DIY Bennies

If you have read any of my ‘un-categorized’ trip reports to Sacramento or Seattle, you will know that I like Eggs Benedict. So I decided I had to learn how to make them myself. It isn’t horribly difficult, especially if you deconstruct them into their four layers. Once you do that, it is easy to make them a team effort, with each person taking on one or more of the layers.

The bottom layer of the Bennie is normally a half of an English muffin; I say normally because we have seen it as other things. Specifically, in Sacramento it was a waffle. For this layer, choose something that will soak up the runny egg yolk and extra Hollandais sauce. I have tried regular toast, and I could also see something like mashed potatoes.


I would recommend starting this layer with bought English Muffins split and toasted.

The next layer up is where most of the experimenting happens. Normally, I think of this layer as the meat layer, and my favorite is crunchy bacon, but it is often ham or Canadian bacon. Again, I have seen this layer be non-meat such as avocado, or sliced tomato, or a combination of two or more things. I found that using a slice of tomato made stacking the layers more difficult and would not recommend that for the first couple times. Then, I would seed the tomato and might not use a slice, but would use pieces from the body of the tomato.


I would recommend starting this layer with bacon cooked crispy.

The third layer is the poached egg. Making poached eggs is time consuming only because it takes a large amount of simmering water, and it takes time to get the water that hot. If you are doing the classic poached eggs, then start the water heating early so you aren’t stuck waiting on it. I will also describe an alternative to the classic poaching that will save time and do the job nicely. Look below for my skillet steamed eggs.

Finally, the top layer of the bennies is the Hollandais sauce. I will give you the blender method for making it rather than the classic whisking method- it is too much work.
The Hollandais recipe makes enough sauce for four to six eggs; if you have fewer eggs/stacks, then you have sauce to use on broccoli or cauliflower. Sadly, Hollandais sauce does not reheat and smooth out well once it is refrigerated; you can do it, but it is not simple so I have always used my left over sauce more like butter that has just come from the refrigerator and is hard and doesn’t spread well.

Eggs Benedict

Layer One

Split and toast enough English muffins so that there is one half muffin for each stack /egg.
Most muffins are now coming partially split and only need to be pulled apart.

Layer Two


Cook 3 slices of bacon for each full English muffin being used. The bacon pieces are then cut in half so that each half muffin has 3 half pieces arranged on it for layer two.
I like to cook my bacon in the microwave. On a dinner plate, I layer three paper towels, then the bacon, and finally another three paper towels to catch any splatters. Then I nuke the plate of towels and bacon for 1 minute per piece of bacon, plus one final minute. Careful! The plate is hot coming out of the microwave!

Layer Three

The classic way starts with a sauce pan or skillet 8 to 10 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep. Fill with about 2 inches of water, and add a tablespoon of vinegar for each quart of water. Bring to a simmer.
Break one of the eggs and holding it close to the water, let it fall in. Immediately and gently push the white over the yolk with a wooden spoon for a couple seconds. Keep the water at a low simmer and repeat for all the eggs.
After 4 minutes, remove the first egg with a skimmer or slotted spoon and place it in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and wash off the vinegar. Remove the rest of the eggs in a similar manner.
Remove the eggs from the cold water and place on the first two layers of the Eggs Benedicts.

Layer Four- the Hollandais Sauce

In the bowl of a blender, place three egg yolks, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper.
In a small sauce pan, place 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter and heat it to foaming hot.
Put the top on the blender and run it at top speed for a couple seconds. Then start pouring the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. You do not need to use the milky residue in the bottom of the butter pan.
Immediately, pour the sauce into a shorter, more open container so that it is easier to access and spoon out. The butter is difficult to get out of the blender once it has cooled.
Starting to sauce the Bennies.

Skillet Steamed Eggs

This technique requires an 8 to 10 inch skillet with a clear lid that fits closely.

Break the eggs into the skillet as if you are going to fry the eggs sunny side up.
Turn on the stove, add about 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and place the lid on.
Watch the eggs cook, and the steaming water will condense on the lid. The eggs are cooked when the yellow of the yolks is covered with a light coating of white.

