Thursday, April 4, 2013

Now about those Thin Mints...

So as I mentioned this week I made Thin Mints. It was from another recipe I pulled off baking Which FYI is a great resource, much more than just recipes. I got all my Girl Scout recipes from there but I have to say this is one that just didn't work out for me this time. The last time I made them I went with a drop cookie approach versus the slice and bake approach. I think the former had much better results than the latter. So I will include both ways in the recipe, option 1 being what the actual recipe called for and option 2 being my take on the cookie. I feel that my take gives a crispier cookie, but perhaps it's my fault. I did feel that my option 1 attempt may have been undercooked. I've also increased the amount of mint just a bit because I felt the cookies just didn't pack the punch of an actual Thin Mint.

Thin Mints

2 1/4 C all purpose flour - 321g
1/4 C cornstarch - 36g
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (next time I'm using 1/2 C cocoa)
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract

Option 1:
Sift together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed add in the extracts and the milk, mixture with appear curdled. Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
Split dough in half, and roll into logs about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 1-2 hours, until the dough is very firm. (Placing the logs of dough in paper towel tubes not only prevents the dough from flattening on one side but also is a perfect length and diameter for each log)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the the dough into 1/4 thick slices and place on prepared baking sheets. Cookies will not spread much so you can crowd the pan more than normal. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before coating in chocolate

Option 2:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add in the extracts and mix well. At low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated, then add the milk and continue to mix until dough comes together in a ball.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with wax paper and press into 1/4 inch thick discs with a flat bottomed glass or similar. Bake for 11-13 mins or until edges are crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before coating in chocolate.

-chocolate coating-
12 oz. dark chocolate, chips or finely chopped bars
1/2 C butter, unsalted, room temperature

Melt 8 oz. of chocolate and the butter in a double boiler, or microwave safe bowl, and heat until smooth. If using the microwave stir frequently to prevent scorching. Finely chop the remaining 4 oz. of chocolate and add the the melted chocolate after you remove it from the heat, stirring quickly to help incorporate and melt the added chocolate. Dip each cookie in the chocolate to coat and shake off the excess, or paint with a kitchen brush to coat cookie. Place on a sheet of parchment, and let chocolate set up completely before enjoying

So there are two takes on the same cookie. Also i don't think i will be adding the butter to the chocolate next time, I feel it made the chocolate much thicker, making it harder to coat the cookies, and I feel it affected the tempering. Perhaps cocoa butter would work better, so I may give that a shot next time.

Now I was very unhappy with the overall cookie; however, I froze them and I feel it made them much more enjoyable, many of my co workers really enjoyed them much to my surprise. So that's a big plus, I'm very glad I was able to salvage all my hard work.

Candy bar wise I did a spin on peppermint patties to keep with the mint theme and those worked out much better, apart from the mint layer turning out way too thick and taking over. But again I learned a whole bunch and can't wait to try again. Sorry the photos are not more helpful. , Hopefully once I'm not working 70 hours a week I can add some better ones and some photos along the process, not just the finished product and as always enjoy the latte art.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday, Monday....

Some more latte art practice this morning. Not to shabby for a Monday morning. There will be more to come don't you worry. Also stay tuned for continued Girl Scout cookies. This week was thin mints. I'll post the recipe but I got some major changes that need to be made. I was less than thrilled with the results, but I think I can fix them for next time. They are not bad they just ain't thin mints. Oh well. Live and learn.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Girl Scout cookie fun...

So every year during Girl Scout cookie season I make homemade versions. Not that I have anything against the Girl Scouts and I'm sure the organization could use the money, but I'm sorry at this point the cookies are shit and way too expensive. The homemade versions are so much better. It really proves what great cookies they can be. I've been a little lax this year but I finally got with it and made some Samoas (or Caramel De-Lites). It rather time consuming so you might want to make a day out of it. Lots of steps and waiting for things to cool and set, but believe me it's well worth it.

