Chocolate chip cookie dough balls

My new favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe

As you likely know by now, I spent a lot of time looking at food websites in my spare time, whether it’s through Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter each of these channels brings me new ideas every time. Well, recently, I came across the NYTimes Cooking best chocolate chip recipe. I was intrigued because generally NYTimes Cooking is a great source for quality recipes, and I wanted to try this one.

I was immediately in love with the recipe, after reviewing the ingredients and method. I had to made a few small tweaks based on ingredients I had at home though, and in the end, accidentally didn’t include the granulated sugar #bakingfail (I was feeling a bit under the weather and just plain old forgot). Their original recipe is linked above, but I’ve listed the adjustments/error I made below.

Quickly though, I want to highlight why I love this cookie: 1) It’s not too sweet, just the right sweet, because I forgot one of the sugars; 2) it’s a nice texture, not chewy (although I do like chewy) it’s a bit more crumbly – perfect for a sandwich; 3) there is a high chocolate to cookie ratio so you get chocolate in every bite; and 4) I liked the method they used, simply following the creaming method (The Pastry Chef online defines it well) to letting the dough rest overnight.

Here is my version of the recipe.

Perfect with a cup of tea or glass of milk, a mini chocolate chip cookie sandwich

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour** (see note, I used all-purpose flour)
1 ⅔ cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour**(I used all-purpose flour)
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
2 ½ sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces)granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate (I used 54% chocolate chips, or use your favourite)
Sea salt (for garnishing on top, flake salt is ideal) Continue reading

My Perfectly Imperfect Nostalgic Chocolate Chip Cookie [Recipe]

[Warning: this post may induce intense cookie dough cravings. Read at your own risk.]

The other week I was seriously craving some cookie dough. Like, Cookie Monster craving. I could have eaten an entire batch if it was before me at the time. I have no shame in admitting this because I know some of you have likely had a similar craving!

Cravings happen. You know you want to eat some of this…

Continue reading

Week 5: Five baking tips from a pastry student

It has been five weeks into the program at Northwest, and despite my exhaustion, I still love every minute of it. I can hardly believe there are still 10 weeks to go because we have already covered so much. What else is there? Well, we still have to learn about cakes, chocolate, sugar work, frozen desserts, etc… Yes!

Rather than detailing through each day’s rises and falls with yeast, I thought I would share some of the lessons I have observed from class to share with you in your kitchen, and some more photos from class…. just because I love looking at my photos (and hope you do too).

Last week, we wrapped up the second week of bread and I think I speak for most of the class when I say we were ready to move on from bread. There was a lot of yeast, bread flour, kneading, kneading, and more kneading… all by hand too (so we are familiar with the dough feels). My hands are super dry from all the work with flour and frequent hand washing. The sampling of bread was FILLING too. I felt more tired after bread days than in previous weeks, just because of the bread samples. It all tastes so good though. Mmm. Fresh bread.

I don’t want to leave you with the wrong impression about bread week though, I loved learning about bread, working with yeast and gluten, and how to make both yield the bread you desire. It’s truly a science and I found it fascinating. But after two weeks, I think I have decided working purely with bread full-time, might not be for me.

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My first brioche buns! I am holding a traditionally shaped brioche bun, with a little ball of dough on top. Brioche dough is soft and it was hard to shape – I need more practice.

Continue reading

Edible Stanley Cup Spirit!

These look so amazing and yummy! Now you can EAT your team spirit – Go Canucks Go!

This decadent and designer candy apple is on display at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory on Robson – I wasn’t the only one taking photos either.

What edibles have you made to support our men in blue and green?

I believe…

the grocery store tourist in me

Some people travel to foreign places to see the sites, the beaches, the exotic scenery, the history, the culture, and on, but there are some people who travel for the food. They travel to cities just to check out the restaurants receiving international reviews.  Others, travel, for former reasons, and combine culinary tourism along the way – as I have done before….

In 2006, I lived in London, England for a year and to this day, I remember my first visit through a local Tesco grocery store. I wandered the aisles for 2.5 hours. Yes – and it was amazing – AMAZING!  With my marketing hat on I appreciated the packaging and with my foodie hat on I swooned over new ingredients and sweets. When I’d memorized the grocery stores, I also visited as many markets as I could – my roommate would be ready to go and I could stare at the vendors’ displays forever….