Steak Hand Pies

4 inch left, 3 inch right 4 inch pies left and 3 inch pies right

This is a second recipe from Baked In Vermont (Gesine Bullock-Prado) from the Food Network channel. I think these are an excellent idea and work well, but I would recommend a few changes.

Steak Hand Pies

Courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado
Food Network’s Baked in Vermont series

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces beef tenderloin, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium potato, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 batch “Part Butter / Part Shortening Easy Pie Dough” chilled, see below
  • 1 large egg whisked with 2 Tablespoons water, for the egg wash

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, flour and paprika. Stir to combine. Add the thyme, garlic, potato, onion and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Divide one portion of the chilled pie dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round about 3 inches in diameter. You may use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut each round and even the edges if you desire. Repeat with the second piece of chilled dough.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Brush each round of dough with the egg wash. Divide the filling among the rounds, piling it in the middle of each round. Bring the sides of the dough up to meet in the middle and gently crimp the edges down in the center. Cut 3 small slits into each hand pie to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the pies with egg wash.
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Part Butter/Part Shortening Easy Pie Dough Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, cold, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces and chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • 4 Tablespoons shortening, chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Part Butter/Part Shortening Easy Pie Dough Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening until the mixture resembles cornmeal but there are still pea-sized chunks of fat.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the ice water and lemon juice. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture pulsing until the dough just comes together. Squeeze a small piece of dough between you thumb and index finger to make sure it holds its shape
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it ni half. Gently turn over each piece of dough a few times so that any dry bits are incorporated. Form each piece into a loose disk, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

I felt the making of the pie dough in the food processor was not as good as I would like. Some of the dough stuck to the bottom under the blade and other parts of the dough seemed to stay dry. So I looked for a better recipe, and found a pie dough recipe by Alton Brown. Surprise! It too uses the food processor! However, it is much more detailed and doesn’t just dump the ice water into the processor. I imagine that Gesine used that as a basic recipe but tried to make it simpler. I have yet to try Alton’s recipe myself. Alton’s recipe needs to be doubled in order to provide as much dough as Gesine’s recipe.
I also decided that I liked 4-inch circles for the pies better than the 3-inch circles; I couldn’t get enough filling in the 3-inch circles and still get them to close. If you recheck the recipe, Gesine never says you need to cut a true circle; that is one of the reasons she divides the dough into 8 parts and rolls each out separately. I would just as soon require a circle cookie cutter and roll the whole disk of dough out as a single flat piece to then cut with the cookie cutters.

In the making of the filling, I felt there was a problem getting everything chopped/minced to the same size. I think that next time I might use a food grinder for the meat, potato and onion. A long time ago, Mom made hash about once every couple weeks and I would turn the handle on the manual food grinder for her. Now, my food grinder is connected to the stand mixer.
Another concern about the filling is that the recipe uses medium size potato and onion. Since I always end up with more filling that I can use in the amount of dough in the recipe, I have to assume that the potatoes and onions we get are bigger than those in Vermont. I tried weighing the amount of each of those before mincing / grating, and it appeared to be about 2 ounces each. I could get about a Tablespoon of filling in my 4 inch pies, and with luck, I got a total of 10 4-inch pies from the recipe of dough. I used guides and rolled the dough to 1/4 inch thick before cutting the circles.

Overall, the recipe is a good starting point for hand pies. I now have told you some of the ways I would change it to make it mine. I hope you enjoy the hand pies as much as I and my test group did.

Cheese Puffs

The Food Network channel had a new chef for a while with a show called ‘Baked in Vermont’. There were some interesting recipes, and I saved a couple to try, and I found places where the recipes made assumptions. I decided that I should publish the recipe with the thoughts I had about the assumptions. The first recipe was for Cheese Puffs.

This recipe is one of many variations on Pate a Choux. That is the pastry that is used for all sorts of things like cream puffs. To make the Cheese Puffs, you add hard cheeses to the dough before baking.

