Recipe Development

Trail Mix Cookies!

I had been wanting to make this new type of cookie for a while and I finally just sat down and decided to give it a shot. I love eating trail mix especially out when hiking and I was thinking to myself….how can I make this more portable? Well obviously everything is better in cookie form so I decided to make a trail mix cookie! With a few crucial tips from the incredibly talented Blair from Brown Bear Bakery, I was able to perfect this recipe after 2 tries!

These cookies are sweet and salty and are honestly so hard to put down once you realize how delicious they are! Because there are so many different fillings, you won’t always get every piece in every cookie but it just makes each different and fun! I HIGHLY encourage you to make these bad boys and your life will be forever better.

Ingredients:
1. 300g flour
2. 15g cinnamon
3. 15g baking soda
4. 7g salt
5. 150g oats, toasted and pulverized into flour
6. 140g brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
7. 280g granulated sugar
8. 300g butter (room temp)
9. 120g eggs (2 large eggs)
10. 15g vanilla paste
11. 150g whole oats
12. 125g dried cherries (Michigan ones if you can find them)
13. 75g sunflower seeds
14. 75g chocolate chips
15. 25g peanut butter chips
16. 75g pretzels broken into small pieces

Steps:
1. Be sure that the eggs and butter are at room temp before starting
2. Toast 150g of the oats in a pan or in the oven until fragrant but not burnt
3. Using a blender or food processor, process the oats until fine texture like flour
4. Cream the butter and sugars together until just turning light brown and the volume has increased and has mayonnaise consistency
5. Add in the vanilla and eggs (1 at a time) and mix just until combined
6. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, toasted oat flour, cinnamon into a bowl before adding to the whole mix 1/2 at a time, mixing in between
7. Add the fillings and pulse until just mixed or mix with a silicone spatula (don’t overmix at this point)
8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in fridge overnight or 24 hours
9. Preheat the oven to 350F and then measure out 60g cookies
10. Bake for 16 minutes and then take out of the oven and allow to cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely
11. ENJOY!

Granola

It’s been a few weeks since people asked for my favorite granola recipe! I finally remembered to throw something together and I’m just going to call it the best on the first try because it’s so delicious and disappears just as fast as I can make it! While I didn’t have this granola on yogurt or in any other way than just plain, granola in general, is a very versatile snack and it comes together so quickly and easily it’s worth making a batch or two every other week to enjoy!

Ingredients:
– 4 cups of raw rolled oats
– 1 1/2 cups nuts or seeds
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp allspice
– 1 tsp salt
-2/3 cup honey
-1/3 cup neutral oil or coconut oil melted
– 1 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and cherries)
– 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional but great addition)

Steps:
1. Combine the dry ingredients (minus the fruit and chocolate) together and mix them in a big bowl
2. Combine the honey and the oil together before pouring into the big mixing bowl
3. Stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to thoroughly mix everything together
4. Pour the mix out onto a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat until a thin even layer
5. Bake at 350F for ~20-22 minutes, stirring halfway through to mix everything and ensure even layer again
6. Take out and let cool entirely (~45 min) before adding the fruit and chocolate chips on top before mixing in the large bowl again and distributing to containers
7. You can mix with your hands if you want larger clumps or you can break it up with a spoon
8. Keep in airtight container at room temp for 1-2 weeks or freeze for 3 months

Chocolate Chunk Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies!!!

Everyone knows and loves chocolate chip cookies. The perfect cookies are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (like my recipe that I posted for my first recipe on here). Sometimes though, you want something a little different that doesn’t take 2 days to make. I present to you, the brown butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies. These cookies were heavily inspired by Alison Roman I just made a few creative differences that I think help the flavor complexity.

These cookies as the name suggests have the amazing rich flavor of brown butter and chocolate along with the amazing parts of shortbread. They’re buttery, a little crumbly, and the best part….you can make them and bake them in 3 hours (or a little less if you freeze them). The dough comes together so quick and all you have to do once it is done is roll it up into a log and chill it for a couple hours or freeze it for one hour until they’re completely solid (but trust me you can’t skip that step). For this iteration, 3/4 of the chocolate I used was 70% dark chocolate and the final 1/4 was 30% milk chocolate. Both were chopped up before adding to the mix but I like having a little variety to add different flavor to the cookies, but all up to you. These cookies depending on how small you roll the logs out to be width wise disappear a lot faster than you’re going to feel comfortable with but since they’re so easy to make, just make some more! If you make these please please let me know and enjoy!

