The CCC Quest: Episode Five (The best)

... And the best chocolate chip cookies I've made yet!  I really thought I'd found the best chocolate chip cookie recipe when I made my cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies, but it's true that there's always room for improvement. 

It's nice to be back.  A year has passed and almost nine months since my last post (excluding my Shanghai Cafe Diary post, which I've been working on since July this year and only posted a few days ago).  Much has happened in the past year, but I think I'll keep most of it for my 2016 round-up post (and I will get it up... I promise)!  Honestly, I haven't baked as much as I'd like to, which is part of the reason why I haven't been around here much.   I've been hit by a dry spell - lack of inspiration, creativity, drive, and just general feels.  For the past semester (at least), all I've been making was granola - it was my go-to breakfast for a period of time.  I'll post the recipe for that soon enough! 

So the holidays are finally here, after an incredibly trying semester.  Year two is tough indeedles.  I kickstarted my holidays with a two-week internship, which I learnt a lot from!  It was my first proper internship (not counting my pro bono and pre-law internships), and I'm glad to say that this was my best internship experience yet.  It was fulfilling to be able to apply what I learned in school, but it also showed me that there's still a lot left to learn, and the learning never really stops.  It's a steep learning curve ahead, but at least it's pretty interesting and what we learn is useful!  You never know when something might come in handy. 

The festive season is upon us, and we are in THAT week between Christmas and New Years'! It's also the time for meeting up with old friends, and recounting the wonderful (or not so wonderful) year that has just flown by, as always.  

I made a test batch before the actual bake, and they turned out so well both times that I decided to include them in my Christmas gift box for my friends and family. The main recipe's remained the same throughout though, and the only changes I've made has been the resting time and the baking time. 

So first up - resting time. It really does makes a difference, and I promise the satisfaction from eating a rested cookie will outweigh the pain in waiting for one! The good news is that you only need to rest the dough for an hour, as I've found that resting the dough for any longer makes a marginal difference and it reduces the cookie's spread. Why would anyone want a puffy cookie, I don't know. A one hour resting time gives the dough a richer flavour, and allows the cookie to retain its lovely thin shape and texture. One hour is also enough time for you to wash up and watch an episode of the mentalist, which is perfect. After the dough is rested, bake it for 14-15 minutes. This is long enough for the edges of the cookie to crisp up nicely, while the inside remains nice and chewy. Very chewy, in fact. A caveat though; the cookies will be rather soft when you remove them from the oven. What you need to look out for is that the edges are of a deeper brown than the center of the cookie, and they should have set a little. Most importantly though, trust your instincts! 

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies YET
Adapted from here

Ingredients: 
❄︎ 226g brown butter
❄︎ 220g brown sugar
❄︎ 80g white sugar
❄︎ 2 eggs
❄︎ a splash of vanilla extract
❄︎ 220g bread flour
❄︎ 80g plain flour
❄︎ 1 tsp baking powder
❄︎ 2-3g sea salt
❄︎ a pinch of cinnamon (optional, but recommended)
❄︎ chocolate chips (as much as you'd like) 

Steps: 

Brown your butter, and leave it to cool while you prepare the other ingredients. 
Whisk the bread flour, plain flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon (if using) together in a mixing bowl. 
In another mixing bowl, whisk the sugars together, breaking up any clumps in the process. Whisk your brown butter in next. Your butter need not be 100% cool! Whisk the mixture vigourously for a minute. Next, whisk in an egg at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. 
Using a spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Incorporate only half the flour mixture before adding in your mix-ins (chocolate chips and whatnot). Once added, continue folding the flour mixture (and the mix-ins) until all the flour has been incorporated. Be sure to fold from the bottom of the mixing bowl so that there's no remaining bits of flour there! 
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it in the fridge to chill for an hour! While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius. 
After an hour, use a tablespoon to scoop clumps of dough onto your baking tray. Send them off to the oven for 14-15 minutes. The cookies should be a lovely golden brown, with slightly darker edges. They should also smell really good. Remove from oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes, before transferring them over to a wire rack. 

I hope you enjoy them! xx 

Giant Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

I feel as though recess week gives us the illusion of time. We begin it believing that we will be productive and that we are going to get our shit together, but before you know it Sunday will come and nothing will have changed much. Although I seriously hope that the latter doesn't happen... 