Once I established in my mind that this is a basic pate a choux recipe, I decided to look around at variations to see how important it is to follow this particular version. I don’t think it is important; if you have a recipe, there is one check to make and then you can probably use your recipe. That check is the measure of flour. I found that most of the recipes used 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour. The variations are in the amount of butter, and sugar which I think is a wash.

So, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, then plan on adding 1.5 cups of grated hard cheese after you add the eggs and get them into the dough. This recipe calls for 1 cup of sharp Cheddar and 1/2 cup of Gruyere.

If you have never made a pate a choux before, this recipe is fairly good and you could stop before adding the cheeses to use the recipe for another purpose.

heese Puffs

Recipe courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado and Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan containing 1/2 cup of water, add the milk, butter, sugar and salt. Stir over low heat until the sugar, butter and salt have all melted. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a healthy simmer.
  3. Take from the heat and immediately add all the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, is smooth and no flour lumps remain. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring, careful not to scrape up the film, for a minute or two more.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer. Mix for a minute to dissipate some of the heat. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer running. Pay attention to the consistency of the paste. It should be smooth and shiny, so you may only need 3 of the eggs.
  5. Fold in the cheeses
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop generous mounds onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them an inch apart. Place in the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese puffs are golden brown.


Okay, here are some of the thoughts I had on the recipe. The original recipe put the cooked flour into a food processor for adding the eggs. When I did that, the second egg caused the knife blade to rise and come off the spindle. I decided to try using the stand mixer for adding the eggs and it worked well- so I changed that part of the recipe.

I used my silicon mats the second time I made the recipe and they work as well as the parchment paper. I have used both my #50 scoop and my very small scoop (#128?) and both work well. I cooked the smaller size puffs for a full 25 minutes and the larger size could probably used a minute of two more. I tried to cook that pan at the same time as the last pan of small puffs, and there seemed to be a problem in not rotating the pans halfway through. The top pan shielded the bottom pan and so they were not as well done as I would have liked.

Several of the recipes I found overheat the oven before cooking the pate a choux as does this recipe. I found that the overheating in a modern oven seems unnecessary. I tried using a preheat temperature of 375 degrees F, and there was no problem. The puffs did puff up and cook as I wanted them to cook. The shell of the puff hardens with cooking and they keep the puffed shape nicely.

Japanese Cheesecake

I got interested in the Japanese Cheesecake about 2 months ago when I was talking to my granddaughters. They showed me the video of the making of the Fluffy, Jiggly Japanese Cheesecake and commented about how they would like to learn how to make it. I agreed to help them. Meanwhile, I had to research the project and make certain I could make the cheesecake. So I went from the video to the web site and found several problems. The measurements of some of the ingredients were different in the video than on the recipe. So I started following the comments for the recipe and found others had the same problem; no one had corrected the recipe or video- whichever was wrong.

It also seemed to me that the comments were of two types- those that seemed taken with the recipe but hadn’t really tried to make it, and those who had really tried to make it and were not complementary. There were bad comments about the taste. One person even suggested a recipe on a different web site as being better. So I decided I needed to look at that recipe.

I made that recipe, and it was a failure. So I continued research and finally found a combination of recipes that work for me.

I will also say that the original Fluffy Jiggly Japanese Cheesecake recipe had an area that I couldn’t figure out how to solve- they had the cheesecake coming out of the oven at cooking temperature and immediately being turned upside down on your hand to remove the pan and parchment paper- how to do that without getting burned badly had me stumped.

Here is a version of Japanese Cheesecake that I made and felt showed the final texture and rise of the product. I notice that almost all cooks serve the cheesecake with a sweet topping. Some are just fruit like strawberries, and others are jam glazes, or powdered sugar or a combination of these. I will use frozen strawberries as they provide moisture and sweetness.

I have decided to leave the ingredient list in international units- grams and milliliters where the measure is not a natural one. That was how I put the recipe together and had no real problem. My kitchen scale allows setting the units to grams, and the back side of my liquid measuring cup shows milliliters. If that is too big of a problem, there are conversion programs to aid in getting the units back to ounces and cups.