Ingredients:
– 1 cup and 2 tbsp (250g) of browned butter (you’ll need to melt down 3 sticks of butter and brown that to get this amount).
– 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
– 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp (75g) brown sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 1/4 cup (290g) all purpose flour
– 2 tsp salt
– 6 ounces (179g) chocolate *see note above regarding ratio*
– 1 large egg beaten for coating
– Demerara sugar for coating
– flakey sea salt

Steps:
1. Brown the butter and then pour it into a heat proof container like a glass measuring cup. Cover and chill until completely firm and cold. Then cut up into pieces.
2. Add the chilled and cut up browned butter to a mixing bowl fitted with paddle with the sugars and vanilla and beat on medium until very light and fluffy approximately 4-5 minutes.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and then slowly add the flour and salt in mixing slowly with the mixer to not make a huge mess like I almost did.
4. Once all the flour is incorporated in, mix the chocolate chunks in but do not over mix here.
5. Prepare a large piece of cling film on a clean counter top and then pour half of the cookie dough mix out on it.
6. Using the cling film, cover and then roll the dough, shaping it as you go, into a log that is approximately 1.5-2″ wide (this will be the size of your cookie).
7. Once the log is entirely uniform, make sure the cling film is tight around it and then place it in the freezer or fridge to chill completely. Repeat this with second half of cookie dough.
8. If using fridge, 2 hours of chilling should work, if using freezer, check after 1 hour.
9. Preheat oven to 350F before the cookies are chilled.
10. Once chilled, take the cookies out, take the egg and beat it gently before using a brush to cover the outside of the log.
11. Coat the egg washed log in the Demarara sugar and then cut the cookies (1/2″ thickness approximately) out of the log with a sharp knife. Place on a sheet tray ~1″ apart, they won’t spread much during baking since there is no egg or leavening agents.
12. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned on the outside and golden on top.
13. Take out and let cool entirely on tray or on wire rack until entirely cool and then enjoy!


Orange and Cranberry Scones!

I know it’s been what seems like years since I got back to this recipe, but life’s busy ya know? I am glad though that I was able to come back to these recently to give my adjustments to the first take and I have to say that these are so so so incredible! Amanda and I sat down to have a couple for breakfast last weekend and even though the recipe only makes 8 (yes I know not a lot but you could scale up), we both had another as well because we just couldn’t control ourselves! The only reason the final two survived to see the next morning is because I put them away while eating my third so that we wouldn’t finish the whole tray in one sitting!

These scones are light and crumbly, yet also hold together, and they packed with amazing flavors of cranberry and orange to help wake you up! I also increased the orange flavor in the glaze as much as I possibly could, which did result in the glaze practically disappearing into the scone so that you can’t see it on the picture but I promise you, you’ll taste it. One of the things I struggled with was whether to freeze or chill the dough prior to baking. Last time I chilled it overnight and they spread so this time, I froze half and chilled half for about 30 minutes while the oven preheated before popping them both in and surprisingly to me, the scones that were chilled held together better than the ones that were frozen. This goes against all of my logic and knowledge of baked goods, but whatever, that’s what worked for me! Anyway, enough about me telling you how delicious they are, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 250g flour
  • 120g sugar 
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (2 oranges) + their juice
  • 115g butter (frozen) (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4  cup heavy cream 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 125-130g cranberries 
  • Demerara for topping (optional) 

Steps: 

