November 15, 2018
The holiday season is just around the corner, and you know what that means: time to roll out the fancy desserts!
Last Sunday, my best friend Ali put in a request for apple pie for our weekly get-together. “Apple pie,” I thought. “That’s so boring.” I needed to find a way to keep the dessert close to its classic roots, all while flexing my creativity-loving cooking muscles.
The solution: a fun, funky topping composed of pie crust stars!
You of course don’t have to use stars. You can use hearts, flowers, leaves, whatever floats your boat. I have a Pusheen-shaped cookie cutter myself — maybe I’ll make a cat-shaped pie topper next time. 😉
A lot of people get intimidated by pie crust and opt for store-bought. That’s fine, I guess, but it’s not how I roll. Pinky promise that pie crust is very easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
As for the apples, I personally love baking with Granny Smiths, since they’re never too sweet and hold up well in the oven. That being said, I also threw in a Honeycrisp and a Fuji into this pie — simply because all of my Granny Smiths were tiny and I got really, really sick of peeling them. Use whatever apple you’d like, but I’d caution you against using Red Delicious. Those guys are the worst.
This pie is obviously a natural choice for Thanksgiving. Please try and eat it the day you make it, as it didn’t hold up as well as I hoped in the fridge. If you have leftovers, try eating them for breakfast with some yogurt. I mean, pie is basically granola, which is basically a health food…right? (I’m kidding, of course.)
Looking for a simple, yet show-stopping Thanksgiving dessert? Try this apple pie topped with pie crust stars. A creative twist on a classic favorite.
Adapted from NY Times Cooking
Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 4 hr
Yield 1 pie (about 8-12 servings)
FOR THE CRUST:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Generous pinch of sea salt
2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice water (you may need a little more)
FOR THE FILLING:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky wedges (I used Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a generous pinch of allspice, cloves and nutmeg)
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 egg, beaten
FOR THE CRUST:
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until a firm (but not sticky) dough forms.
Dump the dough and any floury remnants onto a well-floured work space. Gently form into a smooth ball of dough, being careful not to overwork. Cut the dough ball in half and chill for at least 2 hours.
Once chilled, roll out one piece of dough on a well-floured work space. You want the dough to be an inch to an inch and a half bigger than your pie tin. For example, I used a 9 inch tin, so I rolled my dough to a little more than 10 inches in diameter. Make sure you continuously flip and flour the dough so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin or work surface.
Carefully pick up your dough and press it into your pie tin. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust to get out all the air bubbles. Trim the overhang, crimp or style as you desire, and put the pie crust in the freezer to chill for at least half an hour.
FOR THE FILLING:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the apples and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices, sugar and salt and cook until the apples just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and quickly stir to incorporate. Cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the apple cider vinegar, and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can put it in the fridge to speed the process up.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Once the apples have cooled, gently spoon them into your pie crust, making sure the top is even. Set aside.
Roll out your other piece of dough on a well-floured workspace until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a floured star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out pieces of dough and gently place them atop the pie. Once you’ve worked your way through the dough, squish it back together and roll out another piece. (Don’t do this too many times, otherwise the pie crust will be tough!)
Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top with the egg. Place in the oven on a medium rack and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and cook until bubbling and golden-brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Allow to cool to room temperature (at least an hour if you can stand it), then cut and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best eaten day of!
Here’s to some happy holiday baking. Let me know if you give this pie a try!
Also, just a note about my baking. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve steered away from Paleo/gluten-free desserts. This is because of a lot of reasons: completely restricting certain foods wasn’t good for my mental health, I don’t have gastrointestinal distress when eating wheat or dairy, and environmental sustainability are among them. And normal desserts just taste better. There, I said it.
My philosophy when it comes to sweets is to make them yourself and share with others. Have a reasonable portion, enjoy it, and pass on the rest or save it for later. That’s at least what’s worked for me as a foodie and dessert lover. That being said, if you have a food sensitivity or subscribe to a certain diet, I have oodles of gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan dessert recipes in my archives. And, if you leave me a comment, I’d be happy to suggest a recipe adaptation to accommodate your dietary needs!
Tags: apples, baking, dessert, fall, nut-free, pie, Thanksgiving, winter
October 24, 2018
Hello, everyone! It’s been a minute.
As you’ve noticed, I’m sure, I’ve been basically radio silent for the past year. I’ve still been cooking, of course, but haven’t had much time to sit down and blog. Taking five classes a semester, working, doing yoga (almost) every day and maintaining a social life keeps a girl busy!
This semester, I’m taking a food studies class about user-generated content, like blogs, social media and video games. I thought returning to and cultivating Yes to Yummy would be a great choice for my final project.
