Friday, May 27, 2016

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is "May Potluck". Sometimes potluck week can be the most challenging, at least for me.  Why, you may be wondering! Because fickle-minded me can't decide which IHCC's featured chefs' recipes that I want to make, I have so many on my list!

For this week's Potluck theme, my kids sort of took care of that for me, no need to change my mind many times. They requested for Ellie Krieger's, Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which I have made before when Ellie Krieger was the featured chef at IHCC a couple of months ago. I did not post about it, as I did not have a chance to take any photos, the cookies were all gone by the next day. 

Cookies with chocolate chunks on the left and with coffee choc chips on the right.

So these cookies are back by popular demand! Really super easy to put together. And they are a little healthier than most cookies. It has whole-wheat flour, with a small amount of butter (only 3 tablespoons!), and a little canola oil (2 tablespoons). You do not even need the stand mixer to mix the dough. I made two batches. The first batch, I've used dark chocolate chopped to chunks. And the second batch I've made with coffee chips. The only changes I've made, was to reduce both the sugars to half, even healthier, we do not need all that extra sugar! I baked them for 3-4 minutes longer than the recipe states, as we love  crispier cookies. 

These cookies are lightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the centre. 
As Ellie says "Eaten them while they are still warm for their full gooey, melted impact".  They make the perfect snack with a glass of cold milk. I like having the one with coffee chips with a mug of hot coffee. 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(adapted from "Comfort Food Fix", Ellie Krieger)
Makes about 20 cookies
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (loosely packed 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (1/8 cup)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 70% cocoa solids), chopped into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
In a large bowl, mash together the butter and sugars with a fork until well combined. Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Stir in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the chocolate.
Scoop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 1-1/2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading. Bake until the cookies are just set, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies on parchment to a rack and allow to cool. The cookies will crisp as they cool. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, where they will keep for up to 4 days.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs, theme for this week,
May Potluck

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #5 : Bananas In Coconut Milk

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 


Cookbook Countdown #5 : Recipe No. 4 - Bananas In Coconut Milk
from my selected cookbook for this month, Wild, Wild East by Bobby Chinn

I have seen this dessert on the menu of one Vietnamese restaurant a few weeks ago, but unfortunately they do not serve this dessert on that day. Found the recipe in Wild, Wild, West and gave it a go. This is similar to our local Bubur Cha-Cha which uses taro and sweet potatoes. I have not tried with bananas before, which is indeed a very nice change.

When using bananas, be sure to slice them thick, as they gets soft and mushy rather quickly during the simmering. I have used more coconut milk and water. This dessert is served with some garnishing which I have omitted. I was lazy to toast the sesame seeds and we do not like peanuts. Did not have shredded coconut either. So we had it plain as it is, which is quite delicious!

This dessert may be served either warm or cold with crushed ice. We prefer it warm. And when it is at room temperature, it sets a little thicker. A tablespoon or two of hot water may be stirred into the bowl before serving.  Very nice dessert, a good one to enjoy with the family on weekends.

Bananas In Coconut Milk
(adapted from "Wild, Wild East" by Bobby Chinn)
Serves 6
8 tbsp very small tapioca pearls
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk (I use 2 cups)
1-1/4 cups (225gm) sugar (or to taste)
4 large bananas
crushed ice to serve (optional)
4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp toasted chopped peanuts
4 tbsp shredded coconut
a pinch of salt (my addition)

Place the tapioca pearls in a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak for about 20 minutes until they are slightly translucent. Drain under cold running water and reserve.
In a pot over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and 1 cup (240ml) water (I use 1-1/2 cups water). Bring to a simmer, but do not allow it to boil. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Peel the bananas and cut them into 2-in (5-cm) chunks. Add to the coconut mixture with the tapioca pearls. Simmer the mixture for another 10 minutes or until the tapioca pearls are perfectly cooked. Remove from the heat.
Serve hot in individual bowls, or chill and serve in a glass with crushed ice. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, and shredded coconut.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ham, Blue Cheese and Pear Quiche

Cook The Book Fridays, a group of foodie bloggers, is currently cooking from David Lebovitz's cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. This week's assignment is Ham, Blue Cheese and Pear Quiche, and it is extra special this week, because CtBF is participating in Food Revolution Day. As everyone knows, Food Revolution is created by Jamie Oliver.  A food movement which aims to inspire people to learn about food and how to cook good, honest and affordable food.

This week, CtBF has selected this quiche recipe, as Mardi Michels, who is the Food Revolution Ambassador for Canada, says, " we're all going to be cooking the dish we've deemed a "must know" starter French recipe - QUICHE!".  

Ham, Blue Cheese and Pear Quiche for Food Revolution Day at CtBF.

We love quiche and I've made them many times, but have never made the pastry with a mixture of flour and cornmeal before. I've always use a tart pan to bake quiche, in this recipe, DL has indicated to use a springform pan instead, so I figured that the filling for this quiche must be quite thick compared to others that I've made, especially so when I've read that the dough is to be pressed halfway up the sides of a springform pan.  The springform pan that I've used is 9" diameter, and I did not wrap the pan with aluminium foil around the outside, since it is going to be placed on a rimmed baking sheet before baking. The dough breaks in some places when I transferred the rolled dough into the pan, but the tears are easily patched up by using some of the dough pinched from the sides to cover the tears.

I've made a few changes to the amount of ingredients used, as folllows :
For the crust : use 1/4 tsp of salt instead of 1/2 tsp. The pastry needed less than 1 egg for it to come together. I beat the egg lightly in a small bowl and added a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. There's about slightly more than a tablespoon of the egg left.
For the filling : 1 cup heavy cream instead of 1-1/2 cups, 5 ounces cream cheese instead of 8 ounces, 100gm crumbled blue cheese instead of 150gm, 4 large eggs only and did not include the extra 2 egg yolks.
Use fresh oregano leaves from my garden pot, and bake the quiche for 70 minutes. 

The amount of filling fills the pan exactly to the level of the dough top. I sprinkled some black pepper over before baking. 

I was afraid that the taste of the blue cheese might be too strong. But the taste kinda mellows out during baking, mixed with all the other flavours in the filling. The pear makes an interesting addition, with a nice light crunch, and would not have guessed that there's pears in the quiche. With cream cheese and heavy cream in the filling, this is one very rich quiche. And very, very filling! Nice quiche, but not our favourite. As for the cornmeal crust, I like it.  Tender, flaky, and buttery. 

To know more about Food Revolution, click on the following link :

Instagram: @foodrev

Stop by Cook The Book Fridays to see everyone's take on this quiche.


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