This is the picture that went with the original post which was published within a few months of my first blog post ever. The first photo in this post is a photo of the same cake I shot almost 5 years later.
Generally a lot of recipes call for just egg yolks, and, as a result, you are left with too many egg whites on your hand. Scrambled eggs, egg white omelet, macaroons, meringues can be useful ways to use those left-over egg whites. Or, if you are the beauty-savvy kinds, you can use the egg whites as a rinse for your hair (you’ll smell of egg after that- but it conditions your hair like anything). High in protein and negligible in fat, its a good way to enjoy the benefits of egg and not add to the cholesterol levels in your body.
I had made custard the other day, and was left with the dilemma of how to use the left-over whites. I decided to make the White Spice Pound Cake from Rose Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible. The cake is soft and velvety and even though there are no egg yolks, the addition of cinnamon, cloves and brandy gives it a really rich flavor. I added nutmeg too, though the original recipe doesn’t ask for it.
One technique I have recently adopted while baking cakes, is to always spoon out the flour into the measuring cup instead of scooping the flour directly into the measuring cup. The best way to measure flour, of course, is by weighing, but since I don’t own a scale, I have read spooning it out into the measuring cup gives a more accurate measurement. It also aerates the flour, resulting in a light, moist cake.
POST UPDATED on May 3, 2017 to add: This is one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. The browned butter chocolate chip cookie that I also use and is up on the blog is a quick version for your chocolate chip cookies, but the 24 hours rest in the refrigerator does lend lovely textures to the cookie, and when I have time and am patient enough to wait for 24 hours this is the recipe I choose. I have also made these cookies half whole wheat and don’t mind the difference. The pictures have been updated, although I have kept the above picture from the original post as a reminder for when I started shooting food.
The article is an interesting read talking about the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I don’t know how I stumbled upon it, but have made these cookies quite many times since then and it is definitely the best chocolate chip recipe I have tried yet!
Fresh out of the oven they are just melt-in-your mouth- good. Believe me, they are best warm. I made them first thing in the morning today, because the 36 hour chilling rule to achieve the three texture goal (crunchy on the outside, soft on inside and a mix of both in between) got over at 4 am today. Wish I had got up an hour earlier so that V could have had them freshly baked. But, I got lazy!
They are so good fresh out of the oven that I actually called V up and told him to come back home immediately. He got really worried, asking what happened – is everything OK?And I was like- You HAVE to eat these warm! (Unfortunately, you can’t leave work to eat a freshly baked batch of cookies- life just doesn’t work that ways! Sigh!)
Not that they don’t taste that great afterwards, but freshly baked- well, even a bad cookie tastes great just out of the oven- so these, which are prettypretty good, just taste freakingly awesome!
Of all the times I have baked this dough recipe, this time had, by far, the best results. It could be because of the unsalted butter- a regular find here, but quite a rarity in India. All manufactured butters are salted, the unsalted kinds are imported and yes, very expensive. It could also be the experience- each time I make them, I learn something new. Next time I am going to add a little cream of tartar. I read somewhere, it gives that cracked look to the cookie (it does nothing to the taste, though) and I would like to see that look more prominent in my cookies.
Jacques Torres makes only 18 cookies out of the whole dough- so they are pretty huge. His are 6-inch affairs. And even though I would love to do that, it just meant having more calories at one go, which, for a person like me is a strict no-no. So I made mine 3 inches wide (yes, they are still big – big enough to enjoy the different textures, but not as harsh on your waistline as the 6 inch ones.)
I used chips instead of chunks, even though I prefer chunks. But since the baking chocolate I had was 54 % cacao content and Torres claims that it should be at least 60 %, if not more, I had to use the 60 % cacao content chips I had.
I added toasted walnuts too. I like mine with nuts. But, since many do not like nuts in their chocolate chip cookies I learnt a trick I saw on Deb’s Smitten Kitchen website. She finely chops her nuts- some the size of peas but many more like powder. That ways you get the toasty flavor and an occasional nut in your cookie, but nothing that overpowers the chocolate in the cookie. A great trick which I am keeping!
I also did not have cake flour. I can never find it at the shops I generally visit. So, instead I used all-purpose flour with a little corn starch. (Substitution rule: for 2 cups cake flour, mix 1 3/4 cups all-purpose with 1/4 cup corn starch.)
But, in spite of all the substitutions, these cookies were just perfect- chewy, gooey, crunchy, caramelly- a bunch of flavors and textures packed together in one cookie! And the salt on top (at a loss of a better play of words), is like icing on a cake! Enjoy it slightly heated in the microwave (about 15 seconds) with a cold glass of milk, coffee or just by its own- it will always taste good!
I am a Sikh. V is a Hindu. Its quite strange that we still had an arranged marriage, because generally in such cases, the parents arrange their child to get married with a person of the same caste, religion. Since, marriage in India is not just between two people but between two families, this logic makes sense. Its easier to adjust to the new household if you belong to the same religion. You are used to the customs, norms, everything. So the whole transition from a Miss to a Mrs is easier.
Before marriage, I never followed any of the Hindu customs or practices at home, though, I would sometimes visit the temple with my Hindu friends, and celebrated Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali. After marriage, things have changed – nothing drastic nor anything I have an issue with- just something inevitable as a result of an inter-religion marriage. I have never been too religious, but since V is and so is his family, I have started praying. I am not even an atheist. I believe in God, but I believe the best way to be in his good books is by being nice to everyone around. No matter how much I pray if I hurt someone’s feelings I know I’ll pay for it. So for me, to get closer to God, I need to be more tolerant to those around, and treat everyone with respect. That’s always been my logic and for me self-improvement is the only way to keep God happy with me. But, out of respect for my in-laws and V’s feelings, I try to pray as often as I can. Of course, it does give you a sense of peace and calm when you pray. So, it’s something I have grown to like. And somehow, I feel that the incense and diya (oil lamp) lit after Puja generates good vibes in the house.
Now, last Saturday was Ganesh Chaturthi. My mom-in-law asked us to perform puja at home. Generally, during a festivity, when you perform Puja, you offer some mithai (sweets) to God and then distribute it as prasad (god’s offering). On Ganesh Chaturthi, the sweet offered is generally modak (a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments) but, I also read that Ganesh ji has an inkling for besan ke ladoo (a sweet made from gram flour and ghee/clarified butter) too. Since I did not have any coconut on hand I thought of making besan ke ladoo. I saw the recipe from this site.(I know, mine don’t look as great as hers- I think I would up the amount of ghee used)
They were not like the ladoos I have grown up having- the Lovely Sweets (a famous sweet shop in Jalandhar, Punjab, India) besan ladoos- which are heavenly. Well, they are made by professionals and in lots of desi ghee. So, I shouldn’t compare. But, these ones tasted good too. V, of course, loved them. The fact that only a few remain, lends a testimony to my previous statement!:)