Before we dive into this week’s recipe, let me catch you up to speed on what’s going on in my life:
- I’m still a food studies major at NYU. I’ll hopefully be graduating in the spring (a year early) since I came in with almost a year’s worth of credit from AP classes. Fingers crossed!
- I started dating my boyfriend, Timothy, last fall. He’s a fellow NYU student (studying acting and writing at Tisch) and native Texan who loves to eat. We’re living together in my first apartment, a shoebox-sized studio in Chelsea.
- I’m currently interning at Allergic to Salad, an organization that brings cooking classes into NYC public schools. I’m super excited to be pursuing the intersection between food and education!
- I made my first solo trip to Europe last spring, visiting friends in Scotland, England and the Netherlands in ten short days. It was an amazing experience, foreign public transportation and all!
Now that that’s covered, let’s move onto pumpkin bread…
Every Sunday, Ali and Kas – two of my closest friends – come over for lunch or dinner. Kas in particular is a major fan of fall. The second a leaf falls on the ground, out come the hipster beanies and sad artsy boy acoustic albums. I too enjoy some good autumnal weather, so I try to integrate fall flavors into my meals for them.
A few weeks ago, I baked up a thicccccc (spelling intentional) loaf of pumpkin bread studded with chocolate chips for brunch. Its sweet and warmly spiced flavor made it a resounding hit among the girls. It was also a wonderful breakfast for the next week or so.
Unfortunately, as is the case with banana bread, if you make a fat loaf of pumpkin bread, it’s going to take a while to cook. Like, at least an hour. Probably more. If you’re in a rush, you can scoop the batter into a muffin tin and make pumpkin bread muffins, but then you’re really missing the point. Slow down a little. While your pumpkin bread is in the oven, read a book. Watch a movie. Take a bubble bath. Do something relaxing, and when you’re done, you’ll have a delicious, warm treat to enjoy.
The fall antidote to your standard banana bread. Sweet, nutty and moist, this loaf is sure to become your favorite October breakfast.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Total Time 1 hr 20 min
Yield 1 loaf, about 8-12 servings
1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup coffee (or 1/3 cup water + 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, allspice and cloves)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (also great with white chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″x5″ loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it with vegetable or coconut oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugars until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk to incorporate. Add in coffee and vanilla.
Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Keep going until all traces of flour are just gone. Then, fold in the chocolate chunks.
Using a spatula to help, pour the batter into the preprepared loaf pan, spreading out so the top is even. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about an hour and ten minutes. Start checking the bread at the hour mark; it may also need an additional ten minutes or so if your oven runs cold.
Let cool in the loaf pan for half an hour, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve immediately or wrap tightly with cling wrap or foil. Best within a few days, but good for up to a week.
So, there you have it. My first blog post in a while. Looking forward to writing more and sharing new recipes (and more) with you all!
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast, chocolate, fall, nut-free, pumpkin, vegetarian, winter
December 15, 2017
Hey, I’m Abby’s dad, aka “Furbo,” and one of Abby’s early cooking co-conspirators. While we’ve made many tasty dishes together, there certainly have been a few fails over the years. The ginormous misshapen Whoopie Pies were not our shining moment. I feel privileged that she has allowed me to guest post here (I think I am the first).
Furbo is a name Abby stuck me with when she was obsessed with Furbies. At this point, Furbies were long out of favor (my daughter is trend setter, not a follower). I eventually found a Furby baby on eBay to satisfy her obession. Many years later, I’m still proudly Furbo.
In my free time, I dabble in bread baking. I am not an uber serious baker (e.g. I don’t weigh my ingredients nor am I very precise) and I make no claims about my technique other than I can reliably make a crusty loaf with a good crumb. The internet is filled with bread enthusiasts and purists who I respect, but I am not one of them. I loved reading 52 Loaves (William Adams 52-day journey to making the perfect loaf), but while I have smuggled sourdough through airport security more than once (like Adams), I am not fanatical.
My sourdough starter is the descendant of my father-in-law John’s, which was created at his summer home in Amagansett, NY in 1965. Carissa’s Breads in East Hampton, uses a version of the same starter. If you like what you see here and are interested in starter, comment and I would be happy to hook you up.
John still bakes regularly. When Abby was little, he used to send her loaves of bread in the mail (slices with butter were a regular breakfast item). Seven years ago he encouraged me to get into the game and sent me home with a container of sourdough, which I’ve been feeding ever since. Abby and I named him “Louie.” Today, he now has an offspring at our second home in Florida, which we probably need to name Houghie or Dewey.
