Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Epic Cookie Battle #4

The fourth batch of cookies that I made in my epic cookie battle were from a New York Times recipe. 

These cookies were similar to the third batch I made, as both were adapted from a Jacques Torres recipe, although the measurements and instructions are different and they turned out differently as well. 

The cookie on the left is the recipe in this post, and the one on the right is from yesterday's post.
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Slightly adapted from this recipe) - Makes 20 large cookies

1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 T sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups (minus 2 T) cake flour
1 2/3 cup bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups or so chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate

Cream butter and sugars together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients and add, mixing until just combined.  Add chocolate and mix by hand or on low.  Form large balls of dough (like over-sized golf balls) and press down slightly.  Bake on a parchment lined sheet (4 per sheet only) for 16-18 minutes @ 350.

* The original recipe calls for chilling the dough, which I did, however I don't think I would do it again.  The balls were difficult to form as the dough was too cold, and I think chilling it make the cookies crumblier than they would have been otherwise.


The cookies turned came out very large and quite nice looking, but a little crumbly on the bottom.  I didn't like the crumbliness, but others loved it, so I suppose it is a personal preference thing.

The inside was moist and chocolaty.  Next time I would use chopped chocolate as it melts better than chocolate chips and would be fantastic in this cookie.

The final chocolate chip cookie in my Epic Cookie Battle will make it's appearance tomorrow!

Do you use chocolate chips or chunks of chocolate in your cookies?
How is your week going so far?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Epic Cookie Battle #3

The third chocolate chip cookie recipe in my epic cookie battle is awesome!  The cookies turned out beautifully, not ugly like the last ones.  They are HUGE!

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from: Tender Crumb) Makes 8 Giant Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
Just under 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 1 T light brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup + 1.5 tsp pastry flour
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup - 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla, mix.  Add all the dry ingredients except chips and mix just until combined.  Add the chocolate chips and mix on low or by hand until incorporated.  Form into 8 large balls and flatten slightly.  Bake on parchment lined pans for 16 minutes @ 350.

I couldn't finish a whole one, so I nibbled on a quarter of it and left the rest in the container.  Come over and you're bound to find partially eaten baked goods around the house :-) 

Waaaaaant some?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Epic Cookie Battle #2

If you missed my last post, I am having a chocolate chip cookie battle to see which of five cookie recipes is the best.  

When I made these cookies from Bon Appetit, they were so ugly looking that I thought I had ruined them.

Then, I looked back at the original picture and realized that, nope, I didn't ruin them ... they are supposed to be ugly.

I took a bite and came to the realization that ugly can be very, very tasty.  They are crisp on the outside, but soft in the middle - a very pleasing texture.

Crisp and Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted slightly from: Bon Appetit)

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 2 T flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter with both sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla, mix.  Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to the wet ingredients.  Mix on low until just combined.  Add the chocolate chips and mix on low until incorporated.  Bake 6-8 minutes @ 425.

Choosing a winning recipe in this battle is going to be difficult.  Especially when you see what I have for you tomorrow ...

Do you make anything that is ugly but tastes ohhhh so good?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Epic Cookie Battle

Cookies are one sweet treat that I have a weakness for ... chocolate chip cookies in particular.  I figured why not enter five chocolate chip cookie recipes into battle to see which ones prevail as the best.

Up first, Levain-Like cookies.  When I was in New York I tried a cookie from Levain Bakery 

It was pretty epic, and I have been looking to recreate it ever since.  

Levain-Like Cookies
(Adapted from: AmyBites) Makes 6 large cookies

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 T sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 cup + 2 T flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and mix.  Add cocoa and mix.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add to rest.  Add chocolate chips and mix until combined on low.  Roll into 6 balls and flatten a bit.  Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 16 minutes @ 350.





Four more cookie recipes to come this week - let's see which prevails as the epic chocolate chip cookie.

How do you like your cookies - crunchy?  chewy?  gooey?  raw?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homemade Kimchi

If you are as passionate about kimchi as I am, it is probably best if you just make it yourself.

Homemade Kimchi
(Adapted slightly from:

1 head Napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt
1 cup or so warm water
1/4 cup red chili flake powder (kochukaru or Korean chili powder)
1/4 cup warm water
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
3-4 thinly sliced green onions
2 T fish sauce
small apple (or half a large apple)
small pear (or half a large pear)
half a yellow onion
1 cup water

Separate the cabbage leaves and chop them into large bite size pieces (they will shrink a lot).  Put the cabbage into a bowl (it will look like a lot).  Mix the salt with the cup of warm water and stir until the salt dissolves.  You can add more water if needed.

Pour the salt water over the cabbage, toss and let it sit at room temperature for 4 hours, tossing every once in a while.  After 4 hours it will have reduced in size.

Strain and rinse well 2-3 times.  Return the cabbage to the bowl. Mix the powder with 1/4 warm water, the ginger, garlic, green onions and fish sauce.