Caramel de-Lites
Samoas cookies

1 C butter, room temp
1/2 C sugar
2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Up to 2 Tbsp of cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in dry ingredients until combined. Adding the milk slowly until the dough has come together, should be soft but not too sticky. You may not need any milk at all, add a little more flour if dough is sticky. Place 1 inch balls of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover the dough balls with wax paper and press each ball into a flat disc about a 1/4 inch thick (a flat bottomed glass works well). If you want to add the hole in the center use the end of a wide straw or similar. (You can also roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness, working in small batches. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the rounds and place them on the prepared baking sheets, then punch the center hole if desired). Bake cookies for 11-13 min. on the top rack, or until bottoms are lightly browned. i find a longer cooking time is better. the crispier cookie gives a nice crunch. cool for 3 min. on baking sheets and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

3 C shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
12 oz chewy caramels or you can make your own
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp heavy cream
8 oz. dark chocolate chips, or finely chopped bars

Place oven rack in the top position, and pre-heat broiler, set to low or high, both will work but be careful not to burn it. If you go with high heat be sure to keep a close eye on it. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the coconut out. Place on the top rack and leave the oven door cracked. Check and stir the coconut every 60-90 sec. and more frequently towards the end. Spreading it into an even layer each time. Once the coconut is toasted set aside and let it cool thoroughly on the baking sheet.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a heavy sauce pan with the cream and heat over low to medium heat until caramels are melted (or microwave them on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally), add the salt and stir well. (Or make your own caramel and add the additional cream and salt at the end.). Once caramel sauce is smooth stir in the toasted coconut. Turn down the heat to low to keep the caramel from thickening up as you work with it. Spread 2-3 tsp on each cookie ans set aside to cool and set up.

For the chocolate coating, place 6 oz. of chocolate in a double boiler and melt until smooth (you can also use a microwave for this, but be careful not to scorch it. Heat on high for 30 sec at a time stirring in between). Once melted added the remaining 3 oz. of chocolate to the melted chocolate and stir vigorously to melt to rest. This will temper the chocolate so it sets up properly and not melt as soon as you touch it. I recommend finely chopping the remaining 1/3 to help it incorporate more quickly. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate to coat, or use a kitchen brush to paint the bottom of each cookie and place on a piece of parchment. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the cookies. Let the chocolate cool throughly before eating or storing.

These cookies were a huge hit and you might wanna make a double batch cause they will disappear in a heartbeat.

Had my second go at candy bars. Still trying to get it all figured out. They ain't that pretty but boy were they tasty. Also a few latte art favorites.

Monday, March 18, 2013

From cookies to cappuccinos...

A few months ago I became obsessed with cappuccino, the perfect coffee beverage. So I've been doing my best to share these amazing little sensations with everyone I can find. I've taken over the espresso machine on the crafty truck here at Grimm and I'm basically the coffee liaison for the show at this point. We are all very excited to finally have Stumptown coffee on the show. It's a vast improvement (thanks skip) over what we were drinking. Also I was allowed to really dial in the grind and the machine for us to fully enjoy such a quality coffee. It's been quite a process, but so very worth it.
I even went out and spent a pretty penny on a fancy grinder and espresso machine for my house, and it's been worth every penny. I got the Breville double boiler and "smart" grinder. I've only had them a few weeks but so far I've been quite thrilled with my purchase. Everything is built right into the Breville (timer, P.I.D, etc) and it took no time at all to get the grind worked out. The smart grinder is straight forward and easy to use. Just a few turns of the dials and I was able to make coffee shop level espresso in minutes of opening the box. It also steams milk beautifully, making excellent microfoam. I'm also quite excited that my pour/latte art is coming along quite nicely and I thought I would share some of those each week as well. Here is some of my work up until now. Just a few for now but there will be more to come. It's certainly a learning process but I think it's coming along nicely.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A real classic...

