12.7.10

Baking while Baking: Part I


I must admit that although I do take healthy food to heart for every meal, I do have an irresistible sweet tooth. I also see baking as a more challenging and creative form of cooking. There is just so much more risk when you experiment with ingredients, but when it turns out well, it's amazing.

My love for baking has translated into a very effective fundraising tool. For the past two years I have participated in the Weekend to End Women's Cancers. Breast cancer came into my life in 2008, when a close friend was diagnosed at 26 years old. Her journey has inspired me.

Another friend and I hold an annual Bake Sale for Boobies at the downtown Toronto MEC location in order to fundraise for the event. Our first bake sale for the summer was a few weeks ago, and so I spent the better part of the city's heat wave baking while baking. My small, non air-conditioned apartment was not an ideal place to be while producing dozens upon dozens of cookies.



Over the next few posts I will share some of my favourite, easy to make recipes, for the most delicious baked goods.

I suppose I will start with the least healthy cookies today, and we can move onto some healthier options later. The plus side is that these are small cookies, so if you are making them for yourself they are a not so unhealthy indulgence. And they are stored in a frozen roll, so you can just cut and bake one or too! These two cookie recipes are very easy, and the dough can be stored in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Maple Walnut Butter Cookies
Makes about 30, 2 inch square cookies
4-3/4 ounces (1 cup and 1 tbsp) all- purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ c unsalted butter, softened
½ c finely granulated maple sugar (100% maple syrup mixed with sugar works too!)
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 c coarsely chopped walnuts

Several hours of the day before baking: in a medium bowl, sift together the flour baking powder. With electric mixer beat butter and both sugars until creamy and well blended (5min.). Beat in egg, scrape sides and beat again until blended. Add the four mixture, beating just until combined, and then mix in the nuts.

Transfer the soft dough to the centre of a 12inch long piece plastic wrap. Cover with the wrap and shape dough into an 8 inch long squared off log. After chilling the dough may be easier to mould. Refrigerate for at least 3 hrs. or overnight.
Heat oven to 350F. Cover cookies with parchment, cut the firm dough crosswise into ¼ inch slices. Arrange slices 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake until the edges begin to brown (12-14min.). Let cool.

Marble Chocolate & Vanilla Cookies
Makes 36 2-1/2 inch cookies
1-1/2 c all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ c unsalted bu
tter, softened
¾ c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces semi- sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Several hours/ t
he day before baking: In medium bowl sift together the four, baking powder. With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scrape sides and beat again until blended. Add four mixture, beating just until blended. Remove half the dough (about 9 ounces), set aside. Whisk the cocoa into the melted chocolate; add to the dough remaining in the mixing bowl and beat briefly to blend.

Divide the chocolate and vanilla doughs into 8 pieces each, more or less the same size. Recombine the pieces, alternately pressing the chocolate and vanilla pieces together to create marbled ball. On slightly floured surface- roll and shape ball until 9inch long log.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until very firm- 2-3 hrs.
Cut into ¼ inch thick slices- Bake in 350F until edges lightly browned (9-11min).

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