Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baking Savory: Cape Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like the way that cape, chocolate, chip, and cookies all start with the letter C. I do not, however, like the way it reminds me of an English snob.

If you're reading this blog, I honestly hope you aren't an English snob. It's ok if you majored in English, or read a lot of books, just as long as you don't make people feel bad about the way they speak or write.

I once had an English snob make a snide remark at me at a party. Not cool, English snob, not cool.

I remember it better than most memories. The way I was excited about having found a random example of an alliteration. The way he made sure to stomp on my feelings by telling me that it was NOT alliteration. According to him, and (I'm assuming) his English snob friends, in order for something to be an alliteration, there had to be 3 or more words starting with the same letter.

Really, English snob, really?

I don't even care if he was right or not, what I care about is how he went out of his snobby way to crush my alliterating hopes and dreams.

You may have noticed that I am in no way an English snob. I write this blog the way I speak, the way my mind rattles out thoughts. I even speak the way my mind shoots ideas around. This means that sometimes I leave out important words in my speech, like prepositions, or subjects of sentences. I may also be leaving out these words as a result of falling down the stairs last month, whatevs.

What matters is that my friends aren't English snobs, and that I can find a way to convince people that these Cape Chocolate Chip Cookies are NOT weird.

Cape Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Emeril

1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
1 cup of sugar (divided into halves)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely crushed potato chips (Cape Cod, for alliteration!)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (because I ran out of AP)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the cup of butter with a half cup of sugar. Mix in the teaspoon of vanilla and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the 1/2 cup of crushed Cape Cod, and the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Stir well. Finally, add the two cups of flour and mix until well combined.

Place remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl. Using a tablespoon to help measure, form cookie dough mixture into little balls. Roll the balls in the sugar before placing on the cookie sheet. Gently press down on the cookie balls with the bottom of your bowl. Sprinkle tops with extra crushed chips and sea salt flakes*(See note).

Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

*I have an excessive amount of salt on the tops of my cookies. After further consideration, they are much better with only a little bit of salt sprinkled on top. Emeril dips his in chocolate. This is worth considering.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Butterbeer Cupcakes

I'm amazed that it is only the tenth week of the year. New Year's seems so long ago, and we have been working on so many projects in the classroom since classes resumed from winter break.

One special day we had in the classroom recently, was Read Across America Day on Friday, March 2nd. It happened to coincide with Dr. Seuss' birthday, so many of the classrooms at our school celebrated accordingly. Students brought in sleeping bags, comfy clothes, and piles of books, and we dedicated the whole day to reading. We took our third graders down to the Pre-K room and read to the preschoolers, too.

Soon after, Week 10 of both the cooking and the baking challenge asked for Movie or Book inspired recipes. Luckily, this one is both; and from my favorite book series, too!

I adore the Harry Potter books. I spent all of my middle school and high school years reading a book, or between books. Then the movies came along to add on to the fun. Even after I started college, the last book came out and I went to a book-release party and had a blast. The series is something I'll always look fondly upon and associate with such good memories. These cupcakes are a great way to celebrate them!

Butterbeer Cupcakes
with Butterscotch Buttercream and Butterscotch Ganache

Slightly adapted from The Pastry Affair

these quantities make 8 cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 extra large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/4 cup cream soda
1/4 cup whipping cream + 1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together the cup of flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and the pinch of salt. Set aside.

Measure out the 1/4 cup of whipping cream and mix in the teaspoon of vinegar. (This takes the place of the buttermilk from the original recipe.) Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the 1/2 stick of butter and the 1/2 cup of brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Mix in the teaspoon of vanilla and the 1/2 teaspoon of butter flavoring.

Add a 1/3 of the flour mixture into the larger bowl with the butter and mix together. Stir in the whipping cream (with vinegar), then another 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix in the cream soda, and fold in the remaining flour mixture. Mix gently in order to avoid overbeating.

Fill lined cupcake pan with the batter, and bake for 15 - 18 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Cool completely before frosting.

Butterscotch Ganache
(enough for 8 cupcakes, and a bit leftover)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup and 1/3 cup of butterscotch chips (equal to about 1/2 of an 11 oz. package)

Melt butterscotch chips with the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often, until smooth. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Butterscotch Buttercream
(enough for 8 cupcakes)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons Butterscotch Ganache
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of heavy cream

In large mixing bowl beat the softened butter until fluffy. Mix in butterscotch ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, pinch of salt. Beat in powdered sugar for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the cream one tablespoon at a time until reaching desired consistency.

To Assemble
  • Using a paring knife, cut out the top of the cupcake in a cone shape.
  • Fill the space with 2-3 teaspoons of Butterscotch Ganache
  • Gently place the cupcake top back on.
  • Top with Butterscotch Buttercream, making sure to cover the cut from the knife.
  • Drizzle Ganache over the cupcake and buttercream.