A few years ago, John sent me a beautiful clay breadpot from ceramic artist Judith Moskin. This was the big difference maker for me. Commercial bakers inject steam into their ovens, and while it is possible to use ice or other techniques to do the same, the home bread baker is always at a disadvantage. Enter the breadpot. With a few spritzes of water and a hot oven, it produces an exquisite crust and a good crumb. Judy’s pots are amazing, but expensive, and I’ve broken parts of them over the years. I’ve found a much less expensive alternative from Superstone, their Bread Dome Baker.
John encouraged me to experiment, and has remarked many times to me about how incredibly forgiving bread baking can be. His tutelage, as well as his willingness to share his baking wisdom, is what brings me to this post.
This year, we were delighted to have several of Abby’s friends for Thanksgiving dinner. Over our meal, Abby’s dear friend Natalie conveyed a request from her Mom (DeeDee), my Facebook friend, who has seen the bread porn I occasionally post. She wondered if I could tell her how to use sourdough starter.
Being a bit of an Zymology evangelist, I decided to instead send her a “child” of my starter in the mail. I also turned her onto my secret, the breadpot (pictured at the top of this post). I assured her that with the right ingredients and a breadpot she too could make a good crusty loaf. So this is for DeeDee (as well as Madison and Natalie).
Here are some visual highlights to help guide you. First off, “Louie,” who I feed once a week, but otherwise keep in the refrigerator. He is incredibly tolerant and has lived through power outages and occasional periods where I neglect him.
The aforementioned “breadpot.” This one has a glazed interior, and is said to be good for cooking other stuff like chicken or tagine. Other than wiping it out occasionally, I don’t clean it.
Superstone Bread Dome Baker
My rubbermaid container that I use for proofing. This is totally optional.
Stretching the Dough
The banneton basket gives the finished bread a nice professional ridged look. Definitely optional, but a good touch.
Proofing Basket Banneton
John only keeps his “dome” on for the first 10 minutes of baking. To make my bread crustier, I leave the top on for 30 minutes.
10 min to make dough
60-90 min rise
5 min fold/stretch
60-90 min rise
2 min to shape loaf
60 min final proof
30 min with top on
15 min with top off
Total Time 3 - 4 hours (most inactive)
Yield 1 medium sized loaf
3 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour †
3 teaspoons of Instant Yeast ‡
2 teaspoons salt
1 dollop sourdough starter (about 1/2 – 1 cup) ‡‡
1 1/4 cup warm water
Extra flour for kneading (and the proofing basket)
Cornmeal for the breadpot
Bring your sourdough starter to room temperature, either early the day of baking, or the day before.
In a 5 quart mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Stir to combine. Purist will do this without yeast, but I’m not a pure 🙂
Dollop the sourdough into the bowl and combine with the dry ingredients and stir. The consistency will be dry and flakey.
Slowly begin pouring the warm water into the bowl and using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon work the water into the dry ingredients. Depending on temperature and humidity, you may not need all of the water, so go slowly until the dough becomes tacky, but not too pasty. This will require some experimentation, and don’t be afraid to add more flour if it gets too pasty. Use your hands to finish kneading the dough into a ball, making sure to scrape bits of flour off the sides of the bowl until it is nearly all incorporated into the dough.
Lightly spray a lidded rectangular proofing container with neutral cooking spray and transfer the dough to it. I use a 24 cup Rubbermaid container, but you can skip this step and proof in a bowl, or on your flour dusted countertop with a towel on top of the dough. Make sure the container is out of direct light (and at room temperature) and put it aside to proof for 60-90 minutes.
After the first rise (the dough will typically double), lightly dust it with flour and fold it into itself from both sides. Then stretch it out. Put the top back on and put it aside for another 60-90 minutes.
Dust your counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Now form a round shaped loaf with your hands. If you don’t have a banneton proofing basket, cover the loaf with a tea towel and let sit for the final step before baking. If you have a banneton proofing basket, lightly dust it with flour. Transfer the loaf to it and cover with a tea towel. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and while the oven comes up to temperature let the dough finish its shaping.
Dust the bottom of your bread pot with corn meal, or cut a circular round out of parchment for the bottom of the pot. Turn the loaf into the breadpot and make sure its centered at the bottom. With the bread in the pot, use a sharp knife to make 3 or more slashes in the top of the loaf. Using a spray bottle on mist setting, spritz the top a few times. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees and transfer the bread pot to the oven. Set the timer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid of the breadpot and return it to the oven. The bread is ready when the internal temperature is ~206 degrees.
Remove the bread from the breadpot and turn it out onto a wire rack and let it cool for 15-30 minutes (longer is better, but I will admit to ignoring this). Once the bread is cool store it in a paper bag.
