Tag Archives: cookie

Sesame Wafers

From my blogroll, the one that always makes me want to try their recipe is Pores au Chocolat. Maybe its because she’s British, and so all the things she makes seems new and exciting (let’s face it, American blogs seem to only care about making cakes, cupcakes, pies, or scones/biscuits).¬† Or maybe its the simplicity of her photography and recipes that draws me to it. Or maybe its the fact that all her recipes are posted in weight as opposed to cups, and in the metric system no less. Either way, when I’m feel like I need to step out of the usual desserts I make, I turn to her for some good recipes.

Sesame Wafers 1

I think what drawn me to this recipe was the use of sesame. I usually don’t see white sesame used in sweets, but black sesame is one of my favorite flavors or fillings in Asian desserts. I followed the sesame wafers recipe here, except for halving the recipe (I didn’t want to make 50 of these things), and substituting dark brown sugar for light brown sugar (its what I had on hand). Also, my cookies turned out baked at 6 minutes, and burnt at 10, so if you plan on making these be sure to check your oven often.

Sesame Wafers 2

The texture reminded me of the brandy snaps I made last year, also from Poires au Chocolat. Both cookies/wafers were lacy and sugary. However, the toasted white sesame seeds gave it an incredibly savory flavor that reminded me of some sort of childhood snack. They are very delicious, and it is unfortunate that I burnt my first batch. I wish mine were perfectly round like hers, but hey taste is more important. If you are interested in making these, head over to Poires au Chocolat and check out the recipe!

Sesame Wafers 3

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve learned to make very complicated pastries, and I think I can make them pretty consistently. Croissants, souffles, bread, and various cakes, but the one thing I haven’t made successfully is, ironically, cookies. The most basic American dessert. Until this time, all my chocolate cookies have been failures. I had half a bag of leftover chocolate chips from the last time my boyfriend, J, and I tried to make them. But it would be boring to make plain ol’ chocolate chip cookies, and I hate boring. So instead of using normal butter I decided to use brown butter!

Brown butter, or buerre noisette, is easy to make. I learned it here from Poires au Chocolat. Basically its just boiling butter until the water has evaporated and the butter turns amber, kind of like making caramel. Since the chocolate chip cookie I wanted to use called for melting butter, I decided to try browned butter instead. Browned butter has this amazing nutty flavor to it, and it definitely made my cookies more interesting. Browned butter is not suitable for recipes that don’t call for melting the butter because, well, browning it melts the butter! Also, I should note that browning butter removes water from the recipe, which may or may not matter depending on the recipe. I loved the flavor, so perhaps I will use it again the near future (banana bread maybe?).

The original recipe is Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” chocolate chip cookie which can be found here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter(1 stick)
  • ¬†6 ounces bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ounces granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 0.7 ounce whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Procedure

  1. Take the butter and bring it to a boil on medium heat in a small pot/pan. Keep on letting it boil until you start to smell the browned butter and see it turn brown. There will be brown/black spots in the butter, which are toasted milk solids. Be careful not to burn them. You may choose to include them in your cookies – I did. Set aside to cool
  2. Put the butter in the mixing bowl and add both sugars. Mix.
  3. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and add it in 3 parts into the butter/sugar mixture.
  4. Crack an egg in a bowl, add milk and vanilla extract and whisk together. Add it to the dough. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips. Cover and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  6. Bake cookies at 375F for about 10~12 minutes, until the edges are a little darker.
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Russian Tea Cakes

In effort to do more of what I love, I’ve decided to try a new weekly thing: a Saturday baking project! I want to make some sort of pastry or bread every Saturday, despite the confinements of the dormitory. I’ve also decided to change the way I post about baking because I do not have a very clean space to work with, and so most of my photos would look like crap. To try to remedy that, I think I will only post the final product without the progress pictures, and I will also make an attempt to have the final products look nice. We’ll see how all of this works out though. To start it off, I began with Russian tea cakes, or butter balls.

Nutty, buttery balls of tastiness

Nutty, buttery balls of tastiness

Butter Ball Recipe from Saveur.

I’ve never had these cookies before, but my suitemate¬† confirmed that they do look taste like actual Russian Tea cakes. Two of them melted upon baking, which probably meant that I did not mix the butter and flour together enough, but otherwise they baked beautifully. I think the instructions from Saveur are good and no adjustments are needed.

The cookies themselves were delicious – tender and buttery, with a good nutty flavor to it. A cup of tea really makes these cookies addicting.

Try this recipe out, and tell me what you think!

