Ode to The Cookie

This cookie is perfect. You can press it so  it’s flat and crisp, or mound it up to be soft and chewy. You can control the darkness with a little sleight of hand come molasses time, and the chewiness of the oats with a food processor. This cookie is, simply put, scrumbtious (see what I did there turning the “p” upside down?).  I present to you, honored ones, a visual journey through its steps, and, without (m)any more commas, the recipe.

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The Cookie

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cups oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt (I use kosher)
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • chocolate chips or other add-ins, as desired

Directions [with commentary, to make the directions seem long and difficult so the effort seems commensurate with the deliciousness of the result.]

1. Mash/smash/blend/beat together butter, sugar, and molasses.

[The more you fluff them past a homogeneous mixture, the fluffier your cookies will be. That does level out at some  point though so don’t come back and tell me that you spent 5 hours flogging the fluffed batter without a proportionate increase in cookie height .]

2. Add egg and vanilla to mixture, and combine.

[I used a duck egg once, and they were the best cookies I’ve ever made. Try it if you get a chance, and don’t worry if the yolk is a lot thicker than a chicken egg. That’s normal apparently, as I learned after much concern upon cracking the egg into the bowl, and a few frenzied google searches.]

3. In a food processor, pulse half the oats to a rough flour.

[Or leave them all whole. Or grind them all to little bits (but not maliciously). I usually do half and half.]

4. Mix together all dry ingredients.

5. Combine wet and dry ingredients, and add in the chocolates chips/nuts/coconut flakes/raisins/cranberries/etc. of your dreams.

[I like to divide the batter into two bowls at this point. Into one bowl I toss a handful or two of roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips, so there are little flecks of chocolate throughout. The other I leave plain, and flatten into thin oaty cookies on the baking sheet .]

6. Place dough in spoonfuls of desired size onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt if you’re into that.

[If you feel the need to be very particular about size, mine usually resemble golf balls, one of which can be kept on  the counter nearby for comparative purposes. Do eat some of the dough raw, or at least lick the spoon, if you have faith in the ability of your gastrointestinal flora to keep you safe from salmonella. Use accurate self-assessment here. I can personally attest that I eat some of the dough every time I make it, and I’ve never had any ill-side effects. Also, if you’ve never sprinkled salt atop a chocolate chip cookie or other confection before baking, you should most definitely try it.]

7. Bake cookies at 375 degrees, for 7-11 minutes based on your cookie cookedness preferences. I like them at about 9 minutes, when the bottoms and edges are crisp and the middle is still a little soft.

[If you want to save some for later, the dough does well refrigerated for a few days, or frozen in the shape of a log to cut slices off for up to a few weeks-ish. It’s never lasted long enough to test past two weeks.]

That’s it. I’ve given you the magic golden chocolatey winning lottery ticket to success. You can now impress anyone who likes cookies, and if they don’t like cookies, you should evaluate the validity of their reasoning to determine if they are still worth trying to impress.

Enjoy!

Ta ta for now,

Sofia-Jeanne

 

 

The Staples: Daily Bread

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It all started with a starter. Her name was Adelaide, and she produced many delicious sourdough pancakes as well as a few semi-dense loaves in her day. Sadly, she perished in the depths of my parents’ fridge, never to be revived again. I thought my breadmaking days would be over forever. Then, Jim Lahey came along with a no-knead recipe that REVOLUTIONIZED HOME BREAD MAKING! Of course I’m talking about this puppy right here, which is truly deserving of those capital letters. Fast forward two years and here I am, utterly spoiled with the superiority of homemade bread… I’ve overfloured it and underwatered it, stuffed it chock full of fruit and nuts and mixed in spices galore, prodded cheese into its center and flattened it into foccacia, and it has never once complained. Like that foolproof cake recipe mama always makes, it seems to taste good no matter what you do (or or don’t do) to it.

For anyone who thinks bread is too difficult or time consuming, go forth and mess around with this recipe! All you need is a few basic baking ingredients and a big ole heavy pot for the oven (my darling pot is the orange one pictured below).

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A few months ago, I started to get an itch. It was the kind of itch that lets you know that you’ve gotten too comfortable, and that something needs to be changed up. It had become too easy, this everyday loaf. So I set forth with my flour, water, pineapple juice, and a small jar, to craft a new baby sourdough starter from scratch. There was anxiety, trepidation, bated breath, and wrinkled noses… A few casualties ensued; a broken wooden mixing spoon, jettisoned commercial yeast, a few flat chewy loaves. But lo and behold, s/he (still deciding on a name, recommendations welcome) pulled through, and I brought a bubbling beautiful new baby starter into this dangerous world! The rise of her loaves is nothing to be scoffed at, and although she’s kept me up for some late night feedings, she is remarkably well behaved.

The modified recipe I now use to make the same bread is just adjusted by the hydration of the starter. Typically, you want to feed it the equal amounts water and flour by weight, but since I have yet to invest in a kitchen scale, I’ve settled into a feeding ratio of 1/2 cup flour to 1/4 cup (filtered, room temperature) water. So, If I were to use 3/4 cup of starter instead of yeast in a recipe, I would simply reduce the amount of flour called for by 1/2 a cup, and reduce the water by 1/4 of a cup.

Since there can be so much variation in the consistency of the starter (referred to as “percent hydration”), make sure you make these adjustments for replacing commercial yeast with starter in a recipe. If you are using a recipe already calling for starter, make sure the hydration of your starter is the same as what they’re recommending for the recipe. Starters can range from a tougher dough to a pourable goo, so it can make a big difference.

Speaking of which, it’s time to feed my starter 🙂

ta ta for now,

Sofia-Jeanne