Monday, May 14, 2018

Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Jam Blondies

After my mother died, her recipe box went to my sister, though my siblings and I got some of the recipe cards that my mother had dutifully handwritten over the years or taped recipes from Good Housekeeping or Ladies Home Journal.  Often her recipes (particularly the baking ones) called for "oleo" or "margarine."  There was a feature in the Washington Post Food section a few weeks back that made an argument for salted butter over unsalted butter in baking.  I'll readily admit that I will often buy unsalted butter (to keep in the freezer) at Costco - but salted butter is the norm at the launchpad.

That being said, if Mrs. BA were to make these - I would love her even more than I already do (Sixteen years married - 10 days ago!)

Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Jam Blondies
Here, using salted butter instead of adding salt to a batter separately tends to yield a more muted salinity and, in less capable hands, can lead to a saccharine baked good. When you pair it with something tart, like a fruit — or, as it is done here, raspberry jam — you curtail some of that sweetness and wind up with something beautifully balanced. If you like a more pronounced salty effect and enjoy the crunch that flaky salt provides, sprinkle some of those grains on top of the bars before baking. It’s not necessary here, but it’s all the rage right now.
Make Ahead: The blondies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
SERVINGS: Tested size: 24 blondies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) salted butter, melted and cooled but still pourable
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into slightly smaller than 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-by-12-inch baking pan with cooking oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper so that two of the sides hang over the edges (for easy lifting when the slab of blondies is done).
  • Whisk together the brown sugar and eggs in a medium bowl until the mixture is smooth and lightened in color. Carefully whisk the melted butter into the sugar mixture a little at a time so it does not slosh out of the bowl, then whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Use a flexible spatula to blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by the chopped milk chocolate, until well incorporated. Scrape into the pan, spreading it evenly into the corners.
  • Drop teaspoonfuls of the jam across the surface of the blondie batter, and then gently pull the tip of a paring knife through the jam in one direction and then the other, creating a zigzag/grid pattern on the surface. Sprinkle the flaky salt on top, if using. Bake (middle rack) for 32 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through, or until crisp edges form and the top is just set.
  • Cool in the pan, then lift out the slab and cut into 24 equal pieces.
RECIPE SOURCE Adapted from pastry chef Melissa Weller of Walnut Street Cafe in Philadelphia. Tested by Helen Horton and Charlotte Druckman.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Black and White Cupcakes

I'm a fan of the cupcake.  I'm a fan of the Black and White shake.  There's nothing wrong with this.  Recipe from the New York Times Magazine.

Black and White Cupcakes
Yield: 18 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large yolk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Ingredients for the frosting
  • 9 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • sprinkles, optional (are sprinkles ever really optional?)
Instructions
  1. To make the cupcakes: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds, and preheat to 350.  Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake papers, or grease the tins.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Working with a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add the whole eggs and the yolk one at a time, mixing well after each goes in.  Beat in the vanilla.
  4. On low speed mix in the dry ingredients in three additions and the buttermilk in two, scraping the bowl, as needed, and beating until the batter is smooth.  Mix in the chips.
  5. Divide the batter among the muffin cup.  Bake for 20-22 minutes - rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back  after 10 minutes - or until the tops feel springy to the touch (they won't color much) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.  Frost, and cover with sprinkles, if you'd like, before the frosting dries.
  6. To make the frosting: Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and fit it into a saucepan or simmering water - don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.  Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally.  Remove the bowl from the heat, whisk in the sugar and let rest on the counter for three minutes.  Bit by bit, whisk in the cold butter, mixing until smooth and thickened enough to spread.  Use immediately.

Friday, May 4, 2018

16 Years for Mr. and Mrs. BA!

Today is the day that Mrs. BA and I celebrate sixteen years of marriage.  Wax is the traditional gift for 16 years, but this blog post will have to do instead.  We are also taking LBA and SoBA to the Nationals game this evening - so that should be fun.  We might go out to dinner tomorrow evening for a more traditional anniversary dinner.

I can't begin to imagine what my life would be like without her in it.  She is the best wife ever and the best mother to LBA and SoBA.  Despite my shortcomings, which are many, she appears to love me anyway.  At our wedding rehearsal dinner, I made a comment about how my parents were about to celebrate fifty years of marriage - and that while I would love to set that benchmark for the two of us - age and actuarial tables may prevent us from hitting that number.