  1. Freeze the butter for a hour or two before grating on a box cutter entirely 
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest and stir to combine evenly
  3. Mix the butter in using a fork to keep it as cold as you can
  4. Mix the heavy cream, egg and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup together before drizzling over the dry ingredient mix and combine 
  5. Pour out the ingredients onto a clean countertop to ensure everything is combined well
  6. Add the remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream as necessary (or maybe not at all but I needed it) to ensure all the dry pieces are hydrated completely in the dough
  7. Add in the cranberries finally and form into a 7-8” disk
  8. Cut into 8 even slices and then chill them in the fridge while oven preheats to 400F
  9. Bake the chilled and sliced scones spread out on a baking sheet for 21-23 minutes or until golden color on top
  10. While they bake, use the two oranges the zest came from and make an orange glaze with powdered sugar. I’m not going to recommend how you make your glaze because each person has their own preference and I didn’t precisely measure how much powdered sugar I used but basically, I took the juice from 1.5 oranges (because I squeezed the other half into a glass to drink), and then I added tablespoons at a time until I got something that resembled a glaze, but still tasted more of orange than of sugar. The final tbsp amount of sugar with 1.5 oranges juiced was 8 tbsp, but adjust as you see fit.
  11. When scones are baked, allow them to cool briefly before glazing them and then enjoy!

Scone Trial #1

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The next recipe that you all asked for was a scone recipe which I love to make scones so I was excited for this one!! I chose to make cranberry orange scones because they’re truly delicious but I promise that the scone recipe will be able to add any flavors to it. While these will lean towards sweet scones, I will talk about the adjustments needed to make it more savory.

These scones here were pretty great!!! I loved many aspects about them but definitely have a few areas that I’m going to try and improve upon for the texture and flavor. Can’t wait for round two of these ones and I hope to have a recipe out to you all soon!!! Hope you have a great weekend filled with great food!

Sugar Cookie Recipe!

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It’s Christmas cookie season and I’m here for you!!! Sugar cookies are one of my favorite things to have this time of year and while most of us are familiar with the hard sugar cookies with the frosting on top, I absolutely prefer the softer version! These cookies basically melt in your mouth and will leave you grabbing for more until you realize they’re already gone!! The recipe itself is extremely quick and you likely already have the ingredients that you need to throw these together.

Once you throw the ingredients together, I formed small golf ball sized balls, rolled them in sugar and then threw them in the oven! The picture below is the size and spacing I found to work the best!

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The trickiest part of this recipe is knowing when to take the cookies out of the oven. You want them to be soft in the middle with the slightest bit of chew on the edge, and these cookies are easy to over bake. I took them out of the oven at 7:15 exactly each time and they were absolutely perfect for me! Below is the view as soon as they came out of the oven.

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You’re looking for them to puff up in the oven and as long as the middle looks like it is baked and not raw, they’re good to go! They will solidify a bit once they cool down as well and the centers will sink down somewhat, but that’s exactly what you want!! Without further ado, here’s my newest recipe!

250g all purpose flour
100g cake flour (to help keep them nice and soft)
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
2 sticks of butter room temp 
233g sugar 
28g brown sugar 
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla 
+ sugar for rolling 

  1. Oven set to 350F 
  2. Combine dry ingredients and sift together 
  3. Cream butter and sugars together 
  4. Incorporate the vanilla and egg in and beat just until incorporated and no more 
  5. Sift the dry ingredients in and fold them in 
  6. Roll the dough balls (see picture above for size) in sugar before placing them on the sheet pan 
  7. Bake for 7-8 minutes and don’t over bake them
  8. Allow to cool before eating

I hope to see these on your holiday baking list!!! Hope everyone has a very safe and delicious holiday season!

Garlic Knot Final Recipe!!!

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You asked, and now you shall receive! The final garlic knot recipe! I think I’m starting to make it a trend that these recipes are a two shot sort of deal. I promise I’m not getting lazy I just usually really end up loving the product that I end up with after the second trial. The reason the first weren’t quite up to my standards was an overall lack of complete flavor. Yes, the first bite was amazing with the parmesan and the garlic butter that was on top when they were baked, but what about the second and third bite? They were pretty nondescript and while some may argue that’s what dipping sauces are for, I say, just make a better product? Well, I took a stab at it and I’m very happy with the final result so without further adieu, let’s get into it.

The recipe that I started out with (link in previous post) was a very good recipe and a great starting spot! The only major difference besides some minor math adjustments for some ingredients was the incorporation with the roasted garlic.

