Oct 17, 2007

Oatmeal raisin cookies

My absolute favorite cookie is the oatmeal raisin cookie. I will usually make a batch and just keep it in the freezer and pop them in the toaster oven when I need a cookie. This recipe comes from the new best recipe book. It seems like I have been using that book all the time now, it's just my "go-to" cookbook. I've tried making many oatmeal raisin cookie recipes, and this recipe is by far my favorite. I think it's because of the nutmeg!!! Here's the recipe, with a few of my changes.

Oatmeal raisin cookie
adapted from the New Best Recipe cookbook

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened by still cool
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raisins

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the low and middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Stir in the oats and raisins.
  5. Working with a generous 2 tbsp of dough each time, roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake until the cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes.
  • the original recipe uses 1 cup of granulated sugar, but I think 3/4 cup is plenty sweet. The original recipe doesn't call for cinnamon, but I just added a little bit. It also calls for 1 1/2 cup of raisin, but I like lots of raisins.
  • I've tried using both old fashioned rolled oats and quick oats. The texture for the quick oats is less chewy and softer.
  • A little trick I do with the raisins is I soak the raisins in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. I think this makes them plump up and taste better in the cookies.

Oct 9, 2007

Raisin bread

It was about 8:00pm last night when it hits me that I want to make some bread! haha. Just to let you know, that's not a good idea! I didn't go to bed until almost 2am. I was so tired, I didn't even try the bread until this morning. But the results are great!! The bread is super soft and perfect for breakfast. You don't even need to put anything on it, the taste is so great. The original recipe can be found at Angie's Recipe. I made some changes to the recipe, here's my version:

Raisin Bread
adapted from Angie's recipe
230 g bread flour
20 g rye flour
45 g sugar
3.5 g salt
4 g active dry yeast
66g warm milk (about 105 degrees)
50g egg
75 g water roux starter (recipe to follow)
25g butter, melted
90 g raisin (soak in water for 30 minutes and drain)

  1. Put yeast in the warm milk and allow to rest until frothy.
  2. Sift together bread flour, rye flour, sugar, and salt. Put the flour mixture into a stand mixer. Add in the yeast/milk mixture, egg, and water roux starter. Mix with dough hook at slow speed for about 1 minute. Change to medium speed and continue to mix for about 3 minutes or until dough is form.
  3. Add butter gradually and mix for approximately 5 minutes on medium speed until gluten is fully developed. The dough should be elastic, smooth, non sticky and leave from sides of the mixing bowl.
  4. Add raisins and mix for another 3 minutes at low speed.
  5. Put the dough mixture in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Gently punch the dough down and lightly knead for about 1 minute. Divide in half, roll each half in a rectangle to fit your bread pan. Place each half in a greased and floured loaf pan.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 1 hour.
  8. Brush with egg glaze and bake at 340 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  9. Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Water roux starter
Angie's recipes
25 g bread flour
125 ml water
  1. Whisk together bread flour and water until it's well blended and there are no lumps.
  2. Heat the mixture until it reaches about 150 degrees. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes. By then, the mixture should look like paste.
  3. Measure out the amount you need for the recipe and cool until it reaches room temperature.


  • In the original recipe, she said it only takes 30 minutes for the first rise. But my dough was not even close to double in bulk at 30 minutes. It took about 1 1/2 hours for my dough to double.
  • The original recipe calls for 65g of raisin, but I wanted a little bit more in my bread. Maybe that's why it took so long to rise.
  • The water roux starter will only last for about 3 days.


I just bought a new madeleine pan from Amazon. I was so excited when it came in the mail that I wanted to make some madeleines right away. I bought the mini madeleine pan and when I was cooling the cookies, they look so cute in their pan!! This recipe is from Cook's illustrated and the recipe is very simple and wonderful. When the cookies came out, it had a slight crunch and a soft center. But after cooling, they were just soft all around, I think that's due to the humidity in Hawaii, but I'm not sure. I'll have to do some research. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Cook's illustrated

1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
pinch of kosher salt
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Sift flours and salt together in small bowl; set aside. Coat molds by mixing two teaspoons of melted butter with one teaspoon of all purpose flour. Brush the molds and rims thoroughly, but not thickly, with this mixture.