Mrs. BA - I have so enjoyed all the years we have already spent and look forward to all the ones in the future we will have together, I love you immensely and can't wait to see what directions our lives will take next.

Many of you know how much Mrs. BA loves weddings - I am sure she will look forward to the Royal Wedding later this month.  While we didn't get an invitation - maybe we can have some "Royal Wedding Cake" while we watch Harry and Meghan tie the knot.  [Bonus] Recipe from the Washington Post.

Royal Wedding Cake
Servings: 16

Ingredients
For the cake
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon; reserve the juice for the frosting)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon St-Germain or other elderflower liqueur (optional)
  • 1/2 cup elderflower cordial, plus more as needed

For the filling
  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought lemon curd, at room temperature
For the frosting
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 to 5 cups confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
  • 7 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon St-Germain or other elderflower liqueur
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
For assembly
Crystallized Flowers, edible fresh flowers, or a mix (optional)



Directions
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Use a little butter or baker’s spray to grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. (If you only have one or two pans, cover the batter that’s waiting to be baked; hold at room temperature. Make sure the cake pans are cool before you reuse them, which is pretty easily done with a wash in cool water in the sink.)

Place the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Use your clean fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar until the sugar is aromatic and moist.

Add the butter; beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy and almost white. Meanwhile, lightly whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and salt in a liquid measuring cup. Reduce the speed to low; gradually add to the butter-sugar mixture until fully incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add half of it to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined, then add the milk and the elderflower liqueur, if using. Beat on low speed, until combined. Add the remaining flour; beat on low speed until no trace of dry flour remains. Divide equally among the cake pans and smooth the top with an offset or flexible spatula. (If you have a kitchen scale, each portion of batter should weigh about 300 grams, or about 10 1/2 ounces.)

Bake (middle rack) for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top of the cakes spring back to the touch. The edges will be lightly browned and starting to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then run a round-edged knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to release the layers. Invert onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper. Use a pastry brush to apply the elderflower cordial a total of four times, allowing a few minutes in between so the liquid is absorbed.

If you need to reuse the pans to yield a total of three layers, wash and dry the pan(s) and repeat the baking and brushing with cordial.

For the filling: Pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with balloon-whisk attachment or use a handheld electric mixer. Beat on high speed until it can hold a firm peak. (Pull off the whisk attachment or beaters out and see how the cream in the bowl and on the equipment looks. If it flops over, it needs more time; if it holds its shape, you’re set.)

Use a flexible spatula to gently fold in half of the lemon curd, lifting cream from the bottom of the bowl over the top of the cream, rotating the bowl as you work. Be careful not to deflate the cream too much. Fold in the remaining lemon curd. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill the cake.

For the frosting: Combine the butter and 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Beat on low speed and then increase to medium-high. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium-low speed, gradually add the milk, beating until combined.

Add 2 more cups of confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed for at least 3 minutes. The mixture should be smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice and St-Germain, if using; beat on low speed until incorporated. Continue adding more confectioners’ sugar until you get the right consistency (this can vary somewhat depending on the temperature of your kitchen and how soft the butter was initially); the frosting needs to be thin enough to spread but thick enough to not run off the cake. It’s perfectly fine to let the frosting chill for a bit in the refrigerator; you may need to briefly beat it again to smooth it back out.

To assemble the cake, place a dab of frosting in the middle of a 9- or 10-inch cardboard cake round (you could also just place the cake directly on a large plate, ideally with little or no rim). Place one cake layer in the center, with the cordial-soaked side face up.

Use a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip or zip-top bag with one corner cut off to squeeze a border of frosting around the top of the cake, just inside the edge. This will serve as a kind of dam to hold in the filling.

Use an offset spatula or spoon to spread half the filling inside the ring of frosting. Place the next cake layer on top, also cordial-brushed side up. Repeat with another ring of frosting and the rest of the filling.

Lay the final cake layer on top. Place a small amount of frosting in a separate bowl for the crumb coat, which is your base layer of frosting that will help seal in the crumbs and give you a smooth surface to which you can apply the rest of the frosting. Use an offset spatula or table knife to apply the thin crumb coat all over the top and sides of the cake. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, to let the crumb coat set.

Apply the remaining frosting to the cake, and decorate the top with crystallized and/or fresh flowers, if using. Return the cake to the refrigerator to let the frosting firm back up, another 20 or 30 minutes.

