Archive for July, 2009

Dude, watch out for the parrot…

 

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July 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

World Peace Cookies

For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a huge fan of Smitten Kitchen. I subscribe to the RSS feed, have gone through the archives, and have a hundred recipes (or nearabouts) bookmarked. Most recipes I’ve tried have turned out awesome, the biggest disaster to date (technical, not taste-wise) was the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake (which actually has a much longer and much more technical name in reality).

Anyhoo, Deb goes on and on about how this one recipe for double chocolate chip cookies is totally awesome and to die for. I’m thinking, “right, they’re just cookies with chocolate and chocolate chip, how awesome CAN they be.” Still, I had a good 7 ounces of chocolate chips to finish up (leftover from the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Bread) and since the only other way they were going to finish was by me eating them off every time I was bored, I decided to just go ahead and bake something that would use them up, then foist the baked goods onto friends.

World Peace Cookies

Smitten Kitchen

Italics = My comments

Makes about 36 cookies (I can’t vouch for this yet. My count is a bit off considering I ate 1/2 the dough uncooked)

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (normal salt works just fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips (I used seven ounces since that’s what I had to use up)

Mix the flour/baking soda/cocoa together. Beat the butter till it’s creamy, then add both the sugars as well as the vanilla extract and salt. Beat for about 2 more minutes. I did this by hand, but the recipe calls for a mixer.

Next, start adding in the flour mixture. I did this about half a cup at a time. The first cup or so was easy to mix in, then it got more and more difficult and the dough got very crumbly and tough to work with. At this point, I put in the chips and mixed as well as I could. I’m sure this would work a lot easier if you had some form of a food processor, which I didn’t have, and sorely need.

Take the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into half (believe me, it’s easier to work with that way). Then take each half, and roll it into logs about 1.5 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate, or freeze. The recipe says 3 hours in the fridge or half hour in freezer, but I froze them overnight before I baked them cookies the next day.

To bake, take out the log (15 minutes before you bake them) and cut the logs into 0.5 inch thick slices. They will crumble, and I was sure my cookies would look ugly, but don’t worry about the crumbling. Just put the dough back together and bake on cookie sheet/wax paper/whatever you have. The oven needs to be at 325 degrees, but since I have a crappy oven, it’s set on the highest temperature possible and it worked just fine.

Bake each batch for 12 minutes. When you pull them out, they will soft to the touch, but leave them out till they cool down a bit and then put them into a container.

I did all the baking part just before I went out with Naila for the evening (since I wanted to pass the no-electricity hour somehow) but only made six (since I wanted to see how they turned out first). Safdar tested one (while still warm) and declared them a success, Naila/Vex/Andre all said they were really good. Andre put in some requests for cookies/brownies which I might or might not honor and Naila said I’m very sughar now 🙂

Now you may have noticed that no where did I mention having eaten the baked cookies. Besides a small bit that Naila practically forced on me, I avoided the temptation. But, (and this is embarrassing) I did eat half the cookie dough in one sitting while watching “The Uninvited”. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, half the frikkin dough! Clearly I shall be baking the rest tomorrow and foisting them off on any remaining friends that I encounter tomorrow.

July 20, 2009 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

Fall Shoes

I love boots. I hate the fact that you can’t get half-decent boots in Pakistan, therefore coming across boots while browsing through online catalogues leaves me all eyes-glazed-slightly-drooling…oh well…

Still, look at these boots. They is so cool, naheen? They’re all rocker chick with the zipper and the turned down bit. How pwetty?!?

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July 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm 1 comment

Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter Bread

After the success of the Banana Bread, I got my first ever request to bake something, Chocolate Chip Bread. Weirdly enough, I – the banana lover – have a sister who doesn’t like them so much. Thankfully she likes chocolate or we would’ve had to disown her me thinks.

Now, there are no recipes out there that I could find that have just chocolate chips involved with the bread, but I found several variations (Banana/Choc Chip, Prune/Choc Chip, Zucchini?!?/Choc Chip). I finally found one recipe (with a footnote saying it wasn’t a real recipe) which had Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips in it, and despite the footnote decided to give it a whirl.