Recess week has been off to a great start! Recess week only really began for me when I finished and submitted my LARC assignment, after which I baked a birthday cake for my uncle and went for F1 at night! Caught Maroon 5 live (that was all we really went for) and they were really good. I was so happy that they played so many of my favourite songs of theirs, and I thought it was very apt that we got there just in time for Sunday Morning, which is the first song that Melrose played in our jamming sessions. Went for drinks and supper with Melrose after; it felt incredibly liberating to have a night out after six weeks of school. 

Baked this giant cookie the next day for Clarence's birthday cake! I was initially thinking of baking him a cake cake, but after talking to Josh about it we came up with the idea of this giant ice cream cookie cake, as Clarence loves the ice cream and cookie co sandwiches available at Wildfire! This was hella fun to make and assemble. We used three whole tubs of ben & jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream (which was a really good choice) and buzzfeed's method of cutting the tub. 

The ice cream got crazy and started melting all over at one point, and we tried to smush it together with those two knives you see and spread them around as best (and gently) as we could. The base cookie held up damn well (much better than I had expected it to), but I think it was Justin's board that really helped hehe. The board's even kinda aesthetic! The top cookie broke when we tried to transfer it over, unfortunately, so we had to make do by simply piecing it together. 

The candle you see above is one of those trick candles, the kind that are somehow able to relight after being blown out. It was hilarious watching Clarence blow it out again and again, and somehow he didn't even suspect that it was a trick candle (which might have been the best part). Happy 21st, Clarence :-) 

For this giant cookie, I used my cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie recipe (you can find it here!), omitted the cornflakes, used all brown sugar and shortened the baking time. The recipe makes one giant cookie, by the way! To ensure that the cookie would remain soft, I (somewhat) underbaked it - I recommend a baking time of 13 minutes (the cookie that broke took 12 minutes).  The short baking time is also attributed to the way I baked it, which was by spreading the cookie dough into a large circle on the baking sheet before baking it. Larger surface area + the dough was spread out rather thinly.

Anyway, Clarence really enjoyed the cake, which was lovely to see! One of the best feelings in the world is when people appreciate and enjoy the things you make. Thanks for doing this with me, Josh, and for doing all the hard ice cream spreading work hehe. 

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset This recipe has been a personal favourite of mine for years now.

But over the years, the cookies have evolved from a melty mess to cookies that stood up straight in the oven, withstanding the 190-degree oven temperature. While I am still trying to find out how to achieve that perfect round cookie shape that is just right, I think I have found a way to salvage their shape. And if anything, these cookies taste just as good as ever.

Cheesecake is one of my favourite things of all time. There's something simply magical about cream cheese that I can't quite explain - that beautiful balance between tangy and sweet; the texture that can be whipped and transformed into something as bewitching as a cheesecake. Or these cheesecake cookies. Oreo cheesecake cookies.

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I practically grew up on Oreos. Cookies and cream was (and still is, one of) my favourite ice cream flavour and for six consecutive years, I had island creamery's Cookies-and-Cream flavoured cake for my birthday cake. Loaded with Oreos, it was the best thing ever. Give me a tub and I could single-handedly finish the whole thing. Sorry not sorry.

These cookies are loaded with Oreos as well; the batter to cookie ratio may be a little imbalanced but who could complain about more Oreos?

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Oreo Cheesecake Cookies Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 113g butter, room temperature
  • 90g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 200g white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125g all-purpose flour
  • 12 oreos (add more or less if you wish!)

Steps:

  1. Take your butter and cream cheese out of the fridge to soften! Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius.
  2. Using a paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well-combined.
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract, mix again until well-combined.
  4. On low speed, add the flour and mix until the flour is just incorporated.
  5. Mix in the Oreos using a spoon/spatula. Try not to eat the dough! This cookie dough is especially tempting given that there are no eggs in the batter, but try, ok? (read: eat limited tablespoonfuls.)
  6. I used a tablespoon to scoop balls of dough onto my baking sheet, before baking in the oven for about 12-15 minutes (I put mine in for 14). Basically, until your cookies brown a little around the edges.
  7. Cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy!

[note: my cookies did not seem to be flattening, so at about the 10th minute I used a small fork to press them down, giving the cookies a nice fork-shaped imprint on the top of each cookie!]

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