Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Giant Cookie

This summer my kids are home from college and we seem to have a lot of extra kids around. I don't know how often I have made this cookie in the past 2 months and it always goes over well. It's just so good! I originally found this recipe on I changed only the amount of chips.

Giant Cookie

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 (11.5 oz) pkg ghiradelli chocolate chips (milk chocolate goes over best)
nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add the egg and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Line a large (11X17-inch) baking pan with foil or parchment or silpat and press the cookie into a circle. I press my cookie into a 9-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick.
Bake for 15-16 minutes until the cookie is lightly golden brown. Let the cookie cool completely on the baking pan.
Recipe note: This many chips is really going overboard, but it's delicious. One cup would be plenty. Also, I use C&H dark brown sugar (the one in the box). It's very dark and makes a really great cookie. If you use a lighter brown sugar, use one cup of brown sugar and no white sugar.

I used pecans and 60% cocoa chips in this batch.

New Mixer and Semolina Bread

The new KA mixer is fantastic and beautiful!

 I made Semolina Bread yesterday. I wasn't real happy with the results so I won't post the recipe. When I was making it, I thought the salt and yeast amounts were high but I made it anyway.  When I tasted the dough, it was so salty and yeasty and it rose immediately. I decided to add white flour and water and knead again. (I was out of semolina at that point) The bread turned out fine but I wanted an all semolina loaf and it just tasted mostly like white bread. Bad recipe, I guess. From now on I'll trust my instincts. I will make again with a new recipe and post that later. These are the pics of the loaves I made. The last pic is sideways but I can't figure out why or how to turn it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Golden Honey Oat Bread

I am waiting patiently for my new KitchenAid mixer to arrive. In the meantime, I haven't stopped making bread. Today, I stirred up Rose Beranbaum's Golden Honey Oat Bread.  A simpler writeup of the same recipe may be found under the name Honey Oatmeal Flax Bread, but it's the same recipe. I threw a lump of old sourdough starter in just for the heck of it. What can it hurt? I found the dough to be too stiff even though I weighed everything so I added about 2 T. water. The other change was to use milk instead of water for the main liquid since I didn't find any milk powder in my pantry. Also painted whole egg on the outside and sprinkled with oatmeal.

The bread is fairly easy to make. I'm hoping it makes good sandwich bread. Following the recipe, I soaked the oatmeal and ground flax in hot milk for a while before making the dough. I think this helps the flavor and also really hydrates the oatmeal and flax. Otherwise, whole grain bread can become very dry.

Wow, the oven spring was amazing. The loaf nearly doubled in the oven. Here are the pics!

Forgot to take a picture of my dough. This one's from Deena's website.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pain Au Levain

Ahh, my first post. I have many bread books but my latest is Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day". I absolutely love this book. I have made the Neapolitan Pizza dough many times and love it. Last week I spent the entire week making the mother starter on pages 36-43. And it took the whole week. I ended up with a very active mother starter which I can now keep in the fridge and replenish weekly.

On Friday, I used a small piece of it to make the sourdough starter for "Pain au Levain" on page 61. First you turn a small piece of mother starter into sourdough starter by mixing it with flour and water. Then you let it sit for 6-8 hours until it increases to 1 1/2 its original size. After twelve hours, I had nothing and it was time for bed - so.. I stirred it down (turns out it was slightly puffy) and let it sit overnight. Voila! the morning it was doubled.

Saturday: Time to make "Pain au Levain"! I made up the dough in my trusty old KitchenAid stand mixer. It was easy to stir up. After kneading, the dough goes directly in the refrigerator overnight. Not much work for today.
The KitchenAid is an old one. I got it in 1983 right after we were married. It's only 4.5 qt and I often need more than that I ordered the 6 qt mixer. Yes!! Blue Steel to match my kitchen. I'll add a pic when I get it. I just know I will love it.

Sunday: The dough was at least doubled so I took it out of the fridge and formed 3 batards. After they had puffed up to almost double I baked them on the pizza stone. Here they are! They were sooo good. They had a really nice complex flavor and crunchy crust.

Overall. The bread was very little work on any given day and now that the mother starter is made, very little effort will be needed to make another batch of this bread. And I certainly will be.