March
26

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Ok, this recipe needed a “do over.”  A huge part of the online baking community is about sharing, that’s a large part of why we do this: a shared love of food and cooking it.  We all see recipes and foods online or in cookbooks that we like and it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and make them and then to write about your experiences.  But, and here’s the point… I saw this recipe for yummy cookies on Caroline’s Chocolate & Carrots blog and thought I’d see how they turned out since I have more than one friend these days who has a reaction to flour products but still likes a sweet, baked treat.

In my haste yesterday to:

  1. Gather up two dogs to take them to the vet for shots
  2. Wash my car and vacuum the inside in 105 degrees
  3. Go to the post office, video store, bank, City building, library
  4. Get Starbucks
  5. See what Hobby Lobby had on sale
  6. Buy lunch
  7. Grocery shop for our healthy eating lifestyle change
  8. Go to the gym
  9. Do some work for a client or two (need money from time to time…LOL)
  10. Remove the covers from both air conditioner condensers to clean them and help Hubby(and about destroy both in the process),

I hit the “publish” button on my WordPress post instead of “save draft” which inadvertently posted a half baked article which didn’t give any credit to Caroline and her recipe at all.  Luckily for me, she was very understanding and polite about it… Sorry Caroline..

Anyway, here is the recipe and they are really great cookies so you must bake them!

One of the first things I do before I bake is set all my ingredients out and all of the equipment I’m going to be using… This is called mise en place or putting everything in it’s place. You can read more about that term here…

Mise en place - putting it all in order ready to bake!

Mise en place - putting it all in order ready to bake!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups powdered sugar
  • Cups of dark or Dutch Processed cocoa powder
  • Teaspoon salt (we use Kosher)
  • 3 to 4 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 Tablespoon of GOOD vanilla (I use Madagascar)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I used good ‘ol Nestle Semi-Sweet)


Method

  • First off, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) (F to C temp converter here)
  • Prepare your baking sheets with silicon mats or sprayed parchment
  • Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl (flour, cocoa powder and salt)
  • Fold in 3 egg whites and then vanilla
  • Only beat until mixture is moist and fudge brownie like.  If it’s too dry then add an additional egg white.
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Using a tablespoon, place cookie mix onto prepared baking sheets, leaving room as they will spread. (I got 12 on a half pan sized baking sheet)
No flour, no fuss, fudgy chocolate chip cookies

On the tray

Bake for approx 14 mins or until the tops begin to crack. They will have a shiny gloss finish to them.

No Flour, No fuss, fudgy chocolate chip cookies by Cake Artisan

Finished Cookies

Haha… my first embedded video..

 

Points to consider:

If you are using a convection oven adjust the temperature down by about 25 degrees and you can usually reduce your bake time by a minute or two.  Keep an eye on your cookies as all ovens vary a little.

Many variables can affect your baking… humidity, altitude and the age of your products.  For example, the older the flour  is the drier it can be, therefore often requiring the addition of more liquid than normally called for just to get it to the right consistency… don’t panic, there is NO FLOUR in this particular recipe, this was just an example of a variable.

Enjoy and happy baking!

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February
25
Filed Under (Tips) by Colleen on 25-02-2011

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In response to a question today I thought it might be interesting to visit why some recipes use mass (weight) instead of by volume (cups) or by count.  Baking is a science people. Unlike a lot of savoury recipes, adding a dash of baking soda or a smidgen of yeast probably won’t get you the best possible baked product.  Baked goods rely on chemistry and the correct ratios of leavening agents to do the job.  You don’t guess at the temperature of the oven and consider near enough to be good enough.  No, we follow the guide and hope like hell we have it right.  We have ALL read our ingredient lists incorrectly.  Heck, it seems the older I get the more often I am likely to forget an ingredient altogether!!

For most of history, most cookbooks did not specify quantities precisely, instead talking of “a nice leg of spring lamb”, a “cupful” of lentils, a piece of butter “the size of a walnut”, and “sufficient” salt. In Europe, cookbooks used mass (“weight”) rather than volume, though informal measurements such as a “pinch”, a “drop”, or a “hint” (soupçon) continue to be used from time to time. In the U.S.A., Fannie Farmer introduced the more exact specification of quantities by volume in her 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.

Today, most of the world prefers measurement by weight, though the preference for volume measurements continues in North America.

Flowers measuring cups

So pretty!

In domestic cooking, bulk solids, notably flour and sugar, are measured by volume, often cups, though they are sold by weight at retail. Weight measures are used for meat. Butter may be measured by either weight (14 lb) or volume (3 tbsp) or a combination of weight and volume (14 lb plus 3 tbsp); it is sold by weight but in packages marked to facilitate common divisions by eye. (As a sub-packaged unit, a stick of butter, at 14 lb [113 g], is a de facto measure in the U.S.)

Cookbooks in Canada use the same system, although pints and gallons would be taken as their Imperial quantities unless specified otherwise. Following the adoption of the metric system, recipes in Canada are frequently published with metric conversions.

Different ingredients are measured in different ways:

Liquid ingredients are generally measured by volume worldwide.

