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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Experimenting with Oats plus a Reveal Dessert



This guy I work with is obsessed with Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.   He has had some woes in trying to make his own but he has been content with the President's Choice tube pack.   He can cut off two slices, only make two and be happy.  Through our lengthy conversations about baking and cookies I have discovered he has no "real" oven.  He has a stove top and a counter top toaster oven.  It is a fancy one so he can cook a lot of things but I still think this hinders his quest for a perfect cookie.   He also has been baking cookies in a cake pan and making giant bars instead of round cookies. I also had to school him on the importance of bringing ingredients to room temperature and was (in my opinion) over baking them.

His quest to make a good cookie,  put me on a quest.   We got on a discussion about using rolled oats or quick oats. This made me wonder what I preferred and what would make the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.   Before testing the oats I figured I needed to go to a recipe I knew would be fairly fool proof.   I looked at my cookbooks and the big Bouchon Bakery book was standing out over all the others.   This recipe will be my starting point.

I took the recipe, made some minor tweaks and made three batches of oatmeal cookies.
  • one with all rolled oats
  • one with half rolled/half quick
  • one with all quick
Over the course of several days I brought these into work for the guys to taste test.  In general the Bouchon Bakery Oatmeal Cookie recipe is solid.  One of the best I have tried so far.  Every batch came out delicious. The one thing I love about this book is that is has weights along with cups for measurements. I always love to use my scale if I can to be more precise, something that has been rooted in me since pastry school.   By the end of our testing, he was dying for the recipe.  You think after 3 batches of cookies we all would have been sick of oatmeal cookies but NO.  I could have made 3 more batches and eaten them all.  After days of him asking for me to post the recipe or take a picture of it, I finally got him the recipe.  He then proceeded to ask me if I have seen the big baking book with the cookie sandwich and glass of milk on the cover.   I honestly started laughing.  "This is where the recipe is from!"   All this time he had the recipe sitting on his kitchen counter.  Of course it took him several batches for him to still make the cookie as well as I did, but last Tuesday he brought me in some cookies and I was seriously impressed.   

So what was our favorite?   The guys preferred the all rolled oats cookie while I actually preferred the mixed cookie.  The cookie with only quick oats were good but lacked enough texture and well a strong oat flavour. I liked the mixed because it seemed to give a good balance without being to hearty.  I will also say that the kosher salt in this recipe is key,  it makes such a difference in bringing out the flavour and adds a little hint of salty to the sweet.

I turned some of these cookies into a reveal dessert for some friends and family when we were announcing baby number #2 was a girl.   So easy, so cute and who doesn't love cookie sandwiches.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from Bouchon Bakery)


INGREDIENTS:
  • 144 grams (1 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 120 grams light brown sugar
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 5.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks

Note : For my experiment I subbed 1 3/4 cups quick oats in the second batch and 3/4 cup rolled oats / 1 cup quick oats in the 3rd batch.


To make Gender Reveal Sandwiches
  • 1-2 cups your favorite buttercream
  • Pink or blue food dye
  • sprinkles


INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. In a small bowl combine, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk together.
  2. In a large bowl or mixer bowl beat butter until smooth and whipped. Add sugars and beat together until light, fluffy and well combined.
  3. Scrape down the bowl, (unless you have a beater blade with I highly recommend), add egg and vanilla mixing until just combined.
  4. Add flour mixture in two parts, mixing both on low until almost combined.
  5. Add oats and chocolate chunks and mix on low to just combine.
  6. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 325F. Using a medium scoop place a round on to a parchment/silpat lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until golden brown. This will get a soft chewy cookie, if you like a harder cookie, cook a few minutes more.
  9. Let cool on a pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container.
To Make Gender Reveal Sandwiches : 
  1. Separate out about a 1/4 of the buttercream and colour it to pink or blue.  
  2. Place the coloured and plain buttercream into to separate piping bags.  
  3. On the bottom center of one cookie, add the coloured buttercream, then circle it with the plain buttercream. 
  4. Place another cookie on top , then roll in sprinkles.  

















Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Banana Recipe Round up



Did you get any pregnancy cravings while you were pregnant?    I don't remember too many with my first.   I did enjoy a few more things that I would have normally ate, like a few more poutines and nachos but otherwise I still ate quite healthy.

For baby #2 it is pretty much the same, I am having a few indulgences but still aiming to stay on track.    My craving this time around though is banana baked goods.  I could literally eat banana bread every day.  Oddly,  I am not actually craving real bananas, just banana baked goods.  I have never been a pure banana lover.  Even now I really only eat the excess of what my little one doesn't it to give baby #2 some potassium.
There is a cafeteria in a building across the street from my work and I swear they make the best banana bread I have EVER had!  I can guarantee it is not healthy and potentially soaked in melted butter after it is baked but honestly BEST EVER! It is dangerous really.   I tend to treat myself maybe once a week with it and for the rest of my cravings I go to recipes that are a bit more figure friendly like my Gluten Free Almond Banana Bread.