2. Beat yolks with whole egg in bowl of electric mixer until light yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes on high speed if using hand mixer, about 3 minutes if using heavy-duty mixer. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until a ribbon drops from beaters, about 5 minutes with hand mixer, 3 minutes with heavy-duty mixer. Gently fold in flour mixture, then melted butter.

3. Spoon batter into molds. (Batter should come just flush with mold rim.) Bake until tops are golden and cakes spring back when pressed lightly, about 10 minutes. Turn madeleines onto dry tea towel; cool to room temperature. (Can be stored in airtight container up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.)

Oct 8, 2007

Cajun pasta

Some friends came over last night to work on a project. I didn't have much time, so I made this pasta dish that my sister was telling me about. Now let me warn you that this is not a recipe for dieters. But it's soooo good!! It's a little bit creamy, with just a bit of heat! It's so easy to make and it only took about 30 minutes to finish. I highly recommend this dish!

Cajun pasta
adapted perfect pasta by Cuisine at home

1 lb dry spaghetti
14 oz kielbasa, sliced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Cook according to package directions, drain.
  2. Saute kielbasa over medium heat until brown. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and cayenne; cook 30 seconds.
  3. Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk the cream, broth, and yolk together in a small dish, then add it to the pan along with the pasta and peas. Bring to a simmer, stir in the Parmesan, and cook until thick, about 1 minutes.
  5. Top with cilantro.
  • The original recipe adds 1 cup of frozen peas, 3/4 lb kielbasa, 1/2 lb medium shrimp, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/3 cup of Parmesan and 3/4 lb fettuccine. I just changed it up a little bit.
  • The original recipe also calls for finishing the pasta with 1 tbsp of butter, I didn't really think that was necessary.

Individual Fallen Chocolate cake

I love Roy's restaurant here in Hawaii. They make this amazing chocolate souffle there. In one of his cookbook (i don't remember which one), he actually posted the recipe for the chocolate souffle in it. I tried making it, but it didn't come out quite like his. When I was looking through my trusty New best recipe cookbook, I came across a recipe for individual fallen chocolate cake, which sounds a lot like Roy's chocolate souffle, so I thought I would try it. It came out really really well!! I was very impressed!! heehee =P The great thing is you can make the batter a head of time and just stick it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. This cake has a really nice light texture, but a very intense chocolate taste. I would definitely splurge on the good chocolate for this dessert. I served the cake with a little bit of raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.

The original recipe makes 8 little cakes, the recipe I have here is half the original and serves 4.

Individual fallen chocolate cakes
from the new best recipe

1 tbsp all purpose flour
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped coarse
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease and flour ramekins or heatproof glass baking cups; tap out the excess flour and position the ramekins in a shallow roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from the heat.
  2. Beat the eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer set a the highest speed until the volume nearly triples, the color is very light, and the mixture drops from the beaters in a smooth, thick stream, about 5 minutes. Scrape the egg mixture over the melted chocolate and butter; sprinkle the flour over the egg mixture. Gently fold the egg and flour into the chocolate until the mixture is a uniform color. Ladle or pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. (The ramekins can be covered light with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Return to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)
  3. Bake until the cakes have puffed about 1/2 inch above the rims of the ramekins, have a thin crust on top, and jiggle slightly at the center when the ramekins are shaken very gently, 12 to 13 minutes. Run a paring knife around the inside edges of the ramekins to loosen the cakes and invert onto serving plates; cool for 1 minute and lift of ramekins.
  • I baked the cakes for 12 minutes the first time, and there was no runny center. I tried again at 10 minutes, and there was a runny center.

Chicken Piccata

For the second course...I made chicken piccata. I wanted to make something light so we can have room for dessert. I liked this a lot, it was really refreshing, but it was different than the ones I normally have at the restaurant. I think the ones at the restaurants are a lot creamier. I served it with some broiled asparagus. Here's the recipe.

Chicken Piccata
from new best recipe

2 large lemons
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast (5 to 6 oz each)
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, set a large heatproof serving or dinner plate on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim the ends from one half and cut it crosswise into slices 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick; set aside. Juice the remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure the flour into a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat with the flour and shake to remove the excess.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Lay half of the chicken cutlets in the skillet. Saute the cutlets until lightly browned on the first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the cutlets and cook until the second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cutlets to the plate in the oven. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the remaining chicken cutlets and repeat.
  6. Add the shallot to the now-empty skillet and return the skillet to medium heat. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and lemon slices, increase the heat to high, and scrape the pan bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the browned bits.
  7. Simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved lemon juice, capers and olives, and simmer until the sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until it melts and thickens the sauce. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.
  • The recipe calls fro 1/2 cup of flour, however, I didn't even use half the flour.
  • I found the sauce to be a little too tart, so I added a little bit of sugar.

