Monday, February 20, 2012

This Weekend

Happy Birthday Mr. President!  Thanks for the day off; I love a three day weekend.

This weekend Claire and I endeavored to learn the mysteries behind the Winchester house.  Staircase to the ceiling??  Many things are why.

We hiked in the Presidio and across the Golden Gate bridge.  Loving the beautiful sunny days, but longing for some good snow and skiing in Tahoe.
And I rediscovered why people wait in line at Tartine.  The gougère was amazing!  I found this recipe on line.  I wonder if this is really Tartine's recipe, and if it is, can it be successfully recreated at home?  Maybe a project for next weekend.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

America's Test Kitchen Best-Cookies-Ever

Perfect chocolate chip cookies or science experiment?  Both!  America's Test Kitchen set out to improve upon the classic Nestle Toll House cookie.  They found that melting and browning a portion of the butter before combining it with the other ingredients gave the cookies a chewy texture and nutty flavor.  The flipped ratio of brown and white sugar enhances chewiness, and the combination of one egg and one egg yolk upped the moistness factor.  Finally, the crispy edges are achieved by allowing the sugar to rest and dissolve in the butter.

I've never made a cookie like this before, but I'll try anything once.  Well not sky diving.  Regardless, if you follow the recipe below, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg
1 egg yolk

1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons butter in skillet (preferably not non-stick) over medium-high heat until melted, about two minutes.  Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, one to three minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl.  Stir remaining four tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.  Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.  Let mixture stand for three minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds.  Repeat process of resting and whisking two more times, until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. stir in flour mixture until just combined, about one minute.  Stir in chocolate chips.
Arrange balls of dough 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet, make balls slightly larger than normal.  Eight cookies per sheet.

Bake cookies one tray at a time until they are golden brown and still puffy and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 8-10 minutes.  Rotate cookie sheets halfway through baking.