Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Baking A Few Items At Once

October 24, 2017

I keep lots of cookie and scone dough on hand, so I can just pull it out and bake it off at a moment’s notice. Sometimes this means I need a few of these and a few of those. While all those cookies might fit easily on one cookie sheet, bake times are not always the same.

King Arthur Flour recently shared a great tip, which rectifies that problem completely. They suggest placing each type of cookie on its own strip of parchment paper on the baking trays. When one row is done, simply pull the entire sheet off the pan and continue baking the others.

Pretty smart, huh?

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: “Cleaner” Cookies

September 20, 2016
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double chocolate chip with sea salt

Lately, I’ve dipped my toe into the wholesale side of my little baking enterprise which is forcing me to expand my repertoire of sweets to keep the variety fresh for my clients. Last week, I came across a tip from the esteemed chef Thomas Keller when he spoke about his version of chocolate chip cookies. In the last few days, I have employed this technique multiple times.

Keller chops his own chocolate for his cookies, rather than buying pre-made chips. Although regular old chocolate chips are great for many things, sometimes chopping up a higher quality, or different cacao percentage makes a difference. I sometimes mix the two, to get even more complexity to the cookie. But, that’s not today’s tip, although it is a great one!

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“Kitchen sink cookies” have chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, pecan and oatmeal in them, among other things!

When chopping chocolate, or nuts for cookies, place them in a fine mesh strainer to allow the dusty particles to slip through. This keeps it out of the batter, allowing you to have a more perfect definition between chocolate, nut and cookie dough.

We have three new cookies to be added to our website, Etsy, Gourmly, Echohabitude, and Chocolate.org, where we are indigo jones eats. For now, stop by Pintail coffee on the LES or Red Hook, or order from Umi Kitchen’s convenient app ( Shari’s Healthy Eats) where each meal comes with the freshly baked treat of the day.

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Chilling Cookie Dough

May 31, 2016

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When we make rolled cookies, chilling the dough is a crucial step in the process. The room temperature dough is very soft and difficult to work with, while the chilled dough is firmer and holds it’s shape better.

The same principle holds true for drop cookies. While most of us (guilty as charged) just mix, drop and bake our cookies, chilling the batter is a step that greatly enhances the shape, texture and even flavor of our favorite chocolate chippers.

Just 30 minutes in the fridge has a positive effect on the batter. Chilled cookies spread less when baked. The result is a slightly denser cookie, with a more chewy- crisp texture. Because the dough dries out slightly when chilled, the flavors become more pronounced as the excess water evaporates, leaving the sugars to almost caramelize when baked.

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Next time you are baking chocolate chip cookies, try to resist the temptation to have them NOW, and cover the bowl and allow it chill for at least 30 minutes or up to a few days for optimum results. You’ll be glad you did!

This may also save you time, as you can mix the batter, go about your day, and bake them later. You can also bake a few to get your fix, and bake the rest another day.

Trust us, it is worth the wait!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

December 29, 2015

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Is it time to step away from the cookie jar? I’m looking at you here, who has been a prolific baker and has enough cookies to feed the neighborhood, or gain 5 pounds snacking on them. Or you, who recieved an abundance of homemade love in the form of sweet treats.

Why not repurpose them into a delicious crust for pie or cheesecake. Similiar to a more traditional graham cracker crust, cookie crusts are easy to make and don’t even require baking. Simply process the cookies into crumbs, and add melted butter to create a simple, press-in( no rolling!) crust for future treats. Plain, un-iced sugar or shortbread cookies work well, as do chocolate, or gingerbread cookies. Feel free to add a little cinnamon, spice and everything nice to the plainer options if you wish.

For every 2 cups of cookie crumbs, add 3 tablespoons of melted butter and press into a pie plate, cheesecake pan, or even a rectangular pan for delicous bar cookies. You can even freeze it to be filled and enjoyed at a later date. You’ll have a new, almost effortless dessert for a future meal, and save yourself from slipping into a sugar coma now.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

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Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly EcohabitudeLemonbar and Etsy

Download the HOMEMADE app

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Rolling Cookie Dough

December 16, 2014

We’ve been making a lot of cookies lately. { Insert shameless plug for indigo jones eats here.} Most recipes call for refrigerating the dough before rolling it, which allows the gluten to relax, therefore reducing shrinkage and making for a flakier outcome. With a super sticky dough like gingerbread, chilling makes it just firm enough to be handle. It also makes most doughs really hard to roll out.