Baked artichoke dip

I had some friends over for dinner on friday and wanted to make them a special dinner. I wanted them to have something to much on while I finished dinner, so I made an artichoke dip. The dip was so easy to make and it came out really great!! Here's the recipe.

Baked Artichoke dip
adapted from Joy of Cooking

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan (4 oz)
1 can of artichoke hearts (13.75 oz)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp of dry bread crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the mayonnaise and the Parmesan in a medium bowl.
  2. Pulse the artichoke hearts in a food processor until chopped. Mix the artichoke hearts in the mayonnaise mixture. Add black pepper.
  3. Put mixture into a small baking dish or oven-proof crock. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the dip.
  4. Bake until bread crumbs turn brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Original recipe adds 1 tbsp of lemon juice or dry white wine to the dip. I didn't add the dip because I used Japanese mayonnaise which is more tart than American mayonnaise. If you're using regular mayonnaise, you might want to add the lemon juice. The original recipe also calls for 1 tsp of olive oil to be sprinkle over the bread crumbs, I omitted this step because I thought it wasn't necessary.
  • I suggest putting the small baking dish in a baking pan before putting it in the oven. Because when it was baking, some of the dip spilled over, and it's just easier for transport.

Oct 4, 2007

Spritz cookies

These cookies are really similar to the Viennese cookies that I made earlier. But I actually like these much better!!! The texture is not as delicate as the Viennese cookies, but they don't have that powdery after taste that the Vienesse cookies have. After some research, I found out it's because the Viennese cookies use powder sugar, which can leave an after taste. The batter for these cookies is really easy to make, it takes no time to put together. I'll have to practice piping though, I have a hard time making them all the same!!
Spritz cookies
America's test kitchen (Season 6)

1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened at about 70 degrees
2/3 cup sugar (about 4.75 oz)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (10 oz)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375degrees. In small bowl, beat yolk, cream, and vanilla with fork until combined; set aside.

2. In standing mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer running at medium speed, add yolk/cream mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. With mixer running at low speed, gradually beat in flour until combined. Scrape down bowl and give final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain.

3. If using cookie press to form cookies, follow manufacturer's instructions to fill press; if using pastry bag, follow illustrations 1through 3 below to fill bag. Press or pipe cookies onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes; using metal spatula, transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature.


  • During the show, they suggest that you bake the cookies one sheet at a time, as these are very delicate cookies. The suggested time is 10 to 12 minutes, however, it only took be about 9 minutes to bake these cookies.
  • Make sure your cookie sheet is completely cool before piping a new batch on the sheet, otherwise they will spread too quickly.

Oct 3, 2007

Butterscotch Scones

I had a work get together this morning and wanted to make a breakfast treat to bring to the office. I originally wanted to make blueberry scones, but i was too lazy to go to the supermarket to pick up blueberries, so i settled on using the butterscotch chips i had in my stash. I found a recipe at Epicurious, and after reading all the rave reviews, I was ready to bake! the scones only took about 20 minutes to mix together, and another 25 minutes to bake, so it was pretty easy to do. Everyone at work *loved* them!! yipee, success!! They have a slight crunch on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside. A great scone, not at all dry!! Here's the recipe...I adjusted it slightly...

Butterscotch scones
adapted from Epicurious


2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup of golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 cup butterscotch chips (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup (or more) chilled whipping cream
1 large egg

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Sift all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Add chilled butter; using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Mix in chips.
  3. Whisk 1/2 cup cream and egg in small bowl to blend. Gradually add cream mixture to dry ingredients, tossing with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps. Add more cream by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
  4. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto large rimmed baking sheet, spacing apart. Bake scones until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of brown sugar, but I changed it to 1/4 cup because I didn't want it too sweet. I also didn't have golden brown sugar, so I substitute with 2 part dark brown sugar to 1 part granulated sugar. It was the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • I had to use a little more than 1/2 cup of whipping cream because the dough was too dry. I ended up using about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of whipping cream in total.
  • The recipe says it makes 14, I was only able to get 9 out of the batter.

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