A chocolatier in Borough Market, South London.

A chocolatier in Borough Market, South London.

The dairy aisle in a British grocery store.

Dairy aisle in British grocery store: orange cheese virtually doesn't exist over there

Baked beans, almost full aisles dedicated to them. Beans on toast is a common meal there, as popular as North American's Kraft dinner.

Baked beans, almost full aisles dedicated to them. Beans on toast is a common meal there, as popular as North American's Kraft dinner.

Well back then, I didn’t know I was a grocery store tourist. I knew I loved going into grocery stores, but I never knew it was a thing I could be until recently when I stumbled across someone else online labeling themselves a grocery store tourist. That’s when it hit me,

I am officially a Grocery Store Tourist.

New additions to North Vancouver

New additions to North Vancouver

Grocery store tourism, like all travel, can take place far and near… Last night, I took a little stay-cation down to my local Thrifty’s that recently opened in North Vancouver.  The shelves were lined with brand new products everywhere, freshly packaged meat, cheese, breads, produce glistening from the fresh mist of water, and the bulk candy aisle’s plastic dispensers glistened in the fluorescent lights – not yet tarnished by overuse from years of dispensing…

Neighbouring the new Thrifty’s is Bed, Bath & Beyond – a new addition to North/Vancouver proper. The combination makes for a weeknight culinary tourism spectacle.  Like my first Tesco grocery trip all over again, I wandered the aisles, dreaming of recipes I should make and the fun I could have prepping the ingredients. The basket on my arm began to fall heavy suddenly, and before an embarrassing amount of time could pass, I had to leave. So I wandered to Bed Bath & Beyond, thinking it would be a quick visit, I was soon corrected, and here is why:

BBB's kitchen section...

Part of BBB's kitchen section... I was overwhelmed!

The gadgets intrigue me everytime...

The gadgets always intrigue me: who comes up with this stuff?!

Endless organization options...

Endless organization options...

Are you a grocery store tourist? If so, tell me about it below…

#12 – A Samantha Jones Food Blogging Experience

Yes. Really, a Samantha Jones food blogging experience, which for me parallels to the scene in Sex & The City 2, when Samantha meets Miley on the red carpet and they are caught wearing the same dress! Gasp! Granted the angle the movie took was more about Samantha dressing age-appropriate, but on another level it was still a fashion faux-pas experience. What do you when you are expected to have your own look, and you look the same?

Same dress, same shoes, same blog look – whatever your fashion medium may be, it is your look but when someone else has the same look, what does one do?  In the blogging world, there are a finite number of looks to dress your blog in for those at the mercy of  wordpress or blogspot designs (until one day you can branch out and hire a creative team to rebrand your site).

In my recent food blog scene research, I have now come across more than one  blog with the same look as Beyond The Dough – and all are also Vancouver based bloggers. Perhaps purely a case of great minds thinking a like, but at first I did not know how to react. Should I share them or try to change my look?  Personally, I feel the look of one’s blog is an important image – like hosting guests in your home – you  want to be inviting and encourage people to return.

Today, I choose to embrace my fellow food bloggers and their fabulous content – just as Miley and Samantha chose to do, gracefully. One dress can be worn in many different ways, just as a blog can.

Each of these Vancouver foodies have been blogging longer than myself and each has a different story to tell, with a different angle to the food scene than myself, and with great content of photos and stories. We each share two things in common 1) a clean contemporary blog look and 2) we are each based in Vancouver and love sharing about the food here!

For my blog or bust challenge post #12, check out each of these Vancouver Food blogging divas, in no particular order:

#12A – The Well Tempered Chocolatier – I met this food blogger in August at a food tasting event. She writes on ‘the science of sweet things’, and has been blogging since 2006!

#12B – Vancouver Good – I also met this food blogger at the same August event, her blog happens to cover ‘all things good about Vancouver for visitors and locals’ and naturally includes alot of food! Angie’s blog is organized conveniently so you can find what you want – like a local food / travel directory.

#12C – Ethnic Eats – On covering Tiny Bites yesterday, I learned this blogger is one of their contributors as well. Degan Beley not only hosts her own blog, Ethnic Eats, but contributes to a few other food blogs around town as well. Her Ethnic Eats site includes good eats, cheap eats, photos and and array of menu diversity – as Vancouver’s food scene offers. Her style is very captivating too.

