Sunday, March 21, 2010

And in the mornin', I'm makin' waffles!

There was a time when buttermilk (and whipping cream), would only be found in my refrigerator during special occasions (holidays and the like). Now, I try to keep it on hand at all times because it's so versataile (recall the easy buttermilk biscuits). Case and point: This morning, it took no effort to make a yummy breakfast of buttermilk waffles (served with light maple syrup, of course).


Waffles, Buttermilk

Ingredient List
AP flour (1-2 cups)
whole wheat flour (1 cup) (optional)
baking soda
baking powder
table salt
granulated sugar (3 tbsp)
eggs (3 large)
unsalted butter (¼ cup)
buttermilk (2 cups)

Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Melt ¼ cup unsalted butter.

Whisk together in a medium bowl: 1 cup AP flour (2 cups, if not using whole wheat flour), 1 cup whole wheat flour (optional), ½ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 3 tbsp sugar.

In a small bowl, beat 3 large eggs. Whisk in the unsalted butter, then 2 cups buttermilk.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir to combine until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of batter onto the waffle iron, pushing it out to the edges. Close the top of the iron and cook until the steam coming out of the sides of the iron reduces substantially, and the waffle is golden brown and can be easily removed from the iron.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200°F oven.

Makes 6 6” round waffles.

To make chocolate waffles, reduce the flour to 1 ½ cups and add ½ cup dutch-process cocoa powder. Add ¾ cup chocolate chips and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

For the PC waffle maker, turn the heat setting to 5 and use an over-flowing ½ cup of batter.

Nutrition (per waffle (1/6th recipe))
Calories 313
Total fat 11 g
Saturated fat 6 g
Cholesterol 129 mg
Sodium 668 mg
Carbohydrate 43 g
Dietary fibre 1 g
Sugars 11 g
Protein 10 g
Vitamin A 8 %DV
Vitamin C 1 %DV
Calcium 15 %DV
Iron 14 %DV

Original Source: Good Eats - Basic Waffle

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Applied science is ALWAYS cool...

...especially when its applied to the art of cookie making.

Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, but not everyone likes them the same way. I like crispy cookies, while Gabriel likes his chewy, and when you follow a recipe you get...well you get a cookie, which may or may not be what you wanted. Enter Alton Brown and his Julia Child meets Mr. Wizard meets Monty Python cooking show, Good Eats. NOW I know how to make the type of cookies I (or Gabriel) like(s). NOW I'm one happy baker.

Alton Brown uses the Tollhouse cookie recipe, but I prefer the Chipits recipe. It uses 1/4 cup less butter (gotta cut the Cals where you can), and starts with a different white to brown sugar ratio. Start with your favourite recipe, then read on to learn how to change things up.

The Science of Cookies

To make thinner, crispier cookies:
  1. Increase the amount of baking soda by up to a half. Baking soda reduces the acidity of the dough which raises the temperature at which the dough sets. Therefore, the cookie will have more time to spread before it sets.
  2. Substitute one of the eggs with ¼ cup whole milk. Eggs puff as they cook. Therefore, the cookies will puff less and spread more.
  3. Increase the ratio of white to brown sugar. Brown sugar contains molasses which attracts moisture from the air. Therefore, using less brown sugar will result in a drier, crispier cookie.
  4. Use dough at room temperature. Butter has a low melting point. Therefore, starting the dough at a higher relative temperature will allow it to melt and spread earlier.

To make puffier cookies:

  1. Substitute the butter with butter flavoured shortening. Shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter, so it remains a solid longer. This gives the dough time to rise and set before it spreads.
  2. Increase the ratio of brown to white sugar. Brown sugar contains molasses which attracts moisture from the air, leading to a tenderer cookie.
  3. Substitute the AP flour for cake flour. Cake flour has less protein than AP flour, which soaks up moisture. Therefore, the extra moisture can be used to produce steam and provide lift for the cookie.
  4. Substitute baking powder for baking soda. Baking powder is more acidic than baking soda which will lower the temperature at which the dough sets. Therefore, the dough will set more quickly and spread less.
  5. Use thoroughly chilled dough. Cold dough spreads more slowly and, therefore, the cookie will puff more before setting.

To make chewier cookies:
  1. Substitute the AP flour for bread flour AND melt the butter. Bread flour has more protein than AP flour. The water from the melted butter will combine with the protein to produce gluten, which is chewy. Also, since bread flour can absorb more water than AP flour, more moisture will stay in the cookie.
  2. Increase the ratio of brown to white sugar. Brown sugar contains molasses which attracts moisture from the air for the protein in the bread flour to combine with to make more gluten, leading to a chewier cookie.
  3. Replace one of the egg’s whites with 2 tbsp whole milk. Egg whites dry out baked goods. By removing one of the whites, you allow more moisture to stay in the cookie.
Original Source: Good Eats - Three Chips for Sister Marsha