I a brought these cookies a couple weeks ago and they were a big hit. It's one of the first cookies I brought for the crew back on the pilot. It had been a while so I thought I would dust off the recipe.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk & Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 C unsalted butter, room temp
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
10 oz. dark chocolate bars cut into chunks
10 oz. bag peanut butter chips

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift togehter flour, salt, and baking soda. Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Slightly beat the eggs and add to mixture, add vanilla and cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips.
Drop one inch balls of dough 1.5 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets, and bake on the top rack for 10-12 minutes depending on how crispy you want them. Makes roughly. 8 dozen bite size cookies. Could double cookie size and bake 12-15 minutes

I usually use 5 oz. of milk chocolate/5 oz of dark chocolate which also works really well. It give that smooth milk chocolate mouth feel with the bite of the dark chocolate. I had a lot of dark chocolate around the house so I went with 10 oz of dark. I also tried something a little different this time. I rolled half of the dough balls in crushed roasted hazelnuts. It was a great addition that everyone loved. It gives them a fancy look and doesn't require much more work.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

and this week on Grimm, potato chip cookies

This week I decided to try a recipe I found forever ago but had stashed away in the recipe bank. I was intrigued by the idea of a potato chip cookie. It's a pretty basic shortbread cookie with a twist. I wasn't overly impressed but I got a lot of rave reviews on set, and I will admit they smell fantastic. I told everyone they had to guess the secret ingredient, and of roughly 40 people only one guessed right, but I did get some interesting guesses.

Potato chip cookies
Sweet salty goodness

2 C all purpose flour - 300g
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 C sugar - 212g
1 lg egg
1 - 1 1/2 C crushed potato chips ( the thinner the better)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together dry ingredients. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg. Mix in the dry ingredients, then mix in the potato chips. Drop 1 inch balls of dough on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake 12-13 min. Or until golden brown cool completely on wire rack. Makes 6 dozen cookies

I have a few ideas for this recipe that are a little out of left field, there are just so many possibilities with all the potato chips out there. Will keep you posted with my experimentation.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let's try to get the ball rolling. Finally...

So as you may or may not know I work on the NBC tv show Grimm. B camera focus puller is my official title, I keep it in focus, literally. Blah blah blah boring I know. It's all very technical. You may see some neat camera stuff here but really this is about cookies, and now coffee, cappuccinos to be precise and my expanding skill in latte art. Soooooo... Lets at least start with something.

Every week I bring cookies for the crew and it has really gotten out of hand, every week is different so I have amassed quite a few recipes that need to be shared. As I have said many are from google searches but most have been tweaked by yours truly. I will credit as much as possible as I said, and will include my changes and the results.

I missed last week so lets start there. I was interested in cornflake cookies (still am) and discovered the Momofuku Milk Bar's cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie. Thank you wee eats ( ) which is where is took my recipe from. It sounds like the cookies in store are giant (1/3 C each), wee eats made (1/4 C), I went standard about a tablespoon each. So here is my recipe write up, feel free to check the original as currently wee eats has very nice photos and some good baking tips.

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies
Momofuku milk bar cornflake cookies

-cornflake crunch-
5 C cornflakes
1/2 C milk powder
3 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp salt
9 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F, line baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl crush cornflakes with hands to roughly quarter the original size. Add milk powder, sugar, salt and toss. Add butter and toss well to coat, mixture should form small clusters. Spread clusters on prepared baking sheets and bake for 20 min, or until toasted. Let cool completely.

16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/4 C sugar 256g
2/3 C brown sugar 133g
1 lg egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all purpose flour 218g
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 C cornflake crunch
2/3 C chopped dark chocolate 3oz
1 1/4 C mini marshmallows

Sift together the dry ingredients, cream butter and sugar for 3 min. until its very light and fluffy, add the egg and vanilla, and beat on high speed for 7-8 min. At low speed add the dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated (do not over mix), add the chocolate, cornflake crunch and mix for 30 sec, then add marshmallows and mix for 30 sec. If still not incorporated, fold in with a spatula. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour, or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop tablespoons of dough at least 2 inches apart maybe three (my cookies spread quite a bit), onto prepared baking sheets. I recommend a #100 disher for this to get consistent cookies. Bake for 10-12min. Rotate baking sheet half way through, The longer you bake the crispy they get which isn't necessary a bad thing. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets until firm. Transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

So I had moderate success my first go round, about half were perfect and the other half spread like crazy. I blame my negligence. I ran out of time and refrigerated overnight uncovered and the dough dried out. I would not recommend, the uncovered part or the overnight part. I would get to dishing them out once they are firm. Makes about 4 dozen three inch cookies if I remember correctly. I will most certainly make these again and I have a few ideas for spin offs. I'll keep you posted on those.