Tuesdays with Dorie – Pfefferneusse (Dec-16)

This is the first time I’m baking along with a group….and it’s been great fun: I now have motivation to bake based on recipes in a great cookbook, as opposed to just eyeing the beautiful pictures in the cookbook….lol…

pfefferneusse

Anyway, here’s the first bake from Dorie’s Cookies: Pfefferneusse.  I’ve never eaten this cookie before and therefore wasn’t sure about the correct texture to achieve.  Dorie says it’s dry and firm – so does it mean it’s crumbly and firm or crunchy/crispy and firm?  I asked my best friend, Mr Google, for more information, but didn’t find anything conclusive….

I baked the cookies for 20 min at 175 degree Celsius and they definitely turned out dry and firm, and crumbly as well, but nonetheless very delicious.  I’m not a fan of spiced stuff, but these cookies grew on me 🙂

I will be happy to hear what texture fellow bakers have achieved with this cookie and recipe 🙂

Recent Bakes

Sharing with you my recent bakes….

1) Japanese Cheesecake: recipe from here

The only modifications I made was to replace the cream in sect A with milk and use 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites.

It’s also important to beat the egg whites properly: see here.

I’m so glad to find out that my mini oven can brown the top nicely…Also, the sides are smooth…I didn’t use a springform pan to bake it, just an ordinary metal pan.

2) Junior’s New York Cheesecake: recipe from Junior’s Cheesecake Book

This is different from the Japanese Cheesecake, which is light and fluffy, and does not have a “heavy” cheese taste. It is also different from the Lime & Passionfruit cheesecake I baked earlier, which is light and yet creamy. This New York Cheesecake is the dense and creamy type.

One thing that I wished I had done better was to brown the top more evenly….

I made some modifications to the recipe:

  • Made a biscuit base instead of baking a sponge cake base
  • Used 750g cream cheese instead of 24oz
  • Reduced sugar to 170g instead of 1 1/3 cup (but brother commented that it tastes a little a savoury.…perhaps to try increasing to 200g)
  • Used 200ml whipping cream instead of 2/3 cup

3) Lime & Passionfruit Cheesecake

Although this has been mentioned in a previous post, I thought it would be good to put a pic here to show the contrasting textures of the cheesecake, resulting from the different proportions of cream cheese to whipping cream and the different methods of including eggs (Japanese Cheesecake requires an egg white meringue, while the other 2 just require eggs to be beaten in).

4) Cupcakes: from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook

Earl Grey Cupcakes

Cranberry & Orange cupcakes

These were baked in a silicon tray, but they were not cooked at the specified baking times…resulting in crusty tops and a dry crumb….:( need to experiment again….

5) Chocolate Chip Cookies: based on the New York Times recipe which was widely blogged about previously

I think these are the BEST I’ve tried to date although the choc chunks are a little too sweet for my liking….But these still become crunchy after 2 days although I kept them in an air-tight container (the lock & lock one)….Wonder whether is it because of the humid weather in Singapore.

I now honestly appreciate the quality of chocolate that goes into the cookie….No more Hershey’s or Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks….I’m going to look for better alternatives!

By the way, I replaced the cake flour and bread flour with all-purpose flour…wonder does that affect the retention of the chewiness. I’ve seen recipes that use bread flour only…perhaps I will buy some bread flour and use all bread flour….

My Latest Favourite Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – Finally!

I was really into the groove of baking today: after baking the coffee & walnut sponge, I proceeded to bake chocolate chip cookies. After watching Michael Smith’s Chef at Home (S6), Hubby was fascinated about adding corn syrup into chocolate chip cookies to create chewy ones and urged me to try.

I was initially lazy to do it…but I’m really glad that I made it. I think these are the best chewy chocolate chip cookies I’ve made to-date. The dough is easy to handle – it doesn’t go too soft. Not sure whether it is due to using cold butter, as opposed to soft butter, to cream with the sugar. Although it’s a little too sweet, I still like it and it’s great with milk! I realise that American recipes tend to be sweeter and I should have listened to my inner instincts to increase the level of salt or reduce the sugar. I usually decrease the sugar to reduce the sweetness. But I found that decreasing the sugar tends to alter the texture and taste (other than the sweetness) of the cookie slightly. Next time, I shall double the salt in the recipe instead, following Dorie Greenspan’s advice….

The recipe can be found here.

Notes:

  • Plain flour was used
  • Salted butter was used
  • Hershey’s mini chips were used. I used the entire 12oz pack…
  • Corn syrup was replaced with golden syrup. If corn syrup is not available, you can make your own corn syrup at home. I haven’t tried this out though.
  • The yield is about 72 cookies. I used a 1/2tbsp measuring spoon as a mould. I scooped out rounded spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet.
  • My dear oven’s thermostat has gone bonkers. The oven dial is at 160 deg C and the cookies were baked for about 10 – 12min with upper and lower heat turned on. I think I overbaked it in the later batches: though it’s still chewy, but I think the texture was nicer when it wasn’t that brown….

The earlier batches: not so brown but a better chewy texture (imho)….

The later batches: lovely golden brown, but not so good chewy texture (imho)….

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The first bake of 2010! I adapted from the white chocolate chip and cranberry cookies to make these chewy chocolate chip cookies. I also reduced the brown sugar and caster sugar by ¼. It’s now not so sweet, but there’s a more pronounced eggy aftertaste which I don’t really like. So I’m back on the drawing board again – to find my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Update: the cookies have improved in flavour and texture after keeping for a day: no more eggy aftertaste (not sure whether anything’s wrong with my taste-buds :() and it’s become more chewy and less cakey :)….

