Just a bit of a weekly recap of some things you should take a look at, that I have been enjoying the past few days!
First – check out Worthy Heart for some great inspirational quotes/art!
This chocolate protein cake recipe has seen my microwave multiple times this week. Get on it.
This recipe made it’s debut in my kitchen last night and I’m obsessed [by the way – I sub’d 3 T applesauce for 3 T coconut oil].
If you haven’t heard, Jimmy Fallon and I need to be best buds. He is hilarious – down right and he has a great head of hair. Wednesday night he did a hilarious sketch of his usual Celebrity Whispers. Probably my favorite one so far. This one’s pretty good, too.
I finally found the bedding I want… But then I realized it’s about 1 million dollars. Not in my budget, buddy.
I’ve been wanting to try foam rolling for awhile now but never purchased a roller. The friend I stayed with for my recent marathon had one and another friend brought one. Let’s just say I still want one.
The last book (series) I read was the Hunger Games. This book by Shellie Warren is quite different. It is way better (for other reasons – obviously the Hunger Games is fantastic) and so convicting and challenging. I recommend it to men and women alike.
Finally, this scripture has been speaking volumes to me this week. God made a covenant with Israel – a covenant of peace. And in Isaiah 54:10 he promises it will not be removed, no matter what. What promise!
How about that for a title? Today we had our first real snow! I did make it to the gym, but surprisingly the roads were a little rough. It’s not that much snow… But if you don’t want to brave the cold or the crazy drivers, keep reading for a workout you can do in ya house.
Happy, beautiful new year!
How about this killer Florence + the Machine to inspire you to kick 2012’s butt? Make this your best year to date, okay? I’m planning to do just that.
I have a new workout for you so you can work on that resolution to workout more! Instead of a “Monday Move” you can have 20 Monday moves. Get on it!
2012 workout = 20 moves, 12 times each
[do each move for 12 reps, no rest in between, and then repeat all at least once]
right leg forward lunge
mountain climbers (12 each side)
left leg forward lunge
straight leg lift and lower (lower abs)
bicycle abs (12 each side)
right arm bicep curl
laying, leg-raised scissor-kicks (12 each leg)
left arm bicep curl
roundhouse kick, right leg
roundhouse kick, left leg
If you want to make it challenging do the whole set 5 times (2+0+1+2)! Let me know how it goes!
I’m going to go work on improving this already delectable yummy treat.
Who loves Alton Brown’s show Good Eats? I know I do!
But what I really like is when the whole subject of the show is my all-time favorite baked good: Chocolate Chip Cookies! mmm, yum. I watched an episode the other day all about CCC. Perfect!
Did you know that the CCC is America’s #2 favorite cookie? Any guesses on #1?
I’ll reveal the answer later this week!
So, the show encouraged me to study the science of the cookie – something I really have always been curious about, but haven’t taken much time to familiarize myself with. So, I did some research!
FATS: fats are melted during the baking process and cover egg protein, starches, and gluten in order to form a composition which dictates the tenderness of the cookie. As the fats melt, they produce air and moisture (steam) and contribute to the rise of the cookie.
Butter: melts quickly, therefore creating a thinner and crispier cookie. Interestingly, butter melts at 98.6 degrees – the average human body temperature. Not sure why that is interesting, I just think it is!
Shortening: will take less time to cream with sugar and take longer to melt, so the resulting cookie will be thicker and chewier.
Liquid oils: These do not hold air and so in the creaming process of the fat and sugar, will not create the fluffiness you would see with butter or margerine. The cookie will likely be very flat because of the quickness of melting during the baking process.
Substitutes: I like to substitute applesauce a lot in baking. I can’t really seem to find what happens chemically when you use a fat substitute like this when baking. I’m assuming applesauce doesn’t melt like butter but would still allow for air and moisture to rise and create depth to the cookie. I’ll keep sticking with the ‘sauce.
SUGARS: the ratio of brown to white sugar directly results in the crispiness or chewiness of the cookie. As the sugar cools it crystallizes, the different types of sugars have different crystallizing properties, and therefore result in different hardness-of-cookie.