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I have wasted lots of time letting the dough chill, only to have to let it sit to soften it enough to roll out.
While I was testing recipes for graham crackers to use to make my s’mores, I came across one that called for rolling the dough between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper, and then chilling it. While that recipe did not make the final cut, it did change my life. Since then, I have been rolling all of my cookie doughs this way, laying them on a baking sheet, and popping them into the refrigerator. The results have been spectacular.

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When you’re ready to roll, just peel off the top sheet, cut the dough into the desired shapes, lift it off of the bottom sheet with a spatula and viola;  perfect cookies!
For my hand shaped shortbread spoons, I have been chilling them after they are formed, and before they are baked with great success.

This has been a holiday cookie season public service announcement. You can thank us later.

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Kitchen Tip: Efficient Cookie Baking

December 23, 2013

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For those of you cranking out the last of the Christmas cookies, here is a tip that could be a game changer:

To save time and cookie sheet washing, prepare all of your raw cookies and place them on parchment paper, cut to fit your cookie sheets.

As the cookies come out of the oven, take them off, paper and all, and place the next pre-filled parchment sheet on the cookie sheet, and  whisk it right back into the hot oven. This production line technique will give you the most efficiency for baking and you’ll than us when it’s time to do the dishes.

Happy Baking!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Get the Scoop

October 22, 2013

Last week we made lots of cupcakes for a birthday party. For us, the worst part of making cupcakes and muffins is pouring the batter into the tins.

No matter what spoon, or spatula we use, it’s a drippy mess. That is until we started using a spring loaded ice cream scoop!

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Simply release  one generous scoop of batter into each paper liner that has been set into a muffin tin. It will not only give you more consistent cupcakes, but it is also virtually mess free, and best of all, fast!

For standard sized cupcakes, the scoop should be disher size 24, which holds about 1.33 oz. or 3 tablespoons, For jumbo cupcakes, use disher size 8 which holds about 3 oz. or 4 tablespoons.

For mini cupcakes, use disher size 50, which holds about .55 oz.  or 1.25 tablespoons. This size is great for cookies too!

Owning a few of these spring loaded scoops will speed up your baking, and give you a much more uniform product.

Try it…you will never go back to a spoon again!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 12, 2013

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Sometimes simple things are best.  Every time I make Toll House chocolate chip cookies, they get gobbled up. The recipe has been around forever, and it never disappoints. The rich buttery dough with almost melted chocolate chips is so easy to make, that there really isn’t a good reason to buy packaged cookies. The dough actually improves if left in the refrigerator for a few hours, or even overnight. It can also be frozen in a log, and a few cookies can be sliced off and baked so that you can have a fresh out of the oven experience at a moment’s notice.

Trust me, these are so easy, you can make them with one hand. I did!

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Toll House Cookies

Beat together 2 sticks of butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar and ¾ cup brown sugar. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Add 2 eggs and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl mix 2 ¼ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. With the mixer running, slowly add it to the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

Stir in 12 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips. **

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Drop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, using a tablespoon* and bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes, until they are golden brown. Allow them to sit for a minute or two in the pan before transferring them to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

* I use a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the pan. It is so much neater, and the cookies tend to be more uniform in size.

** If you want to experiment with variations, try using white chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips, or use a combination.

Replace the chips with M&M’s for a fun look. If you like nuts, add a cup of the chopped nuts of your choice to the batter.

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Eating Outside the Box

March 7, 2013

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I pride myself in being a generally healthy eater, trying to concentrate on fresh, whole foods that are low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Not my whole household does the same.

When B was a baby, she ate everything I gave her. She loved scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, fruits and vegetables. Stir-fried broccoli from the local Chinese restaurant was greeted with smiles and kicking feet. Then, something changed.

