Chocolate Digestive Cookies

Spring is coming! We had a gloriously sunny weekend here in Seattle, and it’s got everyone feeling great! Never mind that it’s finals week, the sunshine just has the incredible power to boost everyone’s mood, and I love it. I actually got the chance to try snowshoeing for the first time this weekend, and it was amazing! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the snow was glittering. When the Pacific Northwest has sunny days, it is truly beautiful and I’m glad I get to experience it while going to school here.

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Now for the cookies. Ever since my family visited Europe a few years ago and brought back digestives for me to try, I’ve wanted to try and make some of my own. I tried a recipe a couple years ago which was rather unsuccessful, but I tried this one I found over at Serious Eats and it’s a winner! The only thing I changed was to use semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup), rather than chopped chocolate.

These cookies turned out crispy and delicious, with a wonderful chocolate coating! Since I really didn’t change the recipe, go check it out here. Enjoy!

 

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Cream Biscuits

I’ve made a lot of buttermilk biscuits this summer. I’d read somewhere that if you’re going to make biscuits, don’t bother making them if you don’t use buttermilk. But today I had a cup of heavy whipping cream to use up, and I decided, whatever, I’m just going to make cream biscuits and confirm that buttermilk is the way to go.

Well… it isn’t. These are by far the best biscuits I’ve made all summer, and in my memory, ever. They are so fluffy and soft on the inside, with a delicate crisp on the outside, I feel silly for not trying this recipe earlier. Buttermilk may be the way to go for some people, but personally I think I will stick to this recipe from now on.

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream, but I only had 1 cup, so I made 2/3 of a recipe. I used a small drinking glass to cut my biscuits which was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, so my 2/3 of a recipe made 12 biscuits. A note on that: cups work just fine to cut biscuits. I have lots of cookie cutters in my house in fun shapes like reindeer and stars and cats, but exactly zero of the boring circle variety. Now that I think about it, star-shaped biscuits would be cool… Or cat-shaped biscuits… Next time, Julia, next time. But anyway, like I said, cups work just fine. Maybe they’re not the best for getting those flaky edges people try so hard to get with buttermilk biscuits, but for these biscuits, mine turned out looking the same as the pictures on Smitten Kitchen. One other change I made though, was I baked them for about 20-22 minutes, since I was using a toaster oven, which I suspect doesn’t actually get over about 375˚, since whenever I try to bake something that require a temperature of 400˚ or over, it always takes longer to bake than the recipe calls for. Anyway, Here’s the recipe!

Cream Biscuits

from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

2 tbsp melted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting the surface

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

Melt the butter in a bowl or shallow dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar with a fork. Add the heavy whipping cream and stir until the dough comes together. It should be soft and sticky. Turn out the dough on a floured surface and gently form into a mound. Flatten the dough to about 3/4 of an inch thick. Use a cup or round cutter 1 1/2 inch in diameter, or 2 inches in diameter for bigger biscuits, and cut rounds. Dip the top of each round in the melted butter, and place on a baking sheet ( I use nonstick baking sheets, so I didn’t line mine with parchment paper or anything). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown and puffed up. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Mmmmm… Look at that fluffy, soft interior.

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Irish Soda Bread Biscuits and a New Camera!

Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

It’s that time… almost the end of my summer. I have one short week left before I leave to go back down to UCLA for work. Thank goodness not for school, which doesn’t start till the end of September. But leaving home, along with leaving my loving family (and free meals!), means leaving my parents’ camera behind, which I’ve been using all summer. Since starting this food blog, I really came to appreciate how that camera, the Nikon S8100, takes much better pictures than my old Olympus Stylus 820. That Olympus has served me well over many, many years, but it’s time for an upgrade. Enter the Nikon P330, which I tried out in the store and loved the close-up, low-light image quality. After extensive research and testing several other cameras, I chose the P330, which I’m SUPER stoked to have and extremely thankful to my wonderful father for partially funding it. Of course, I brought it home and immediately started playing with it, so I took over 100 pictures in about 15 minutes of everything in close proximity to me: my cat, the flowers in the backyard, fruit on the counter, etc. However, I decided I needed to bake something to take pictures of, so I asked my sister what sounded good, and she settled on these Irish Soda Bread Scones from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve been wanting to make biscuits of Irish Soda Bread, so this was the perfect opportunity to do that and try out my new camera at the same time! I’m still figuring out all the settings and adjustments on the camera, but so far I’m very pleased.

Now for the biscuits, since they are more biscuit-y than scone-y. I made these in the toaster oven, so they took a little longer than expected to bake, but They were quite tasty! Crispy on the outside, but dense and soft on the inside, these lightly sweetened biscuits were quite delicious, and I look forward to having them for breakfast for a couple days. I didn’t have cake flour, so I just incorporated cornstarch into the recipe. The recipe says to make 8 scones, but I made 12, and they’re still huge. I would probably make 16 or maybe even 20 scones next time, and just reduce the baking time. Here’s the recipe.

Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

from Smitten Kitchen

4 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 teaspoon table salt (this is 2/3 the original amount, which I found too salty)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 tablespoons softened, 1 tablespoon melted)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400˚ with a rack in the upper middle position.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with a fork, pastry blender or your fingertips until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients and raisins. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a work surface and knead until the dough just comes together, it should be bumpy. Don’t overwork it or your scones will be tough. Form the dough into a round and divide into 16-20 portions. Place on a greased baking sheet and cut a cross into the top of each scone. Bake for 14-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool slightly, just so you don’t burn yourself. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Still trying to figure out how to get the lighting to be less yellow…

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Nothing like a fresh pile of biscuits 🙂

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