Japanese Cheesecake

Preparation

  • (Optional)Remove frozen strawberries from freezer to come to room temperature over-night.
  • Remove cream cheese from refrigerator to come to room temperature over-night.
  • Move oven rack to lowest position.
  • Cut parchment paper to fit a 8×3 cake pan bottom; spray the sides and bottom of the pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with the parchment paper. Wrap the bottom and sides completely in foil to prevent the water bath from oxidizing the pan. (the water bath with heat turns aluminum black so the foil protects the pan.
  • Separate 6 eggs

Mise en place

  • 9 ounces cream cheese (ouch, it comes in 8 ounce packages)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 70g granulated sugar(this is half of the total 140g)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 60g cake flour
  • 20g cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • —————–

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 70g granulated sugar (the other half of the 140g)
    —————–

  • (Optional) Strawberries – to serve
  • (Optional) Powdered Sugar – to serve
  • (Optional) Cream Chantilly – to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C).
  2. Over a warm water bath (bain marie), whisk the cream cheese until smooth
  3. Add the egg yolks and continue to whisk
  4. Add half the sugar (70g and whisk
  5. Warm the milk and butter in the microwave or stove and whisk into the batter
  6. Add the salt and lemon juice and whisk
  7. Remove from the water bath, sift the flour and cornstarch and fold into the mixture.
  8. ————————

  9. Whisk the egg whites at low speed until foamy.
  10. Add the cream of tartar and beat at high speed till bubbles become very small but still visible
  11. Gradually add the sugar (70g)and beat till just before soft peaks form.
  12. Fold the whites into the batter 1/3 at a time.
  13. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and tap on the counter a couple times to remove air bubbles.
  14. Bake the cake on the bottommost rack in the preheated oven for 18 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees for 12 minutes; finally turn off trhe oven and leave the cake in the closed oven for 30 minutes. Open the door of the oven slightly at that time for 10 minutes for the cake to cool.
  15. Remove the cake from the cake pan, and remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar, and serve with a side of strawberries and Cream Chantilly. Enjoy!


I found that I was not as taken with the soft sponginess of the Japaness Cheesecake as others seem to be.

Christmas bites in Seattle

This is an annual happening; I spend the Christmas vacation time in Seattle with my muse and we eat breakfast and dinner out. Some times we eat at restaurants that have become favorites, and at other times we are exploring and experimenting with places that are new to us.

Even though we had a couple days of slick roads due to a light snowfall Christmas eve, we only missed one of our planned restaurants- a breakfast at Serious Biscuit. We always plan to eat- in all day Christmas since it is difficult to find places that are open. For our Christmas dinner my muse made a crab mac and cheese; she made it in 6 separate ramekins, but it was still a lot. We shared one of the ramekins for our dinner.

My contribution was in three parts- a box of Morning Buns, a box of cookies of different varieties, and a dozen Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I may have eaten more than my share of the latter of those.

The box of multi-kind was similar to the ones I gave out to some local friends just before I left for Seattle. I started baking just after Thanksgiving and made a different kind almost each day. The types of cookies and candies I made and put in the boxes are: New York Times Chocolate Chip, Chocolate filled Bon Bon, Rum Ball, Karo Lace, Rocky Road, Lemon Squares, Magic Cookies, Kookie Brittle, Black Angus, Coffee Chocolate Truffle, and Honey Rum Chocolate Truffle

The last one- Honey Rum Chocolate Truffle- is referenced in the blog article for Coffee Chocolate Truffle as Alex Guarnaschelli’s Valentine’s Day Truffles

But that is not the list of restaurants we frequented. As I said, there were a lot of old friends and some new acquaintances. Our old friends included 8 oz, our go-to place for a hamburger, The Fat Hen, our place for a Eggs Benedict fix, Bakery Nouveau where not only do we have breakfast, but we pick up Kouign Amann and savory Croissants for Christmas morning and whenever. For Breakfast my muse had the Junction Croissant (​scrambled eggs bacon cheese) and I had a brown sugar and pecan Brioche. We both washed breakfast down with mochas.

