I baked at a centre shelf, with no adverse effects. I simply baked till the crust turns golden brown.

Chinese New Year Bakes

After changing jobs late last year, I had more time to bake CNY goodies this year. This year, I baked the following:

Peanut cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

Lemon/Orange cream cheese cupcakes

Cranberry swirl cheesecake

Squidgy chocolate log

Chocolate lava cake

The cookies were given to family and friends. The cranberry swirl cheesecake and cream cheese cupcakes were given to my mother-in-law and grandparents-in-law respectively. The squidgy chocolate log and chocolate lava cakes were desserts on the reunion dinners I had in Singapore.

It was certainly a tiring, but satisfying experience in baking for CNY. I gave away a total of 7 bottles of peanut cookies, 10 bottles of chocolate chip cookies, baked 1 cranberry swirl cheesecake, a batch of cream cheese cupcakes and chocolate lava cakes.

Sharing these bakes with you, my dear brother. May you have a happy and prosperous lunar new year!