Friday, July 2, 2010

Bake Day

Last week was bloody hot.   It was between 85 and 95 degrees and humid for 5 days straight.  It's just plain wrong to use the stove or oven in this kind of heat.  

I had joined Swapbot Baking Week #13, but just couldn't bring myself to turn on the oven.  The weather finally broke but the next heat wave will hit on Sunday.   So, this evening Bill and I are having a baking marathon.    I made chocolate chip cookies, and Bill made baba ganouj (recipe follows) with gorgeous eggplants he bought at his favorite produce market for 39 cents a pound.

I decide to test a small batch recipe, adapted from Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Topped Cupcakes on the Not Eating Out Blog.  Oh yes, you must check out the post.  It's such a brilliantly evil idea to top cupcakes with cookie dough.  Someday I will make it as intended, but tonight I pressed the dough into a large disc and slid it into the oven.

Small Batch - Big Cookie
1/4 C brown sugar
1 T sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1 tsp powdered egg whites + 1 1/2 tsp water (1 heaping T of beaten egg)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C flourpinch salt
handful of mini chocolate chips
handful of walnuts

Combine sugar through vanilla in zip top bag.  Squish the bag to mix.  Add flour and salt.  Squish until it looks like cookie dough.  Add nuts and chips.  Squish to combine.  Form into one Great Big Chocolate Chip Cookie (or 6 "normal sized" cookies).  Place on a cookie sheet or small pan lined with parchment.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (8 minutes for "normal sized") or until golden brown. 

Prep Ahead:  Combine all dry ingredients in a quart sized ziptop bag.  Label it with "add 1/4 C butter, 1 1/2 tsp water, 1/4 tsp vanilla."  Store in your cabinet until you are ready to bake a quick batch.

The Verdict:
The cookie rose a bit, but was crispy and chewy as a good cookie should be.  You could really taste the butter in this recipe.  It was delicious, and I will definitely make it again.  It's the perfect size for dinner for 4.  Prepping the dry ingredients ahead of time allows you to make a batch at the spur of the moment.  I decided to mix it right in the bag because Bill's baba project needed a bit more space, and we have limited countertops.  It really worked well though.  Baking it as one big cookie is less fussy.  I think I would make this for company.  Serve it family style: place the cookie in the center of the table and let everyone break off pieces.

The Dish Bitch
Measuring cup
Measuring spoon
ziptop bag (yes you can wash and reuse!)
7.5" baking pan

Bill loves eggplant, especially baba ganouj, a roasted eggplant dip of Mediterranean origin. He makes it in large batches. He likes to make it over a wood fire, or by burying the eggplants in the coals of a wood stove. Since we do not have access to a wood fire at the moment, he roasts the eggplants in the oven at 400 degrees.  He doesn't have a recipe, just adds things and keeps tasting until it's right.

It was late when we started, and I went to bed after taking this picture.  Unfortunately, he was too hot and tired to snap shots of the eggplants after roasting. 
Black Beauties ready for the oven.

Barnacle Bill's Baba
5 medium eggplants

Prick the eggplants with a fork and place in a baking dish.  Roast the eggplants over a wood fire or in the oven at 400 degrees, until completely soft. Scoop the meat from the skin into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and mash everything together with a potato masher. Serve with crackers, bread or matzoh. Yield: 4 1/2 cups.  More than enough for company and a week of no cooking.

The finished product.

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