9
Feb

Tartine Baking Project: #40 Orange-Oatmeal-Currant Cookies

I’ve always loved cookies.  And rules.  Such a nerd, I know.  As much as I want to be some rule breaker, I have to admit to myself and the world that I love abiding by rules.  (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  Let’s just say I love following most rules.  One of them would be a little rule I’ve set up where I don’t buy cookies, cakes, sweets in mass quantities to bring into the house.  I’ll get something at the bakery or the coffee shop, but if I want cookies I have to make them.  If I want cake, or marshmallows, I have to make them.  This is a good rule to follow, especially since I am baking all the time anyhow.  I would weigh a bazillion (no exaggeration!) pounds if I were to bring sweets into the house on a regular basis that I don’t make.  Does this make sense at all?  It does to me.

One of my favorite kitchen gadets: a microplane zester.  It’s rad and perfect and I’m not quite sure how I lived without it in my life.  If you zest things, you should own one.  (Sounds like a good slogan for the company.)

The oatmeal and currants get mixed in with a spoon.  (A very pretty spoon, eh?)

The dough gets shaped into oval-ish logs, then wrapped tightly and placed in the freezer overnight to ensure easy slicing.  It’s a pretty wet cookie dough, so this is a wise move.  Another wise move and baker’s best friend?  I little bench knife – this little gem keeps wet, sticky dough in check.  I think I was smiling to to ear as I was using the bench knife on my measuring mat.  Very exciting stuff.

These cookies are perfect.  Really, I feel guilty for the millions of orange peels I must have discarded throughout my lifetime, because that orange zest is a magical thing.  I think I just read somewhere that you can freeze orange zest.  If this is true, I’ll never waste that zest again.  If it’s not true, and just something I’ve  been dreaming about then I’m a weirdo for dreaming about orange zest.

By law, I am required to photograph cookies with a glass of milk.  That’s just what should be happening when you partake in a tiny plate of cookies.  Also, I will be sandwiching some vanilla bean ice cream between a couple of these cookies for dessert tonight.  I know, my life is terrible.

 

30
Jan

Tartine Baking Project: #37 Deluxe Double-Chocolate Cookies

After a fruitless search for at the grocery store for passion fruits, my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen fell back on cookies.  Double-chocolate cookies.  I always have chocolate around here, ready to bake any chocolatey thing at a moment’s notice.  CHOCOLATE!  We spent a bit of time hitting the sledding hill, and these cookies were the perfect way to warm up afterwards.

(Did you catch that?  A fruitless search! ha!)

These double-chocolate cookies involve a lot of chocolate, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet.

If there’s ever a season for cookies, I think it’s winter.  While we bundle up and venture off into the snow, the habits of hibernation are hard to avoid.  The guilt is but a distant vapor-like thought when I pile up cookies on a plate for myself and I burrow beneath afghans.  The plate serves the purpose of saving myself several trips to the kitchen.  One time I almost cried when I got settled in and realized the remote was on the other side of the room.

I am always concerned with under-baking things.  The shortbread I just made suffered from such a fate.  Now most cookies, including these rich, little treats, are best when you pull them from the oven and they seem raw.  It just feels physically wrong – there’s a lot of sighing and pacing as I pull them from the oven, a hot mess of barely cooked dough.  But, I love a chewy cookie, so seven minutes in the oven it is.  What else do I love?  Hitting the projected yield for a recipe right on the money.  There’s a weird sense of affirmation in that.  The recipe said I’d get thirty-six cookies, and that’s exactly what I got.  Thirty-six soft, chewy, rich and deluxe double-chocolate cookies.  (I had to pack half of them up and send them home with friends because I would eat all of them for every meal of every day.

These cookies alone are a great treat.  I totally leveled up when I went all out serving these cookies with vanilla bean ice cream and sliced bananas.  I debated making some caramel sauce, but that just seemed a little too deluxe.

 

9
Dec

Tartine Baking Project: Recipe #23 Walnut Cinnamon Slices

While I was very excited for this Holiday Bake-Along series, it provides some added pressure for me to make an end product that I think it worthy of comparison, and not a total flop!  I chose this first recipe to share because it seemed simple enough, and everyone loves cookies over the holidays.  (Everyone!)  The combination of walnuts and cinnamon seem like a good team for any December holiday celebration.

On my Christmas list?  A beautiful wooden cutting board!

The dough came together pretty quickly, and it’s safe to say the cookies were going to be delicious, seeing how testing the flavor at this point was a necessity. 

After some time just chillin’ in the fridge, the dough was ready to slice up.  I fought the urge to actually grab a ruler and measure the width, length, and height that was suggested in the recipe.  At first.  I was afraid something had gone wrong, because I did the quick math and figured out I was going to have a lot more cookies than was said you’d get from a single batch…I busted out the ruler, and yes, I can eyeball 1” x 2” x <!— /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:”“; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} —>

¼”. 

