Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baking During Finals = Necessary

Finals without baking cookies?! Unheard least in my world that is lol since I live in the dorms, I don’t have a kitchen of my own but luckily my friend who lives close by offered her kitchen for me to use to cure the insanity of studying for finals. I’m really grateful to my friend for letting me use her kitchen but it really isn’t the same as having my own kitchen/supplies/baking utensils. So I had to look for a recipe that asked for the ingredients she had on hand (basic cookie recipes, nothing fancy) so we wouldn’t have to go out at 1 am to get supplies haha and living where we live (Washington Heights, New York) that isn’t a very good idea. After looking through my bookmarked recipes, I found this oreo chocolate chip cookie one which was perfect since I remember my friend offering me an oreo the week before when I was at her place.

Cookies are always the best in the middle of the night :D

-1 stick butter, softened
-6 tbsp sugar
-6 tbsp brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla
-1¼ cup flour
-½ tsp baking soda
-½ tsp salt
-11 oreo cookies, crushed
-1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla well mixed.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients in three portions to wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.
Drop dough by spoonfuls onto baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 or until light brown on the edges, but still soft.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

What I’ve learned about baking cookies in New York that I think is pretty great is that it only takes 15 min for butter to soften because IT IS SO HUMID lol back in California, it takes 1-2 hours for butter to soften enough for me to cream but here in New York, we took the butter out of the fridge and 15 min later, it was ready to go. Awesome! BUT it still doesn’t make up for it being 100 degrees with insane humidity and when you open those oven doors, that rush of heat is almost unbearable. And then that heat sorta just sits in the kitchen and you have to get the hell outta there ASAP after the cookies are done lol But baking at 1 am definitely got me back into studying mode, baking is the answer to stress, lack of focus, info overload, and being brain dead... at least for me it is. So thank you Rolana for giving me the pick me up that I needed :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

baking from coast to coast

it’s been a month since i  moved to nyc and i haven’t had the chance to bake for two reasons: i don’t have an oven and i seriously don’t have time since i’m always in class, in lab, or at the hospital. but this past wknd, i made it a point to bake since it was my only wknd off for the rest of the month and it was my friend’s birthday the following week. so i borrowed my friend’s kitchen and it felt AMAZING to bake again lol i must sound crazy when i say i can’t live without baking, but i really can’t. i’m okay with it if you think i’m crazy. what i realized is that baking in new york is completely different from baking in california for one reason: the weather. its insanely humid in new york in the summer and even with the AC on, it doesn’t really help all that much. so, when the recipe says to cool whatever you baked before transferring/cutting, in california that means letting it sit out for however amount of time but in new york, it means sticking it in the FREEZER for that same amount of time. i learned this lesson the hard way haha

my friend LOVES nutella so i decided to make nutella brownies since brownies don’t require creaming butter which is ridiculously annoying if you don’t have either a hand or standing mixer which i clearly don’t have. having to cream butter in like 90% humidity is the worst idea ever.  nutella has a completely different consistency when left out in new york as opposed to california. its liquidy and somewhat i’ve learned that refrigerating nutella in new york is a must unless you want the oil to separate from the chocolate...gross. after taking the brownies out of the oven, i let it cool on the table for about 30 min and it was still gooey in the middle which if it had been the case back in california, it would have somewhat solidified by then. so i let it sit out for another 30 min, nothing happens...i realized the humidity was sorta continuing to bake my brownies outside the good. so i stick them in the fridge and after an hour, the pan was STILL WARM OMG. so finally i got sick of waiting and i was somewhat irritated so i stuck the pan in the freezer and only after THREE HOURS did the brownies finally solidify to the point that you could eat it without it oozing out from the middle. but after all that, my friend said the brownies were awesome so i’m still happy. i tweaked this recipe a little but, adding more flour so it would be a little less fudgey and cutting out some sugar so it wouldn’t be insanely sweet which i can’t stand. but if you like fudgey brownies, you’ll love this recipe :)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1.5 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1.5 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup nutella
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

-sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, set aside
-with a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat and add in the sugar and vanilla while constantly stirring
-remove from heat and cool completely before adding eggs one at a time...mix well after adding each egg
-add the flour mixture, in 3 portions, to the egg mixture until completely incorporated
-add the nutella and chocolate chips and mix to combine
-pour into a square (either 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan) and bake for 30-35 min (tip: bake for 25 min first and use a toothpick to check how done the brownies are and back for however many more minutes you need...the type of pan and oven you have can vary the cooking time)
-cool completely before cutting