Egg custard and all that involves it is one of my favorite memories of childhood. Fresh egg custard tarts from Chinatown …Mom’s warm cream puffs filled with cold custard …oh and Mom’s baked flan, swimming in caramel syrup. With the whole kitchen filled with that creamy caramel scent, my mouth watered. Waiting for the custard to set up in the fridge overnight, now that’s suspense!
Somewhere along the way I got Mom’s flan recipe. She hadn’t made it in years because, hello, eggs and cream are not exactly what the doctor orders healthy low-cholesterol living :). Somehow I lost track of even having the recipe, but thank goodness my mac didn’t. The subject of flan came up in a conversation at work and next thing we know a Flan Bake-Off is ON!
We each tried making different recipes. Weight Watcher’s Coconut Flan, an Original Flan, and my mom’s Best Baked Caramel Custard (Flan). There were a few questions that came up: How many eggs makes a good flan? Cream, milk, or evaporated & condensed milk? Can we use a stainless steel pot to make caramel? How do we coat the baking dish with the sugar before it hardens? Continue reading
Last week, I was talking about brownies with a friend, and it reminded me of my love for thick chewy double/triple chocolate chip cookie. There are a few types of bakery style cookies I love and chocolate chocolate chip cookies are definitely one of them. That chewy brownie-like cookie that eats like a substantial dessert….it’s just heavenly. So begins my quest for the perfect recipe.
- chocolate cookie batter with chocolate chips
- fudgy & chewy (both straight from the oven and lasts for a few days)
- not soft or crumbly or cake-like
- has a good brownie-like crackle on the surface
I remembered watching a chocolate cookie episode of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK), so I promptly looked up the recipe in my ATK / Cooks Illustrated (CI) book, “The New Best Recipe”. Eurika! There were 3 pages dedicated to the analysis of and recipe for “Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies”. If you are not familiar with Cooks Illustrated & America’s Test Kitchen, they are a great resource for people interested in analysis of cooking and baking. They traditionally pull apart recipes and test out what would happen if they used more or less or different types of flour, butter, or any other major ingredient. Then they present their resulting recipe and often a couple flavor variations of it. They have a few books, bi-monthly magazines, and websites with all their experiments and recipes. ATK has a coordinating show on PBS that discusses and demonstrates some of these same recipes, answers common cooking questions, and reviews kitchen products. I highly recommend them as a great learning resource, but I still find myself tweaking their recipes to my own tastes.