Friday, June 11, 2010

Once Bitten, Twice Not Shy


When I first got hold of my Martha Stewart Cookies, I thought to myself that there would be lots of delicious cookies for me to look forward to. The book seem to promise delectable cookie recipes with mouth-watering pictures. Nah. I was proven wrong when I tried out my first Martha Stewart cookie. It ended up as a melted pool of buttery mess in the oven. I could not bear to dump them and so I tried to salvage them to the best of my ability.

The cookies ended up staying in the oven much longer to firm up. What I gathered from the experience was  the recipe had way too little flour to create a good structure. Taste-wise, there were too many elements, causing the cookie to lose it focus. As the saying goes, "too many cooks spoil the broth".

I thought of chucking the book aside after the horrid experience. Later, I thought I would give the book another chance, to prove that my purchase was not all in vain .

Browsing through the book, I decided upon a Milk Chocolate Cookie recipe. This time round, I checked the ingredient list to make sure that it is a safe recipe and not one that would spell disaster.

Thankfully, Martha Stewart did not disappoint this time round. The cookies were supremely rich, chewy and brownie-like. In fact, It would have made a good brownie recipe.

Do not let the wrinkled appearance of these round disks fool you. They certainly spell chocolate with a capital C.

On my visit to NTUC Xtra today, I picked up a book - 300 Best Chocolate Recipes, at a great bargain price of 12 SGD. It would have cost around 33 SGD elsewhere. The author Julie Hasson had caught my eye and without much consideration, I made the purchase.

Milk Chocolate Cookies ( recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies )
Equipment: Cookie trays/ sheet, baking parchment/paper

Cookie Dough:
140g plain flour
40g dutch processed cocoa powder ( I used Varlhona)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
220g milk chocolate, ( 110g coarsely chopped, more if desire and 110g finely chopped)
115g butter, cubed
200g caster sugar (try cutting down on this)
2 eggs (60g each including shell)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
2) Line cookie pans with baking paper.
3) Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together to ensure uniform distribution.
4) Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water without the bowl touching the water.This is known as a double boiler. Melt the finely chopped chocolate and butter. Stir to obtain a smooth mixture. Allow to cool.
5) In a large bowl, beat cooled chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Add in flour mixture in 3 batches and beat on low speed to obtain a smooth batter. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a spatula to incoorporate loose flour. The resulting batter is very thick.
6) Fold in coarsely chopped milk chocolate chunks.
7) Scoop out rounded (slightly heaped) tablespoons of dough onto lined trays. Bake for 15 minutes. When done, the cookies will look puffy and soft but will deflate into flat disks upon cooling. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on tray before transferring to wire racks to cool.

1) Do 2 cookies as a test batch to determine your baking time. Repeat if necessary.
2) Cookies will stick to baking paper. Use a spatula to scrape underneath the cookies slowly to release them.
3) Try cutting down on the sugar as cookies are quite sweet.


  1. These look different than the mocha truffle cookies I'd seen earlier. Reminded me so much of the chewy/cakey monster choc cookies I had in the States. (From Wal-Mart I think, that was before I started baking.) Have you tried baking fudgy brownies with just cocoa powder? It works, just as good as the ones made with baking choc. Cheaper, I guess. (I don't think I can afford Valrhona now. Using Hershey's. I miss Hershey's Special Dark especially. Can't find it in KL, we only have the regular unsweetened one here. Gotta lug some back from Singapore when I visit there soon.)

    I dunno why, Martha Stewart's books don't look appealing to me!? (Well, I learned how to make pumpkin pie by watching her show though. Those product placements can irk me sometimes. Haha!) Exactly one day before you, I dragged myself all the way from the office to Kinokuniya just to purchase "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" and "Baking: From My Home to Yours" ... Haha! Cost me a bomb. *Sigh* Hopefully the investment is worthwhile. This is what that happens when the itch gets me. Seems like you're a cookbook addict, too ... except that you look for bargains whereas I'm guided by the impulse within. *LOL*

  2. Hi bakertan, thanks for visiting my blog :D

    You are a fantastic baker! My school library has this cookie book and your cookies loooked like they came right out of the picture! I am sure it taste fabulous. Thanks for linking me to your blog :)

  3. hi pei-lin,

    I tried baking brownies with cocoa powder. It turned out dry. I guess I overbaked it haha. That was one of my 1st few experience on brownie baking. ever since then i try to underbake my brownies to attain the fudgy texture. Valrhona cocoa is almost the same price as hershey's over here. I got my Valrhona at 200g for about 6.50SGD. We dont have hershey's special dark cocoa here. I have been looking around for it.

    Martha's book has nice pictures and friendly layout. but the recipes don seem to be reliable at times according to reviews by others. Yeah I like cookbooks at bargain price. Thats where my pleasure of getting books come in. You may try for cheap deals on books. Its so much cheaper. I have yet to get my copy of 'baking from my home to yours'..

    Hi yan ee

    Thanks for dropping by and the kind compliments =]. I am still learning as I bake.You bake well too. These cookies taste pretty good but they are quite sweet. Your cookies looks great too. I wont resist if I were given any one of them. Its feels good to share our joy of baking online. Hope we can exchange pointers and experience as we bake along.


  4. Hey, ZY! The one brownie recipe that calls for the use of cocoa powder instead of baking choc is from Alice Medrich's book. Actually, I got the recipe via other bloggers. It's a VERY good one. Not yet blogged about it though. I have TOO many backlogs ... Haha! In fact, I think when it comes to baking brownies, we don't need a clean toothpick. I wouldn't say it's to underbake. I guess that's the way it is for fudgy brownie; otherwise, we have in fact overbaked the bars!

    Thanks for the recommendation. In Malaysia, I try not to shop online for myriad reasons. I just feel insecure letting those people handle my money and whatnot. We often have inefficiency issues over here. Not good. I remember I used to buy so many things online when in the States, including textbooks and bakeware. It's definitely cheaper that way.

    I think you'll like Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours." I just baked with one of the recipes from that book. Pretty darn good! The only downside is everything is measured rather than weighed. So, I have to convert everything whenever I plan on attempting one of its recipes. And, there are quite a number of ingredients that I believe it's gonna take me time to source. I may even be unable to find it eventually in KL. Butterscotch chips are good example. I took for granted in the States! *Sigh* I'm wondering if Cold Storage does carry Heath bars though ...

    Happy Baking!

  5. hi pei-lin

    I borrowed "baking: from my home to yours" from the library some time back. however my 1st experience wasnt that good. be careful of the 'perfect party cake'. my cake simply wont rise a bit. i suspect its the baking powder. there are ppl out there who had problems as well. One of the ingredient must have been the culprit, rather than the recipe being faulty itself. The lemon buttercream used for the cake is excellent though.

    yah bad thing about the book is that it uses cup measurements.

    for the hard to find ingredients, most of the time i just avoid the recipes. they are almost impossible to find. for example, i just found out that poppy seeds are banned in singapore.

    happy baking too!

  6. Hi, May I know which NTUC Extra you gotten that Julie Hanson book. I am a fan of hers and like you, find books well too expensive in singapore. hope they still have stock for this one. Thanks. Edith

  7. Hi edith,

    I have sent you an email. Dont think they still have stock.



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Thank you and have a nice day! Cheers =]

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