Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chocolate chip walnut cookies

Phew! The last few weeks have been hectic and fun at the same time. Grad school committee meeting, a lab meeting, finding a new apartment, parents coming over for a visit and visiting family in Seattle. A lot was accomplished, but I felt like I didn't have enough time to really bake.

So I decided to do something about it - oatmeal chocolate chip walnut cookies. Mmm... 

I would have had the whole bucket of cookies but I realized that there was this thing called a lab where I worked and where I figured people might be hungry from working all day - so I took the high road (a very difficult choice here) and shared it with them.

This recipe is infinitely simple from the fact that I didn't even need any specialized equipment for this. has a great recipe, and I'm proud to say that it works like a charm.

Chocolate chip walnut cookies
Adapted from

Yield: More than 2 dozen decent-sized cookies (I made mini cookies and got twice that)


1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temp - makes it soft)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats (NOT THE INSTANT)
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth.
3. Add the vanilla and the egg and beat to combine.
4. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon into the wet mixture.
5. Mix until incorporated and then fold in the nuts, oats, and chocolate chips.
6. On the baking sheet with either parchment paper or silicone pad, add tablespoons of the cookie dough. Make sure the cookies are separated by a few inches.
7. Press down on the cookies to flatten them and put them in the oven.
8. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until it is crisp, but still a little gooey - it will firm up as it cools down.

This is a great quick recipe that doesn't take much time - so if you are busy like me, then this is the recipe for you.

I'll be back next week with more recipes (hopefully things will calm down then). And....



Friday, October 15, 2010

Chocolate chip Walnut biscotti

Hey everyone,
Sorry for the delay in the post - it's been two weeks, I know. But, life can be quite crazy when you are trying to publish a paper, hoping to pass a committee meeting, and working to get new data.

So I hope I can appease your anger with this little recipe adapted from - chocolate chip walnut biscotti (she uses almonds, which are equally delicious) - it certainly does the job in the lab. It goes great with coffee, and who can say no to a good cup of joe? The biscotti is an italian cookie that is double baked to give it its crisp texture.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making bread crumbs

Hey everyone,
Sorry for the late post. When you are a graduate student, life gets hectic very quickly. Between meetings, trying hard to collect data, and running around, time flies. So for today, I'm keeping it very simple with a good but quite useful technique - making your own breadcrumbs.

I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here, but it's useful to know how to make this, because it can be used in many savory and sweet creations - like burgers, meatloaf, and anything that can be breaded and fried.

Basically it's a two step technique.

It starts with a stale french baguette - at some point in your life, I'm sure you found a great sale on baked goods and purchased a bunch of these breads and now that you are stuck with them, you aren't sure what to do with them. Well now you do!

Step 1. Cut the bread into cubes and toast on a baking sheet at 350F for 5-6 minutes. Keep an eye on them.

Step 2. Once toasted, put the cubes in your food processor and blend away until you get the texture and size of breadcrumbs you like. Store it in your freezer - keeps better that way

See, wasn't that easy? Don't buy the stuff from the grocery store - it's way more expensive.

I'll try and keep on posting, but my apologies if anyone is offended by the intermittent post in the next few weeks. Now I got to run and prepare for another meeting.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gateau Aux Carrottes

Hey everybody,
Sorry to keep you hungering fans waiting for so long. Today our first trip will be to Paris, France. Ah, Paris - you enchant us with your beautiful Eiffel tower, delectable wine, and exquisite baked goods, including eclairs and french baguettes.

Now mind you, I have never been to France, although I would love to someday. So instead, our trip will be a short stop at David Lebovitz's website (one of my famous idols) on French cuisine. When I first visited his site, I felt like I was in France, and one of the recipes I stumbled upon was a factor that turned me towards French desserts.... (drum roll please!)


(Expected reaction from the audience: wtf .... ?)

Yes, people! Carrot Cake! But not just any carrot cake - Gateau aux carrottes - French Style Carrot Cake - no bells and whistles (as in no classic maple frosting) - just carrots and walnuts. They are the stars of this show.

This cake is extremely simple. It took me just 15-20 minutes to prepare. Perfect, when you just get back from work, and you have to meet up with friends for dinner in an hour. But, it is so delicious and flavorful that it doesn't require any frosting. I made a few modifications to the original recipe, more of the good stuff - carrots and walnuts.

Mmmm... Just looking at that picture makes me want to make another one. My friends loved it and they were in full praise for David. Thanks David!

French-style Carrot Cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz


4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of toasted chopped walnuts
1/3 cup of flour
1/4 cup packed finely grated carrot

Yield: One 9-inch cake

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Using cooking spray, grease a 9-inch cake pan.

2. Beat the butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Beat the eggs in, one at a time

3. Pulverize 1/2  cup of the toasted chopped walnuts with the flour in the food processor, until relatively fine. 

4. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted chopped walnuts, grated carrots, and the walnut flour to the wet mixture and stir until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to make sure there isn't any dry flour hiding anywhere.

5. Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Servings: At least 8. Although, someone might sneak an extra piece.


Friday, September 3, 2010


Hey Everybody,
Today is an exciting day! This is the first post on my debut blog "Plumcot." I hope you guys are all ready to follow me on my awesome amateur baking adventures, where I'll adapt recipes from all over the web and post them on the blog with pictures of the finished baked goods, along with helpful tips, suggestions, and anything that I discover along the way.

A little background: (Cue the flashback...) A good friend of mine, Anya, (who is an awesome baker), had made a blissful brown butter Hazelnut cake (from Deb's recipe on Smitten Kitchen - Deb, you rock!) and when I had a slice of that, I went to heaven. I decided that I wanted to bake, to recreate that cake, to eat that cake, and then make other baked goods.

(Fading back to reality....)
Have you ever had that kind of experience - a dish that you loved so much, that you wanted to recreate it in your kitchen? Let me know.

I just learnt how to bake two weeks ago (so I'm still a newbie), and I fell in love with it. I mean who wouldn't be attracted to the wafting smells of spices, fruits, breads, puddings ... (someone stop me now - I'll go on forever). Baked goods always bring people together and they create a great social environment (it's the scientist in me that comes up with these things).

I want to take the fear out of baking - there's really nothing to it, if you have the right set of tools and ingredients. It is a lot of fun and you'll become very popular with people when you show up with a cake or something like that (disclaimer: it depends on how it turns out). 

So stop by every week, when I'll have a new adventure posted up.  Leave comments and questions on the blog, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

So, let's have some fun and a totally awesome time!

Baked goods rule!