Blake Bakes

I forgot to post about this earlier… but I am a contributor on BlakeBakes.com, brought to you by the wonderful Blake of BlakeMakes.com. ¬†It’s really a lot of fun, so I hope you enjoy my two posts so far, and everyone else’s too! ūüôā

Emily Bakes: Mexican Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Emily Bakes: Grand Marnier Tofu Cheesecake

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Published in: on June 28, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

ny black and white cookies

This past weekend, I was reuniting with a great friend that I haven’t seen for almost a year. ¬†For such a grand and joyous occasion, I knew I couldn’t show up empty-handed! ¬†My mind churned and churned… what to make for such a special friend, whom I see so rarely?

Cookies and bars are basically my go-to gifts, as they can be easily made, easily packaged, and easily loved. ¬†But I try to do something to personalize what I make for each person…and in this case, I tried to tie in my friend’s past residence in NYC by making these Black and White Cookies from Carole Walter’s “Great Cookies” (which is a great cookie book, by the way!). ¬†I have come across these cookies enough times in cookie books to know that they are ubiquitous in NYC. ¬†Although I didn’t really know whether or not my friend had actually eaten or enjoyed these cookies, I took a gamble and hoped that its strong presence in the city meant she would be able to relate to these cookies somehow.

Fortunately for me, it turned out that these cookies did play a role in her past life in NY! ¬†Supposedly her 4th grade teacher would reward her class with Black and White Cookies according to how many books they read…so eventually she just ended up reading books for the cookies, and considers the cookies a part of her childhood. ¬†Success!

Having never tried an actual Black and White Cookie, I’m not sure how these would compare to the real thing… but they are cakey and soft, and I must agree with Carole Walter in her description, “When I first made them, I thought ‘Much ado about nothing!’ ¬†But I was wrong. I found myself cutting off little bites from this big cookie…a slice of chocolate here, a piece of vanilla there…until, before I knew it, the cookie was gone. ¬†There is something about this cookie that is so alluring. ¬†See for yourself!”

If you ever want to bake something for a friend who is no longer in NYC, try these out… even if it wasn’t necessarily their favorite cookie while living there, it’d probably bring back great memories for them!

 

(Technical notes: ¬†I made my cookies a bit smaller than Walter calls for, and made a mixture of her glaze with Martha Stewart’s glaze since Martha has you split the batch into two and whisk cocoa powder in, whereas Walter calls for using melted chocolates. ¬†My laziness got the best of me! ¬†But the chocolate glaze still tasted great, so no worries)
 

Black and White Cookies
Carole Walter’s “Great Cookies”
Makes 16-18 4-inch cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 3/4 cups strained cake flour, spooned in and leveled
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon oil
3/4 cup mlk

1. ¬†Preheat oven to 350¬ļF. ¬†Strain together 3 times the flours, baking powder, and salt. ¬†Set aside.
2.  Cream the butter in a mixer on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color.  Add the sugar in three additions and mix for about 2-3 minutes to thoroughly incorporate.  Mix in eggs one at a time, mixing 30 seconds after each addition.   Scrape down the bowl as needed, and mix in vanilla and lemon oil.
3.  Using a rubber spatula, blend in flour mixture, adding it alternately with the milk, four parts flour to three parts milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Do not overmix.
4.  Using a #16 ice cream scoop, drop six mounds of dough onto each cookie sheet, spacing them 3-4 inches apart.  Bake the cookies for 20-22 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies from the oven and let rest on pan for 5 minutes before moving to cool on wire racks.  While cookies are cooling, make the glazes.
5.  Starting with vanilla glaze, use a small offset spatula to outline the dividing point in the center where the two flavors on each cookie will meet.  Fill in the remaining area with the vanilla glaze.  After vanilla glaze has set, apply chocolate glaze on unglazed half, again starting at the dividing point and applying it as smoothly as you can.  Let glaze set before storing cookies in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 2 weeks. 
 

Vanilla and Chocolate Glazes
Martha Stewart’s “Cookies”

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed
1 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Whisk confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and water in a small bowl until smooth. ¬†Add more water, if needed, to achieve a consistency slightly thicker than honey. ¬†Transfer half the icing to a small bowl and stir in the cocoa powder. ¬†Thin with water if needed.
 

Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 11:36 pm  Comments (6)  

pierre herme’s gateau reine de saba

When I finally got to visit Paris this year, I of course had to visit Pierre Herme’s shop, and go crazy inside! Besides trying various macarons, I definitely wanted to purchase a cookbook of his in the shop as a keepsake. That cookbook turned out to be his “Larousse du Chocolat.”

This book truly is incroyable! It has many categories- cookies, cakes, tarts, confections…and each is divided into “simple” and “for impressing.” Although my French is a little lacking, I figured I could just use an online translator for whatever I needed… and if not, well, looking through the much adored Herme’s recipes and pictures would be enough for me.

