Friday, 31 May 2013

Chocolate Chip Holiday Sugar Cookies



Before I learnt how to cook I learnt how to bake. I was more interested in baking because it was easier. There was a recipe and you followed it. The food came out pink with glitter at times. It was a lot more colourful than cooking and I love colour.

My father bought various recipe books once we got the Kitchen Aid mixer and those books came with other equipment and ingredients. Unfortunately one of those books came with no photographs. A cookbook with no photographs ... astonishing.
When my sister and I were younger, we would page through cookbooks and say what we would eat. Somehow it even became a competition. When we found a cookbook without photographs it just did not make sense. How were we supposed to know how the food was supposed to turn out? I remember we even said we would maybe take photographs of our baked goods and slip them into the book. That never happened.

Without the photographs we still managed to bake from The Mixer Bible by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder. One day I decided to be adventurous and bake something I usually don't. I usually bake brownies and muffins so baking cookies is definitely out of the ordinary. I got all the ingredients out of the cupboard and fridge and started baking. They were great! That was a couple of months ago and I have now decided to share my recipe with you all.

I never thought I would write about food on my blog, let alone have recipes, tips and suggestions on how to bake. I guess you really can't predict the future. I don't plan to write a food blog from now on but if I am ever at home in Cape Town, have my camera and start baking, I might as well document the journey of my food and share it with you. With that said, here is my recipe for chocolate chip sugar cookies.

(Recipe adapted from the Holiday Sugar Cookies recipe from The Mixer Bible by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder)
All Photographs by Zovuyo Mputa

Ingredients
All ingredients can be bought from Woolworths. Obviously you can get everything from another store but the ingredients used in this specific recipe are from Woolworths Food.

Ingredients List
  • 750 ml (3 Cups) All Purpose Flour
  • 5 ml Baking Powder
  • 250 ml (1 Cup) Granulated Sugar
  • One Egg
  • 250 ml (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter
  • Generous Amount of Chocolate Chips
  • Drops of Vanilla Essence
  • Music (Optional but Necessary)
Equipment
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Medium Bowl
  • Electric Mixer
  • Tray
  • Cookie Cutter
  • Baking Tray
  • Rolling Pin
  • Sieve
  • iPod or Radio (Optional but Necessary)

Method

Start off by putting the oven on 180'C and laying out all your equipment and ingredients.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. In the ingredients list I mentioned that you need all purpose flour. I can't find all purpose flour anywhere but Snowflake's Cake Wheat Flour works just as well as it is too fresh to flop.

Butter
Sugar

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
Next you have to mix the butter and sugar together. 250g of butter is the equivalent of 250ml so there is no need to measure the butter if you buy the 250g brick. If you buy butter in larger quantity, be sure to measure it in a measuring cup, or weigh it on a scale. If you are measuring using a measuring cup, make sure you fill the measuring cup properly. The butter needs to be soft before you mix it so either leave it out the fridge for an hour before you start baking or put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

You can use either brown or white sugar. I have no preference, depends what is in the cupboard. People usually say the cookies made with brown sugar are sweeter than those made with white sugar.

Mix everything until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix speed four.

To mix everything together I use an electrical mixer from Kitchen Aid. Just remember to take a spoon to the bottom of the mixing bowl and scoop everything that might have not gotten mixed.

For this recipe you will need a flat beater which is in the photograph on the left.

Depending on what you are mixing, some of the ingredients tend to stay at the bottom of the bowl. With these cookies, some sugar usually remains at the bottom because the flat beater cannot reach.

Sugar and Butter before it has been mixed
Mix on speed four

Light and Fluffy sugar and butter mixture
Once you have mixed the sugar and butter, add the egg and vanilla essence. Reduce speed and mix in the chocolate chips. Afterwards, add the flour and baking powder in three additions. Once again, remember to use a spoon to get everything from the bottom of the mixing bowl mixed.
The mixture once all ingredients have been mixed
Makeshift rolling pin
Because I don't own a rolling pin I had to make my own. Luckily the Apple Cider Vinegar finished the night before and no one had thrown away the bottle yet. Wrap the bottle in cling wrap. Also put a bit of flour on your rolling pin.

Take your mixture out of the mixing bowl in three parts. Then roll it out onto a tray that has been dusted with flour.

The height of your cookies obviously depends on your discretion. I usually make mine quite thick in comparison to how sugar cookies should be. The book recommends you make them 0.5cm high.

Cookie Cutter
Before you cut your cookies, make sure you have either lined your baking tray or greased it.

Once you have rolled out the dough, get your cookie cutters. I usually use two sizes, one large and a small. Cut all your cookies, make shapes and lay them on the baking tray.

The cookies before they go into the oven.
(Final product is the first photograph.)
Bake your cookies in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Once it's time to take the cookies out, put them on a cooling rack and I guess all that is left to do is wash all the dishes while you wait!

This recipe makes about 18 cookies but that number depends on how thin or thick your cookies are. Instead of chocolate chips you can also add smarties, astros, nuts ... whatever your heart desires.

Baking is fun so make it an experience by involving the whole family. Make cute videos where you pretend you are in your own cooking show.

Another reason why I decided to blog about food is because I recently re-watched Julie and Julia. It is a must watch for every blogger whether you are interested in food or not.

The film which features Amy Adams and Meryl Streep is about Julia Child, a famous American chef and Julie Powell, a blogger who started writing because she loved food and was inspired by Julia Child.

I don't want to ramble about the film but it is a good watch for bloggers. It talks about everything that a blogger goes through including how you think nobody is reading your blog and hate mail.

I hope you all enjoyed my very first food blog. When I have time I definitely will write more. Make the cookies and send me photos of how they turn out! If you want a printable version of the recipe send me an e-mail (mputa.zovuyo@gmail.com) or get The Mixer Bible.

Happy Baking!

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