Because the filling and frosting are soft, the cake is easier to cut when it's still a bit chilled; by the time everyone eats the cake, its temperature will be just right. Let the cake sit at room temperature for just a few minutes before cutting into slices and serving.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Turkey a la King

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the turkey sandwich (on white bread, with lots of mayo, and maybe stuffing and cranberry) around 7:00 in the evening.  The next best thing is using leftovers to make either Ham and Turkey Pie or Turkey a la King (served on patty shells).

Here's a recipe that appeared in the New York Times Magazine a while back (actually right around Thanksgiving) but I just rediscovered it.

Turkey a la King
Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4-6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas (growing up, my mother would use LaSeur canned baby peas)
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Make a roux.  In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt 4 tbsp of the butter.  When it begins to foam, sprinkle the flour over it, and whisk to combine, then continue whisking until it begins to turn the color of straw, approximately 7-10 minutes.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup of the turkey stock to this mixture, and stir to combine.  Add more stock to thin the sauce.  Keep warm.
  3. Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add to it the remaining 2 tbsp butter.  When it begins to foam, add the mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begun to get glossy and soft, approximately 7-10 minutes.  Add the turkey, then the warm sauce and cream, and stir to combine.  Add the peas, then cook stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and has thickened slightly, approximately 7-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sherry, adjust seasonings and serve over biscuits or toast (or patty shells), rice or buttered noodles, garnished with the parsley.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

MARAC Report

Two weeks ago, at this point in time, the Brave Astronaut clan was enjoying a breakfast buffet at the Hershey Lodge as part of the Spring 2018 MARAC meeting, held in Hershey, PA.  It had been a good meeting, with some informative sessions, and a great plenary.  The business meeting was getting underway and it was time for the Awards portion of the breakfast.  Unbeknownst to me, I was about to be surprised with the MARAC Distinguished Service Award.  I had no one to blame but myself, having started the "tradition" on dropping the award on an unsuspecting colleague, when I chaired the committee.  Surprise is always better than staged theatrics.  Except when it happens to me. :)

I have already expressed my thanks to those individuals who nominated me for this great award, as well as the members of the committee who selected me.  In my shock and surprise, I was unable to adequately express at the Business meeting my thanks.  I wrote the following, which will hopefully be published in an upcoming MARAC newsletter.
First, let me thank the MARAC Membership and the Distinguished Service Award Committee for bestowing on me this incredible honor. To have my name listed alongside giants in our profession and our organization like, Danna Bell, Lauren Brown, Lisa Mangiafico, Ron Becker, Jodi Koste, Jim Byers and others who came before me, is very humbling.
I would like to also thank those individuals (it’s possible I may have said “blame” in my remarks on Saturday morning) who nominated me for this award. To be recognized by them for (in the words of the nomination form) “significant contributions to MARAC which have contributed to the success of the organization” means a great deal to me and I am truly grateful for the honor.
I have been a MARAC member since I became an archivist more than twenty years ago. I quickly sought ways to contribute to the organization, joining the Steering Committee as a Member at Large, was later elected Treasurer, and finally served as MARAC Chair. Along the way, I sought counsel from those who had come before me, including those named earlier, along with Marsha Trimble, the late Leonora Guidland, Becky Collier (our incoming Chair), Lucious Edwards, Fynnette Eaton, Geof Huth, Jeff Flannery, and many others, all of whom are just as deserving as I of recognition by this great organization that we all support and love.
Speaking of love, I really must thank my wife [Mrs. BA], who is in attendance at her first MARAC Meeting in several years (that should have been a tip off to me!), along with our two boys, [LBA and SoBA]. Some of you may know that Mrs. BA and I met at the Spring 1996 MARAC Meeting in College Park, where she was giving a workshop on Arrangement and Description. It was MARAC who brought us together and now sixteen years later, we are one of the “MARAC love connections” and the three of them make me a better archivist, husband, and father, in that order at least for this venue. Also, [LBA] spent some time in the MARAC cradle that was made for the late Leonard Rapport and passed down through the organization for many MARAC member children to sleep in. Ted also was a dues paying MARAC member for a few years after he was born – and he has talked of following his parents into this wonderful profession.
In closing, I was talking with a few colleagues earlier in the meeting that we had noticed that our organization had gotten younger of late – and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We “seasoned” members of this organization are revitalized by the infusion of younger talent entering our profession and look forward to working with them to further the mission and goals of our organization and our profession.
Thank you again very much. I am deeply honored.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Best TV Shows Ever

We don't watch a lot of "live" TV at the launchpad.  There really aren't any shows worth watching anymore.  I do watch "Madam Secretary," "Homeland," "Timeless," and "The Americans" but that's the extent of what's on my DVR.