Slathering with egg wash, then coating in sugar.  Maybe I was a little excessive with these two steps?  The edge of these cookies was VERY sugary.

Ready for the oven!

As I mentioned my projected/actual yeild was a bit off: The yield of these cookies in the recipe said you’d have 36 cookies, I ended up with around 100 cookies.  Crazy, right?  They’re small, which means they are very tricky and dangerous.  It’s easy to eat three, and head back into the kitchen literally five minutes later for another three.  It’s scary/amazing/wonderful/indulgent of us, but we polished off nearly all of them this week with very little help from visitors.  Ugh…I had grand plans of wrapping them up in cute bunches and giving them to neighbors as a “Welcome to the Holidays” type of gift.  That didn’t happen.  What did happen, you ask?  Some time in the gym, strictly devoted to burning some cookie calories.

I know the week can be so very busy, so please bake over the weekend if you have some time and continue to share your pictures with me here and on Facebook!  Grab the PDF!

This was just the first of the Bake-Along series!  I am SO excited to share the next recipe on Monday!  Happy Friday!  Happy Baking!

2
Nov

Recipe #12: Oatmeal-chocolate-walnut cookies

Heading into this baking session I was very excited for a couple reasons.  First of all, this was the first real classic cookie recipe, with a few Tartine-esque surprises of course, (molasses in oatmeal-chocolate cookies!) that I’d be making.  More importantly, my excitement stemmed from the fact that I was baking something for someone, but it was a mystery as to who that person was!  Riveting baking, friends!  Making anything for someone other than yourself always means you have to be on the top of your game – no egg shells up in the mix and no using something after it’s been on the floor.  It’s just common courtesy.  So, it was a bad idea for me to listen to Mindy Kaling on NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ because that meant I was totally distracted and laughing when I should have been reading things more carefully.

More chopping chocolate!  We know by now what a fan of this process I am, as evidenced here.

The dry ingredients patiently waiting to be incorporated.

At this point, when I started mixing those wet ingredients, that’s when I got distracted.  Mindy Kaling was probably telling Renee Montagne about her unique look as a child as she reflects, “I can’t believe how little effort my parents put into making me seem like an appealing little girl.”  This resonated with me, and I started thinking back on how I convinced my parents to let me get my ears pierced when I was six so people would stop mistaking me for a boy.  (Sadly, this didn’t work.  The timing was unfortunate for me because there was a sudden influx of boys getting their ears pierced around that time!  Geesh!)  There I was, thinking about my short boy-haircut and my pierced ears, and BOOM!  I’m mistaking tablespoons for teaspoons!  What a rookie mistake!  After a quick glance at my Baker’s Helper chart, (because who remembers how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?) I had to figure out how to remove two teaspoons from the butter.  I hadn’t mixed it together yet, so it wasn’t too difficult. 

Everything mixed together, and it looked and tasted like cookie dough, so I don’t think my molasses mistake was detrimental.

A little bowl of water helping me smash down the cookies, and saving me from sticky fingers.

The directions suggest using an ice cream scoop to make piles of 3 1/2 oz. cookies.  I eyeballed it, impressed with my probable accuracy, and filled the tray with cookies.  They turned out pretty small and quite thin, nothing super special.  I have no idea why I didn’t get the scale out in the first place, but I decided that was now a necessary direction because I was on track to have a yield over double the amount of cookies they say you’ll end up with.  The cookies weren’t terrible, but they weren’t showstoppers.  Since I was sending this to someone, I wanting amazing cookies.  After making the mistake with the molasses, I was worried that I had messed up other measurements, which may explain why I had so much cookie dough!  I needed to figure this out, like amateur detective Jessica Fletcher would, and so I busted out the scale.  (A Murder, She Wrote reference felt right – she plays detective and writes about it, right?  I don’t really remember because I would always leave the room if it was on.) 

Turns out, the size of the cookies was off.  I was shocked that I’d eyeballed such an inaccurate amount!  No, I really wasn’t shocked.  My initial cookie portions was more of a shot-in-the-dark guess than a calculated estimation at what three and a half ounces of cookie dough looks like.  This was a huge pile of cookie dough on the scale – three times bigger than I’d baked in the first batch! 

Ready for the oven.

The bigger cookies turned out perfectly!  Brown around the edges, slightly soft and moist in the center.  SO GOOD! 

Three cookies roughly one-ounce equals one three and a half ounce cookie.

Needless to say, I taste-tested one of the large cookies that the winner of the giveaway will be receiving!  I had to make sure it tasted amazing and that it wouldn’t kill someone.  They were delicious and I’m not dead, so these cookies are off to a special delivery! 

P.S. Thought I’d share some proof.  That’s me (on the left, of course) with my boy-haircut and pierced ears.  Yes, my sister’s shirt is amazing.  I designed my own XXL shirt from foraged leaves and finger paint.