† I like King Arthur. Also, I sometimes I substitute 1 cup of Whole Wheat
‡ 1 packet of Fleischmann’s RapidRise works fine, but I prefer Saf-Instant
‡‡ Get some from a friend (me included). By some online. Or create your own.
Tags: bread, breadpot, sourdough
November 5, 2017
Every autumn as the leaves start to change, a sudden itch to bake pops into my mental periphery. I find myself daydreaming in class about French pastries and cinnamon, fantasizing about the ways I could reinvent chocolate chip cookies or braid a loaf of challah. As my friends can tell you, this is the season where the communal Tupperware container makes frequent appearances, gracing its audience with piles of brownies and cake slices. To me at least, fall and baking go hand-in-hand, and no autumnal meal would be complete without a sweet or bread-y sidekick.
As I stand in my kitchen stirring a caramel sauce or kneading dough, my mind turns reflective. In these repetitive motions, I think. A lot. And every fall, for some reason, I think about love.
Maybe it was because fall was the season when I first literally fell from someone. It was seventh grade, when I had the poofiest hair and biggest chutzpah you’d ever seen. I had a huge crush on this kid in a few of my classes, and one day, I decided to call him up and ask him to hang out. (Spoiler: he said yes, but to this day, it was truly one of the most awkward nights of my life.)
Honestly? Mistake. What was I thinking?! I was twelve and already a loud, ballsy feminist. The world of teenage boys was certainly not ready for adolescent Abby, who was ready for a mature man while still wearing peace sign scarves from Justice. Even though I commend my younger self for being so confident, I do wish I had waited. Because my very sensitive little heart got very disheartened when things didn’t go as planned.
After that, my love life was basically nonexistent until senior year, when I tried to give “romance” another try. I let myself be vulnerable and was honest with my emotions — which was kinda badass, I guess. But I got really, really badly hurt. It was the wrong time, and I picked the wrong person.
I got to college thinking things would be different. Boys would be more mature! Someone out there would be looking for an independent, quirky, strong-willed woman like myself! And I laugh. I’m sure people are out there, they gotta be. But so far, I have been disappointed. Young people are so into hookup culture, and I, as a closeted 40-something, am not. College students can be so wishy-washy and last-minute about things and people and plans. And even though it’s 2017 — where women should be able to ask out men (or other women!) without it being weird — initiating and being forward has never gone well for the potato. Ugh.
Part of it is patience. I’ve just gotta let go and let love find me. And sure, I can be all yoga-y about it and say, “I am a complete individual on my own, I do not need anyone to complete me. What you seek is surely seeking you, don’t be attached to ideas or people. Let the universe take you where it shall.” But you know what? That’s not really how I feel most of the time.
How do I feel? I feel frustrated. I feel frustrated that I still scare people away because I have opinions and personality and spunk. I feel frustrated that people still don’t respect my time. I feel frustrated how seemingly little people can seem to care. I feel frustrated that all of that — the inconsistency, the blasé spontaneity, the forgetfulness — is somehow okay. I feel frustrated that this is the same trope I’ve been experiencing since the first time I ever asked someone out seven years ago.
And you know what? It’s okay for your feelings about life and love to not be tied up in a perfect little box with a ribbon on top. It’s okay to be angry and frustrated and salty with the way societal norms are. It’s okay to want love and want to be loved and cry about it not being there in the way you want. It’s okay to have emotions, even “negative” ones.
So I guess that’s why I turn to carbohydrates. Because quite frankly, carbohydrates never fail to satisfy the romantic love I crave.
Apologies for the rant. I am truly an optimistic, upbeat person 90-95% of the time. But I think it’s important to share that 5-10% of pessimism, saltiness and frustration, because our multifaceted nature only makes us more endearingly human.
Anyway, to me, there is nothing more tender than biting into a fresh cookie, biscuit or roll. That doughiness, that warmth, that butteriness just melts all of the frustration away. One cannot possibly be sad whilst eating a homemade baked good: that is a scientific fact.
So, when I was feeling sad and nervous and anxious and disheartened last week, I made garlic knots. Because garlic can cure anything, I’m convinced.
I had such a fun time making these for my friends. My favorite part was tying them, because look at how cute they are! And each one is a little different. I find it simply adorable.
These are certainly a labor of love, but that’s my favorite part about baking. The more care you put into it, the more love you taste when you bite into that finished product. And having hot, crispy, chewy garlic knots last weekend was worth every second I put into making them.
