Just the Tip
Search
Categories
Have a request?
This form does not yet contain any fields.

     

    Entries in artificial colors scare me (11)

    Friday
    Oct122012

    Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I think we’ve just about exhausted the possibilities for mint chocolate chip desserts.  Seeley has made ice cream and cake, and now I'm doing cookies.  Ever since Hubby saw a picture of mint chocolate chip cookies online somewhere, he’s been wanting me to make them.  More than the mint and chocolate, I think it was probably the green color that caught his attention.  Initially, I had the fabulous idea of juicing mint leaves to use for coloring.  As it turns out, mint leaves don’t produce green juice, it’s brown.  Ok, perhaps not such a fabulous idea.  I thought about using spinach instead, like I did when I made these colorful cookies, but I was afraid the idea of spinach in mint cookies might turn people off a bit.  (Although, I can vouch for the fact that you can’t actually taste spinach juice in cookies.)  Anyway, in the end, I broke down and bought some natural food coloring. 

    And for the mint flavor, I used this.  It’s just peppermint oil mixed with sunflower oil. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • ½ cup butter
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
    • Food coloring
    • 1 ½ cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

     

    Cookies come together fairly quickly, so go ahead and preheat your oven to 350° before you begin.  As usual, your ingredients need to be at room temperature.  If you didn’t plan ahead, see what to do here.  Drop your butter into a mixing bowl along with the sugar. 

    Whip them together until it becomes light in color and fluffy.

    Add the egg. 

    Mix until the egg is completely incorporated, scraping everything down a time or two. 

    Add the vanilla and peppermint. 

    When those are incorporated, start adding your food coloring.  If you’re using natural food coloring, it will take way more than the scary artificial stuff.  I ended up using probably a teaspoon between the blue and yellow. 

    Continue to add a little at a time until you arrive at a color you’re happy with. 

    Add the flour, soda, powder, and salt. 

    Mix until that comes together, scraping everything down again, then add the chocolate chips.  I took out a bit of my dough and added white chocolate chips because I love mint and white chocolate together.  For the rest, I used dark chocolate.  You’ll need a total of about 1 cup of whatever kind of chips you decide on. 

    Fold those into the dough. 

    Spoon balls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between them.  Mine were probably about 2 tablespoons each, which make cookies that are something like 3 inches across.

    Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or so.  They should look dry on top and be starting to brown around the edges. 

    The cool peppermint flavor mixed with the warm chewy cookie and the creamy, gooeyness (yes, that’s a word) of the chocolate is a perfect combination.

    As for the color, I think next time I’ll go with spinach.  It really does give a better color than the food coloring. 

    What mint chocolate dessert have we missed that you’d like to see us make?

          

     

    Tuesday
    Sep252012

    ice cream flavoured cake

    would be even better with ice cream.

    But I was out of ice cream, which is why I made the cake. Well, that and I'd managed to make it around the sun one more time.

    So, you've seen me make mint chocolate chip ice cream. Definitely one of my favourites. Last weekend was the time of year for cake, and so I made a mint chocolate chip cake. And since I have trained my offspring to be aware of food additives, he insisted that we make it without artificial colors or flavours. Which apparently meant I was not allowed to use mint extract either. Had to be mint-mint.

    Okay.

    I can do that.

    Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

    What you need:

    • about 2 c mint
    • 2/3 c milk
    • 1/3 c butter
    • 3/4 c sugar
    • more mint (about 1 tbsp once it's all chopped)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla (which was allowed for some reason)
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 generous cup of flour
    • 1 c mini chocolate chips (they're in the other pictures)

    What you gotta do:

    Don't preheat your oven yet. We've got an extra step at the beginning here. Since I wasn't allowed to use a mint extract, even a non-artificial one, I had to make one of my own.

    So, I took a step from the ice cream recipe. Trim and rinse the mint, and put it in a pot with the milk.

    You will barely be able to see the milk under all the mint. Don't worry, it's still there. And the mint will cook down like all leafy green things.

    Bring this just barely to a simmer, stir it, cover it, and leave it alone for about half an hour.

    Set the butter and egg on the counter to warm up to room temperature while the mint milk is steeping.

    Once you've strained and squeezed the mint out, the milk will be just barely green.

    Not quite green enough to colour a cake. Which is where the other bit of mint comes in. Chiffonade and then cut that up a bit more.

    Cream the butter, sugar, and minced mint together.

    I was hoping that creaming the mint in with the sugar would mash it up a bit more and spread it around (using the coarseness of the sugar to macerate it) but that didn't quite go as I'd hoped. Oh well.

    Add the egg and vanilla to your speckled butter.

    Now, we do the three bowl method for the cake. In the big bowl, the creamed butter mixture. In a smaller bowl (the one I started in and then decided was too small) the flour, salt, and baking powder. And in a bowl shaped like a measuring cup, the mint milk.

    First, we add about 1/3 of the flour to the creamed butter. Mix this in well.

    Now, about half the milk. Also mix in well.

    And then about half of what remains of the flour. Mix again.

    And the rest of the milk. Mix!

    And finally the last of the flour. Don't mix. Kidding! Mix it.

    Oh. Um. You should have preheated the oven just before the mixing started.

    Now, the chocolate chips. The Boy insisted on chips rather than chopped chocolate. And he was calling the shots with this one; I guess that's his version of making me a cake.  

    Butter and flour a cake pan. I had a 9 inch pan, which turns out was too big. You'll see why in a minute. If you have an 8 inch round pan, or an 8 inch square pan that would work fine. I'm going to use the 8 inch square pan next time.

    You can also line the pan with a bit of parchment paper.

    I would show you how to cut a round piece, but I know I'm going to need a tip to post in a few weeks during midterms and I think that sounds like a good one. Until then, you can leave the parchment out if you'd like.

    Bake the cake at 350 for about 30 minutes. You can test after 25 if you'd like but mine took almost exactly 30. Let it cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, and then on a rack until it's room temp.

    You see that flat bit in the middle?

    That's what I mean about the wrong pan size. There wasn't enough leavening in the mixture to keep everything together enough to lift that far from the edge. Another egg, or a bit more baking powder would work. Or, I could use a smaller pan so I don't have to go messing with recipe proportions.

    But, it was still cooked through, and it smelled minty. Tasted minty too, but it wasn't as green as The Boy was hoping. Still, he was glad it didn't have fake colour in it. I doubt I could convince him to use spinach juice though, like Taneasha did with her colourful cookies.

    There are definitely flecks of green in there though.

    This is a very moist moist cake, with a crumbly, delicate crumb. And the texture kinda reminded me of those "snack cakes" that my mom used to make from a box in the 80s. Quick cakes, never frosted, and always done in a square pan. So, I skipped the frosting step on this one.

    A bit of vanilla ice cream on the side would have been nice though.