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I LOVE roasted garlic, and so for garlic knots that weren’t quite doing it for me with the garlic flavor, what better way to introduce more? Quick tip, you can make the dough and let it bulk ferment while the garlic is roasting so that by the time your dough is spread out and ready for the garlic to be spread, it will be completely cool and easy to work with. As you’ll see in the recipe, I ended up rolling the dough out to a more stretched and flat shape to incorporate the roasted garlic in before I folded it back to the dimensions that the original recipe recommended.

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I promise, making this one super easy and quick addition to the recipe will have an amazing impact on the overall flavor!

The final step was to cut, roll and shape these bad boys into knots before letting them prove and coat them with the garlic butter and herb topping before letting them bake! I honestly really loved these and I hope you’ll give them a try and let me know what you think!

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They are amazing on their own (which was my test), but they’d be even better with a nice marinara sauce or with cheese to dip into and trust me, they’ll disappear real quick. Enjoy!!

Dough:
4 complete bulbs of garlic roasted and caramelized (cooled)
320g warm water 
1 packet of instant dried yeast 
15g sugar
35g olive oil
1 tsp salt
450g flour + bench flour for dusting

Topping:
7 garlic cloves, minced
113g butter (1 stick) melted
Italian seasoning of choice (I used thyme, and a small amount of basil)
Parmesan cheese for after baking

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. Take four bulbs of garlic, slice off the top 1/4 of the bulb with serrated knife and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap all four bulbs of garlic together in aluminum foil and roast in oven for 45min to 2 hours depending on how roasted and caramelized you want the garlic, check periodically.
  3. Once garlic is roasted to your preference (took mine out at 90 min), take out of the oven and allow to cool.
  4. Combine the water yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk, and let sit for 5 minute or until yeast is frothy 
  5. Once yeast is active, add olive oil and salt and half the flour
  6. Pulse the paddle or dough hook attachment for 10 seconds at a time until combined, and then add the other half of the flour to finish the mix 
  7. Mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until dough forms completely 
  8. Dust flour on the counter top and pour dough out on to the bench top and knead for 2-3 minutes adding flour when necessary to get to a smooth, well-kneaded dough. The dough is well-kneaded when you can poke it and it springs back slowly
  9. Clean stand mixer bowl and then oil inside of it and put the dough inside, coating the dough in oil all the way around
  10. Cover and let rise for 1.5-2 hours or until the dough doubles inside. 
  11. Once doubled, take the dough out on to a floured work surface and roll it out to a 16″ width and ~12″ length, until it’s spread out (see photo).
  12. Take roasted garlic out of the bulbs just by squeezing it out and then spread roasted garlic throughout the spread out dough evenly.
  13. Fold the dough by the width until you have a 16″ x 5″ log
  14. Cut 16, 1” strips all the way down and prepare two baking sheets with parchment or silpat 
  15. Roll each strip until ~8” and loop/twist to form a knot before tucking the ends underneath and then placing on the sheet
  16. Once all the knots are done, cover with plastic wrap loosely and let prove for 30-45 minutes
  17. Preheat oven while they prove at 400F
  18. Melt the butter and add the minced garlic and italian seasonings and salt 
  19. Use a brush to coat the knots before putting them in the oven
  20. Bake until golden brown ~18-23 minutes. 
  21. Take out and brush more butter and garlic and herbs before enjoying
  22. Add parmesan cheese on top at this time if wanted and eat while warm

Sugar Cookie Experiment Take 1

I know I know I haven’t uploaded the recipe for the garlic knots yet, I promise you it’s coming!!! I wanted to get a head start on this one though so that I could have an amazing sugar cookie recipe ready for you all to make for the holidays! Thanks to my friend Jacqueline for providing this recipe as a reference point to start with!! This cookie was a great starting point it has a great chew and is nice and soft once it’s cooled but I think I can improve the flavor and a bit of the texture! Looking forward to doing the next garlic knot recipe this weekend!

Garlic Knot Experiment #1

The next food science project is garlic knots. I love garlic knots and I really don’t know why I don’t make them more but I was excited to hear enthusiasm from so many about this one! I started with a base recipe (which I’m not going to share at this moment) and while it turned out great I could foresee issues that I know I’m going to fix for the second trial! It had been quite some time since my last time making them so this was quite a delicious blast from the past (meaning like 2 years ago). I am very excited to do more work on this one and can’t wait to share with you all what’s coming!

