28 Feb 2013

A little bit about chocolate chip apricot cookies

A very special person is moving to Auckland, and if you have been around me in the past month you'd know how excitedly giggly I get when I mention this coming Friday (ie TOMORROW) :p

I made cookies! I thought the flatmates would appreciate some baking from the new guy's girlfriend.

Chocolate chip apricot cookies

250gr butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
handful dried apricots, chopped (I cut them with kitchen scissors)
2 rows cooking chocolate

1. Place butter, vanilla, sugars and egg in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
2. Sift in half of the flour and mix well.
3. Sift in the remaining flour and baking soda and continue to mix.
4. Add in chocolate chips and apricots and stir to combine.
5. Cover and refrigerate for up to an hour.
6. Roll mixture into balls and place on lined trays about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes
8. Leave on trays for 10 minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool.
9. Pour boiled water in a bowl and place cooking chocolate in a separate bowl over the boiled water, stir chocolate until it melts completely.
10. Place into piping bag and drizzle over cookies.
11. Lick chocolate bowl clean.
Makes 40 delicious cookies.


I refrigerated the dough in a metal bowl and I found that this affected the firmess of the dough that touched the sides of the bowl. I think it's better if you use plastic or glass/pyrex bowl.

When melting the chocolate, do not spill water into the chocolate bowl, this will ruin the chocolate. If you'd like it less viscous, put a little butter or milk, not water.

They're fine without the chocolate drizzle over top, but I lined them up on baking paper and decided to make them a little bit fancy.

It takes a few tries before getting the chocolate to drizzle smoothly. You can see in the above photo that the first row I did was a little messy. Just pack the chocolate into the bottom of the piping bag and squeeze firmly and continuously.
Using the last of the chocolate on the cookies that stuck together...
The cookies were so yummy. Chewy, soft and just sweet enough to eat more than three...
I left the messy ones above for my brother to eat, he ate all seven of them in one go. Including the one with the heart :((
Sorry, jt...

And to conclude,

the cheapest coffee I've found at uni is at Cafe Crema, near Starbucks on Symonds. $3 for a coffee. Legit. And they have a coffee card; buy 7 get one free!


27 Feb 2013

A little bit about baking fails

My baking has failed a couple times. I even failed to make cookies :((
Sad... so sad... Here are the failures from the last few months...

So I made carrot cake. Which, when you think about it; 1 slice = one serving of vegetable. Therefore: 5 slices = 5+ a day.
 Grated carrot; so much easier done with a food processor.
 Into a lined tin.
Oh this recipe is from Edmond's cookbook which I got for my 14th birthday
It comes with cool stickers like these, and so many good recipes, just not the carrot cake one :P
Looks okay?
But it did not rise.
I had my doubts when I poured it in the tin, because it didn't seem like a lot of mixture.
Still, I iced it with cream cheese icing. The cake was good, but it did not rise. Where did I go wrong?

Next I tried chocolate sponge cake.
Tips for making sponge cake:
Sift the dry ingredients 3 times to make the cake light.
Once poured into the tin, tap it to get any bubbles out and place it in the oven.
Do not test with a skewer, it will release the air. Instead, when lightly touched, the cake will spring back.
I followed these tips...
and made simple buttercream icing too for the middle.
2 cakes with icing layer. But. . .
Once again did not rise.
Where I went wrong:
I think I didn't beat the eggs enough, and the eggs weren't at room temperature which affects the volume when beating. Either that or it was the tin itself, since I used the same one for both cakes.

I also made russian fudge and that failed. I didn't know how to do the soft ball test, where you drop a little mixture into cold water and it should form a soft ball when it's right. And I didn't beat the mixture well enough. It tasted good, but it just did not set.

And the latest fail was caramel chocolate cookies...
I was trying a new recipe that uses vegetable oil instead of butter. But I didn't have vegetable oil, so I used olive oil.
I chopped up jersey caramels, you can get these from Pick n Mix section at most grocery stores, and the other half of the energy chocolate block from my wheat free chocolate cookies.
You can tell from the dough that it was too oily... Maybe I put too much oil in it?
The cookies looked fine, but the olive oil was way too fragrant and made the cookies taste funny :/
What could I have used as vegetable oil substitute that isn't olive oil?

And to conclude,

I'm still striving towards that goal of being the mother who makes really awesome birthday cakes for her children and the grandmother who always has home baking in the vintage biscuit tin.
Ain't nothin stoppin me!


20 Feb 2013

A little bit about Christchurch adventures

I went to Chch :) The city where there are bike lanes on the road, you can see right up to the horizon because there are no hills, and the people are super lovely... 
I enjoyed the hospitality of Gee, her cranberry sauce, the teddy bear she gave me and the room that smells like vanilla. Look at this light above her staircase! Ever since Year 13 graphics project, where we had to design feature lights, I have been easily impressed with the aesthetics of electrical features. I just love that light.

Calci and I had breakfast at Addington Coffee co-op, recommended by four friends, and they were right! Breakfast was delicious...
Although known for its excellent fair-trade coffee, I am unfortunately giving up my every-second-day-trim lattes due to impulsive behaviour. But Calci had a cappucino and she said it was delicious :) It looked very good...

Eggs benedict with bacon
My buttermilk waffles with golden syrup kohu road ice cream, maple syrup and berry coulis.
So delicious. 
I am so craving some right now, I am going to make waffles right after this. 

I think deep belgian waffle makers produce better, crispier waffles because they turn out thinner and the squares trap more maple syrup :)) mmm...

They have flags instead of table numbers, it reminded me of Little & Friday in Auckland, where they have painted animal figurines. Does anyone know what flag that is?
What is this; murky tap water!! 
It was fine to drink though, apparently.

Oh and I saw this guy that looked like Shia LeBeouf from the side...
Homemade bread cooling on the window sill...
Yup, I am definitely making waffles after this.

Being keen civil engineers, Calci and I went to the city centre to look at construction sites
Restart mall with its shipping containers
Look at those trusses
The timber construction here impressed me. I think it was the 2 degrees, ANZ building
Why are the steel poles bent? Is it because it would be harder to buckle (moment of inertia) ?


I had my last trim latte at Luciano, but do you know what I'm still allowed? Affogato.
Gee and D-man and made affogato with vanilla ice cream, espresso shots...
and Baileys.
Oh wow I am so craving that right now too.
However the food highlight to the trip was when we went to J'aime les macarons and I got salted butter caramel and peach iced tea macarons.

I am not kidding you, the salted butter caramel was SO AMAZING. It felt like... amazingness. I have no words to describe how delicious those three bites were.

And to conclude,

Highlight of the trip?