Cooking with Bwog: Back To Basics—Sweets
Written by Bwog Staff
Craving something sweet? In this week’s edition of Cooking with Bwog, our saccharine chef Matt Powell reveals how to make basic and not-so-basic treats like cookies, meringues, and chocolate ganache!
The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie
Makes 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies
The best chocolate chip cookies in the city are made by Jacques Torres. This is his recipe.
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
- (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
- Sea salt
- Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
- Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
- Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.
- Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Simple French Meringues
Makes 25 meringues
Meringues are some of the easiest cookies, but you have to be patient because they take time. The recipe can be adjusted depending on how many you would like to make. Just keep in mind that one egg white goes a lot further than you would think.
- 1 large egg white
- 1 pinch of cream of tartar
- ½ C superfine sugar
- Flavoring of your preference
- Whisk the egg white on medium speed until it is foamy. Add in cream of tartar and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Add in sugar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form.*
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Pipe the meringue in small dollops onto the pan.** If so desired, you can use different tips on the piping bag.
- Bake for 1.5-2.5 hours depending on your oven. The meringues should be completely dry and light when finished.
Fresh Whipped Cream
Makes enough for eight sundaes
And speaking of soft peaks, how do you make whipped cream?
- 1 C heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. extract of your choice
- Whip the heavy cream with a whisk or electric whisk until it holds stiff peaks. (But do not whip it beyond this point, or it will start to lose its soft texture. What’s happening? If you overbeat cream, you will be unknowingly making butter. For reals.)
- Once the cream holds stiff peaks, add in powdered sugar and extract. Whisk just enough to incorporate.
Makes a lot of chocolate!
This recipe is the foundation for many chocolate desserts and candies, but you can also use it as a super rich chocolate sauce.
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
- 4 oz. heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Chop up the chocolate in small pieces and place into a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream to just below simmering. It should be hot to the touch.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a spoon until it is smooth. Add in the butter and stir until melted and incorporated. If you want it in a liquid form, you can use your ganache now. If you want to make truffles, simply stick in the fridge and wait for a couple hours until it is solid.
- * Soft peaks refers to the shape of the egg whites when you lift the whisk out of the egg whites. The whites will have turned white and opaque, not longer light yellow and liquidy. The shape should be a small peak that melts into itself or folds over after a little while, say 10 seconds. Stiff peaks are the same color, but (as per the name), they are stiffer. They should hold the peak shape without falling over or melting. Stiff peaks will hold if suspended upside-down in the bowl if done right.
- ** Piping refers to putting batter/icing/frosting/etc in a large bag with a small hole at the end and squeezing out the mixture into shapes. If you don’t have an industrial piping bag, never fear! Simple Ziploc bags can be transformed into make-shift piping bags by cutting a corner off. But be careful— Ziploc bags have a tendency to rip or burst under pressure.
- If you need to make a pie crust, refer to my earlier piece on starches.
- And be on the lookout for part 2 of this sweet series, where I’ll show you how to make an ice cream sundae from scratch!