It started innocently, with a chocolate chip cookie baked as a distraction during the days that followed 9/11. She eyed it tentatively at first, then gave it a cautious lick. As a big grin swept over her face, she realized she discovered something delicious. Still, sweets were offered in only in moderation.

Next, there was the hotdog, offered unwittingly by a parent on a play date. Little by little, she was introduced to the fried, the processed and the heavily sweetened. Little by little, she balked at the healthy foods being served to her, and morphed into an average kid, with an average palate.
Now heading into her teens, her poor habits are exacerbated by her ability to go into the kitchen and help herself. I am the enabler, making sure the cupboards and freezer are stocked with foods she likes.

Last night, when I saw the wrappers from the afternoon snacks in the trash, I offhandedly voiced my concern, stating that she was going to end up diabetic if she didn’t clean up her act.

Today after school, B asked me if she is really a candidate for illness, even though she is active and far from overweight. The sad reality is that she is headed in that direction. It was a wake-up call for both of us.
Article after article discusses how sugar, and an unbalanced diet could lead to all kinds of health risks, from diabetes to cancer. Just because those Pop tarts are organic, and the granola bars whole grain and trans fat free, doesn’t mean they are healthy.

By the time we reached home, she had outlined her new eating plan.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow, instead of a toaster pastry. Perhaps moving onto oatmeal later in the week.

I have been instructed to stock up on pears, grapes and bananas, as well as cashews, carrots with dip, and the ingredients for an afternoon smoothie to be eaten as snacks or dessert.

Dinner will be a challenge, but if we focus on the foods she likes, it’s a start.

In essence, it’s time she starts eating outside of the box. Literally.

What can we offer up to the pickiest of eaters that comes from the earth, not a package? I intend to find out.

We have all heard of Meatless Monday. Perhaps we need to coin “Try it Tuesday”, “Whole Grain Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursday”? Even a day called “F$2k It Friday” could exist, because sometimes you just to kick back and have some pizza after a long week.

Let’s see how we do. Can she change her eating habits? Can I avoid buying food in a box? Can I get creative with the foods she likes, in order to make her fresh, healthy dinners that she can enjoy? Time will tell, and I will of course tell it here.

Stay tuned, as we set out to eat outside the box.

Unrecipe of the Week: Sugar Cookies

March 1, 2013

 

IMG_1461Sometimes, there is nothing like a good old fashioned sugar cookie. They can be cut into novel shapes, left “naked” or iced. Decorated to the hilt, or just tastefully dipped in chocolate.

This recipe makes a soft, pliable dough that is easy to roll. The secret is in the flour. Cake flour is  finer and more aerated than all purpose flour, with a lower protein content. It yields a finer, more delicate crumb in cakes, and it gave our cookies a lighter, less rough texture.

If you don’t have any cake flour on hand, no worries. It is easy to make, using all purpose flour and cornstarch. For every cup of flour you measure, remove to large tablespoons, and replace it with cornstarch. Sift the flour/ cornstarch mixture several times. Conversely, place a wire sieve over a mixing bowl, and stir until the flour passes into the bowl. Repeat a 3 or 4  times until the flour has a light airy texture.

Basic Sugar Cookies:

Cream together 1  1/2 sticks of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in 2 large eggs and a capful of vanilla extract.

In another bowl combine 2 2/3 cups of cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Add this to the butter / sugar combo and mix well.

If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.

Pat into 2 flat disks, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Roll each disk on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4″ thick. The dough should be soft and easy to roll. If it is too sticky, use a little more flour on the surface and the rolling pin. If it is a bit hard, allow it to sit for a few minutes at room temperature until it is more malleable.

Cut into desired shapes, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, until just golden at the edges. Do not allow them to get too brown!

Cool on a rack before icing.

For the Royal Icing:

Mix a few tablespoons of very hot water with sifted confectioners sugar and stir until it is a thick paste, free of lumps. Add a little more water as necessary.

Color as desired. I used unsweetened cocoa powder to create a deep brown color for the owls. The icing will be a little runny, but will dry into a slick glossy finish. Add decorations before the icing dries, so they will stick better. Let your creativity flow and enjoy!!!


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