How to Bake the PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookie

Originally Posted on http://www.ozy.com

I have often wondered myself how people get that PERFECT chocolate chip cookie. I like them a little chewy, soft center, with a crisp edge. Looks like the cookie marked BOTH is the one for me! My daughter on the other hand loves the kind marked MORE FLOUR.  Now I will be able to fine tune my cookies to fit exactly what I am craving. Now if I only had some chocolate chips  ….

 

You like soft and chewy. He likes thin and crispy. If only there were a chocolate chip cookie recipe that pleased everyone…

There is! And, no, it’s not Martha Stewart’s. It’s science.

We’ve taken our cues from a few spots: a bioengineering grad student named Kendra Nyberg, who co-taught a class at UCLA called Science and Food, and chef and cookbook author Tessa Arias, who writes about cookie science on her site, Handle the Heat.

There’s also an illuminating Ted Talk animation on cookie science. And if you really want to go nuts (or no nuts, your call), Serious Eats offers 21 painstakingly tested steps for the Perfect Cookie, including kneading times and chocolate prep techniques.

“Even though I can describe what I like,” says Nyberg, “I didn’t know the role of each ingredient in the texture and shape of cookies.” So she looked into it — as only a scientist can.

(MORE: His Grandfather Invented Doritos But Tim West Prefers Kale)

Here, relying on the experts’ help and based on the classic Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, OZY presents no-fail tips for baking your perfect cookie. (You’re welcome.)

Ooey-gooey: Add 2 cups more flour.

A nice tan: Set the oven higher than 350 degrees (maybe 360). Caramelization, which gives cookies their nice brown tops, occurs above 356 degrees, says the Ted video.

Crispy with a soft center: Use 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Chewy: Substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour.

(MORE: Food Waste – There’s (Finally) An App For That)

Just like store-bought: Trade the butter for shortening. Arias notes that this ups the texture but reduces some flavor; her suggestion is to use half butter and half shortening.

Thick (and less crispy): Freeze the batter for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. This solidifies the butter, which will spread less while baking.

Cakey: Use more baking soda because, according to Nyberg, it “releases carbon dioxide when heated, which makes cookies puff up.”

Butterscotch flavored: Use 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (instead of the same amount of combined granulated sugar and light brown sugar).

Uniformity: If looks count, add one ounce corn syrup and one ounce granulated sugar.

More. Just, more: Chilling the dough for at least 24 hours before baking deepens all the flavors, Arias found.


 

 Check out more about the PERFECT COOKIE on this BLOG:   H A N D L E **  THE ** H E A T

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Pecan Flax Muffins

Hello I am back from our summer break. We have been on a 3 state amazing road trip, had to be at my daughter’s two dance shows, and helped out at one Girl Scout Harry Potter Camp. I hope I can get back to writing more regularly. I have so many wonderful things to share with you for the summer I am just bursting at the seams.



::: Do you want to start of your morning in a healthier way than usual? It’s important to eat something for breakfast and what you eat can make a big difference in how you feel later in the day. I know I have already given you the green smoothie challenge, but if you have a bunch of hungry people to feed or you are in need of something more filing in the morning, let me introduce you to my newest and greatest love : Flax-seed Meal, a very ancient thing from biblical times that is making a comeback. I had no idea how much I would truly love the taste of this stuff, I am kicking myself for not trying this sooner.

Flax-seed meal contains all sorts of healthy things for you.  Mainly omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Lignans have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flax-seeds contains 75 to 80 times more lignans than other plant foods as well as being high in dietary fiber (both the soluble and insoluble types). It’s also a powerful natural cholesterol controller!

So today I bring you a recipe inspired by one that was on the package of flax-seed meal. The recipe called for carrots and apples, but I really wanted something closer to a bran muffin so I changed it up. In fact I liked these muffins way more than any bran muffin I have ever had and these are healthier and less fattening than those store made ones. You could also try subbing out the oil for applesauce to make it even healthier, but I have yet to try that.


Cranberry Pecan Flax Muffins

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Makes 12 large muffins

:::  Ingredients  :::

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Flaxseed Meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Meal
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk, almond milk, or soy milk
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs or 3 tsp of Egg Replacer + 4 tbsp warm water

::: Instructions :::

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spray cupcake pan with baking spray or oil & flour the pan
  • In Kitchen-aid, mix together dry ingredients: flour, flaxseed meal, almond meal, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, & cinnamon
  • Stir in cranberries and pecans
  • Add milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs (or egg replacer already mixed with water) and blend slowly until combined
  • MIxture should be thick and sticky, if too thick add a little more milk
  • Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full – using egg replacer I was able to fill them up almost all the way, but not overflowing
  • Bake for about 17-22 min for metal cupcake pans or 20-30 min for stoneware muffin pan
  • Muffins are done when you can stick a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal

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Oatmeal Chocolate Banana Bread Bars


So you are hungry. You have nothing yummy to eat and you don’t want to go to the store. Besides the last time you read the labels on those so called natural granola bars, it made you cry. Well, just whip up a batch of these super easy oatmeal bars and you have breakfast, lunch, or dessert!  I was really tempted to add some peanut butter, but I wanted to try them the way the recipe called at least the first time.  I did add pecans to half the pan which were not called for, and I actually like them better than the side without nuts.

These remind of something I have had before, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. My childhood? Food from an era before mass production of fake processed and chemically “enhanced” foods? Perhaps. It’s just simple homemade, chewy, moist and chocolatey with a hint of  banana. So what if you are one of the few people who do not like chocolate? I will allow you to omit the sinful dark confection for something else, but you will be missing out.

So if you are reading this and wondering what’s actually in that last store bought granola bar you ate, let me show you this. This is taken from what is advertised as “healthy” and “low fat”. All I see here is a long list of ingredients and many of them I have no idea what they are or how they are made or where they actually come from and we shouldn’t be eating them. In case you are not familiar with some of these items, I have provided links below to the definition and uses. Some were quite shocking to know that they are in these granola bars, but also can be used in jet fuel, cigarettes, or in cleaning products. Makes you think!

::: CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS :::
Ingredients:

GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT],WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEATFLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRYMILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOABUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), INVERTSUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, SOYBEAN OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (preservative), CITRIC ACID.

I don’t know about you, but how about we make something with far less ingredients and chemicals in it. You know they say we should be eating how our great-grandparents or grand-parents ate. Very little processed foods, homemade, organic (that was norm), whole foods and fresh ingredients. It’s really not that difficult, and this treat whips up in about 10 minutes and cooks in only 25.  Be prepared for a taste sensation – and try NOT eat the whole pan in one day.


Oatmeal Bars


Yield about 20-32 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil or softened butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 – 1 cup pecan halves (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease an 8×12″ stone baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl or mixer, mash the banana.
  • Add the oil and brown sugar. Beat on medium until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together.
  • Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients mixing slowly until combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Spread mixture evenly into pan.
  • In a pattern, carefully place pecan halves in a row on top of the mixture.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden.
  • Let cool before cutting into squares.