Our other breakfast places included SeaTown, Skillet and a new cafe named Wild Mountain. At Seatown, ​my muse had the Fried egg sandwich (bacon, hash browns) while I had the Seatown breakfast (2 eggs sunny side up, bacon, hash browns). The thing about the hash browns is that they are made into a nice block, and then have truffle oil sprinkled on them. We both drank coffee. They leave a small pot on the table so there is plenty.

At Skillet I had the Chilaquiles and my muse had the Pork Belly-Cornmeal Waffle- my muse said the eggs were perfectly poached and the coffee was awesome Cafe Vita. I have to say, the chilaquiles were not so memorable that I can say exactly what they were.

Finally, we had a somewhat difference of opinion about Wild Mountain. We both had Bennies which met our expectations- the eggs were well poached. I had the BAT- bacon avocado & tomato while my muse had the regular. My muse didn’t like that the cafe is in a converted home, and you could still tell the different rooms- we ate in the converted dining room. Also, the furniture didn’t try to hide the converted home feeling.

The suppers I haven’t mentioned yet include new to us places of Gracia and Bastille, and other old favorites of Dalia Lounge, and Red Cow. Gracia didn’t win any awards from us; we were seated in a draft from the front door, and evidently got there before the full wait staff had arrived. As a result, we were never certain who our wait person was. The menu is like a taco place in that they come a la carte. My muse had a couple tacos and I had a taco and a tostada.
The taco was on a soft tortilla, and when I picked it up it tore through the side and I ended up eating it with a fork.

Bastille was a much better experience, and I am certain we will return again some time. I had the Lamb Daube, which is a lamb stew. and I do not remember what my muse had. I tried their flight of wines; there were three glasses- I photographed the notes for what the different wines were but the text is too small for me to read right now. I was somewhat upset that each wine was a mix of different varieties. I am use to getting just one variety in the glass when I order, such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, etc.

At Dahlia Lounge my muse had a hibiscus 75 cocktail, followed by bread salad, crab cakes with beans and greens, and dessert of donuts with marscapone and blueberry compote.
We shared Broccoli in black vinegar as well as bread & butter.
I had a martini cocktail, followed by short ribs w/carrots and mashed potatoes, Then coffee and coconut cream pie for dessert.

At Red Cow, we both had the 8 oz Wagyu Ribeye Cap.

And that is our epicurean tour of Seattle during Christmas 2017. I hope that if you find yourself in Seattle, some of our experiences will help you chose restaurants that you will find enjoyable and meeting all of your desires and criteria.

Errol

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 36 cookie
The nutty taste of brown butter, a good dark chocolate chip and a final sprinkling of salt work in concert to elevate these cookies to star status – named the best-tasting chocolate chip cookies by our expert panel.
Published in The Washington Post.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Joy Wilson of JoytheBaker.com

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalte butter, half at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • Flaky or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Steps

  1. Melt the chilled half of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop. Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan often. The butter will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will form in the bottom. Once the bits are amber brown (2 1/2 to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the heat and immediately pour it into a small bowl, bits and all. This will stop the butter from cooking and burning. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the remaining 8 tablespoons of room-temperature butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth (but not quite fluffy). Reduce the speed to medium-low; beat in the vanilla extract and molasses until well incorporated.
  4. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with the granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes (medium-low), until smooth; the mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy.
  5. Reduce the speed to low; add the egg and egg yolk, beating for 1 minute, then stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the flour, kosher salt and baking soda; beat on low speed just until everything is incorporated. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and finish incorporating all of the dry flour bits into the dough.
  6. Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon-sized balls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the balls. Use a light two-fingered pinch to sprinkle each portion of dough with coarse or flaky sea salt.
  7. Bake (upper and lower racks) for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  8. epeat to use all the dough.

Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

As I and my neighbor were exchanging cookies in the spirit of the season, we noticed that we both had cookies that looked alike. Mine were the Ron Paul Black Angus Cookies and hers were the Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies. I asked her for the recipe so I could see what the differences were. It is my pleasure to tell you that there are only minor differences in the recipes.