Brown: using more brown sugar than white will allow for a chewier cookie. Being made with more molasses, the sugar has more moisture, and thus, so will your cookie.
Light vs. dark: light has half the molasses as dark and is a good balance between white and brown sugars. The darker your sugar, the chewier your cookie will be.
White: having more white than brown sugar results in a crispier cookie.
EGGS: provide the protein for the flour to interact with.
Whole Eggs: the yolk and the white.
Egg Whites: for a crispier cookie use more whites.
Egg Yolks: if you love that chewy cookie, use more egg yolks (you will often see something like 1 whole egg + 1 yolk).
Baking Soda: is alkaline and creates bubbles in the dough. It raises the temperature at which the batter sets, and should be baked as soon as possible following its addition to the batter. The soda will allow the cookie to spread more and rise less, creating a crispier cookie.
Baking Powder: essentially acts like baking soda but with a acid incorporated (like cream of tartar) so is generally pH neutral. Replace b. soda with b. powder will not allow the cookie to spread as much, resulting in a chewier cookie.
FLOURS: the protein in flour is what determines the texture of the cookie. The amount of protein present determines how much moisture is absorbed and how much is released in steam. Remember, the amount of steam released determines the chewiness and rise of the cookie!
Cake: low-protein = more steam = more cake-like cookie (well you are using cake flour, so…)
Bread: high-protein content creates more gluten content which results in chewier cookie.
All-purpose: medium-protein and most often used in baking. It’s going to give you a cookie somewhere inbetween cakey, chewy, moistue and crispy.
Vanilla Extract: simply adds flavor, does not do much for the cookie chemically.
Milk: some recipes call for eggs and milk. Some call for no milk (most). If you want a crispier cookie, replace the eggs with milk – it will allow for more spreading during the baking process.
Thinner, crispier cookie: butter, bread flour, baking soda, milk instead of eggs or egg whites, more white sugar than brown.
Thicker, chewier cookie: shortening, cake flour, baking powder, whole eggs and/or egg yolks, more brown sugar (especially dark brown) than white.
Why is it important to cream butter and sugar? Alton (and other sources) say that creaming the butter and sugar together creates little pockets of air in the dough. When the sugar and butter are ground together, the sharpness of the sugar cuts through the butter, creating those pockets of air and making the mixture light and fluffy.
What’s your favorite type of cookie – thin and crispy or thick and chewy?
“you’re single, you’re Christian and you’re looking for a meaningful relationship.” “sometimes we wait for God to make the next move when God is saying ‘it’s your time to move.’” Just had to get that out there. Wise words, Christianmingle.com, … Continue reading →
For some reason, today makes me think of Christmas time. Maybe it’s the gloomy sky outside that often comes with the winter snow… Maybe it’s the warmth of inside in contrast to the outside, with cookies baking in the oven. And maybe it’s because I’m looking for a new Christmas cookie recipe… At any rate, it feels like Christmas time, and I’m okay with that.
I am a lover of Christmas and chocolate chip cookies. I tried a new recipe this morning, and it was pretty darn good, but still not the best I’ve ever had. The best recipes I have found (in my opinion) are those ones that call for pudding mix. While I love those cookies, I think having to add pudding mix is just a bit inconvenient. I want a cookie I can make at almost any time – and I rarely have pudding mix on hand (except, in reality, I now often have it on hand incase I want to make those cookies…). Therefore, I am again on the search for “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.” So many claim theirs is the best. Here is the one I made today, which I quite liked:
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 C flour (+ 2 T if the dough isn’t firm enough)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 C butter (1.5 sticks)
1/2 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 T vanilla (I know! One whole tablespoon! Mmm)
2 C chocolate chips
Do this: Preheat oven to 325. Sift together (I actually sifted for once) flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Melt butter and let cool slightly. Combine butter and sugars and add egg, yolk and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips by hands. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and place dough on sheet. The dough does expand, so leave a lot of room. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
*I did put the dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes before forming into balls because I like to work with firm dough, thus having to cook it for about 15 minutes.