The cookies are the puffy, cakey and chewy type. Anyway, here are some pics to share:

White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

Christmas is coming…So I thought of trying a more Christmassy cookie.  I’ve seen this cookie recipe by Tyler Florence which is posted on Epicurious. It was a little too sweet, but it’s great with cold milk. I also like the texture: crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle. Sharing with you my cookies:

I hope to try with a ½ tbsp to spoon the dough, as I would like a slightly smaller cookie.

Going Nuts

(My project to document my observation of past bakes)

In addition to chocolate chip cookies, I also baked peanut cookies as gifts. I was inspired to bake a cookie that I think my dad will like – at least he likes peanuts… The recipe was obtained from Karlskrona who posted on the Imperial Kitchen (thanks, Karlskrona!). The recipe was certainly quite simple, really a 1-bowl cookie. It certainly didn’t take long to churn out the following:

Here’s a close-up….

Looks pretty, but hubby and dad thought that there could be more peanut flavour for the initial attempt. Also, the cookie was too crunchy for my liking – I like this type of cookie to be melt-in-the-mouth.

For the second attempt, peanuts were roasted (thanks, hubby!), peanut butter was added, balls were smaller and cooking time reduced. The results: more peanutty flavour and a melt-in-the mouth texture. However, I think I did a lousy job in glazing the cookies… Somehow, it didn’t have the lovely golden brown sheen…

It took me three attempts to recreate the flavour I like…

Calla’s notes on the recipe (I quartered the measurements):

  • I used deshelled peanuts in this recipe. I roasted them in the pan, leave it to cool, then grind.
  • I added approximately 3 tbsp peanut butter to enhance the peanutty flavour (re: ¼ recipe). Skippy peanut butter produces excellent results. Peter Pan peanut butter was not bad either.
  • I used 85ml ground peanut oil to bind the dough together (re: ¼ recipe). This has to be monitored. I started off with 50ml, then add bit by bit till mixture binds into a dough that wipes the sides of the bowl clean.
  • I baked at about 160 deg C for 10 min, rotating the tray approximately after 5 min. I didn’t use the top heating element this time, as I felt the oven was too hot. Perhaps that’s why the tops did not have the sheen.

     

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…

2008 Chinese New Year Kitchen – Sugee Cookies Part II

Last weekend, I tried another version of Sugee Cookies. During the week, I was inspired to adapt the Peanut Cookie recipe: omit the peanuts and maybe add almonds and/or semolina. I searched the internet to check whether other adjustments were required. Lo and behold, I saw a recipe on the net (oops, forgot to check that website!) that posted a Sugee Cookie recipe that was close to the Peanut Cookie recipe. So, it can be done….hmmm….

For this batch of Sugee Cookies, I used sunflower oil, added salt and omitted the peanuts. Hubby and myself didn’t like the taste when the cookies fresh from the oven. However, after letting them rest for a day or two, the taste was much better. Hubby liked them so much that he ate at least 10 at a go! Well, I still have my reservations, but I will do a batch specially for my Hubby for cny….

Perhaps, I will try using a mixture of corn oil and butter the next time. Somehow, I feel that sunflower oil isn’t suitable….Maybe that’s a personal preference.

Update

Here’s the recipe I used – based on my memory as I didn’t exactly like the results and didn’t keep the recipe.  Feel free to play around 🙂

150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
56g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
85ml (approx) cooking oil  – i used sunflower oil
1 egg yolk mixed with a little water

1. Sieve flour with baking powder & baking soda into a roomy mixing bowl.

2. Add icing sugar and salt.  Mix well.

3. Create a well in the centre.  Pour oil into the well – start with 50 ml.  Add more oil gradually till a soft and pliable dough forms.  You may need more than the stated amount of oil.

4. Divide dough into small balls.  I used a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon; alternatively, you could use a small cookie scoop.  Place balls on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Glaze the tops with the egg yolk mixture.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 deg C for about 10 – 15 min, or till golden brown.

Ideas to play around: use melted unsalted butter, especially browned butter….

2008 Chinese New Year Test Kitchen – Melting Moments

Over the weekend, I baked melting moments. Recipe was taken from the Kitchen Capers Forum which was posted by Connie (Thanks, Connie!). The dough was really soft, so when i pressed the fork into the dough as a form of deco, I couldn’t lift the fork from the dough! As a result, the resulting cookie looked like sea-shell(??), rather than round, although i rolled into balls….Haha….

I found the cookie very light and buttery, while Hubby found it too powdery. I think Mum will like it as it’s buttery. Well, I guess I will not do this for cny unless Mum requests for it.

Calla’s notes on the recipe:

  • as the dough was soft, i chilled the dough prior to rolling into balls. Chill again prior to flattening it with a fork.

2008 Chinese New Year Test Kitchen – Sugee Cookies


The second cookie to make its appearance was Sugee Cookies. The recipe was posted by Gina in the Kitchen Capers Forum (thanks, Gina!). I baked them in 2 batches… The first one turned out too crunchy, while the second one was…well….a little chewy. I was kind of hoping for the melt-in-your-mouth texture again. But I think the cookies were too sweet for my liking – will reduce the sugar the next time i bake.

Calla’s notes:

  • To try reducing the sugar as I felt that the cookies were too sweet.
  • The mixture also spread quite a bit during baking – to leave ample space between balls. Perhaps, I should leave the dough in the fridge for a while, prior to shaping them.