Here are two lists I've had for some time and haven't posted.  It is likely to engender some serious discussion.  The first list is from the Hollywood Reporter and the second is from Rolling Stone.

_________________________________________________

100. Desperate Housewives 2004-2012) ABC - didn't watch
99. Fawlty Towers 1975-1979) BBC, PBS - didn't watch
98. Family Ties (1982-1989) NBC - I would put this a little higher, but Alex P. Keaton's republicanism knocks him down a few pegs.
97. Ally McBeal 1997-2002) Fox - watched and enjoyed, though Calista Flockhart was borderline annoying.
96. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005) CBS - not a fan but Mrs. BA likes it in syndication.
95. Battlestar Galactica(2004-2009) Syfy - I prefer the original, Lorne Green, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain version.
94. Parenthood (2010-2015) NBC - watched a few episodes but it never caught on with me.
93. The Brady Bunch (1969-1974) ABC - this was a staple most afternoons when coming home from school.
92. The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) CBS - Bob Newhart is an unsung comedic genius.
91. The Americans (2013-Present) FX - see above, one of the few shows I watch.
90. Arrow (2012-Present) The CW - don't watch
89. The Rockford Files (1974-1980) NBC - Along with "Barnaby Jones," "Starsky and Hutch,"and "CHiPS" every afternoon at 4:00pm.
88. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present) FX, FXX - don't watch
87. Scrubs (2001-2010) NBC, ABC - didn't watch
86. True Blood (2008-2014) HBO - didn't watch
85. Law & Order 1990-2010) NBC - though it was hard to avoid, I don't think I ever saw a full episode.  And I really like Sam Waterston and Jerry Orbach.
84. Alias (2001-2006) ABC - didn't watch
83. Get Smart (1965-1970) NBC, CBS - sorry about that Chief.
82. Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967) CBS - "those poor people."
81. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-Present) NBC - see #85
80. The Flintstones (1960-1966) ABC - not in its original time slot, but in syndication, it was a don't miss.
79. Sesame Street (1969-Present) PBS - I would be Un-American if I hadn't watched this.
78. Married… With Children (1987-1997) Fox - didn't watch
77. Scandal (2012-Present) ABC - didn't watch
76. Full House (1987-1995) ABC - didn't watch though LBA and SoBA like it (along with the reboot)
75. Doctor Who (1963-1989) BBC, PBS - don't hate me, but didn't watch
74. 24 (2001-2010) Fox - came to it late, but have seen all of them.
73. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1962) CBS, NBC - didn't watch, but with good reason.
72. Mork & Mindy (1978-1982) ABC - Thursday nights.
71. Saved by the Bell (1989-1993) NBC - didn't watch
70. I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970) NBC - only in syndication
69. Entourage (2004-2011) HBO - didn't watch
68. Firefly (2002-2003) Fox - didn't watch
67. Moonlighting (1985-1989) ABC - loved this show, but they never should have slept together.
66. Taxi (1978-1983) ABC, NBC - an outstanding piece of television, this would certainly be higher on my list.
65. Family Guy (1999-Present) Fox - didn't watch
64. House (2004-2012) Fox - Mrs. BA has issues with TV that deal with the human condition, but Hugh Laurie's crankiness made this show great.
63. Hill Street Blues (1981-1987) NBC - the recent passing of Steven Bochco, moves this show up on my list.
62. Bewitched (1964-1972) ABC - not a huge fan, but have seen several episodes.
61. Roseanne (1988-1997) ABC - wasn't a fan the first time, not a fan this time.
60. Murphy Brown (1988-1998) CBS - didn't watch
59. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974) - didn't watch
58. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014) CBS - the only ones I have seen is because Mrs. BA watched it.
57. The Good Wife (2009-Present) CBS - didn't watch
56. The Wonder Years (1988-1993) ABC - didn't watch
55. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) Syndicated - didn't watch
54. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996) NBC - didn't watch
53. Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999-2011) HBO - didn't watch
52. True Detective (2014-Present) HBO - didn't watch
51. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) WB - didn't watch
50. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) NBC - ashamed but didn't watch.  At this time I don't think I realized it was my classmate's (Judd Apatow) version on my high school.
49. Orphan Black (2013-Present) BBC - didn't watch
48. The Golden Girls (1985-1992) NBC - didn't watch
47. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) CBS - in syndication, yes.
46. Veep(2012-Present) HBO - have seen one season but no more than that.
45. Homeland (2011-Present) Showtime - see above, although this current season is hard to watch.
44. Downton Abbey (2010-Present) ITV, PBS - didn't watch
43. The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978) CBS - not in its original timeslot, but in syndication, all the time. It was always fun to see them lose it.
42. Castle (2009-Present) ABC - didn't watch
41. Happy Days (1974-1984) ABC - Tuesday Night, 8:00, followed by Laverne & Shirley.
40. Frasier (1993-2004) NBC - LBA has become a fan of Frasier.
39. All in the Family (1971-1979) CBS - a great show.
38. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011) NBC - didn't watch
37. Dexter (2006-2013) Showtime - didn't watch
36. The Muppet Show (1976-1981) Syndicated - up there with Sesame Street.
35. Star Trek (1966-1969) NBC - in later syndication, a little.
34. South Park (1997-Present) Comedy Central - didn't watch
33. Sherlock (U.K.) (2010-Present) BBC, PBS - didn't watch
32. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) NBC - both LBA and Mrs. BA have binge watched all of these.
31. The Office (U.S.)(2005-2013) NBC - didn't watch
30. The Wire (2002-2008) HBO - didn't watch
29. Six Feet Under (2001-2005) HBO - "I hate the living." - Nate Fisher
28. ER (1994-2009) NBC - I want to say this show went on a few seasons too many.
27. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) WB, UPN - this may get me in trouble, but didn't watch.
26. Orange Is the New Black (2013-Present) Netflix - didn't watch
25. The Big Bang Theory (2007-Present) CBS - one of Mrs. BA's favorites.
24. The Walking Dead (2012-Present) AMC - I wanted to watch this show, lover of the disaster genre as I am, but couldn't do it.
23. Cheers (1982-1993) NBC - the show was never the same after the death of Coach and Diane's departure.
22. Will & Grace (1998-2006) NBC - watched but it wasn't a must see.
21. House of Cards (2013-Present) Netflix - I watched for a while, but the news about Kevin Spacey makes it hard to come back to this.
20. Twin Peaks (1990-1991) ABC - that's some good pie.
19. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977) CBS - "I hate spunk."
18. 30 Rock (2006-2013) NBC - didn't watch
17. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) CBS - see #73
16. Arrested Development (2003-Present) Fox, Netflix - didn't watch
15. Lost (2004-2010) ABC - Wednesday nights.
14. Modern Family (2009-Present) ABC - didn't watch
13. M*A*S*H (1972-1983) CBS - this is in my Top 10, if not Top 5
12. Sex and the City (1998-2004) HBO - didn't watch
11. The West Wing (1999-2006) NBC - likely my No. 1
10. The Simpsons (1989-Present) Fox - didn't watch
9. Mad Men (2007-2015) AMC - In my Top 5
8. I Love Lucy (1951-1957) CBS - not originally, but in reruns, yes.
7. Saturday Night Live (1975-Present) NBC - I'm not usually up that late anymore.
6. The Sopranos (1999-2007) HBO - not in its original run, but I have binged watched.
5. Seinfeld (1989-1998) NBC - not that there's anything wrong with that.
4. Game of Thrones (2011-Present) HBO - didn't watch
3. The X-Files (1993-2002) Fox - didn't watch
2. Breaking Bad (2008-2013) AMC - Like the Walking Dead, I wanted to like this, but it never grabbed me.
1. Friends (1994-2004) NBC - I have soured on this show because it is on. all. the. time.