Toss everything with the cabbage using gloves or plastic bags over your hands so the powder doesn't burn you.  Blend the onion, pear and apple in a high power blender or food processor until smooth and toss with cabbage.

Cover and leave out for 24 hours at room temperature to begin the fermentation process.  It will keep in the fridge for about a month and continue to ferment.  But ... if you are anything like me, this won't last 2 days in your house!

Do you like kimchi?  Have you ever made it?

Friday, February 24, 2012

When it Comes to Food ...

What the husband wants, the husband gets ... eventually.

He is fully capable of cooking/baking himself, and is very good at it, but I do it most of the time.  He does the dishes, and I love cooking, so I figure it is a good trade!

He has been asking me for coffee cake since the beginning of December.  He finally got it this week :-)


I used this recipe for the coffee cake.  The only thing I would change would be to use brown sugar for the topping instead of white.  

I am usually much better at getting around to cooking things than baking them.  The hubby asked if we could have meatloaf for dinner this week, and we did.

Now, I just have to get around to making saag paneer that he has only been asking for for a year.  Ooops.

How do you decide what you will cook/bake?  Does anyone in your life (significant other, kid, friend) ask you to cook or bake particular things?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luxe Box: Loose Button

Taking a break from food for a day to talk cosmetics ...

I never used to like cosmetics or beauty products.  When I was an adolescent, my mother ran The Body Shop in one of our local malls, and because beauty products were so readily available to me, I didn't value them.  My mom no longer runs The Body Shop, and as I have gotten older and have had to pay for products myself, I have started to see their value.  I still don't spend much on cosmetics, but I do like to play around with different brands etc. - it is fun!  When I heard about Birch Box in the United States, I had to find something similar in Canada.  Much to my surprise, I found numerous similar companies.  I signed up for a few, the first being Luxe Box by Loose Button.

Luxe Box is a monthly subscription.  For $12 a month you get a box of 4-5 deluxe beauty samples delivered to your door in a pretty box.  The boxes are specifically designed for you (according to a beauty profile that you fill out), and the shipping is free.  I have been blown away by the customer service of Loose Button, and I have been very happy with both my January and February boxes.  

The first box I received was my January Luxe Box, with a bonus bath and body box thrown in!

It was loaded with about 8 perfume samples, a full size lip gloss, a full size 3 in 1 compact, a sample face cream, a razor, coffee, and sample shampoo and conditioners.

Each of the perfumes samples are of very expensive perfumes that I wouldn't want to buy without trying first.  My favourite was Candy by Prada - amazing!

I couldn't wait for my February Luxe Box to arrive.  I liked the red colour :-)


In this box I received 4 products to try.


If you are interested in Luxe Box they currently have a waiting list, but I can send you an invite by email if you'd like - just let me know!  (Note: All opinions in this post are my own.  I have received no free product from Luxe Box, and have no affiliation with them).

Do you subscribe to any beauty product boxes?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crazy Brownies

When I have too much time on my hands ... things happen.

Although I don't have much of a sweet tooth, I love whipping up decadent treats in an attempt to find stand-out desserts to make for dinner parties, etc..  No one seems to mind my adventures in baking, as I always have plenty to share!

These brownies go by many names, and have been making their way around the Internets.  I saw them first here, and then more recently here.  The best thing about them is that they are super easy to make.

Crazy Brownies

Start with a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough.  I made mine from scratch, but you could also use the store-bought stuff.  Spread it into a 9x13 pan that has been lined with parchment and sprayed.


Next, cover the dough with a layer of double-stuffed Oreo cookies.


Finally, pour brownie batter on top.  I used one pack of mix from this box I got at Costco.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (might need more time).  It is done when a toothpick comes out gooey, but not dripping wet.

Let cool for about an hour, then cut into it with a cold knife.  Wipe knife between cuts so that you don't make a giant mess of it.

Dig in!

Do you eat your own baking, or are you more of a bake-for-others person like me?

I do try a taste of everything I bake, but then I usually pass it off on others and go for the bacon or cheese.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Things

1) I had a great time at my friend Mel's bridal shower on Sunday.  It was fun to get together with friends I have had for 20 + years.

I am second from the left, and the beautiful bride-to-be is second from the right.
2) Tried a new restaurant the other day ... Jamdon's Restaurant & Catering.  It is an authentic Jamaican buffet, low key atmosphere with a good selection.  I would prefer it if it were not buffet, but the food is pretty good, and the hubby left very happy.

3) One of the greatest smells in the world is chicken stock simmering on the stove (there is a chicken under there somewhere).  The chicken comes out so moist, and is great for use in the soup, and in sandwiches.

4) Chicken sandwiches are best on soft bread with mayo.  Serve with a green monster to get your veggies in.  I put spinach, 1/2 banana, 1 tsp cocoa, 1 scoop wheat grass and almond milk into mine.


5) Valentine's may be over but I am still loving the pink!  Out with the black, I am all about colour this year!


6) I am on holidays this week and bought 6 different kinds of flour today.  Things are going to be happening in the kitchen ...

What do you have going on this week?