Baking - Cookies, Ingredient Insights

Chocolate Chip Cookie Upgrade

I had a hankering for some cookies a couple weeks ago. I wanted a soft, chewy kind, and one that was easy to make. I chose a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but as I started prepping the ingredients I decided to get a little crazy. I have a big bag of raisins that I always forget about, so I took them out; and I had some extra pumpkin seeds from a batch of granola, so I took them out too.

To make myself feel a bit better about making cookies for no other reason than just really wanting to eat them, I substituted whole wheat flour for all-purpose. Thinking about the ingredients I had chosen, I realized that I was going to end up with some pretty dry cookies, for a couple of reasons. Whole wheat flour needs more moisture than all-purpose; and raisins (dried fruit) and pumpkin seeds (already toasted) would also absorb a lot of the moisture.

To solve this dilemma, I simply soaked the raisins and pumpkin seeds in some warm water, draining the water just before adding them to the dough mixture. As I mixed the dough, it was noticeably stiff after adding the dry ingredients; but as soon as I mixed in the pre-soaked additions the dough became moist and pliable again.

The cookies came out great, and are more substantial than a regular chocolate chip cookie; but that doesn’t mean I eat any less!

Baking - General, Education/Classes

King Arthur Flour Indulgences

I have the great fortune this year of living just down the road from a renowned American baking supply store, King Arthur Flour. They sell baking utensils, equipment and ingredients, as well as running a cafe and classes. I recently attended a demo and hands-on class called Indulgences taught by guest instructor Sarah Copeland of the Food Network. The recipes she covered are from her new cookbook, The Newlywed Cookbook. At the demo class we got to see and sample four of her recipes: Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Smoked Sea Salt, Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Marmalade, Thousand Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Black and White Cookies. The next day we got to make and take home the Thousand Layer and Black and White cookies she had demonstrated, as well as a Lazy Chef’s Fruit Torte. Everything was very straightforward, made from basic, but delicious ingredients, and usually with a little something unexpected to surprise your tastebuds. Continue reading “King Arthur Flour Indulgences”