Monday, December 22, 2008

Chocolate chip cookies

I think I may be the last person in the solar system to figure out how to make chocolate chip cookies that aren't all flat and crispy. But I've finally done it. Here is a list of things I've learned about the mighty chocolate chip cookie, during my crusade against flatness and crispiness.

Rules for chocolate chip cookies:
  • Never forget to preheat.
  • It's okay to be OCD about measuring ingredients.
  • Don't over-mix. The poor flour stiffens if you beat it too much.
  • Altitude matters. It took me the longest time to get this through my skull, and I live at 4500 feet above sea level (for high altitudes, increase the oven temperature by about 15-20 degrees, and decrease baking time slightly. This keeps the cookies from drying out).
  • Take them out of the oven before they look done. This is the hardest one for me. If I see light brown, I know I'm already too late.
  • As soon as they come out, whip out that spatula and take those babies off. They want to hang out on a cooling rack together.
  • Warm cookies straight out of the oven are awesome, but I love the awesomeness that comes from cookies covered in plastic wrap overnight. They will melt in your mouth in the morning, and you will be tempted to eat them all for breakfast. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add half of the flour, with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda. Beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven 8 to 9 minutes. They need to come out before they look done). Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack and let them cool. Makes about 60 cookies.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My First Wedding Cake

Can we start off with a bang?

A wedding cake? Sure, can't hurt.

Last week I managed to pull off my first wedding cake, for my sister-in-law's brother. You want to know what pleases me most about this cake? It didn't topple.

Maybe it's a bit pretentious, but you'll have to allow me to brag just a little. This baby took some serious time and effort. I hope I don't regret starting out with a wedding cake, because there's always the danger that all subsequent posts will seem pretty lackluster by comparison.

By the way, welcome to my new little blog.