Baked Cider Apple Donuts

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Cider apple donuts were the insta fam’s next choice for the recipe to develop from scratch and wow was I excited for this one! I have loved having cider apple donuts growing up every single fall since as far back as I can remember. When Amanda and I moved to Cincinnati, we drove 30 minutes during the first fall season here in search for a farm that claimed to have cider and donuts (in reality they had very low quality cider and we were so sad). I immediately dove into finding the best recipe for these bad boys and honestly, after I did some reading on them and took bits and pieces from various recipes, I think this first trial is going to be all that it takes!

These donuts were the perfect amount of apple and cinnamon and sweet and they were so delicious, they lasted just over a day in our house and Amanda only ate about 4 of the 12 that this makes (oops). They had the perfect cake-y consistency and once they were cooled down all the way, they just need 17 seconds (very precise) in the microwave to be brought to peak perfection. Without further ado, here we are!

Ingredients (makes 12 donuts)

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 165 grams light brown sugar
  • 150 grams granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 140 milliliters apple cider

Steps:

  1. Heat the oven to 350F . Lightly grease 6-cavity doughnut pan with nonstick spray. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 140 grams butter, brown sugar and 50 grams granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated after each addition, scraping the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, 2 tsp cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. It’s important here not to over mix, so you can do this by hand with a silicone spatula and then return to the stand mixer.
  5. With the mixer running, add the apple cider in a slow, steady stream and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is homogeneous.
  6. Spoon the batter into prepared doughnut pans, filling them about 2/3 of the way full (with piping bag or spoon just level it out). I did use a piping bag just to try and get as even donuts as I could and it worked out well.
  7. Bake until evenly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest portion comes out clean, 13 to 14 minutes. 
  8. While the doughnuts bake, whisk the remaining 100 grams granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave.
  9. Let the doughnuts cool for 5 minutes after baking, then unmold them from the pans, brush with the melted butter and dredge them in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately, or let cool to room temperature. 

I was so so happy to bite into these and devour them and I hope that you’re interested and want to make them for yourself! It’s perfect for this fall season and let me know if you do!

NYC Cheesecake Custom Recipe

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Cheesecake. That word alone apparently brings up some pretty strong reactions in the instagram community. The campaign voting and recruiting for basque vs. NY style cheesecake in the buildup to this recipe was one of the best/funniest things I’ve seen since I started recipe developing my favorite recipes. I was slightly partial to basque style but was quickly reassured that NY style would be the better one to develop as my loving fiancée (in 3 days wife) would be the one tasting it alongside me primarily.

This recipe development started off like any other by a search for a base recipe upon which to start. Thankfully, this time I got a leg up from one of my foodie friends that I referenced in the first trial post, Mary. This first base recipe was an amazing start. I absolutely think I would have had a few more trials if I had started with a different one. It was creamy, it was delicious, and there were only a few minor tweaks that I wanted to change for me. A bit more crust, a bit more vanilla, a bit more sweetness, take out the cinnamon (which I had added to the base recipe), and that was mostly it! The ending result is still a silky smooth cheesecake with a buttery, delicious graham cracker crust that will leave you reaching for more until you realize you’ve already finished your slice and now you need another. Side note, I didn’t make my own graham crackers for this, in an effort to keep it simple and accessible, but that would be a way to pack in more flavor next time.

Some people only want enough crust to keep the slice from absolutely falling apart and I respect that, but again these recipes are to my best taste and I like that added bit of texture and salty, sweet that you get with the crust as a partner to the smooth and creamy cheesecake. I promise if you make this recipe, no matter if you’re team NY style or basque, you’ll love it! If you do make it please please DM me on instagram or tag me in the post I’d love to see how it turns out in your kitchen!!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 250g graham crackers
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 130g melted butter (1 stick)

Filling:

  • 24oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 300g sugar
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 400g sour cream
  • 225g heavy cream