Dry bulk ingredients, such as sugar and flour, are measured by weight in most of the world (“250 g flour”), and by volume in North America (“1/2 cup flour”). Small quantities of salt and spices are generally measured by volume worldwide, as few households have sufficiently precise balances to measure by weight.

Meats are generally measured by weight or count worldwide: “a 2 kg chicken”; “four lamb chops”.

Vegetables may be measured by weight or by count, despite the inherent imprecision of counts given the variability in the size of vegetables.

Chopped or cut-up meats and vegetables are generally measured by weight, except in North America where they are measured by volume.

Metric measures

In most of the world, recipes use the metric system of litres (l, sometimes L) and millilitres (ml, sometimes mL), grams (g) and kilograms (kg), and degrees Celsius (°C). The word litre is always spelled liter in the USA.

The English-speaking world frequently measures weight in pounds (avoirdupois), with volume measures based on cooking utensils and pre-metric measures. The actual values frequently deviate from the utensils on which they were based, and there is little consistency from one country to another.

Most blog recipes tend toward the home-based cook and most of our recipes use volumetric measures.  However, from time to time you are going to come across a recipe that is based on mass or weight.  Most of the Western world uses mass measurements and with our world becoming such a small place through the use of technology it helps to know how to deal with alternative measurements and why it’s a good idea.

Mass or weight measurements tend to be far more accurate than a cup o’ this or that.  This is largely due to the fact that a lot of the baking cup sets are just not accurate, having been designed to look pretty rather than to be completely precise.

References:

Griffin, Mary Annarose; Gisslen, Wayne (2005). Professional baking (Fourth ed.). New York: John Wiley. p. 6. ISBN0-471-46427-9. Retrieved 2010 Dec 15. “Volume measure is often used when scaling water for small or medium-sized batches of bread. Results are generally good. However, whenever accuracy is critical, it is better to weigh.”

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December
02
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 02-12-2009

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Since September I have for the most part, been in Australia, my country of birth, visiting my Father who has been undergoing radiation treatment for an inoperable cancer. I’m back home now and we are waiting to see if the treatment for my Dad has successfully eradicated the tumours or not.

On a happier note, Thanksgiving was busy and most of my children made it home. Now for another of my favourite times of the year Christmas and all the fun baking to be done for the festivities to come!

Thank you for all the emails asking where I was and just the friendship in general! You are all amazing!

More soon, Colleen

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July
17
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 17-07-2009

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Some people collect stamps, others like me, collect recipe books.  But what’s the good of owning all these glorious tomes if I don’t actually pull them off the shelf and try out some of the recipes.  I’ve made lemon bars before but this time I’m going to be using Ina Garten’s recipe.  Nothing says summer more than lemon flavoured desserts.

Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars

Ingredients

Crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Ina Garten's Lemon Bars

Ina Garten's Lemon Bars

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt.  With the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.   Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling.  Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into desired sized bars or triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.


Ok, so I like this recipe. My daughter thought they got a bit “rubbery” after being refrigerated overnight but when you are trying them at a 2am fridge raid, who knows what they taste like? I found that if I microwaved a lemon bar for around 20 seconds, they were returned to their “warm out of the oven” state and were still very tasty and enjoyable.

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July
05
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 05-07-2009

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My husband eats most everything I make for him. However, he does have an absolute all time favourite – Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This recipe is the one from the book “Baking” by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s a fabulous recipe and one that I make often.  Nonetheless, we’ve all tried recipes out of books or from the internet that just haven’t worked out right?  Right!

Part of my adventures in baking lead me to try other cooks recipes.  Why not?  They have already put a lot of hard work into perfecting their recipes and part of my challenge is to see if I can reproduce the item in my own kitchen under my own circumstances.  Is it more humid where I live?  Have I measured my ingredients correctly?  How does my oven compare?  So many differences have to be factored in even when using a tried and true recipe.

This recipe turned out great even in a humid kitchen in Oklahoma, with an original 1960s oven.  They are disappearing quickly as I write this so they musn’t be too bad or the locals are just plain starving!

45 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional) or pecans (optional)
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
  5. Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
  6. Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
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February
22
Filed Under (General Message) by Colleen on 22-02-2009

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On Saturday Feb 21st, we went to the Metropolitan Library Systems Book Sale! ItBaking Books Bonanza at CakeArtisan.com was my first time which became more evident as we approached the Oklahoma State Fair Ground. There were far more cars trying to park than I ever anticipated. Seasoned book fair veterans toted bags, suitcases and plastic garbage cans with wheels and I saw one lady with her little red wagon!! These people were serious.

Upon entering the pavilion where the books were, there were taped off rows where the early birds had been made wait until the doors opened, so you just know all the good books were already gone. Even so, I managed to snaggle 22, yes TWENTY TWO great books filled with culinary baking delights from days gone by to more recently published Pastry, Pillsbury and Betty Crocker baking books. How much did this booty cost me… $26.00 for the entire load!

I guess the reason to share this news with you apart from my obvious over-excitement is that I hope to prepare many treats from these treasures in the coming months and continue to add to my trove of tried and true recipes.  If you don’t have a book fair anywhere near you soon, I suggest getting along to the local library to borrow and browse before you buy!  Have a great week!

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