As of right now, the bread is baked and in the fridge, but no one has tried it yet since Api is sleeping and I guess she should do the honors. I’ll post an update on taste, but I already think that there might not be enough sugar in it…

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Bread

– 2 cups flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– Dash salt

– 4 teaspoons baking powder (I know, it sounds like too much, but the bread rose just fine)

– 1.5 cups milk

– 1/2 cup peanut butter

– 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet and added a bit more than 1/2 a cup)

Just mix the wet and dry ingredient separately, then together till the mixture is wet (but don’t over mix). Put into bread pan and cook for about 50-60 minutes. My oven doesn’t really have proper heating, so I can’t say what temperature, but I’d say about 350 or so should do it.

July 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm 2 comments

Banana Bread

Once, when I was a kid…alright, not really a kid, but in A-levels and still very much in awe of people who could make things like bread and muffins, a friend’s mom made Banana Bread and I was like, this is the shit! Combining two of my favorite things, bananas and well, flour 🙂 seemed genius. I couldn’t wait to bake it myself.

Fast forward to some 7 years later and the day finally arrived. Two days ago, I made Banana Bread in just under half an hour (not counting baking time). Turned out pretty good, and I am mucho pleased with myself and looking to now bake some Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter Bread tomorrow (on Api’s request). Now if only I could figure out a way to finish off all the stuff I bake without having to eat it myself…

Banana Bread
Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (I used just 4, that’s all I had, still turned out great)

Directions:

My patience being what it is, I didn’t really read the instructions and went ahead mixing everything in randomly, but not over mixing it as I might have done in the past. The bread turned out great (I don’t have a bread machine, but this wasn’t the kinda mixture you need to knead anyway).

I suppose you could make it the intended way, dry ingredients mixed separately, butter and sugar creamed in one bowl with eggs and mashed bananas added in and finally all the wet ingredients added to the dry, but it seems like a waste of effort to me. It needs to cook for about 60 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Next on my list of things to bake are the Chocolate Syrup Brownies (again, but with the Chocolate/Peanut Butter Ganache from the Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake), Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Bread, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (I think).

July 11, 2009 at 10:59 pm 2 comments

Summer vacations

Until last year, I’d always had summer vacations. You know, the kind where you get a couple of months off, and you have complete freedom to decide what you want to do. Alright, so my life isn’t exactly tough/laid out in stone, but what I miss is having those couple of months where you don’t have to work, don’t have to study, and can choose to just laze/sleep and generally enjoy your self.

My sister’s in town, with a 6 yr old and a 1 yr old (him being a little tsunami) and every year before this when Api would come to town, it would be completely party time. We’d shop, eat, sleep and generally have a blast. I had no issues babysitting at all since I knew that all the remaining time was going to be spent on mindless pursuits.

This year is different. I know I should work (as my mom says, dollar bhee to kamanay hain!) but I want to have fun and not work. So there’s this constant push-pull between my room and the room where everyone else is hanging out, between staying at home when everyone goes out, or going with them and shopping. Urgh!

I would, however, like to point out that I do realize that my life is as cool as it can get. I don’t have a boss, make great money, have no responsibilities and generally have a ball, but still… 🙂 we always want more 😀

In other news, (Note for Khamba: this is where the Cosmopolitan bit starts) I made an amazing chocolate cake (having just devoured the last of it) last week. Of course, wasn’t a lot of effort since it was cake mix and store bought frosting, but I have finally figured out the art of frosting, so will take up the Chocolate/Peanut Butter Cake challenge once everyone leaves. Got some wax paper for the bottom removable pan that was utterly useless last time I made that cake and realized that freezing the cake and keeping the frosting at room temperature is the way to go.

And in other random-non-related news, I saw Transformer 2 today. After waiting for one year, watching every trailer that came out ten times and watching the first movie a million times I have now, finally, seen it!

July 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment


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