Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nutella chocolate chip cookies (another recipe)

A couple of months ago, I tried a nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe.  At the time, I thought I was just trying out another recipe and didn’t give it much thought.  But the cookies turned out to be a huge hit with my family and became one of my favorite dessert recipes. Not only were they a hit with my family, but they were also a huge hit on my blog.

Since then I’ve revisited the recipe a few times, and I’ve been thinking about tweaking it around a little.

Then I found another nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe on Espresso and Cream and thought I’d try the recipe out before tweaking around with the other recipe.

This recipe uses more nutella, and no brown sugar. The recipe was pretty easy to put together. At first, I worried the dough would be hard to work with because it looked so wet after I was done mixing.

But to my surprise, the dough was easy to pick up and shape. The dough also had a very glossy look to it, which I wasn’t used to.

The cookies baked up quite nice. They did crackle on top a lot, something I’ve realized that often happens with nutella based recipes.

I liked these cookies, but I also felt they were missing something for me. They were a little too soft, I would have preferred a more crispy edge. I also missed the brown sugar. And even though this recipe had a lot more nutella, I didn’t actually taste more nutella. Had I not tried the other nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe, I think I would have loved these even more. I like these, but I still love the other recipe more. You can view the other recipe here.

When I have time again, I’m going to play around with the other recipe.

Nutella chocolate chip cookies version 2 (adapted from Espresso and Cream)

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mat.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and beat until combined.  Then, beat in the Nutella, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until combined.
3. Next, beat in the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips with a large wooden spoon.
4. Scoop dough by large tabelspoons and form into balls. Place balls onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten slighlty.
5. Bake for about 8 minutes, until edges are crispy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chinatown Seattle

On my trip to Seattle, I was able to fit in an afternoon visit to Chinatown. I like to go to the different Chinatowns when I travel, just to see and compare them.

I didn’t even know Seattle had a Chinatown until I opened my tourist map and saw Chinatown as one of the features. There is an even a free bus downtown that you can take to reach Chinatown.

The Chinatown in Seattle was pretty deserted. Definitely not like the extremely crowded Chinatowns of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.

There were the typical chinese bakeries, grocery stores.  I stepped inside one chinese bakery and was really surprised by how expenisve the breads and pastries were.  Usually they are cheaper in Chinatown, but they were a lot more expensive than I am used to.

There is also a large shopping center, Uwajimaya, which has a food court,a Kinokuniya bookstore, and a large grocery store.

Inside, I spotted a Beard Papa’s, and of course had to stop for cream puffs. We got a matcha one and a vanilla bean one.

Henry’s Taiwan
502 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-2611

We initially did not plan on eating in Chinatown, but when I happened upon a Taiwanese restaurant, I couldn’t help but wander in. In hindsight, this was not a great idea.  If I wanted to eat, I should have probably tried many of the other numerous restaurants I had passed, many of them Cantonese.  Most chinatowns have a higher Cantonese population and usually don’t have much of a Taiwanese population.

But it’s hard for me to resist Taiwanese food, especially when there was an article posted outside their door talking about their famous stinky tofu.

Soon after we ordered, I heard the staff talking and realized they weren’t Taiwanese, but were Cantonese. Not a good sign.
We ordered a rice roll and I was pleasantly surprised to see it used purple rice, as it’s hard to find rice rolls with purple rice. The rice roll tasted pretty good, but there were some ingredients that are not usually found in rice rolls like soy sauce eggs.

We also ordered the beef noodle soup, made with handmade noodles. I liked how the noodles were thick and chewy. The beef soup on the other hand, was horrible. It was seriously lacking in flavor and the broth was very watery.

We also ordered the stinky tofu. They used some sort of curry sauce. I didn’t like the tofu at all.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mini vanilla bean cupcakes


I didn’t do too much baking this last week. I usually do a lot of baking on weekends and since I went home this past weekend for my mom’s birthday, I didn’t have a chance to bake much before I left. And this week, with the rain and cold weather, I haven’t had much energy to do anything.

Before I left, I made some vanilla bean cupcakes. I had some leftover batter, and I thought of trying my hand and making some mini cupcakes. Not being very good at piping, attempting to pipe these mini cakes were even harder!

After many screw-ups, I finally managed to get a few decent ones. I love that these are bite sized. I have a ton of recipes I plan on trying out in the next two weeks, so hopefully I’ll have some more fun recipes to share with you soon!

Mini Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and
salt.  Whisk together and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, add in the softened butter (you can stick it in the microwave to soften)  and the vanilla bean paste and beat with electric mixer, until light and creamy in color.

3. Add the sugar to the butter mixture.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
4. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring
cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately
with the wet ingredients.

5. Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each
about 2/3 of the way full. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in
the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped

1. Heat heavy cream in a small pot. Once it begins to boil, remove from the stove.

2. Pour heavy cream into bowl of chopped chocolate. Stir and mix until chocolate is completely melted.

3. Place bowl of chocolate ganache into fridge for a few hours (2-3), until the ganache becomes stable enough for piping.