Science of the perfect chocolate-chip cookie

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief creative officer for Serious Eats, delved very, very deep into the science of making the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He's got a very specific definition of "perfect" ("...Barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate... with crackly, craggy tops and the complex aroma of butterscotch...that elusive perfect balance between sweet and salty").

But the food science in his piece is deep and fascinating, and provides a kind of road-map for any definition of cookie-perfection. If you've ever wondered about the chemistry of eggs, sugars, flours, rising agents and butter, and how they interact with mixing, cooking, "resting" and cooling, this is pretty much the ultimate, definitive guide thereto. I also defy you to read this without developing a craving for chocolate chip cookies. Read the rest

Boing Boing Wake Up Cake, revisited

Photo: Stefan E. Jones

Boing Boing reader Stefan Jones shares a photo of the "Boing Boing Wake Up Cake" recipe from "internet chef" Tyler Capps.

"There's no better way to start the work week than a chocolate/coffee cheesecake with chocolate covered coffee beans on top," Stefan says. "I followed the 'Wakeup Cake' recipe from Boing Boing to make six of them for my co-workers."

Woohoo! We aren't kidding about the Boing Boing part. Read the rest

HOWTO make pixelated cookies

Back in 2011, Love Making in the Kitchen created some smashing pixelated Zelda cookies, using the method documented in this video. Read the rest

How to make Superman "S" bread

Clark Kent fanboy bread, by Chris-Rachael Oseland.

Geek cook Chris-Rachael Oseland of has come up with another awesome nerd-themed recipe: bread that displays the Superman "S" symbol, just like Clark Kent would eat for his hero sandwich. The end result looks super fun and cute, but the process of making the multi-layered, colored bread is really interesting, too. I can imagine making other special-occasion breads in the same way.

Previously on Boing Boing: "Sci-fi bread recipes: Sandworm loaf from Dune, and Alien xenomorph pretzel eggs."

(via Boing Boing Facebook) Read the rest

Use Instagram to reverse engineer food

Leo Kent of Humans Invent writes about a new free service in Sweden that uses Instagram to find out how to make Asian food.

Ask CT Food is a new service people can use through Instagram to find out the ingredients and methods of cooking Asian food. If you’re at a restaurant and want to know how to make the Sushi that you’re about to eat, you can take a photo of the dish and CT Food will tell you how. We will then see the picture and, based on what the question is, reply as quickly as possible Luong Lu, who, along with co-creative Farnaz Sajadi and web developer Nikola Romcevic, created this concept for CT Food, says, “It is a very personal, almost 24/7 customer service right in your pocket. Everytime you have a question about an Asian dish at a restaurant you just snap a picture and then put in our username @askctfood. We will then see the picture and, based on what the question is, reply as quickly as possible.”

Reverse engineering the food in front of you Read the rest

HOWTO make homemade "Cadbury's Easter creme" eggs

Ashley Rodriguez has tweaked a recipe for homemade "Cadbury's" Easter creme eggs from Instructables user Scoochmaroo and published it. The store-bought version of these glop-filled chocolate eggs always seem like a good idea until they get halfway down my oesophagus (whereupon they try to reverse direction); who knows, maybe a "small batch" homemade one with less HFCS and plutonium* will continue to reward ingestion all the way to my digestive tract's terminus.

½ cup Lyle’s golden syrup 6 tablespoons butter, softened ½ teaspoon salt 3 drops orange blossom water (optional) 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 cup powdered sugar ¼ to ½ teaspoon yellow food coloring 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or 1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips)

Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs (via Lifehacker)

*Or whatever Cadbury's uses to attain that "Holy shitting Cthulhu, what have I just swallowed?" sensation Read the rest

Candy Corn on the cob

An Instructable exists for this. It must be made. Alaskantomboy writes, in the prelude:

I experimented with fondant first, that was completely unsuccessful. Then I though of gluing it together with caramel (since I had a fresh bag of that around too). Too messy and too hard. Then, another light bulb went off.....cookie dough! Sugar cookie dough works perfectly (don't attempt with chocolate chip dough, the chips just get in the way and jeopardize structural integrity). It only took about 4 minutes to assemble and looked authentic.

Vegans: it can be done vegan.

