Ultra Thick and Soft Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Ultra Thick and Soft Peanut Butter M&M Cookies- Baker BettieI have been hearing about people putting cornstarch in their cookies for some time now. Everyone claiming that it makes the cookies ridiculously soft and fudgy. This has been nagging at me. Everyone who’s tried it swears by it, but nobody ever talks about why! So I finally decided to give it a go, and of course, it does work! Surprisingly well. These cookies turned out to be some of the softest, most dense and fudgy cookies I have ever baked.

Ultra Thick and Soft Peanut Butter M&M Cookies- Baker Bettie

I was thinking about the science behind this the other day and trying to do some research as to why cornstarch has this effect in baked goods. And while I haven’t found one definitive answer, this is what I’ve concluded: We know that cornstarch and flour are both starches or course, and their main purpose in baking is the hold structure. However, flour has gluten in it and this gluten reduces the thickening power of flour. Therefore, cornstarch is about twice as powerful of a thickening agent compared to flour. By adding some cornstarch to the mixture you can have a dough that has far more liquid and fat in it compared to the flour and it will still hold it’s shape. Liquid and fat create moistness and softness in a cookie, so this is my theory. The cookie will be able to stand tall and hold it’s shape because of the thickening power of cornstarch while having a high ratio of fat and liquid. I’m sure there are more in depth sciency things behind it, but I love having these epiphanies!

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Cake Donuts with Chocolate Ganache

Cake Donuts with Chocolate Ganache- Baker Bettie

Good morning!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to get up in the mornings right now. It’s even hard for me to go to sleep at night! Because all I can think about is all these exciting things happening with the blog and VRAI Magazine and I can’t wait to start my day everyday to get to work.

We made the decision very recently that I would work for myself full time. Making money from the blog, working toward building the magazine into a business, and putting effort into various other projects that will eventually be profitable. Hopefully. And it all just feels like a dream. A dream come true. I get up every single morning absolutely ecstatic to get to work. And I promise you, I am working hard. Like really hard. It’s difficult for me to step away sometimes. But I’m working on being strict with myself for a few hours in the evening so my husband and I can finally spend some quality time together.

Cake Donuts with Chocolate Ganache- Baker Bettie

Each day I have been getting up bright and early and getting right to work on my to do list which involves answering emails and comments on the blog, editing photos, writing blog posts or magazine copy, editing other magazine articles, keeping up with social media, writing recipes, baking/testing recipes, food styling, and photographing. And repeat. Pretty sweet deal, eh?! I think so.

It’s also really nice to be able to keep up with the house a little better. When you work from home you can put a load of laundry in while you work! And if I’m prepping a recipe to be tested, I can go ahead and prep stuff for dinner too! It’s so amazing!

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Announcing VRAI Magazine Launch

VRAI Magazine- Real Bloggers, True Stories, Genuine Conversations

For the past few months I have been collaborating on a project. A new kind of blog lifestyle magazine. One that focuses on true stories from real bloggers. We have developed a team of core editors who are truly fabulous. A group with varying expertise. From food to travel, to parenting and fashion, to gardening and crafts and more! I can’t tell you how excited/terrified I am to see where this project goes! I hope you will join us along the way!

Today we launch! We will be publishing twice monthly editions, all filled with high quality content from passionate bloggers! Check us out and let us know what you think!

VRAI Magazine is about true living. Everyday life encompases a range of facets from what we eat, how we live, where we travel, and throughout each of these experiences, there is a story to be told. True stories to be shared and discussed. This is VRAI Magazine- Real Bloggers, True Stories, Genuine Conversations. 

Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream- Baker BettieThe second the weather starts warming up my mind is on a one way track towards summer. I’m ready for sundresses, strappy sandals, days that never end, and permission to eat lots of ice cream. Not that you really need permission for that. But it just feels less guilty in the summer. It’s like, “Hey! It’s 120 degrees so I’m going to eat some damn ice cream!” I’m already trying to push that summer mode. I haven’t broken out the sundresses yet, it is only in the 50s and 60s, but I’m pretty darn close to just doing it.

Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream- Baker BettieThis is my first homemade ice cream batch of the season. It definitely won’t be my last. Having an ice cream maker is awesomely dangerous. If you don’t have one, I’m sorry. But you can totally get the one I have for just $50! No pressure or anything. But seriously, you should get one. They even come in different colors, so… there’s that.

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Avocado Toast with Bacon, Tomato, and Fried Egg

Brunch! Avocado Toast with Bacon, Tomato, and Fried Egg- Baker BettieI have a whole new routine the last couple of weeks. And the routine involves making myself brunch. Every. Single. Day. Are you jealous? I’m totally not sorry about it.

For the last year, my routine involved me getting up at 5 am and not getting home until at least 11pm but mostly later. And now my routine involves brunch. It’s a pretty awesome trade off. Since school is over, I have committed myself to the blog. I still work nights, but now I get up a little closer to 7am and I sit in my pj’s and work on the computer. I answer emails, I edit photos, I write about food, I develop recipes. It’s the best job I can think of.

Oh yeah, and there’s a whole lotta work going on with that blog lifestyle magazine thing too. In case you haven’t heard yet, we are launching VRAI Magazine in just under a week! We have been developing this project for months and I am excited to see where it goes. We have an amazing team of bloggers who are all great storytellers. The magazine will bring you articles about food, travel, crafting, diy, fashion, parenting, and various other lifestyle topics that all focus on true stories from real bloggers. I really hope you join us for the launch! You can subscribe to the twice monthly publications here!

Brunch! Avocado Toast with Bacon, Tomato, and Fried Egg- Baker BettieOk, sorry. Where were we?

Oh yeah, BRUNCH!

So since I’m trying to be a serious blogger/magazine editor and want to get in a good 8 hours of work before I go to my other job, I don’t want to take time out twice during the day to make breakfast and lunch. My compromise is to grab a piece of fruit and coffee and get started working immediately in the morning. Then about 11 o’clock I will take a break for BRUNCH! Can you tell that I really love mixing breakfast and lunch? It makes me feel irrationally happy!

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Savory Sunday: Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken with Baby Bok Choy

Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken with Baby Bok Choy- Baker BettieHappy Sunday my internet friends and family! I hope you have all had a lovely weekend and have been getting some of the beautiful weather we are getting here in Philly! It’s amazing how some sunshine can make you feel like everything in your world is a little better.

Today I bring you something savory. Hopefully at least a tiny inspiration for your weekly dinner planning. I don’t know about you, but I am always frantically searching for dinner ideas on Sunday before our weekly shopping trip. So I am going to try and bring you some more savory recipes here at Baker Bettie. This is mainly for selfish reasons. It will force me to make more creative and exciting dishes. But hopefully they will inspire you too!

Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken with Baby Bok Choy- Baker BettieI bring you exhibit A of my frequent lack of ideas for dinner. You see, my husband and I do not exactly see eye to eye about what might be a good thing to make. I am constantly trying to play it safe because I want him to love it. So stir frys are a frequent dinner in our house. It’s a way that I can at least get a few veggies into him, other than the lettuce on his Taco Bell taco that he argues is one of his veggie servings. And I can change up the flavors and ingredients easily.

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10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

I’m sure you may have guessed by now, with my constant posting this week, that I am finished with culinary school! I promise I won’t flood your inboxes every week like I did this week, but I missed blogging and you all so much!

In case you missed it, I declared this week Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, in celebration of me being done with school and getting back in the blogging game full time! The week started off with a little torturing by me teaching you math with The Basic’s of Baker’s Percentages. I tried to bribe you all through the post by promising you cookies. Lots of cookies. And I delivered with Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies on Tuesday, Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies on Wednesday, and Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies on Thursday!