Baker’s Market: A Sweet Find in South Vancouver (with #4)

Connie at Bakers Market

Connie, founder of the Baker's Market, staff's her own booth on opening market day.

This past Saturday the Vancouver Baker’s Market reopened for it’s second fall season, after opening last year. It will now be open every Saturday from now to December, 11am – 3pm; and although it’s a bit of a trek to get to in South Vancouver, it is worth the trip!

Connie started the Baker’s market last year, and is excited about kicking off another season of local bakers. “Every week we get different vendors, so you gotta come every week to check it all out,” she said amongst the buzz of the market.

Buttercup Cake Design at Baker's Market

Buttercup Cake Design at Baker's Market

The opening Saturday vendor’s included our friend Amanda Goats, local pastry chef, who I chatted with a few months ago and has since launched her own business: Buttercup Cake Design.  Amanda will be at the market every Saturday this fall, and is just one of many fun vendors on display.

Miss Mandy’s Sweet Treats, selling mini bundt cakes and home made chocolates, is another vendor at the market and sold out quickly.  Damien’s Belgian Waffles, real Belgian waffles, in many flavours and even chocolate covered were heavenly to sample.  Other vendors included fresh baked bread, cupcakes, cookies, mini-pies, and much more.

Damien's Waffles on display at Baker's Market

Damien's Waffles on display at Baker's Market, white chocolate covered in bottom right - rich & yummy!

The vendor list is available on the market website, but be sure to arrive early because the fresh baked goods move quickly!

There were approximately 12 vendors on Saturday and 10 new vendors will join this coming Saturday – making it a tight squeeze with all the more to feast your fall sweet-tooth on!

Connie had a minute to spare while staffing her own booth at the market, so I could ask about the market’s beginning.

How did the Baker’s Market start? Basically I love baking, and my friends got tired of eating my stuff. And I really felt that there are so many talented people out there who want to share their products, so instead of giving it away I thought we could try a central location where people can share their love of baking.

Baker's Market Guest Book table

Baker's Market even has a Guest Book table with fun fridge magnets!

BLOG OR BUST #4: GOURMET FURY!

The Gourmet Fury is another great Vancouver Food Blog, who also happened to cover the spring season of the Baker’s Market earlier this year.  Although I first learned about Melody Fury, the author, earlier in my summer of blogging. Then, she had just covered solid ground during the Winter Games through her posts with videos, photos, and recipes as part of her culinary tourism angle.

Melody is also the founder of Vancouver Food Tour; and has an accolade of coverage and awards already for her quality food blogging. As another great foodie to follow, Melody continues to validate Vancouver as a quality place to eat. She eats and Tweets, and is a fun follow – enjoy Gourmet Fury!

Chocolate Moussey-Moussey!

The other night I made my very first chocolate mousse. We devoured the rich chocolate pudding-like goodness so fast my camera didn’t stand a chance to document the successful recipe attempt! I plan to make it many times again in the future because it turned out so well. It was basically a chocolate custard with whipped cream folded in – how can one go wrong!?  So I want to switch it up and see if I can make my lemon curd into a mousse using a similar method.

In the meantime, here is the recipe, I recommend trying it because it was super easy and it was a very rich chocolate dessert that would be a fine-dining-experience in any restaurant; why not try to recreate it at home. Fine Dining at Home:

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE! Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living’s Fresh Flavour Fast (one of my many favourite cookbooks – with a photo of each recipe and easy instructions with simple ingredients).

Chocolate Mousse: Fresh Flavour Fast cookbook

Chocolate Mousse: Fresh Flavour Fast cookbook

Serves 6 | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Total time including chilling – 2 hours

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

TIP: you have to use real heavy cream or at minimum whipping cream – you can’t go light on the dairy as this is what gives it the light fluffy texture!

METHOD:

1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat.

2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, 3-4 minutes (do not let it boil though). Remove from heat; whisk in melted chocolate and vanilla until completely smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl (this is an important step because it discards any solids from the process of cooking the yolks). Refrigerate, covered, until cool.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir one-third of whipped cream into cooled custard mixture, then use a flexible spatula to gently but thoroughly fold in the rest.

4. Spoon into the serving dishes; chill, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.

Top with a little seasonal fruit, whipped cream, crumbled cookies, or just eat and enjoy as is! Simply smooth and decadent chocolatey goodness; a.k.a. heaven in a dessert cup!