21 August 2013

Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The Chewy.  This could be my favorite Alton Brown recipe.  I know it is my most requested.  The Good Eats episode had three versions of chocolate chip cookie recipes, but only this one made it into the Good Eats book.  For good reason, these cookies are superior than any I have ever baked, or even eaten.  These cookies could build an empire.

I like my cookies soft and chewy, so this is the recipe for me. The slightly browned crispy edges leading into warm, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth center is exactly what I want in a cookie, and the chewy delivers.  This recipe is also what caused me to buy a digital scale, and I now prefer measuring by weight instead of volume in all my recipes.

The dough also freezes incredibly well.  So much so, that when I make them, I usually freeze them for an hour instead of putting them in the refrigerator.  By freezing them, the cookies don't flatten out as much, and the middle is just a little bit gooier. 

To do this, just dish the dough out in cookie size portions and freeze on a baking sheet. Once the cookies are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag for storage.  This way, you can have fresh baked cookies whenever you want them without doing all the work.  
The Chewy
An Alton Brown recipe

8 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ounce whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Next, add the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract.  Continue to mix on slow until thoroughly combined.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add the dry ingredients, until all the flour is worked in.  Lower the speed to "stir" and add the chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions onto a parchment-lined half sheet pans and refrigerate for an hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place 6 cookies per sheet and bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes before serving.

If not baking all the cookies, freeze the remaining cookie for later use following the same baking instructions.

18 August 2013

Blueberry Soda

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My dad got me a SodaStream soda maker for my birthday this year and I couldn't wait to get started on making my own syrups. This blueberry soda recipe immediately came to mind, so I patiently waited for blueberry season. When we finally had enough blueberries, I got to work.

Making the syrup is very simple. It's basically like making a simple syrup, except you make blueberry juice first. So, the syrup was done in no time. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool. Once it was completly cool, I made myself some carbonated water and slowly added the blueberry syrup. Just like that I had blueberry soda! 

This first thing I noticed was how beautiful the color was.  The soda is such a deep purple, and the bubbles are a delicately lighter color.  A treat of the eyes as well as the taste buds.  Speaking of taste, drinking the soda is like have a mouth full of blueberries.  As expected, the blueberry flavor shines, and the sweetness is not overpowering.  The lime juice adds a nice tartness, to make it a well rounded beverage.

Blueberry Soda
An Alton Brown Recipe

20 ounces fresh blueberries, approximately 4 cups, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
7 ounces sugar
1 lime, juiced
Carbonated water

Put the blueberries and water into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the blueberry mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to cool for at least 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle.

Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the skin and pulp. Put the blueberry juice back into the saucepan and add the sugar and lime juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass container.

Place the syrup in the refrigerator, uncovered, until completely cooled. To Serve: Combine 1/4 cup of the liquid with 8-ounces of carbonated water and serve over ice.


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