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100. 'Eastbound and Down' 2009-13 - didn't watch
99. 'Oz' 1997-2003 - didn't watch
98. 'The Golden Girls' 1985-92 97. 'Portlandia' 2011-Present - didn't watch
96. 'Gunsmoke' 1955-75 - I was more of a Bonanza fan.
95. 'Key & Peele' 2012-15 - didn't watch
94. 'Jeopardy' 1964-1975, 1984-Present - while I watched Jeopardy, for game shows, I was more of a fan of The Price is Right and Match Game.
93. 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' 1988-99 - didn't watch
92. 'American Idol' 2001-16 - didn't watch
91. 'Broad City' 2014-Present - didn't watch
90. 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' 1961-66 - "OH, ROB!"
89. 'Homeland' 2011-Present
87. 'Doctor Who' 1963-Present
86. 'Good Times' 1974-79 - I would put this show higher.
85. 'The Real World' 1992-Present - didn't watch
84. 'Real Time With Bill Maher' 2003-Present - didn't watch
83. 'House of Cards' 2013-Present
82. 'The Jeffersons' 1975-85 - I would also put this ground breaking show higher. 
81. 'Dallas' 1978-91 - And yes, I was one of the millions who watched the "Who Shot J.R. episode.
80. 'The Fugitive' 1963-67 - didn't watch but am a big fan of the movie.
79. 'In Living Color' 1990-94 - didn't watch
78. 'Thirtysomething' 1987-91 - sorry, but the title of the show was "thirtysomething."
77. 'The Walking Dead' 2010-Present
76. 'Late Night With Conan O’Brien' 1993-2009 - didn't watch
75. 'American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson' 2016 - didn't watch
74. 'The Ren & Stimpy Show' 1991-95 - didn't watch
73. 'Transparent' 2014-Present - didn't watch
72. 'Girls' 2012-Present - didn't watch
71. 'Mr. Show' 1995-98 - didn't watch
70. 'Roseanne' 1988-97
69. 'The Ed Sullivan Show' 1948-71 - didn't watch, but then again I wasn't born for most of it.
68. 'The State' 1993-95 - didn't watch
67. 'The Odd Couple' - 1970-75 - this show deserves to be higher. 66. 'Downton Abbey' 2011-16 65. 'Happy Days' 1974-84 64. 'Chappelle’s Show' 2003-06 - didn't watch
63. 'The Wonder Years' 1988-93 62. 'Sex and the City' 61. 'Your Show of Shows' 1950-57 - didn't watch
60. 'Beavis and Butt-Head' 1993-97, 2011 - didn't watch
59. 'Hill Street Blues' 1981-87 58. 'Roots' 1977 - I was also one of the millions of Americans who watched this for the entirety of when it was on. 57. 'Fawlty Towers' 1975-79 56. '24' 2001-10 55. 'Six Feet Under' 2001-05 54. 'The Muppet Show' 1976-81 53. 'The Bob Newhart Show' 1972-78 52. 'The Colbert Report' 2005-14 - didn't watch
51. 'Fargo' 2014-Present - didn't watch
50. 'ER' 1994-2009
49. 'Taxi' 1978-83
48. 'The Office (U.S.)' 2005-13
47. 'The Rockford Files' 1974-80
46. 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' 1970-77
45. 'Battlestar Galactica' 2003-09
44. 'Columbo' - 1971-78 - didn't watch
43. 'The Americans' 2013-Present
42. 'NYPD Blue' 1993-2005 - was not a big fan.
41. 'The Honeymooners' 1955-56 - in reruns, sure
40. 'The Shield' 2002-08- didn't watch
39. 'Lost' 2004-10
38. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' 1997-2003
37. 'Orange Is the New Black' 2013-Present
36. 'Law & Order' 1990-2010
35. 'My So-Called Life' - didn't watch
34. '30 Rock' 2006-13
33. 'South Park' 1997-Present
32. 'I Love Lucy' 1951-57
31. 'Sesame Street' 1969-Present
30. 'The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson' 1962-92 - if I watched late night talk show, I always went to the Master. Then to Letterman
29. 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' 1969-74
28. 'The X-Files' 1993-2002, 2016
27. 'Arrested Development' 2003-06, 2013
26. 'Friends' 1994-2004
25. 'Veep' 2012-Present
24. 'Friday Night Lights' 2006-11
23. 'Deadwood' 2004-06 - this was a great show.
22. 'Louie' 2010-Present - didn't watch
21. 'The Office (U.K.)' 2001-03 - didn't watch
20. 'Cheers' 1982-93
19. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' 2000-Present
18. 'Star Trek' 1966-69
17. 'Twin Peaks' 1990-91
16. 'M*A*S*H' 1972-83
15. 'The West Wing' 1999-2006
14. 'The Larry Sanders Show' 1992-98 - didn't watch
13. 'Late Night With David Letterman' 1982-2015 - see #30
12. 'Game of Thrones' 2011-Present
11. 'Freaks and Geeks' 1999-2000
10. 'The Daily Show' 1996-Present
9. 'All in the Family' 1971-79
8. 'Saturday Night Live' 1975-Present
7. 'The Twilight Zone' 1959-64
6. 'The Simpsons' 1989-Present
5. 'Seinfeld' 1989-98
4. 'Mad Men' 2007-15
3. 'Breaking Bad' 2008-13
2. 'The Wire' 2002-08
1. 'The Sopranos' 1999-2007

