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No, There’s probably little chance that you can make cookies as good as these

ImageThe best way you can actually get your hands on these is to take my General Biology, Microbiology or Ecology class. Much like a magician’s slight of hand, baking exceptionally delicious cookies is just not something that can be done without a long apprenticeship, years of dedication and highly selective ingredient choice.

Given all that, I feel no fear that sharing my recipe will reduce the relative supremacy of my own cookies. And since I’m home today with a sick boy, it’s just the right timing to make up a scrumptious batch.

The Recipe (Altered subtly, but importantly from the original Nestle TollHouse instructions)

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons home-made vanilla-in-vodka extract

2 large farm-fresh eggs from the

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Chocolate Chunks

1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chunks and nuts. Drop by massive flops onto  parchment paper atop insulated baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove immediately to wire racks to cool with a high quality spatula such as Williams-Sonoma’s Fish Spatula

FAQ

-Really? ‘Massive flops’? Don’t you worry about making your cookies too big?

Don’t be a sissy. These are real cookies. If you want that little crap, pick up a bag of Chips-Ahoy.

-But Don’t they run into each other when they cook?

What did I say about being a sissy. Next question.

-Why Baking Soda AND Baking Powder?

Because sometimes you need to do it right. I would love to cite Cook’s Illustrated here, but their article / video on this topic is behind the paywall. Suffice to say it’s just better that way. Also see here.

-Is it necessary to use the parchment paper? Nestle just says to grease the cookie sheet.

That’s totally what you should do. Grease the sheet. Then scrape off the cookies when they get stuck, burn the batch you just forgot in the oven while dealing with the burnt bits on this sheet and then have more to wash up when you finish. Or, you could use parchment paper.

-Is there some music that goes best with cooking cookies?

Yes. You should listen to Rush, Journey and Marillion – but be careful with Rush, because they try to sneak in a bunch of crap songs when you’re not paying attention.  – And you bake cookies.

– What about high-end gourmet chips?

Funny. They all come out worse than the Nestle ones. Stick to what works.

-Do you eat the dough, while you’re cooking – I mean baking?

Yes, of course I do.

-Do I need to get my own backyard chickens for farm-fresh eggs?

Yes.

-What’s this about vodka-vanilla extract?

There’s a right way and a wrong way. You go on using imitation vanilla, I’ll use my own extract in vodka. We’ll see whose cookies are better.

-Is it true that chocolate chip cookies are best with milk?

Only if you’re out of espresso.

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/wNYpAJCfTTg

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is it rational to follow yoga with Espresso?

Maybe, maybe not.

Regardless of the sense or sensibility of it, that’s what I’m doing. I think I’ve recovered from what felt like a weeklong slump where I wasn’t exercising or getting outside enough. This weekend was a lot of fun. Harry and I dug out what is about a 1/3 to 3/4 mile mountain biking loop through our back woods. Most of it is fairly simple, but with a lot of turns that don’t let you pick up much speed. There are a few technical sections that drop down and through the creek bed, but I can push through most of it without going over the bars.

Today, I got out for the first test run. I used the Nike+ app to map and get milage, but poor signal left me with only an estimate of the distance. My first loop read .35 miles, but two more gave a total of 2.5 miles. As you can see, the math doesn’t hold.

I’d like to get out and make some alterations to the path this week, but I don’t think I’ll be able to talk Harry into joining me as he picked up a terrible case of Poison Ivy from the first time. Not to mention that a good deal of the reaction was in unmentionable places due to his unwillingness to go back up to the house for the bathroom. (Oooo. That’s right. It’s bad.)

 

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Things to look out for in the woods

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Working at home and the discovery of Moka- brewed espresso

A while ago I was mentioning my overindulgence in caffeine and the pure joy that comes from a well-made espresso or coffee. I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t have these delights at home as I dreamt of expensive devices from Williams and Sonoma.

Some wise reader asked if I had tried brewing espresso myself at home using a Moka pot and I had to admit that I did own one, but had not used it more than once or twice because I had not been able to get a good result. Well, I thought I would try again. I dug out the pot from its home above the refrigerator and gave it a shot. First try – lots of leaking steam and boiling water, very little drink actually produced, but not bad.

I tried again today and had a little bit of the leaking problem again, but I got a lot more espresso out and the first cup was delicious! I’m going back for seconds, but I wanted to rave a little first. Thank you dear reader who suggested this – you may have made a big difference in my life with your comment.  

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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