Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Funfetti Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been ogling the notorious Sally's Baking Addiction funfetti Cookies for what seems like ages now. I knew it had to be the first cookie I made when I finally got back into the kitchen. It was SO worth it! You must make these. They are everything she describes them as on her blog. Chewy and soft but still crisp on the outside.

I tried baking them tall like she talks about, as well. I'm on the fence about the idea. I'm not sure if it is necessary for every cookie recipe, but  I think it's the best method for these. I tried baking them the normal way, and they were still great of course, but crispier and less chewy. I guess it is just a matter of preference, but I definitely want to try it a couple more times before I convert completely. They definitely aren't as pretty though, that's for sure. And it required a little more work. The cookies have to be reshaped/pushed into circles immediately after they get out of the oven, otherwise they look awkwardly oval. I might just have to take one for the team and experiment with this entire recipe all over again before I go back to school. Obviously for the sake of technique....not because I want more cookies...because I'm on a diet....

Funfetti Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies 
adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction 

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup yellow cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (first 6)

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy

3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on medium high for another minute until fluffy and creamy

4. Add the flour mixture and mix on LOW until just combined if using a stand mixer (can also be added in 3 increments to avoid mess)

5. Mix in the chocolate chips and sprinkles until just combined. don't over-mix! if you are afraid of over-mixing, fold in the chips and sprinkles

6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, but preferably for several or overnight.

7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and shape the cookies dough balls by roll tablespoon sized balls and stack on on top of another so that they are tall instead of wide. This isn't a required step, but it's an interesting experiment that I suggest trying at least once. If they fall over during baking, that's ok. You can always push them back into circles when they come out of the oven. (but do it immediately if that is the case)

8. Bake for 11-13 minutes. They may not look like they are done, but they are. After the cookies have deflated a bit after baking, remove the tin foil or silpat from the cookie sheet so they the cookies can cool against the cold counter rather than continue to bake on the hot sheet.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blackberry, Goat Cheese, Honey, and Arugula on Homemade Naan

I'm back! It's actually been almost a year since I have posted on this blog. How terrible is that! After being in Paris for the fall semester and then living in a dump of an apartment in the Spring, cooking and blogging were just not an option for me. I had serious withdrawal. Needless to say, when I finally got back into the kitchen, I went a little overboard. Within the past few days of being home, I have made cookies, homemade naan, blackberry flatbread things (this post), Louisiana drum fish with corn and pea orzo, blackberry crumb bars, homemade ricotta,  two different kinds of ice cream and baked a cake for my grandmothers birthday. AND I have only been to the grocery store TWICE. Yeah, I know! I can't believe it either. Actually, I only went twice because I was cooking/baking at two different houses. I'm on a roll. Although, it could also be because I have basically stock piled so many miscellaneous ingredients over time that I really don't need to go as often. (Although, we are almost out of flour and sugar, which are ingredients I always feel weird buying. - because it feels like I already have them, even when I don't. you know what I mean? Like salt...that's definitely a weird one)

Basically this post is more about the Naan than what I decided to put on it later. Anything with goat cheese and arugula is my jam, and I wanted to unify the meal by having blackberries in the dessert and appetizer. Well also, because I love blackberries and I think they are totally under-appreciated...

Making your own naan is FUN and so easy to do! It doesn't involve any yeast, which makes it sort of fool proof-ish if you ask me. Of course, you can over-knead, make it too dry blah blah blah, but that the end of the day, it was never supposed to be perfect anyway! I know for a fact I didn't make it perfectly. I followed a recipe until it just wasn't working out and did my own thing. And guess what, it was so good anyway! So try it. Mess up. Have fun. Who cares! I hadn't really cooked/baked in a year, and I needed to try something that I wasn't afraid would fail, and this was the perfect thing (even though I felt pretty fancy after they were finished...) AND, better yet, I bet you have the ingredients already, too.

Homemade Naan 
Recipe adapted from this one here from a blog called Singapore Shiok

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons of olive oil
butter *optional

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the mixed, dry ingredients and add the water and yogurt. Using a fork, begin stirring in the center of the well until the dry ingredients around the perimeter begin to fall in and are gradually incorporated. If the dough has not come together (*this is where my recipe differs. Hers said wet and sticky, but mine was totally dry)  add a tablespoon of skim milk until the dough comes together. (I used 3, but differing climates many require more or less) If the dough is a little sticky, that is ok.

Then add the two tablespoons of olive oil and knead the dough with your hands in a folding pattern until it is incorporated. (this part feels totally weird. At first it will seem like the oil does not want to be mixed, in but it will) Then flatten the dough into a thick disk and cut it like pizza slices into 8 pieces. Roll and flatten the pieces into small disks and thoroughly coat with flour. It can be used immediately, but I waited about 30 minutes so the dough could relax and dry out a bit so it would be easier to roll out. - but don't refrigerate if you do this! Just leave it on the counter.

Roll out the first disk into a long oval shape. Make it as thick or think as you want. Once you make on or two, you can decide the thickness you prefer. At first I thought I wanted it thin for flatbread purposes, but the ticker pieces were best eaten plain with butter and onion or regular salt on top.

Heat a cast iron skillet (or heaven pan) until very hot, and add about a teaspoon of olive oil. Make sure the bottom of the pan is fully coated in oil, then add the dough to the pan. Similar to making a pancake, when there seem to be a lot of bubbles, flip it over. This will take about a minute. If it's not brown enough, you can always flip it back over! During that time you can roll out your next dough. They are delicious served fresh, but they also store well for a couple of days in a large ziploc bag.

Some of my bubbles were small, and some were large like the one below. Both are fine!

After eating a bunch plain with butter by accident...as a taste test, you know...I set up my flat bread station with the blackberries, goat cheese, honey and arugula. Make sure to let the goat cheese sit out for a while though so it is easier to spread! I also started by slicing the blackberries, but then I realized I can get more in each bight if I break them apart in my hands and let their juices fall where they may. I drizzled honey in a zigzag motion and then baked in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes on a cookie sheet. Add the arugula at the end not before! It gets wilted. I did it on one and not the other, and doing it after is definitely the way to go... I also sprinkled finishing salt on one of them. Don't do that either.

ALSO use cooking shears to cut them NOT a knife. It's so much easier and a lot cleaner too.

Arugula added before baking...
Arugula added after baking (the better choice)