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Pulse the graham crackers in food processor to get as fine as you can make it
  3. Add in the sugar and salt and pulse to incorporate
  4. Add the melted butter while food processor is on low speed or pulse until combined
  5. Pour the crust into 8″ springform pan and using a measuring cup, work the crust around the pan until it is an even thickness throughout (as best you can) and the crust goes 2/3 up the side of the pan
  6. Bake at 375F for 7-9 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly browned (do not burn). Take the pan with the baked crust out and let it cool while you bring the filling together.
  7. Lower heat to 350F
  8. To prepare the filling: put softened cream cheese and sugar together in bowl of stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer to thoroughly combine and cream sugar and cream cheese together (2 min)
  9. Then mix in the eggs one by one incorporating each before the addition of the next with minimal whipping. With the last egg, add the vanilla as well
  10. Then incorporate the sour cream into the mix before finishing it off with the heavy cream
  11. Before adding the filling to the pan, line it with two layers of aluminum foil until it reaches up the sides
  12. Place the pan into a wide baking dish with sides on it adding hot water to the dish before adding the filling into the pan
  13. Carefully pick up the baking dish with the filled springform pan and set it in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes
  14. Check for a slight wobble at 1 hour, you will want the center to wobble but the edges to be set (the center will firm up overnight in the fridge)
  15. Once it’s baked (mine turned brown on the top yours may not), turn the oven off and crack the door open with a wooden spoon or other utensil and let it cool in the oven for 15 minutes.
  16. Finally, take out the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely in the fridge (preferably overnight) before cutting into it and enjoy!

Cheesecake Trial 1

The great cheesecake debate of 2020. After finishing chocolate chip cookies and brownies, I was asked to tackle the best cheesecake recipe. I have only made cheesecake a couple times before (one very unsuccessful nyc style 3 years ago that was basically inedible due to globs of unincorporated cream cheese throughout the whole thing), but I knew that basque cheesecake was fairly simple, and incredibly delicious. When I’m starting a new experiment like this I want to invest time into something that the most people will care about because I want people to use my recipes for their own enjoyment! This sparked the fiercest debate to this point on my instagram polls about whether to make New York style or Basque style. Ultimately, Amanda is the one that has to eat the most of my baked goods and experiments so her vote eventually tipped the scales just that last little bit over the edge for NY style, and thus, my journey began.

Every recipe needs to have a starting place from which to improve or not. I decided who better to ask than a New Yorker foodie friend of mine (@thesweetalmondnyc) who graciously provided me her favorite cheesecake recipe. While one of her many nicknames is Mighty Mac (for her amazing macarons), she claims she’s really not that big into desserts. So I was interested to see how this would turn out since I knew that she had probably tweaked it herself to be optimal to her taste. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened.

This first trial was a solid cheesecake attempt. It was creamy, it was smooth, and it was rich. There were a few things that I am going to attempt to change for the next trial, namely adding ~10% more crust, adding back ~50g sugar that she took out from the first iteration of the recipe, and adding more vanilla flavoring. I’m also going to be looking into tweaking the baking conditions so that I can get the fully baked product, but without the browning on top, as I’m told this is not a competition to try and make a basque/NY style hybrid! I am pretty hopeful that these few changes will help balance out some of the flavors in this dessert and get it to where I want. Stay tuned for the next results!

The Brownies

Dense. Fudgey. Rich. Thicccc. All of these adjectives describe the best brownies I could create. You can even see from this picture just how rich and full of chocolatey goodness these are.

When I was researching various recipes for this the main two schools of thought were whether or not cocoa powder was a sufficient source of chocolate without adding in melted chocolate. I used cocoa powder alone in the first trial (not pictured) and they were fine, but they didn’t have that wow factor that I knew I wanted. Most people that use this method admit that they under bake their brownies in order to try and get some semblance of that rich fudgey texture that everyone knows is far superior to the fluffy light brownies.

Well after trying an iteration of Alton Brown’s recipe I decided that I needed to go with a combination of melted chocolate and cocoa powder (which I kinda figured would be the case). The result? Well, just look for yourself. The other slightly controversial aspect to this recipe is that I will always add these small chopped walnuts. I think they provide an important textural and flavor component to cut through the rich chocolate, but obviously they are optional. In the end, these were exactly what I was looking for. This was my second recipe that I developed and I’m proud to call it my own. Check out the recipe below and try it for yourself and let me know how it goes (so far my friends that have made it have all had great success)!

