Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekend of mishaps - Cookies, English Muffins, Fried Chicken and Mac and Cheese

Like everyone else... I have kitchen failures and this weekend I was on a roll. It started off on Friday with Momofuku’s Milk Bar Compost Cookie, which is a brilliant idea for any home cook who, like me, is constantly left with bags of chocolate chips that contain a half of a cup floating around in the pantry. The concept is that you will make a basic cookie recipe and throw in 3 cups of random baking bits. One and one half cups would be your favorite baking ingredients, i.e. chocolate, chocolate chips, Rollo, Carmelo, Payday... and the other one and one half cups would be of your favorite snack foods: potato chips, pretzels, etc. I think the concept is brilliant, I ended up making: potato chip and chocolate chips; pretzel and butterscotch chips; Rice Crispies and Reece Cups. Unfortunately, once cooked my cookies came out flat and greasy... I wasn't happy with the outcome AT ALL. I think that either my butter was too soft or that the recipe called for too much butter altogether.. But all over cyberspace (here and here) everyone else has had success with these cookies... so I will try these again.   Plus I think the recipe in the cookbook is different than the one from Regis & Kelly... weird.   I am still on the library waiting list for a copy of the cookbook...

My other failure was Peter Reinhardt’s English Muffins, which tasted good but didn't rise like I wish they would have. More on these tomorrow, along with photos of said hockey pucks.

But I did have some successes this weekend: I worked on creating a light box to hopefully improve the pictures I am taking of all my creations; and I had a fruitful jaunt to the flea market. I also made two of my more dependable and comforting recipes for a memorial service I attended on Saturday: Bon ton Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese. Alright, I did try a new Mac and Cheese recipe out, but it is only because I read this recipe on Pioneer Woman and she makes it exactly like I do... by using cheese remnants from her cheese drawer. No need to buy specific cheeses and by subscribing to this philosophy you can always be assured that no two pans of Mac and Cheese are the same. Plus you are using precious ingredients before they go bad.

Momofuku’s Milk Bar Compost Cookie
(recipe found on Amateur Gourmet and Regis & Kelly Website)

1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
1 3/4 cups AP Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups Your favorite baking ingredients (chocolate, chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, peanut butter chips)
1 1/2 cups Your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc... I think the bakery cookies have Frito's, potato chips and pretzles in them)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 45-60 sec just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30-45 sec until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

Using a 6oz ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.

Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 1 week.

DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

Heat the conventional oven to 400F. (350F in a convection oven)

When the oven reads 400F, arrange your chilled cookie dough balls on a parchment or silpat-lined sheetpan a minimum of 4" apart in any direction.

Bake 9-11 min. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.

At 9 min the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies stills seem pale and doughy on the surface.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh 5 days. In the freezer, cookies will keep fresh 1 month.

Yield: 15 6oz cookies

Bon Ton Fried Chicken
(Recipe from Gourmet)

1 qt water
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

About 12 cups vegetable oil

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon white pepper

Marinating Chicken:
Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken, making sure it is covered with marinade. Chill, covered, stirring twice, about 24 hours.
Dredge and fry chicken:
Heat 2 inches oil in a wide 8- to 9 1/2-quart pot over moderately high heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 365 to 375°F. (Our pot was 12 inches wide and 5 inches deep; if you don’t have that wide a pot, you can fry the chicken in two batches.)

Meanwhile, whisk together all dredging ingredients in a large bowl. Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Dredge each piece of chicken in seasoned flour and put on a large baking sheet. Let stand about 10 minutes.

Fry chicken, turning a few times, 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown, then drain on a rack.

Pioneer Woman Mac and Cheese

My usual Mac and Cheese recipe

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