(Photo: alaskantomboy. Thanks, Tara McGinley!) Read the rest

The history and science of meringue, from a new book by Linda K. Jackson and Jennifer Evans Gardner

My friend Jen Gardner has co-written a gorgeous recipe book called Meringue, which is all about the featherweight delicacy that turns desserts into works of art. I asked Jen if I could include an excerpt that discusses the history and science of meringue, and she kindly gave me permission.

From Meringue:

Egg whites. Sugar. A pinch of cream of tartar or a dash of vinegar. And air.

Meringue. How can something be so simple, so divine, and yet so intimidating at the same time?

We both fell in love with meringue the same way. Though we grew up thousands of miles apart it was the first bite of our mothers’ lemon meringue pie, the fluffy topping still warm from the oven atop sweet lemon curd that made us swoon. But it was years before we fully realized how many different forms meringue could take -- and we were hooked for life. For Linda, it was the addictive meringue gelato at the world famous gelateria Vivoli in Florence; for Jennifer, it was a cloud-light meringue torte, le Vacherin, while living in Paris.

Our paths finally merged at a potluck “feast” at our children’s preschool. We spotted the desserts first -- Linda’s tiny, light-as-cloud meringue cookies flecked with chocolate, and Jennifer’s raspberry meringue tartlets -- amidst the store-bought cakes, cookies and one sad frozen lasagna. As the adults elbowed their toddlers out of the way to get to our desserts, our eyes met, smug smiles in check. It was friendship at first sight.

Read the rest

HOWTO bake a cake inside the skin of an orange

Here's a cute idea from CHOW and Chris Rochelle for baking chocolate cakes in campfire coals, using scooped-out orange peels as molds:

Cut the tops off about 10 oranges and scoop out the pulp. Fill the oranges three-quarters of the way with chocolate cake batter (cake mix works fine), then put the orange tops back on and wrap each orange in aluminum foil. Place directly onto the smoldering coals of the campfire, avoiding any intense flames, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

I've had sorbet served in an orange and pate served in an orange (AKA "meat fruit). Both were delicious. You could probably do a whole meal inside of citrus peels.

Step Up the S'more: 7 Ideas for Campfire Treats by Chris Rochelle (via Neatorama) Read the rest

HOWTO make a cocktail that looks like outer space

Given a black light, some tonic, some gin or vodka, and pink lemonade concentrate, you can mix a cocktail that looks like the aurora borealis:

Aurora is TCCs black light phosphorescent take on jungle-juice. Originally conceived in 2006, it is a drink that is pink in natural light, but glows aqua-marine in black-light. Thus, it represents the two main colors of the aurora-borealis. So, without further ado here is the recipe. (Originally, the drink was made with just pink-lemonade, but was later modified to use Rose’s Mojito Passion).

Aurora Jungle-Juice (Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

Alternative uses for specialized cooking gadgets

Chow rounds up some delicious alternative uses for waffle-irons, ice-cream makers, and slow cookers. The criteria are: "(1) the food should taste as good or better than when made in the conventional manner, (2) the cooking time should be equal to or shorter than normal, and (3) the method should use the appliance in a way that’s totally different from what it’s known for." They were a lot more thorough with the waffle-iron than the other two (muffins, brownies, and hash browns), though slow-cooker souffle sounds lovely.

Soufflé To make this Smoked Cheddar Soufflé in a slow cooker, start by filling a small saucepan with water and bringing it to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let the water simmer while you prepare the soufflé. Follow steps 1 through 5 of the recipe, without preheating the baking sheet.

Once the soufflé is ready, pour about 2 cups of the simmering water into the slow cooker and place the soufflé dish in the water (the water should come a third to halfway up the sides of the dish). Cover the slow cooker and cook the soufflé on high until it has puffed and is set in the middle, about one hour and forty-five minutes.

Common Appliances, Uncommon Uses - Feature - Food News - CHOW (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Piñata cookies

Cookies filled with candies, shaped like burro piñatas. The creator of this chimera is the Louis Pasteur of compulsive eating.


Just look at these BBQ'ed Banana Boats

Just look at them.

Banana Boats (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Chocopornoholic cook book comes to America

Americans rejoice! Chocolatier Paul A Young's chocopornoholic recipe book Adventures with Chocolate is out in the USA, in mouth watering goodness. I reviewed the book in 2009 when it was released in 2009, and for those who've missed it, I've included it below. Paul was good enough to supply some images from the book for an accompanying gallery as well. This is my favorite chocolate in the world, and the recipe book is pretty much edibly good.

Read the rest