When a recipe calls for a cup of flour, most people just scoop out a “cup” and then level it off with a knife…easy and fast but, unfortunately, not very accurate or consistent. A little too much flour here or sugar there, and instead of a delicious chewy cookie you could end up with rockhard paperweight better suited for self-defense then dessert. That’s why weighing ingredients, especially when baking, is essential. A great scale, like the OXO Good Grips Scale, is an important tool for success in the kitchen. I try to give ingredients in my recipes by both weight and volume, but if you encounter a recipe that doesn’t, King Arthur Flour has a really helpful Master weight chart for just about every commonly used ingredient in baking. If you need to convert to metric or vice-versa, just click here for some charts to help with converting metric equivalents or try this interactive Online Cooking Converter that converts cooking units instantly…it’s amazing! Once you start weighing ingredients, you’ll see an incredible improvement in outcomes and consistency.
Everyone loves these cookies…that’s because they can be made to everyone’s taste. The basic recipe is really simple, but the beauty of it is that you can add any filling you like, so everyone gets what they want. From raspberry jam to cinnamon and sugar to chocolatey goodness, no one goes away disappointed…and they not only taste great, but they look incredible. The secret to slicing them into neat, perfectly round cookies before baking is to use dental floss (unwaxed and unflavored…although I guess you could go for a minty floss to accent the chocolate cookies…or not!). Just wrap it around the cookie logs and tighten it as if tying a knot to make a perfect, round cookie.
This fantastic recipe is originally fromA Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds, a cookbook based on the Asian philosophy of food as a health-giving entity. According to the author, the secret is in the Chinese holistic approach to food and its balance: countering yin, or cooling, foods, with yang, or hot, foods and neutralizers like rice and noodles. But don’t just try this recipe because you buy into the Chinese philosophy (although a lot of it makes sense…I mean, they have been cooking for over 4,000 years. In 2005, the oldest intact noodles yet discovered were found in Lajia, China and were estimated to be over 4,000 years old…but I digress)… just make it because it is one of the most delicious, satisfying and authentic tasting recipes I’ve found for homemade Chinese food, while still being relatively easy to prepare…and, believe it or not, it even manages to make tofu taste great!