Recipe:

  • 185g brown sugar
  • 220g granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temp)
  • 200g butter
  • 42g cocoa powder
  • 100g chopped chocolate bar (high quality)
  • 100g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 40g chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Grease and flour the baking tin and preheat to 350F
  2. Beat the room temperature eggs in stand mixer until pale yellow and fluffy
  3. Sift in the sugars, vanilla and beat briefly to cream them together 
  4. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour and salt and fold it to combine completely 
  5. Melt chocolate and butter together over double boiler until glossy and then slowly stream into the brownie mix 
  6. *if adding nuts or some broken chocolate to the whole batter incorporate now if not wait until pouring in pan 
  7. Bake at 350F for 45-60 min checking at 40 for doneness
  8. Let cool briefly before cutting but keep the whole thing together until cooled completely 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Beethoven had the 9th Symphony. Edison (read: Tesla) had the lightbulb. Einstein had…well a lot. I have these cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are the quintessential dessert that a lot of people grow up with. There are countless iterations of chocolate chip cookies that people swear by. I decided that I wanted to create my own. Food science is one of my side interests and I had been wanting to work on developing my own ultimate recipe for quite some time.

Being a scientist by training, I approached this as I would any other science experiment. I did a lot of reading and research on various methods and ideas as well as the science of why you have to add certain components. I took bits and pieces of various recipes that I liked from some of the most famous recipes in the world and I combined them together, and tweaked it piece by piece until I had it just right. These cookies are undoubtedly a labor of love. They take time, patience, and a little skill. But I promise the ending results are worth all of the time and effort and more!

One of the tricks that I employed for the first time for these cookies was the method of incorporating brown butter. 99.9% of recipes that use brown butter use liquid brown butter that was made at the same time of the dough coming together. I love these kinds of cookies, don’t get me wrong, but my favorite way of incorporating fat into sugar is to cream solid fat with the sugar and whip it until it’s nice and light. This not only helps with the complete incorporation of the two components together, but also makes the cookies lighter.

The other aspect to this that is different than most cookies is the use of cake flour and bread flour instead of all purpose. This might be where most people would need to make a concerted effort to go to the store to make sure they get it, but the chewiness and the overall texture that the combination of these two flours create together is worth the effort.

I made these cookies in a way where one batch would yield a large amount because after all this time and effort, trust me you’re going to want to be set for a while. I highly recommend partitioning some of the final rested dough out into 3-4 cookie amounts and then stashing them throughout your fridge and freezer because unless you have the most self-control in the world, you’ll devour your way through the whole batch before you know it (speaking from personal experience). These cookies have been made by some of my foodie friends so far and all of them have produced great results which is all I could ask for!! Please please do yourself (and me) a favor by looking at the recipe below and making them for yourself and letting me know how they go for you! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 250g solidified brown butter (300-310g of butter once browned will yield 250g)
  • 240g cake flour
  • 240g bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • 220g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100g milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 500g high quality chocolate

Steps

  1. Melt and brown butter in saucepan,
    stirring so it doesn’t burn, but cook till deep amber
  2. Pour the browned butter into a heat-safe glass measuring
    cup and then cover and let chill and solidify in the fridge overnight
  3. The next day or whenever making the cookies, take the butter out
    and let it soften slightly at room temp until it’s malleable 
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside 
  5. Put the room temp brown butter and granulated sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer
  6. Cream the sugars with the browned butter until light in texture (2-3 minutes)
  7. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and stir to mix with silicone spatula
    and then the egg to stir and mix with silicone spatula. Finally add the milk and mix gently.
  8. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients in small additions,
    being careful not to over mix 
  9. Finally, fold in the roughly chopped chocolate and mix it gently with silicone spatula
  10. Cover and place the whole thing in the fridge for at least 24 ideally 48 hours to 72 hours 
  11. Preheat oven to 350F
  12. Take the cookies out and scoop out 60g cookies on to
    a baking sheet with parchment paper and stick in the freezer for 10 min
  13. Take the baking sheet out and put it directly in the oven
    and let it bake for 14-14 1/2 minutes. 
  14. Take the cookie sheet out and leave the cookies to
    cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes 
  15. Then take the cookies off the sheet and let cool on wire rack before enjoying! 
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