Dec 232013
 

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve been doing a bit more baking these days as part of my “getting into the holiday spirit”! Haha. I decorated our apartment a bit – a tabletop-sized Christmas tree from Trader Joe’s, stockings on our wall (no fireplace though), snowflake-shaped lights on our porch… it’s been quite fun! Here’s a photo that I stitched together of some our the decor:

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Anyway, I was in the baking mood and decided to try making holiday cookies. I bought a set of holiday-shaped cookie cutters and really wanted to try them out. Previously, the only type of cookies I have ever made were drop cookies – for example, the basic chocolate chip cookie, where you just “drop” rounds of batter onto the baking sheet, and the cookie will spread into a circle. However, these usually can’t be used with cookie cutters to make fun shapes – for that, you’d need a more solid dough that can be cut. And being my ambitious self, I decided to try making Nutella sandwich cookies on my first attempt.

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Aug 262013
 

Short and sweet baking post today! A friend of mine recently wanted to try his hand at baking, and so our first venture was actually cookie butter white chocolate chip cookies (boy, that’s a mouthful). After his success, he suggested that we come up with a recipe for cookies with green tea, since he had green tea cookies in Japan and wanted to make his own. I told him that I couldn’t promise to re-create the experience, but we’ll make cookies. Haha. I found matcha tea powder from Ranch 99 (forgot which brand), and we decided to also add some white chocolate chips.

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For these cookies, we added 2 tablespoons of green tea powder for 2 dozen cookies. They did not turn out as green as I had hoped, so next time I would definitely add some more powder just for the color. The green tea taste was there, though, and it complemented the white chocolate chips quite well.

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My friend and I enjoyed these chewy and soft green tea cookies. I hope you like them too! Continue reading »

May 272013
 

It has been almost a month since the SD Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale, and I really wanted to write a post about it but kept forgetting… haha. It was a lot of fun for me, and I baked three treats to sell: Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cream Cheese Brownie Bites, and White Chocolate M&M Cookies (recipe at the end of post). 

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My little station at the sale

Some photos from the sale:

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May 152013
 

During my college days, I had a friend, A, who always had some sort of baked good with him, at all times. (And for you guys out there who need some motivation to get into baking, he was usually accompanied by at least one girl. Hehe.) Brownies, key lime pie, lemon bars… you name it, he baked it. S, who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, always raved about the desserts that A made – even ice cream, which S never likes that much. I admired this friend a lot, and we always had a lot to talk about – he introduced me to some pretty cool kitchen gadgets and had lots of helpful baking tips.

Well, a while ago he paid us a visit in San Diego, and he thought we should bake something together. We were a bit short on time, so we didn’t want to do anything too fancy – and that’s when he brought up “cream cheese brownies.” S, who was sort of passively listening to the conversation at the time, got really excited because he loves cream cheese desserts. So A dug up his recipe, and we proceeded to make these super yummy cream cheese brownies.

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I’ve made this recipe several times since then, and I made a batch for the SD Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale earlier this month. I cut them into bite-sized pieces for the sale, but of course feel free to cut yourself as big a piece as you like. Promise you won’t regret it.

Unfortunately, I was in quite a rush when I made these since it was the night before the sale, and I had to package and label everything, so I didn’t get a chance to take pre-packaging photos. So here are a couple of pics that my friend snapped at the bake sale.

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Mar 252013
 

When it comes to cookies, S isn’t a huge fan of chocolate dough, and to be honest double chocolate chip cookies aren’t usually my go-to – my favorites are always the classic chocolate chip cookie and peanut butter cookie. But a craving hit the other day, so I made a batch of double cc’s. I actually tried to stuff some of them with these new “cookie chips” that I picked up from Von’s – basically they are half-dollar-sized, really crunchy cookies.

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They’re quite delicious on their own, but stuffing them into another cookie didn’t work so well. I guess after being in contact with the wet cookie dough, these cookie chips softened quite a bit, so I didn’t get the textural contrast that I had wanted. The peanut butter flavor went really well with the chocolate, though – gives me some ideas for new things to try…

Well, even though the stuffed cookies weren’t that successful, I thought I’d share the recipe for the double cc cookies anyway. They still turned out really well and are very chocolatey.

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Feb 142013
 

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers!

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Okay, I admit, I didn’t prepare anything special for Valentine’s Day. S and I usually don’t go out since restaurants are pretty crowded, and I’ve been too busy to come up with something creative and delicious for the holiday of love.

I did, however, make cookies! Cookies are good for holidays, birthdays, good days and bad days, rainy days, hot days… basically every day.

A while back, I received a jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter from CC. If you don’t know what that is, you’re seriously missing out. Also called Biscoff or Speculoos spread, it’s made with speculoos cookies, which are brown sugar cookies that have a ton of spices, including ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc… These cookies are crushed and then mixed with vegetable oil to create a creamy, smooth spread that brings out all of the spices and is just addictive. I have a ton of recipes for using it, but honestly, I’ve just been eating it out of the jar with a spoon. (Don’t judge. Okay, you can judge. But seriously, it’s so good.)

Anyway, finally, I got around to baking some cookies with cookie butter.

Cookie butter cookies. That has a ring to it.

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Jan 082013
 

I recently had the pleaure of interviewing Agent Snickerdoodle, the founder of The Secret Cookie Service, a late-night cookie delivery service in San Diego. For those of you who haven’t heard of this phenomenon, it’s exactly what it sounds like: got a midnight sweets craving? Call up the SCS and get your cookie fix delivered to your door!

