Baking My Way Through Baked – The 12th Recipe

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote a Baking My Way Through Baked post.  Until recently, I haven’t done much baking.  Honestly, I’ve done absolutely no baking until about two months ago.  So, now I’m back into baking mode and jumping back into one of my favorite cookbooks.

Step 1: Buy this book!  Seriously.  Baked is really one of my favorite cookbooks.  Even when I’m not planning on baking something, I love just looking at the pictures.  I have yet to purchase the second and third cookbooks by these guys but I’m just going to assume that they are equally full of deliciousness.

Anyways.

The next recipe that I tried was the pumpkin chocolate chip loaf.  Since December, I’ve already made the recipe twice.  This is one of my new fave breakfast bread recipes.  There aren’t a lot of ingredients.  It makes two loaves.  And you don’t have to dirty up a lot of dishes to make it (just two large bowls and your measuring utensils).  That may actually be my favorite reason since we do not have a dishwasher.

The bread is not too sweet and stays nice and soft.  There is a really great crust on the outside.  Yep.  It’s good.

Mmmmmmm.....bread.....

Mmmmmmm…..bread…..

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Snowtorious B.I.G. and Da Blizzard of 2011 – Or, I want cookies

When I was little, snow days meant a day full of hot chocolate, watching tv all day long, and getting to eat whatever we wanted out of the fridge. Now that I’ve grown up, snow days mean frigid temperatures, walking the dog when he doesn’t want to go outside any more, and digging the car out of the snow drifts. This winter will live on as the year in which Chicago was hit by Snowmageddon, Sno.M.G., Snowtorious B.I.G., Snoprah, Da Blizzard, lots of snow. It also is the first time in years that I had a real snow day. In fact, I had two real snow days in a row.

Ryan and I dug out the car Wednesday morning and then a snow-bulldozer finally came to our street around 4pm.

To give you an idea of what the snow looked like in our neighborhood:

Our backyard - there are trash cans somewhere out there

I only saw one car trying to get to work on Wednesday. They ended up giving up.

Puck had a pretty good time. And then he jumped into the backyard and was swimming in snow. He likes playing in snow until it is over his head.

Don't worry. Ryan eventually found the trash cans.

When it was announced that I was going to have a snow day on Thursday as well, I decided to make my second snow day as productive as my first snow day.  Snow day number 1: cleaned out the fridge, did dishes, did three loads of laundry, did some knitting, and then mopped the kitchen floor.  Snow day number 2: bake cookies.

However, snow day number 2 had a few speed bumps.  The biggest speed bump was buying a new battery for our car because the battery that we had did not like cold temperatures.  In fact, when there was a cold temperature the car would decide not to start.  By the time that we got back from the dealership with a new battery in the car, I was not in a mood to bake.  So, the cookies had to wait one more day.

On Friday, I finally got around to baking the chocolate chip cookies that I (and Ryan) had been wanting for days.  I used the chocolate chip cookie recipe from my copy of Martha Stewart’s Cookies.  I love looking through this cookbook.  The pictures are beautiful and all look delicious.  At some point, I may attempt to bake my way through this cookbook like I am doing with my copy of Baked.

I made these cookies before and they turned out wonderfully.  This time was just the same.

The dough is yummy by itself.  As I was enjoying spoonfuls of the raw cookie dough, I could hear my mom’s voice telling me not to eat raw dough because of the raw eggs.  But, I just couldn’t help it.  I couldn’t stop!

Yum! Yum! Yum!

When the cookies came out of the oven, they were quite puffy and had expanded quite a bit more than I had remembered.  I was a bit worried.

Puffy cookies

But when the cookies cooled, they flattened out just a bit and became nice and chewy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside.  This, is a great cookie.  It’s a great dessert to end blizzard week 2011.  I discovered, as I finished this blog entry, that it’s also a great breakfast item.

Dessert. Snack. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Experimentation

I made a trip to Vosges to pick up some chocolates. You can buy these at some grocery stores but if you have the chance to actually go to one of their stores, do it. My plan was to pick up some bars so that I could make some chocolate chip cookies. The idea was to use a basic recipe and then substitute one of the bars for a Vosges bar.
First on the list: Mo’s Bacon Bar.  I got the dark chocolate variety.  Second on the list:  I wanted something a bit less crazy.  I decided on the Organic Peanut Butter Bonbon bar.  And now, it was time to bake.

I decided to use a recipe that I had already used and that had worked well for me before.  I chose to use the Martha Stewart Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that I had previously blogged about.  You can find the recipe here.   As I wrote when I baked/blogged this recipe previously, I wanted to try dividing up the brown sugar amounts so that it was half light brown and half dark brown.  I gave that a try this time.  My thinking was that the extra molasses flavor would pair well with the added bars.

I worked through the recipe as normal until it was time to add the chocolate chips.  At this time, I divided the batter into two batches.  (In case they didn’t turn out well, I did not want to be stuck with piles of bacon chocolate chip cookies.)  In each batch, I added one cup of semisweet chocolate chips.  Then I cut the bar for that batch into small pieces and folded it in as well.  Then I put them in the oven and crossed my fingers.

The finished batches:

Bacon-chocolate-chip cookies actually turned out to be pretty delicious.  They are very chocolatey and have just a slight smokey taste.  There really isn’t much of a bacon taste, though.  If I were to do this again, I might just only use the bacon bars and might add in a bit of maple flavor.  Perhaps, this could become a breakfast cookie.  Mmmmmmm.  Cookies for breakfast.

Bacon-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

The peanut-butter-bonbon-chocolate-chip cookies are actually really really good.  I wish that you could smell them through the computer.  There is something quite intoxicating about the combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  And yet the peanut butter taste is not very strong in this cookie.  It almost has more of a sesame taste than a peanut taste.  Next time, I might try this bar in a peanut butter cookie recipe so that it is really really peanut buttery.

Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chip cookies

Although experimenting while baking can have very poor results, this experiment has made me begin to think outside of the box with my future baking.

Chocolate Chips and Muscovado Sugar

When I found this recipe, I thought that it sounded quite delicious and I was glad to see how many great reviews were posted for this one.  However, I had never used or even heard of muscavado sugar before.  After doing some research, I learned that it is actually spelled muscovado not muscavado.  Luckily, I was able to find both the light and the dark types of muscovado sugar at Whole Foods quite easily.  When I opened the package of sugar, I was struck by the molasses smell.  But it doesn’t smell quite like brown sugar.  There is something different about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Also, this sugar has a very different texture than regular granulated sugar or even brown sugar.  It was difficult to get it out of the package because it seems to be rock-hard and stuck in the brick shape until you are able to break some of the pieces off.

I made one major change from the recipe as it was written.  The recipe calls for 5 ounces of semisweet and 5 ounces of milk chocolate.  Each of the bars that I purchased were 4 ounces.  So, instead of just taking off one more ounce on two more bars, I decided to take two ounces from a bar that had already been opened so that I wouldn’t end up with odd amounts of different chocolates left when I had completed my chocolate chip cookie assignment.  So, this cookie is going to have 4 ounces of semisweet, 4 ounces of milk chocolate and 2 ounces of bittersweet.

The finished cookie is a great classic chocolate chip cookie.  They are sweet but not too sweet.  Perhaps that is due to the combination of chocolates used in the cookies.  They have a nice crispy edge and are still a little soft in the middle.  I don’t know that this is my favorite of the cookies thus far, but it is definitely a tasty cookie.