And today I am here to finish up the cookie love with a list of 10 chocolate chip cookie recipes that you need in your life! Or maybe I need them in my life and so I’m going to force it on you too. But I’m guessing you won’t protest too much! Hope you have all had a great week! Happy Friday!

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Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker BettieAnd so we’ve come full circle in this chocolate chip cookie game. The week started with me torturing tutoring you with math. But I promised you the math would lead us to lots of cookies. And didn’t I deliver? We’ve reviewed cookies of the thin and crispy variety, and cookies that are cakey and thick. So here we are today with these beautiful ladies. These soft and gooey and chewy thangs. Probably my favorite of the three! But I think I need to go do some more scientific taste testing just to be sure.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker Bettie

Alright, let’s get into the science and math shall we?!

Creating soft and chewy cookies relies heavily on moisture content. And a big part of keeping that moisture content in the cookie is by using a sugar that is highly hygroscopic. If you remember from the thin and crispy cookie post, we talked about how sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs and holds onto moisture. So we opted to use granulated sugar for the crispy cookies because it is less hygroscopic than other sugars. We wanted the moisture to evaporate and create a crisp cookie. But today, we want the opposite! We want a sugar that is going to hold onto that moisture so that our cookies are really moist and chewy!

Molasses is a highly hygroscopic sugar. And you know what has molasses in it? Brown sugar! And you know what has even MORE molasses in it? Dark brown sugar! So for these chewy cookies we are using all brown sugar and preferably, all dark brown sugar.

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Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker BettieI’m back today for Chocolate Chip Cookie week with the polar opposite of yesterday’s cookie. Yesterday we explored the paper thin and ultra crispy chocolate chip cookie. But today we are going thick and cakey and airy! So just take everything you learned yesterday and reverse it, right? Well, kind of.

With our thin and crispy cookie we talked about a high ratio of sugar and fat. Well in this instance, yes, we are going in reverse. A lower percentage of fat and sugar will produce a fatter cookie. The cookie will coagulate more quickly and spread less. Remember how we talked about butter and sugar melting causing the cookie to spread? We are trying to reduce that here!

For the purposes of this demonstration, I used butter as the fat in all of the recipes. However, shortening would produce an even fluffier and softer cookie because it melts more slowly than butter. Shortening also contains more water content and will produce steam when it melts causing more rise. You can substitute the same amount of shortening for the butter if desired in this recipe.

Thick and Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker Bettie

The ratio of eggs in this cookie is also higher than in our thin and crispy recipe. This is for several reasons. Eggs also contain water that will evaporate and produce steam which will help our cookie rise. The protein in the eggs also help with cookie coagulation and will keep a thicker shape.

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Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker Bettie

All chocolate chip cookies are not created equal. And everyone’s preference for the perfect chocolate chip cookies are definitely not the same. I posted what I call The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies a while back. In my mind nothing could top them. Crispy on the outside, thick and chewy on the inside. Loaded with dark chocolate and toasted pecans and a decent amount of salt. I am salivating just typing these words. But everyone has their own vision of what creates a perfect cookie. That is what this week is all about!

If you were around yesterday then you already know that I declared this week Chocolate Chip Cookie week! If you weren’t around yesterday then you might want to peruse this post. It’s about math. But math that leads us to cookies. So just suck it up for a moment. Then come back here! Because here is where the cookies are!

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies- Baker BettieYou see that? That up ^ there. That is one thin and crispy cookie! That isn’t just an accident. That takes some knowledge and skill about baking science and math to purposefully do that.

Here’s the rundown:

When a cookie spreads during baking the thinner and crunchier the baked cookie will become. Fat plays an important role in promoting spread of a cookie. A high fat content, and specifically a high butter fat content, will promote spreading. Butter melts at a lower temperature than other fats such as shortening. This promotes faster spreading and prevents the cookie from setting before it becomes flat.

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