One very eerie thing about the two recipes is that they were both published by the Oregonian FOODday section on December 5th. The Black Angus on December 5, 2006 and this recipe on December 5, 2013- seven years later.

If you are really interested in this exact recipe, here is the pointer:
Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Since so much of the recipes are identical I am choosing to only publish the differences.

Black ruffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

From Catherine Buford, Daily Cafe at Rejuvenation, Portland

Description

If you like chocolate with your chocolate, these cookies are for you. Former FOODday est Kitchen director Linda Faus says they’re “slightly crisp on the outside and pure chocolate and pecan goodness on the inside”

Ingredient (differences from Black Angus)

  • Instead of 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) use 11 Tablespoons (1 stick 3 Tablespoons)
  • Instead of 1/4 teaspoon salt, use Pinch salt.
  • Instead of 1 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped pecans use 1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans- no toasting.

Instructions

There are no changes to the instructions before the dropping of the dough to form the cookies.

  1. Instead of dropping 2-Tablespoon portions drop heaping Tablespoonfuls. Instead of baking 11 t0 13 minutes, bake 12 to 15 minutes.


My neighbor says that she differed from the recipe by toasting the pecans and not using as much bittersweet chocolate.

I was astonished to find that most of the recipe is word for word the same as the Black Angus recipe. But what can I say. I think the credit goes back to Ron Paul, and Catherine Buford should have only noted that she was making small changes to the recipe.

Black Angus Cookies

This is an excellent recipe for the chocolate lover. It uses coffee to accent the flavor of the chocolate. It is only missing the other item we are now seeing in recipes of cookies that contain chocolate- the sprinkle of sea salt on the dough just before baking. That could easily be fixed by the person making these wonderful cookies.

This recipe was published way back in 2006, and yet is seemed to predict a lot that is happening now in the cooking of chocolate oriented cookies. First, it starts with bittersweet chocolate. That is now available in chip form and is being used by a large number of the recipes I see. Second, this recipe melts the chocolate and butter into a smooth mixture before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients. That also is showing up in a lot of current recipes.

Ron Paul Black Angus Cookies

from the Oregonian FOODday Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Makes 5 to 6 dozen (or less)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped (3 1/3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks; not margarine)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted and coarsely chopped pecans (1/3 pound; see note)
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. In top of a double boiler over hot water, place bittersweet chocolate and butter and heat until melted, stirring occasionally; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until well-combined. Pour in the bittersweet chocolate mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the flour mixture, pecans and semisweet chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough in 2-Tablespoon portions (or using #50 scoop), 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are still shiny but are beginning to set in the cente. Do not overbake. Remove immediately to wire racks,or aluminum foil to cool.
  6. NOTE: To toast nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to scorch them. Or, spread on baking sheet and bake in 375 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until brown Or, spread nuts on a paper plate on in a microwave-safe pie pan. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.


My hint for the pecans is to toast them first, and then chop them. It is easier to toast large pieces than the many small pieces from chopping.

I find that the cookies are very slow to totally solidify. That means that if I try to take them off the baking sheet, or even the parchment paper too soon, the bottom centers stick and it makes a mess. I would recommend lining the baking sheets with parchment paper, and then pulling the parchment paper off the baking sheet and onto the cooling racks when the cookies come out of the oven. Use a new piece of parchment paper for the next batch. Take the cookies off the parchment only when they are stone cold.

Epicurean in Sacramento

For Thanksgiving 2017, my Seattle muse and I went to Sacramento California. We drove down on Tuesday, and returned on Friday; that meant we had 3 suppers and 3 breakfasts while in Sacramento. Again, my muse was excellent in picking the spots where we ate.

First, the three supper places.
Cafeteria 15L Tuesday night, we ate at this place. It seemed to be alive with a crowd. The menu was excellent and the food also.
Iron Horse This was our Wednesday evening eating place. It seemed to have the same strong crowd. We had heard that it was owned by the same people as Cafeteria 15L, but I can’s substantiate that. It too, had a good menu and excellent food.
My Nephew & his Wife’s home Thanksgiving supper was at my Nephew’s home. He and is wife did an excellent job of putting all the normal goodies together for an unforgettable meal. There was more than enough food, and all of the favorites. My nephew had smoked both a turkey and a pork butt. Then there were both mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with marshmallows. And dressing, rolls, and a Brussels sprout salad. For dessert, there were three pies that we had brought as our contribution to the meal.