Monday, April 23, 2018

Salted Coffee Brownie Cookies

I doubt anyone else in the Launchpad would like these.  But will I have to make them for myself as well (hint, hint, Mrs. BA).  Recipe from Butter and Brioche via BuzzFeed.

SALTED COFFEE BROWNIE COOKIES
Makes 20 – 22 cookies

Ingredients
  • 300 grams (about 10 ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, cubed (about 1/2 stick)
  • 45 grams (about 3/8 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground instant coffee powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) light brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water, room temperature
  • Flaked salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Instructions

Place the dark chocolate and butter into a medium sized heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water below. Heat, stirring often, on medium-low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set the bowl aside to cool.

In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, coffee powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside until needed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the light brown sugar and eggs on medium speed, until thick, doubled in volume, and light caramel in color, about 4 minutes. Add in the melted and slightly cooled dark chocolate. Continue to whisk until well incorporated. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Set the mixer speed to medium-low and add in the dry flour ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then, add in the water. Continue to whisk until evenly incorporated. The dough should not be firm, but fluid, and leave a thick flowing “ribbon trail” when the whisk is lifted. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven temperature to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line three large baking trays with non-stick parchment paper.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough out and into evenly sized dough balls. The dough should be soft but will hold its shape when being scooped. If you are using a tablespoon to roll, the dough may become stickier and more difficult to work with. If this is the case, simply place the dough back in the refrigerator to slightly firm up before rolling. Make sure to space them an even distance apart, to allow room for spreading. You should fit about 8 to 10 balls per sheet. Tap the sheets three times against the kitchen bench, to slightly flatten and spread the cookies. Sprinkle over a little of the flaked salt.

Bake the cookies, a sheet at a time, for about 11 minutes. 5 minutes into baking, open the oven-door and rotate the cookie sheet half-way around. Tap the sheet against the oven rack to flatten and crinkle the cookies. Close the oven door and allow the cookies to rise up again. 2 minutes later, open the oven door again, and tap the tray against the oven rack to again deflate and further crinkle the cookies. Once again, close the oven door, and allow them to rise up again. Another 2 minutes later, repeat this tapping process, for a final time. You’re aiming for cookies that are perfectly flat with plenty of crinkles. Allow the cookies to bake until done, about a further two minutes. They should be just firm around the edges and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their trays for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool further before serving.

NOTES
  • The chocolate used in this recipe should be the very best you can find. Source chocolate that you wouldn’t just bake with, but that you would eat. The chocolate should contain a cacao solid percentage of no more than 70%, for something slightly bitter, and no less than 60%, for something slightly milder.
  • The dough will be soft, wet. It won’t be dough like regular cookie dough. And that’s entirely what you want. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s at scooping and rolling consistency. Fifteen minutes usually does it for me, or a maximum of thirty minutes depending on your fridge’s temperature. Any longer and the dough will firm up and become difficult to handle. If this happens, simply let it come to temperature on the kitchen counter before using. Please don’t skip this chilling step! I know it’s a little more time intensive, but the dough needs to chill to be able to be handled. Otherwise it’s a mess. A hot one, though.
  • I recommend using a cookie scoop for this recipe. It makes for the most perfect cookie dough balls and due to the high ratio of chocolate, it’s a lot easier to use one. I use a small 1” OXO cookie scoop, and every-so-often between rolling, I dip it into a little bowl with lukewarm water to clean off any sticky-dough. You can use a tablespoon as a measure. It’ll take a little longer and be messier, which could be delicious fun, but I’d get the cookie scoop. It’s a lifesaver.
  • This recipe utilizes a tapping method which yields a perfectly flat cookie with plenty of crinkles. The method specifies which time intervals to tap, but, as all ovens and temperatures are not the same, let your eye, as well as time, be your guide. As soon as you notice the cookies begin to excessively puff, open the oven door, and tap the sheet against the oven rack to deflate and crinkle them.