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    Entries in kitchen experiments (26)

    Sunday
    May112014

    Butterscotch Cookies

    I’ve got all the ingredients on the counter, all stacked up nicely, and I’m thinking to myself “What am I missing??”

    Um, camera. Right. Cooking requires pictures, remember?? In particular, a portrait oriented pretty one of the final product for our Pinterest page. You did know we have a Pinterest page, didn’t you?

    Not sure if you remember me, but I used to cook here a while ago, until I went totally crazy with school and got so bad at cooking that I barely managed to make cereal for dinner 3 days a week (the other 4 were cheese and crackers). But, I’m done with the 5 classes a semester thing, and I’m now mere months away from a degree, and someone at work asked me to make Butterscotch cookies.

    So I found my camera, bought a hand mixer (it’s been a while, my Popeye arms are out of practice) and started cooking!

    Butterscotch Cookies

    • ¾ c unsalted butter
    • 1 ¾ c darkest brown sugar you can find, like Demerara
    • 2 tbsp cream
    • 1 tbsp vanilla
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 ¾ c flour
    • ½ tsp baking soda

    We’re going to do something a little different than the usual old “cream the butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs” with this one. Butterscotch originated as a hard candy of cooked butter and sugar, so that’s where we’re going to start.

    Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat, and let it get all foamy and bubbly.

    We’re going to *cook* the butter a bit before we add anything to it. After a minute or two the foam will subside (lifting the pot and gently swirling the butter from time to time will help

         

    Once you’ve got a nice clear top, swirl the butter every 30 seconds or so until you start to see little brown spots on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and the burner off.

    What you’ve just done is made “beurre noisette” or browned butter. It’s called noisette, the French word for hazelnut, because the aroma gets a little nutty as it browns. You know how when you sauté something until it gets that delicious golden brown colour to it? You just did that to butter.

    Dump in the brown sugar and the cream and start whisking. I put mine back on the burner as I whisked, and let the residual heat from the burner help melt the sugar as I decided whether or not I wanted to be risky in the next couple steps.

    I was considering proceeding as if making a pate a choux like Taneasha did with the cream puffs. Dump the flour into the hot butter mixture and then add the eggs later. But my Popeye arms are out of practice, and I’m not sure my new little hand mixer can deal with that serious a pastry, so I took the safe route, and dumped the almost butterscotch sauce (add more cream, cook it 10 minutes, pour it over ice cream) into a big bowl.

    Beat in the vanilla and salt.

    Once it’s cool enough that you can hold your hand on the bottom of the bowl, add the eggs one at a time. Cracking them into a measuring cup first lets you pour them in without risking shells and without stopping the mixer.

    Same thing with the flour. Measure into a giant cup, stir in the baking soda, and pour bits at a time into the bowl until you have a sticky ball of dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but that relaxes and puddles a bit when it’s left alone.

    In a small bowl, mix about

    • ¼ c dark brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp plain old boring regular sugar
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt, if you’re into that kind of thing

    Recipe Guy’s sister is all over the salted-caramel trend, but I find most people over do it on the salting part so I generally stay away from it. If you’re not sure you want to go all in, try sprinkling a few grains of salt on top of each cookie after you’ve dipped them. If those work for you, add the salt next time.

    Roll tablespoon or so sized balls of dough and dip the top into the sugar-sugar(-salt) mixture.

    Bake them at 350 for 11 minutes for cookies that are not browned on the bottom, and have chewy middles. If you want them slightly crisp all the way through, let them go for 13 minutes, but be careful not to let the bottoms get too dark.

    The butterscotch flavour is subtle in these; it kind of creeps up on you. It’s a lot more noticeable next to a sip of coffee though. Wow, is it ever! Definitely a breakfast cookie.

    What do you think of the salted sweets thing?

    Friday
    Aug302013

    Am-ish Chicken

    I came across a recipe online recently for something called Amish Chicken.  I don’t remember where it was or what was in it, but the principle caught my attention.  Chicken that creates its own gravy as it cooks.  Sounds fabulous, right?  So I took that little nugget, and created my own version, so I’m calling it Am-ish Chicken. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 medium onion
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 2 teaspoons dried herb mix
    • ½ teaspoon onion power
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 cup water 

    The dried herb mix I’m using is called bouquet garni.  It's a blend of lots of different herbs.  You can really use whatever medley of herbs you like, though, totaling 2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon of parsley.

    The first thing you want to do is put the flour in a large zip top bag. 

    Add the all of the herbs and spices. 

    Then seal it up and give it a shake until everything is evenly distributed. 

    Set that aside, and cut your chicken into bite size pieces.  I like to use scissors for this task.  You’ll also notice the paper plate.  That’s one less raw meat contamination I have to worry about.  It can just go into the garbage. 

    Next, cut the onion into chunks. 

    Place the chicken and onion into the bag with the flour. 

    Leave the last little bit open and blow air into it before sealing it completely.  Sort of like a ziplock balloon.

    Now shake until everything is evenly coated. 

    Into the slow cooker, pour 1 cup of water, and add the chicken and onions. 

    Depending on the size and shape of your crock pot, you may not be able to see the water once you’ve added all the chicken.  That’s fine. 

    Cook it on low for 4 hours.  I stirred mine once or twice during that time, but I’m not sure it’s necessary.  You can probably just stir it at the end before serving it if you’re not going to be around.  As promised, it is a chicken dish that creates its own gravy as it cooks.  I served it over rice, but it would be fabulous over potatoes, or even pasta, as well.

    Which recipes have you reconfigured into your own creations?