Since I need to mix up my banana baking and try some new recipes I have asked some blogging friends and scoured the web for some delicious banana baked goods and created this round up for you.  Some healthy, some not, but all 30 Banana recipes will satisfy any banana craving.

Enjoy!













Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chocolate Malt Banana Cakes





I hate being late, and yet I feel it is happening more and more.  I want to say that when my husband is with me it is more him than me, that or I just haven't mastered the art of packing up with a toddler.  He thinks it takes less time to get places than it actually does.  I also think he never wants to be on time.  He doesn't like to be the first person at places, and I hate to be the last.

This morning I got a call from the midwives asking if I was on my way,  and I said "not yet" , apparently I was 10 minutes late for my appointment!  AAH!  According to my phone my appointment didn't start until for another 40 minutes.  Do you know how much this drove me crazy.  I hate to be the person that throws off the schedule and makes everyone else late.  That is why I hate being late, I don't like making other people late or wasting their time.  I rushed over and literally had maybe the fastest appointment ever so I didn't cause to much of a disruption.   I booked my next three appointments and actually put the time of the appointment in the subject as I fear daylight savings may have adjusted the date in my phone.  This could just be an example of my never ending technology curse.

I have another reveal dessert idea coming but with Easter rapidly approaching I couldn't resist picking up some Chocolate Malt eggs.  I love chocolate malt balls in general and these are just so pretty, colorful and fun to use this time of year.


Chocolate Malt Banana Cakes


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup malt powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 bananas, ripe and mashed
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup chopped malt balls/eggs
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray an 8 mini loaf pan with non stick spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, malt powder, baking soda/powder and salt and whisk together.
  3. In a large bowl or mixer bowl , beat butter until whipped. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add each egg, one at a time, beating just a minute.
  5. Add the mashed bananas and mix on low to incorporate.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions on low until just combined. Add buttermilk and mix until mixed in.
  7. Fold in the chopped malt balls. Divide the batter evenly between the 8 mini loafs.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  9. While cooling heat whipping cream in a small sauce pan until simmering. In another bowl place the chopped chocolate, cover with the whip cream and let sit a few minutes. Stir to combine and melt all the chocolate. Let sit a few more minutes and drizzle over the banana loafs and topped with more chopped malt ball eggs.







Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Coconut Cream Mini Pies with a Lemon Oreo Crust + a Reveal!




I mentioned last week one of my favorite things about finding about the sex of the baby is to make reveal desserts to tell people.   It is a lot more fun to have people bite into something and find out rather than just telling them.  It also drives them nuts that you make them wait until they see you to get a dessert.  My goal every time is to try and come up with different ways to tell people though instead of the traditional cake or cupcake.  My mind begins to spin on what sort of treat can I sneak a pink or blue center into.

I had a few ideas in my head which you will see in the next post or two but this one was my last minute idea that popped into my head thanks to Pi Day.  If you saw my last post - White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pies - I was part of a group of bloggers who got together to celebrate Pi day.  One of the pies in the collection was a Coconut Cream Pie from Rachel @ I love my disorganized life.   This gave me an idea, why not sneak in something pink or blue at the bottom of a little tart and then top it with the coconut filling.   Perfect.

I couldn't use Rachel's recipe exactly because the eggs are not cooked and knowing I would like to eat it myself I wanted to make sure they were heated so I used a slightly different method.  I also was dying to use up some lemon oreos sitting in my cupboard and lemon and coconut is such a great combination I had to try mixing them in somehow.

Coconut Cream Mini Pies with a Lemon Oreo Crust


INGREDIENTS:

  • 10-12 Lemon oreos
  • 3/4 sleeve of graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup butter
Filling
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • Pink and Blue sprinkles (more of what you need to reveal)
INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2.In a small sauce pan , melt together the butter and corn syrup on med-low.  Set aside. 
2. In a food processor, blend lemon oreos and graham crackers until processed and fine with no chunks remaining.
3.  Mix together wet and dry mixture until crumbs are all moistened.  Divide evenly between 12 muffin cups, lightly greased or using silicone molds.  Press to shape into cups.   Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove from oven and press down any puffing with the back of a spoon.
4.  While the cups are baking,  put the coconut into a small bowl and cover with the boiling water.  Let stand. 
5. In another bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and egg yolks, whisk together. 
6. In a medium sauce pan heat milk just to a boil.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in some of the milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.   Slowly whisk in about half to two thirds of the milk. 
Pour the combined mixture back into the sauce pan with the remaining milk and return to medium heat,  whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and continue to whisk out any lumps. 
7.  Stir in coconut, cover with saran wrap and let cool in the refrigerator.  
8.  Remove the shells from the pan or silicone molds.  Place a teaspoon of pink or blue sprinkles in the center of the pie shell, cover with a large scoop of the coconut filling.  Top with a few more mixed sprinkles, store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. 


P.S.   IT'S A GIRL!!  My husband is feeling quite out numbered now with a 3:1 ratio but he will survive, as long as he knows who's boss.  hehe











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