Thursday, September 27, 2007

LJ-razz, 7.24.07: chocolate chip cookies for two, a few, or just you

The cookies I put in my birthday goodie bags came from the recipe off the back of a bag of Guittard chocolate chips. My theory is if you’re going to make chocolate chip anything, then use decent chocolate. I altered the recipe a wee bit to my taste, knowing the butter and sugars will flatten and crisp a cookie. I used enough of each to make crispy edges, but still leave the middles chewy. If you want the recipe, I recommend you go buy a bag of Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips, and that way, you won’t use the cheap crap to ruin a really good cookie recipe. If you really don’t care, then go here. It makes about 6 dozen small cookies, which is a lot unless you’re baking for a bake sale, or stuffing 35 birthday party goodie bags.

Instead, I offer 35 bites of cookie. This could be 5 or 6 big cookies, or 13-15 little ones, depending on how you like to orchestrate your gluttony/exercise your willpower. It’s a good way to have fresh-baked cookies without having 3 or 4 dozen of them. I modified this from Debby Maugans Nakos’ Small-Batch Baking. Her recipe makes flat, chewy cookies … and I mean flat like a coaster. Unless your oven temperature is right on and you watch them carefully, you can easily turn a batch of her cookies into a sheet of sweet tar.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter, a scant ¼-cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of white sugar, and a half-teaspoon of vanilla extract together. Then beat an egg really well (or use egg substitute, which seems a tad less ridiculous) and add 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon to the creamed ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine ¼-cup and 3 tablespoons of AP flour, 1/8-teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/8-teaspoon of salt. Add the combination to the creamed ingredients, mixing well.

Stir in a half-cup of chocolate chips.

Drop by the rounded teaspoon, two inches apart, on a baking sheet (I don’t grease mine; there’s already enough butter in the dough. I also don't use an actual teaspoon to measure drops--I just use a spatula and scrape it onto the sheet, eyeballing it.). Bake until done, which in my world is when the edges are golden and the centers are pale, but don’t look raw.

Wait a couple of minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. Or not, if you're really hungry.

Tips: Most measuring spoon sets don’t include a 1/8 measure (also known as “a pinch”). Here, especially with the baking soda, if you’re forced to do some sort of acrobatic move using the standard ¼ teaspoon measure, then aim for too little baking soda instead of too much. Dear vegan friends--just use the appropriate vegan substitutes, and it should work out just fine. =)



And, for those of you who wanted this one, too, here's the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake on almond cream cake cups, in three parts, with sub-parts, with an affectionate nod toward my baking chef-instructor, Chef Colley:

Okay, to make the Almond Cream (the cake base), you need almond paste. Some higher-end stores might have it in their baking section, but most just have disgusting marzipan, which contains glucose and preservatives and all sorts of nasty stuff.

Almond Paste

8 ounces almonds, blanched and very finely ground (grind them twice)
8 ounces powdered sugar
1 egg white, room temperature

Combine the almond flour (ground almonds) and powdered sugar, and toss into a mixer, then add the egg white. Mix all this up until you have a smooth paste.


The almond cream cake is often used as a tart filling, and I did use it as a base to my apple "tart" that was also at my party. I halved this recipe. The almond paste recipe above will give you enough for this recipe.

Almond Cream (cake)
1 lb almond paste
1 lb sugar
1 lb butter, softened
8 eggs, room temperature
1/4 lb cake flour, sifted

Prehat the oven to 350 and spray your cups if you're making cupcakes. Soften the almond paste in the mixer, then cream in the butter until they're both mixed together really well. Add the sugar and mix til combined. Then add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next, scraping down the bowl each time. Add the sifted cake flour, and mix til smooth. Bake at 350 until firm and golden brown. The batter will have risen in the cups, then fallen again--that's fine, it's supposed to. Let the cakes cool before topping off with you cheesecake filling.

You mix the raspberry coulis into the cheesecake batter. You can use any flavor, fruit, etc. You can cheat and use preserves. ;)

Raspberry Coulis
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 pint chocolate sorbet
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Puree raspberries with sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.
Scoop sorbet into individual serving bowls and top with coulis. Garnish with a few fresh raspberries.
Coulis keeps 3 days, covered and chilled.


California Cheese Cake
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature (use good stuff--Philadelphia)
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1 egg, room temperature
3/4 oz gelatine
3 pts whipping cream
1 1/2 oz liquor (optional)

I used 2/3 this recipe. Heh. Soften the cream cheese in the mixer. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar with the gelatine granules. If you're using sheets of gelatine, soften the gelatine in water first. Add this sugar/gelatine mix and everything else to the bowl and mix until you have a smooth, pourable batter. Slowly mix in your coulis or fruit or preserves until it's laced through the way you want. Some chopped white chocolate mixed in would've been a nice touch, but I already had my glaze going, and I ran out of white chocolate. Make sure you don't fill the cups to the top, or you won't have room for you white chocolate glaze. Place the cups in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours or overnight until set.

White chocolate glaze

17 ounces chopped good quality white chocolate
8 fluid ounces whipping cream
1 or 2 tablespoons butter (optional--I didn't use any)

I used half this recipe. Make sure you use real white chocolate--bars, not chips. You want something that has cocoa butter in it, so be sure you check ingredients. Finely chop the white chocolate and put it in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Heat the cream to just before boiling, then add it to the chopped chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. If it isn't all melted, you can put the metal bowl over a bain marie (a pot of simmering water) or nuke the glass bowl in the microwave for thirty seconds until it's all melted. Let it cool slightly (the longer it cools, the thicker it gets, which is what happened to the chocolate glaze over my peanut butter mousse cups ... *sigh*). Top off your cups and place a fresh raspberry on top, then place the cups in the fridge so the chocolate can set.

Yum!

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