Happy Birthday Mar Mar!!!

My little sister Maria turns 18 today!!! In honor of her birthday, I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. Maria makes the best chocolate chip cookies.

Growing up, we made the Nestlé Toll House recipe together often. It was our go-to activity during summers.  I love tradition and held the classic back-of-the-bag recipe dear to my heart. When Maria decided she had a new favorite recipe, I was appalled. Why mess with perfection?

I was wrong. In a side-by-side comparison, the recipes appear to be very similar. Standard choco chip cookie ingredients in both. However, the subtle measurement discrepancies such as a quarter cup more of flour or a twelfth cup less of both sugars create a completely new cookie.. and a delicious one too.

There is nothing fancy to these cookies. They’re sweet, have a high chocolate to cookie ratio, and keep their fluff even after they cool. I even refrained from sprinkling sea salt on top because simply said, they are good on their own.

This recipe is taken from Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Flo Braker. When Maria first got this book, she was obsessed. But I have to admit, she has created fabulous desserts because of it.

Happy birthday Maria.
I love you and can’t wait to have you in New York. Get ready for our future kitchen extravaganzas in the hood.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
**I made the dough the night before baking them. After reading a New York Times article claiming cookies to be better after the dough has had time to sit (up to 36 hours), I tested the theory in my college apartment. I drew the same conclusion as the Times. The taste becomes richer, with “notes of caramel and hints of toffee.” Don’t worry when you see the dough become drier on the second or third day. The cookies will not be dry! Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie- NYTimes.com
***Sometimes baking the cookies immediately after putting together the dough is part of the magical baking experience, so by all means, go for it!

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional- I didn’t use)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, or a combination (optional- I didn’t use)

    Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350. 

With electronic mixer, combine the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon (if using), and baking soda and mix on lowest speed just until blended. Add butter and continue to mix on low speed just until small, moist crumbs form (they are larger than crumbs that dont clump together) that look similar to streusel, about 1 min. Add the egg and vanilla and eat on low speed until a cohesive dough begins to form. Increase speed to medium just as you add the chips and nuts (optional) and beat until incorporated into the dough, 20 or 30 seconds. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop 1 1/2 inch diameter balls of dough and space them about an inch apart. bake for 10 to 13 mins until undersides are golden. 

Eat at least one warm cookie with a glass of milk. 

(Thomas made a cookie fish)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

big WHOOPS for the whoopie pies..

Here goes another disastrous story. This time, with a bit more patience and follow through.

I decided to make these chocolate whoopies for Rob and I to have after our dinner on Thursday. First let me preface that this is not my first whoopie experience. I made red velvet ones during my last winter at Fordham, and they were a big hit. Therefore, in my polka dot apron, I felt cool, calm and collected. Ready to tackle a more traditional recipe.

I patiently followed each step of the recipe and got a good arm workout making the batter perfectly fluffy. Before popping them into the oven, I obviously treated myself to the batter off one of the handmixer beaters. Tasted pretty good. Things seemed to be going well until I saw from the corner of my eye an egg sitting on my counter. With the cakes already in the oven, there was no going back. It was decision time, and I decided to start the whole process over.

I sped through the recipe the second time around. The cakes turned out great. Egg was definitely needed. While the mishap cakes looked fine, they were lacking in favor and cake-like consistency.

Eggless whoopies
Whoopies with egg

All in all, the cakes were pretty good. The cake to frosting ratio was off (WAY too much cake), but you can’t complain too much about a giant-size oreo.

Lesson learned: one egg can go a long way. 

Chocolate Whoopie Pies 
(Adapted from Gourmet magazine)
For cakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

For filling

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 

  • Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

  • Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. (The color does lighten significantly.) It will take about 5 minutes with a handmixer. 

  • ADD EGG, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

  • Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. (I used parchment paper on my second go) Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool completely. 

  • For the filling, beat together butter, sugar, marshmallow and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.

  • To assemble, spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes. 

The marshmallow filling was delicious. It was less like frosting though, and I had trouble creating a substantial layer for each whoopie because the tops persistently slid off. I probably didn’t allow the cakes to cool as long as thy should have because I was so ready to be done with the whole fiasco. If there is a next time, I also will spend more time whipping the frosting get more volume.