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This business was started by a former Ph.D. student at UCSD’s Department of Chemistry. He left the program after earning a Master’s and started this cookie delivery business – at first, sort of as a joke since he always said that he’d just sell his mom’s chocolate chip cookies. He started out with a few hundred Ziploc bags, 500 chocolate chip cookies, and some flyers around UCSD advertising home-baked cookies for sale. A few days later, he got his first order – and things just got big from there. Soon enough, he was baking out of a commercial kitchen, with a handful of hired staff for deliveries and baking. They started out at the UCSD campus area, but now have expanded to SDSU, and will be starting their delivery service at University of San Diego soon. I am incredibly impressed with how well his business is run; he oversees everything in the operation from new recipes to greeting customers at their front door.

As a Chemistry graduate student myself, I quickly connected with Agent Snickerdoodle and joked about our days in the lab. When I asked him how he manages to keep every batch of cookies consistent, he remarked that baking cookies is like a finely tuned science experiment – and it just takes practice. Once you’ve baked a few thousand cookies, it becomes second nature.

He was gracious enough to have me sample a few of their most popular cookie flavors:

Clockwise from top left: Snickerdoodle, Mint chocolate chip, Chocolate chip, and Cookies 'n Cream

Clockwise from top left: Snickerdoodle, Mint chocolate chip, Chocolate chip, and Cookies ‘n Cream

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Sep 232012
 

My first recipe of the blog was from July of 2009, when I first started Jinxi Eats. This little blog has grown quite a bit since then – I moved to the other side of the country, eaten a lot of new stuff, and also expanded my baking collection. A few days ago, I was in the mood for cookies and remembered jam kolaches, crunchy little cookies with jam fillings. A perfect summer snack.

This time around, they turned out much prettier, although some of the jam still bubbled over (I always try to add too much filling). I also increased the baking time, and the cookies became really crunchy. It contrasted perfectly with the soft jam, and perfect with a generous dusting of powdered sugar!

Read on for the recipe!

Read my previous post on jam kolaches here.

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Jul 152012
 

White chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies are my second favorite (after the nearly-perfected chocolate chip cookie, of course), and I can’t believe I have never shared a post about it.

I’ve made this a dozen times before, following recipes from cookbooks, food blogs, recipe sites, and back of the white chocolate chip packages.  Over time, I’ve sort of combined everything together into my go-to mix.

Also, I decided to go camera shutter-happy and documented the entire process.  My first time taking photos of my stand mixer in action, so bear with me as I learn how to take better shots :P  Full recipe is also at the bottom of the page, so feel free to skip ahead.

Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl, and set aside.

Chop up the macadamia nuts by hand, or using a food processor, and set aside.  (I love my mini food processor, hehe.)

Using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars…

…until it is a nice and fluffy mixture, light in color.

Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to incorporate everything.

Then, add in the egg, and vanilla extract.

Slowly add in the flour mixture, in 3 additions.

Again, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition, to make sure everything is well-mixed.

Finally, add in the chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts and mix using a spatula or wooden spoon.  As you can see, I let the food processor run just a bit too long, and the mac nuts are chopped just a bit too finely.  That’s okay, more pieces in every cookie, thankfully S and I like it that way.

Double-wrap the dough with Saran wrap and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours.  (You can also store the dough in the freezer for those “emergency cookie” moments.)

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and scoop out the dough onto lined cookie sheets.  You can make the cookies as large or small as you want – I like 1/2 tablespoon scoops of dough, for ~2.5-inch cookies.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.  (I had two cookie sheets on the upper and lower third racks of the oven, and I switched and rotated them about halfway through baking.)  Serve and eat while they’re still warm, or cool the cookies completely before storing in air-tight containers.

Got any suggestions?  A favorite cookie recipe?  Share them in the comments!  :)

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Aug 142011
 

Finally, a baking post…

I had about half a bag of butterscotch chips left in my fridge, and I really wanted to use them. So I sort of fudged around (no pun intended) with my chocolate chip cookies recipe and decided to make butterscotch cookies. But it was late, and I didn’t really want to scoop out individual tablespoons of cookie dough, so I decided to make butterscotch bars.

Don’t laugh at me; these are not the prettiest things ever… but they turned out super delicious.

There really aren’t any tricks to this; I added a touch of cinnamon because I thought it would add some richness to the flavor. I chose to use only all-purpose flour this time, instead of the cake/AP-flour mixture for chocolate chip cookies, because I wanted these bars to be denser, with almost a brownie-like consistency. In fact, some of my friends told me that they tasted like butterscotch brownies, which is sort of my original aim. The best part is, this took me almost no time to whip up, so if you ever want to make a snack and didn’t want to wait or put in too much trouble, this is for you.

Ingredients for Butterscotch Bars:
(Fills one 9×9-inch pan)

  • 5/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1+1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2/3 cups butterscotch chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with greased parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy.
  4. In three additions, stir in the flour mixture to the butter mixture; be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after every addition.
  5. Stir in egg and vanilla extract until well-combined.
  6. Mix in chopped walnuts and butterscotch chips. Stir until pretty evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  7. Scrape dough into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth out the top.
  8. Bake at 375F for 7-10 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then lift the parchment paper to completely cool the butterscotch bar out of the pan.
  9. Slice into squares and serve!*
*I usually keep the entire square in the fridge overnight and slice it in the morning. It is much easier to cut into pieces when completely cooled.
For storage, double-wrap with Saran wrap and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

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