But first, the chocolate chip cookies.
I managed to get a new range, which was a very good thing. And as a way to break it in, I made my favorite cookie recipe. I’ve been using it since some time during high school, and it has never failed me. I realized at some point that I use it to test out new ovens, which does make sense. I’m familiar enough with the recipe that I know what to expect at every turn, and I know how it reacts on certain stoves – if it takes 8 minutes, the stove runs a bit hot; if it takes a straight 10 minutes, that’s pretty good; if it takes 11-12 minutes, then I need to have patience with the poor stove.
I started using this recipe purely as a fluke, but I have completely fallen in love with it. It’s rich (a lot of butter – but anything worth doing is worth doing well), it has the perfect blend of white and brown sugar to make it melt just enough… so good! Very much my comfort food when I’m feeling too lazy to bake other things.
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
Secret Recipe D:
10 ounce(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) teaspoon salt
1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
If this seems like there’s a lot in the mixer, it’s because there is. I made a double batch so I could freeze some.
Drop 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto ungreased cookie sheets.
When I first started making these cookies, I was still very much not a fan of getting my hands icky with sticky-gooey-greasy stuff. I would scoop with one spoon, and scrape off the scooped dough with another. It resulted in flatter, more oddly-shaped cookies. I liked them, frankly. They had nicely crisped edges. Then one day I baked with my bestest friend Lysandra, and she was rolling the dough into balls. I kinda thought it was funny, but I noticed that hers came out much more uniformly, and I liked that. I’ve been trying to perfect the way I do the cookies since then. I found that if I refrigerate them then roll them, they’re much easier to roll and don’t stick to my hands as much, but they don’t flatten out as much, tend to be much more normal-cookie-ish. If I don’t refrigerate, I get dough all over my hands. I’ve recently turned to cookie scoops, but the last one I had disappointed me by breaking. I got a new one that seems like it might actually hold up, but with these I refrigerated the dough, not thinking too much about it. I had to bake them for a slight bit longer to get the same sort of effect (about three minutes longer) as far as the browning, but even so they’re still more… thick than I’m accustomed to. But! using a cookie scoop makes it much easier to pack them onto a cookie tray for freezing 🙂
Bake at 375ºF for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
So, this is the third week that I have tried to make madeleines. Luckily, there was success! Finally! Of course, I’m not entirely sure how successful, since I’m pretty sure I haven’t had any other madeleines than one from Starbucks in those little packages. Yes, I went to France and didn’t have madeleines. I was busy with many other delights.
I let my mother know I was going to be posting about madeleines, and she said, “Are you going to mention Proust? You can’t mention madeleines without talking about Proust.” Strangely, I had never read Proust’s materials on madeleines, so I looked it up. The excerpt comes from Remembrance of Things Past. I won’t go into depth on it, but the link I read is here. Proust talks about going home and his mother feeding him madeleines and coffee, and from the first bite of the madeleine he is thrown back into some wonderful memory from an earlier time. The phenomenon is called involuntary memory. It tends to hit as suddenly as déjà vu, and is nearly as elusive in recapturing, but pertains to memory rather than your neurons chasing their own tails. It’s an interesting little read. I really haven’t read much Proust, but this makes me want to read more.
Anyway, Mikal keeps complaining that there aren’t as many tea-oriented pastries as there are coffee: coffee cake, espresso mousse, etc. So I found Earl Grey Madeleines with Honey.
Earl Grey Madeleines with Honey
from Bon Appétit
5 tablespoons unsalted butter plus additional for molds, room temperature
2 tablespoons loose tea or tea from 2 tea bags (preferably Earl Grey)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
Line small sieve with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth and set sieve over small bowl. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in saucepan over low heat. Mix in tea. Let stand 10 minutes, then pour into sieve. Twist cheesecloth tightly around tea mixture, releasing tea-flavored butter into bowl.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick, about 4 minutes. Add honey, vanilla, and lemon peel; beat 1 minute longer. Gently fold in dry ingredients, then tea-flavored butter. Press plastic wrap onto surface of batter; chill batter at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Just an fyi on the fridge time thing: if you leave it in too long, it will deflate. That’s the one thing I noticed from the failed batch when my stove died.
Yay! I finally learned this trick! Funny how once I kinda sorta knew how to do it, I worried a lot less >.>;
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush twelve 3×2-inch madeleine molds with butter. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Place pan on baking sheet. Drop 1 scant tablespoon batter into each mold (batter will spread while baking, filling molds completely).
Yeah… When the recipe called for a scant tablespoon, I took it at its word, and immediately thought, “Wait, that looks like a lot. But they must know what they’re talking about, right? C_C” And I eventually remembered that I opted for the mini-madeleine pan, which means that I need about half of what they were saying. So Mikal has a bunch of oversized madeleines for his nomming pleasure.
Bake madeleines until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Sharply rap pan on work surface to loosen madeleines, then turn out onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
As I said, I really haven’t had much in the way of madeleines, but I think I will be making some normal ones at some point. These have a good flavor, but I remember the ones from Starbucks having a much lighter/gentler flavor. For me, these taste too much like tea, or rather that the mixture of the tea, vanilla, and the type of honey we used was just all a bit loud for this. Mikal wants to try creating an ultra-concentrated earl grey, and substituting the vanilla for that, and see how it makes it taste. All in all, these are pretty easy to make, as long as you remember to put the eggs on high speed when making them fluffy. I may also invest in a silicone mold… I had forgotten how much dark pans effect baking. :/