Some notes! Please use bread flour. Bread flour means chewy, crispy garlic knots. Just get your butt over to Whole Foods and do it. And use lots of garlic. I actually adapted my recipe from the first time I made it to include more garlic. You wouldn’t want to make out with a vampire, anyway. (Sorry, I was never into Edward Cullen.)
Bony African feet! (Bon appétit in meme slang.)
Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots
FOR THE KNOTS:
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)
2 tbsp EVOO
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
4 cups of bread flour
FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.
Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.
Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.
Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.
Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.
Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.
We’ll see when love will find me. But until then, I have garlic knots and some incredibly kickass friends to keep me company.
Tags: baking, bread, fall, garlic, Italian, nut-free, side dishes, winter
October 23, 2017
Hello again, friends! I’ve been cooking up a storm, so I’m back again for another post. I hope you’re ready for some fat, decadent cookies.
In other news, it’s October, but still feels like summer. What gives, New York? (Or more like, what gives, climate change?) I’ve got a pile of sweaters in my closet just waiting to be worn, but the weather refuses to budge away from tank top temperatures. UGH.
While this complaint is justifiable — it shouldn’t be 75 degrees in the second half of October — part of the problem is that I’m an incredibly impatient person. I always have been: patience is an Achilles heel of mine. As I child, I couldn’t last for more than 45 minutes in a museum or aquarium. I’d work myself up into a tizzy if I didn’t know what I was doing each day. Lines and long car rides were the death of me (and my poor parents).
Patience is something I’ve been coming back to again and again recently. Because lately, I’ve been especially antsy about getting things to happen.
Everything I do is fast. I walk fast. I talk fast. I jump into friendships fast. I make decisions fast. I get tests done fast. I practice yoga fast. My brain is constantly going at lightning speed, quickly bouncing from one thing to the next. It doesn’t help that I live in New York City, one of the most fast-paced environments in the world. Simply stepping out my door makes me want to move and think even faster.
Slowing down is honestly so challenging for me. I wish I was some chill, laid-back girl-next-door who could just be spontaneous with life. But alas, I’m not she, nor will I ever be she.
And you know what? That’s okay. Being an energetic planner means that I’m great at initiating, whether that be in conversations or lunch dates. It means I give a shit about getting shit done. Authenticity is my jam, and I will never stray from who I am just because I’m not “chill” enough.
That being said, we all have things we could and should work on, and one of mine is definitely patience. I need to be more patient with people: friendships take time, and everyone has flaws and approaches things differently. I need to be more patient with life: love will find me when the time is right, when the person is right. And I need to be more patient with myself: lessons cannot be learned overnight, and something like anxiety takes a lifetime to conquer.
But one place where I can definitely exercise patience? The kitchen!
I personally see cooking as a laboratory for things I need to work out in my life. (Perhaps this is why I always hide in the kitchen when I get stressed out?) So this week, I worked out some impatience by baking some cookies that needed to chill in the fridge for a few hours before baking. (See the theme?)
No matter how you prepare them, cookies are delicious. But allowing some doughs to chill in the fridge before baking can do wonders for texture. Have you ever bitten into a thick, sensuous, chewy cookie? Part of that is likely flour content, but part of it too is that fridge time. When doughs are cooled in this fashion, the fat (butter) melts more slowly in the oven, thus preventing the cookies from becoming flat and crunchy.
And who would want a flat, crunchy cookie when you could have a sumptuous mouthful of peanut butter and chocolate?
These are pretty straightforward. My only recommendations? Use salted peanut butter. Crunchy, creamy, whatever, doesn’t matter. But please use salted. And DO NOT flatten the cookies before baking them in the oven. Drop ’em on the baking sheet and let them be. You want to maintain that magical thickness.
Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield ~30 cookies
2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of salted peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, up to you)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (if you aren’t into salt, use unsalted peanut butter and keep salt at this amount)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups of dark chocolate chips or chunks
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl with an electric beater), cream the butter and sugar. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and give a quick beat just to incorporate.
Add the flour, 1 cup at a time. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. During the final addition, add the salt and baking soda. The cookie dough should be quite thick: if you’re using a stand mixer, the dough should stick and hold its shape around the hook attachment. If still feeling a bit too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour.
If you’re good to go, fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge for 1-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with plastic wrap.
With an ice cream scoop or two large spoon, shape the cookies. Do not flatten them in any manner. Space them evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until the edges begin to turn golden brown and the middle springs back with a gentle touch, about 12-14 minutes.
Let cool slightly, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm, or keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Here’s to zen, my friends. Maybe one day I too can be a chilled-out cookie.
Tags: baking, chocolate, cookies, delicious, dessert, easy, peanut butter, vegetarian