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Shaping Tuile

So recently I’ve been putting a lot of thought into flavors combinations, textures, and overall taste of my baked goods. Although the starting point is usually a recipe that I find online, I usually end up tweaking the recipe itself a bit, or adding components in order to come up with a dessert that fits my vision. My vision is usually inspired by necessities or requirements around me (such as when the dessert would be served), how I want people to perceive the dessert, and of course my own preferences with food. I knew I wanted to make this Brandy Snaps recipe from Poires au Chocolat, but as I gave it more thought, I think the whipped cream she suggested would have made the dessert too rich for my liking. Instead, I went with her other suggestion – a sharp berry sauce. Also, this was the perfect recipe for an alcohol-themed potluck my friends and I recently had.

“Fill me up!”

Brandy Snaps

  • 50g honey (supposed to be made with golden syrup)
  • 40g sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 40g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 1 pint of strawberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Procedure

  1. To make the strawberry sauce, cook hulled strawberries on medium low heat for 30 minutes ~ 1 hour, depending on how smooth you like your sauce. Add the zest of 1 lemon and the juice of it as well. Dissolve 1tbsp of sugar into the sauce and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter, honey, sugar and salt on low heat on the stove. When there are no more crystals, take it off the heat and stir in the flour. Mix well. Stir in the brandy as well.
  3. Grease your baking sheet with butter, and directly put the syrup mixture onto the sheet. Mine were about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Make sure they are spread wide apart (mine aren’t), as they will spread to 2 times their original size. Do no more than 9, otherwise you won’t have enough time to work with them.
  4. Put into a 350F oven for ~10 minutes. The cookies will puff up, dance around a bit, deflate, and then form lots of tiny bubbles. They are ready when the cookies have caramelized, and you can control how caramelized you want these to be.

    Steps 2-3

  5. When they are done, let it cool for about 2 minutes. Use a knife to separate them if they are stuck together.
  6. As soon as they don’t burn your hands, pick one up using a knife (as shown) and shape it into whatever shape you would like. They are traditionally cylindrical, like cannolis.
  7. Hold on to them for a bit after shaping. And move on to the next one quickly. Eat with berry sauce.

    Remember to work quickly. For my last batch, I couldn’t shape the last one because it had cooled already

Brandy snaps are traditionally cylindrical, like cannolis and filled with whipped cream. However, I wanted to convey the message of “fill me up!” with the berry sauce on the side, so I opted for a cone shape instead. It worked beautifully.

Looking back at the recipe, she called for using teaspoons to spoon it out. Mine were definitely tablespoon sized, so I guess I was a little to greedy with them. I’ve never had brandy snaps before, so I wasn’t sure what size they were supposed to be.

Overall, they were great fun to make, and very tastey as well. I think the tart sauce was perfect for these brandy snaps. I tried it with some raspberry sorbet as well, as if I were eating an ice cream, but I think the sorbet makes the dessert must sweeter than with the strawberry sauce. Or you could be really decadent and go for the whipped cream.

Right out of the oven

Try the recipe, and tell me what you think!

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Twice baked cookie

I woke up to the darkest, gloomiest summer day in Pittsburgh, which ironically only made me think of home. During the rainy season, there are a lot of days where the first thing I do after waking up (aside from turning the AC on) is to turn on the lights. Of course, typhoon days are incredibly dark as well. But because of the gloominess, my photos of these crunchy biscotti don’t have good lighting. There’s only so much I can do in photoshop, unfortunately

You can even feel the gloominess in the background

Biscotti are surprisingly easy to make. It is basically a dense quick bread/cookie baked twice. Oh also, its hella sugary.

Original Recipe from Serious Eats.

Ingredients

  • 5oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3.5 ounces sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • lots of almonds and dried apricots (I didn’t measure)

Procedures

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together, until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until smooth.
  3. Bring the two together into a dough. Add chopped almonds (I coarsely chopped them) and apricots (I cut them into fourths), and mix just until incorporated.
  4. Form into a 13x2inch log.

    I added a little too much nuts and fruit, so my log kind of fell apart when I moved it to the cutting board =(

  5. Bake at 350F for roughly 35 minutes, until the top starts to crack
  6. Allow to cool, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut diagonally to make individual cookies, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch. How thick will depend on how much filling you added. Be careful when cutting; they are very brittle. Cut straight up an down to get evenly shaped cookies. The dough should look a little under baked at this point.
  7. Return those to a 325F oven for about 15 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through. Since my cookies seemed to be a little thicker/bigger, I actually left them in the oven for 10 minutes per side.
  8. Let cool for an hour. They will harden when they are cooler.

So many little pieces because I broke my log =(

The more nuts/fruits you add to your biscotti, the thicker you’re going to have to cut them.

This is a super easy recipe, and I encourage all of you to try =)

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