Before we went to Sacramento, I had emailed and asked if we could contribute something such as dessert, and I was thinking pies that we could pick up on Wednesday while things were still open. There was agreement, and both the suggestion of a place to get the pies and the types that would be liked. The place was a store named Ikedas and we found it in Auburn just east of Sacramento. We ordered and reserved our pies before leaving home. When we got to the store, it was booming with people buying pies. Luckily we had reserved ours.

For Breakfast, we went to the following three places:
Wednesday morning, we went to The Tower which is across from the Zoo. This is an entirely different, eclectic place. There are trees growing around the outside seating. If this is the only place you get to eat, I strongly recommend it both for the food and for the atmosphere.
The Grange I thought Thanksgiving day would be a problem, but my muse came through and found this restaurant open for Breakfast. It is associated with the Citizen Hotel, and across from Cesar Chavez Plaza. Like most hotel restaurants, it has a sense of elegance. It was a very comfortable place to eat and had a nice menu.
Finally, our last morning we ate at The Waffle Experience. This is a chain of restaurants and we wondered what it was like. They use waffles for all sorts of bread items. My Benedict used a waffle for the English muffin, and another item used the waffle for a croissant. We also noticed that they used waffles for the bread in sandwiches- one on top and one on bottom.

Sacramento did not fail us when it came to good eating.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

After making these cookies, I put them in tupperware containers and refrigerated them. When I got them out to make my Christmas boxes of different varieties of cookies, I ate one and discovered that the center wasn’t nice and soft and gooey as my muse had wanted, but was rather firm. I think there could be several reasons why.

  1. This is my new oven, and maybe the temperature isn’t as the readout says. I don’t think this is the problem because on another cookie, it seemed under-cooked instead of over-cooked
  2. I cooked the full suggested 18 minutes for refrigerated dough; perhaps that is wrong.
  3. Maybe refrigeration has something to do with it; could the centers dry out even when in a tupperware container?

I will be trying this recipe again in the future, and if I can determine a cause, I will add a not to this page.


My Seattle muse brought this version of a chocolate chip cookie to my attention. She liked how the center of the cookie was soft, and of course the salt on the cookie also makes it taste good. I searched around and found a basic recipe, but as I got into it, I found a lot of issues to resolve. Hopefully all those are resolved in this version of the recipe.

In some sense this cookie reminds me of the Pub cookies in that it is very large- it could be larger than the 4 inch diameter that I made- and is ideal for walking around and crunching as you take life easy and enjoy your surroundings.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Developed by Jacque Torres

Written up by David Leite

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons (8 ½ ounces) cake flour*
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 ½ ounces) bread flour*
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 ¼ pounds (20 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, at least 60 % cacao content
  • sea salt, to sprinkle

* instead of 8 ½ ounces cake flour, substitute 2 cups AP flour, then use only 1 cup bread flour

Instructions

  1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mising welll after each addition.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Turn the mixer on low. Add both flours, the baking soda and baking powder, the salt and chocolate to the mixture in the mixer bowl.Mix only until the flour is no longer visible.
  5. Scoop 3 1/2 ounce mounds of dough onto baking sheets.*
  6. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours
  7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Flatten each dough mound slightly and sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes.
  10. The cookies are done when a crust has formed and the edges are slightly crispy. The middle of the cookie will fall after removed from the oven and cooled.

The dough may be frozen for a month, or refrigerated for up to 5 days if covered tightly.

*The baking sheets may be covered with either parchment paper or silicon mats if desired. Or the cookies can be placed directly on the baking sheets. Do not grease the baking sheets.

A 3 1/2 ounce scoop would be a #9; I used a #20 scoop and was able to get only 4 cookies on a baking sheet. The cookies expand; my final cookies were about 4 inches in diameter.