Fortunately, I was able to piece together instructions well enough, and made my first thing out of the book today: Gateau de Reine de Saba. This is a fairly simple cake, especially when it comes to Pierre Herme, but simplicity is sometimes just what you need. I paired it with fantastically sweet strawberries, and it was a wonderful way to end a summer meal.

There is a slight crispy crust on top that gives way to a moist interior, and thanks to the almond flour, has a firm, yet soft texture, all at the same time. The gateau is not too rich or sweet, with a strong chocolate flavor that really shines with the cocoa powder on top. I can’t wait to tackle more recipes from this book!

Gateau Reine de Saba
From Pierre Herme’s “Larousse du Chocolat”

125 grams 60% bittersweet chocolate
60 grams butter
3 eggs
125 grams powdered sugar
40 grams potato starch
75 grams almond flour
20 grams cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350¬ļF.
Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and mix well.
Separate the eggs, and in a stand mixer, whip the egg yolks and sugar for 3 minutes, until lightened in color.
Add the potato starch and almond flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula and add the melted chocolate and butter.
Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt, and gently mix in to the chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured 18 cm charlotte mold (I used a 9 inch springform pan, which is probably why mine came out so flat), and bake for 40 minutes (due to my much wider pan, I only baked for 30 and that was still a bit too much).
After taking it out of the oven, unmold the cake on a cooling rack and let it cool.
Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top when cool to serve.

Published in: on June 8, 2008 at 9:54 pm  Comments (5)  

coconut-pecan-date oatmeal cookies

Okay, I need to figure out how to come up with better names for these baked goods besides just listing off all the ingredients… the names get pretty long! But I feel like it would be quite sad to leave out any part of the cookie, because they are all fantastic and work together to make the cookie so great.

I have tried many oatmeal cookie recipes, each time ending in disappointment with the results. No matter how hard I tried, I seemed to only get dry and tough oatmeal pucks. They certainly did not meet the high standard of baked goods I have for sharing with others… but at the same time, I didn’t like them enough to keep for myself. Darn oatmeal cookies…

Except, for some reason, in the past few days, I had a HUGE craving for an extra moist, chewy, almost candy-like oatmeal cookie. I loved chocolate chip cookies made with melted butter, and wondered why I hadn’t found a recipe before that made oatmeal cookies with melted butter, since that’s usually what produced the extra chewy moist chocolate chip cookies I love.

But alas, Alice Medrich had already thought of it. In addition to using melted butter, she has you chill the dough overnight, saying the oats will absorb the moisture. This seemed like the perfect way to prevent dry oatmeal cookies! She is so clever, that woman! And lucky for me, shares the baking knowledge. I decided to use the coconut oil I had purchased without really knowing what I wanted to do with it, but felt like it would be a great change to the cinnamon-nutmeg flavorings for oatmeal cookies. Then, for good measure, I tossed in pecans, dates, and more coconut. Yum!

These were definitely EXACTLY what I was looking for… crispy and caramelized on the outside, but amazingly moist, and almost candy-like on the inside. It was everything Medrich described it to be. Not too sweet, and the coconut oil gives it a great flavor and aroma. (Best of all, no creaming…or even melting! Just measure the oil and pour it into a bowl)

My confidence in making oatmeal cookies has been restored. I hope you make these… I will certainly be turning to them over and over again!

Edit:¬† So, upon eating one of these cookies during breakfast… I realized that the caramelized character of these cookies¬†gives it a taste similar¬†to Samoas.¬† So, for a chocolatey experience, I would heartily recommend trying these without the dates and pecans, making them slightly smaller, and either dipping the bottom in semi-sweet chocolate or drizzling on top.

Coconut-Pecan-Date Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s “Cookies and Brownies”
Makes about 40 large cookies

“Melted butter is one key to the flavor and texture of these great cookies. Overnight chilling allows the oats to absorb the dough’s moisture. The cookies are baked directly on the pan, not on parchment paper; and at a low temperature, to produce great toasted oat flavor, caramelized crunchy brown edges, and flavorful chewy centers. Perfection!”

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats (although I used quick-cooking and they came out great still)
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 tbsp melted butter (or 1 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar, lump free
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup toasted coconut (I used sweetened shredded)

1) Combine the flour, oats, and baking soda in a bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.
2) In a large bowl, stir together the coconut oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the flour mixture just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Let the mixture and the pan cool. Add the mix-ins. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
3) Remove the dough from the refrigerator to soften. Preheat the oven to 325¬ļ F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
4) Scoop about 2 level tablespoons of dough and place them 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. If you want smaller cookies, use 1 tablespoon of dough. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes for large cookies, 13-15 for smaller ones, or until the cookies are a deep golden brown. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
Remove from the oven and let cookies firm up on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Use a metal pancake turner to transfer them to rack to cool completely before storing or stacking. May be stored in a tightly sealed container for several days.

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 1:49 am  Comments (11)