Many Firsts

So last weekend, I survived my first wedding event – as in, working the event from the vendor side. Despite a lot of hard work and manual labor, it was incredible to see the process end-to-end, and the results were gorgeous. This lovely wedding took place at the Harvest Inn in St. Helena. If you follow me on Instagram, these pictures may look pretty familiar:

Wedding

Here’s a close-up:
Close Up

We also provided flowers for a large fundraising event held at the San Jose Fairmont Hotel – the tables were decorated with these lovely freeform and very unique centerpieces. These were much more difficult to do as they required more creativity (no one formula here) and dexterity. This picture does not do the arrangement any justice – they were lush and vibrant and looked like they were just plucked from the grounds of an English garden. You wouldn’t believe the complexity of these arrangements either – layers on layers of foliage – from maple to genko to bamboo to olive, then lovely pops of color from the sweet peas, peonies, poppies, ranunculus, etc.

AoDaiFestival

As you can see, I still have tons to learn and my “floral intuition” is not as nimble as it could be. I’m learning a ton with Vo Floral Design and I will be regularly updating the blog with my floral education learnings, so please be sure to check back!

I also started my first day on the new job – it is awesome so far. Located about 2 blocks from the SF Ferry Building, the office has a great location and awesome views of the city. The people I’ve met so far are super nice – and for the first time (in a very long time), I actually feel like what I say and think matter, and that what I say and think are respected. It’s refreshing and something I’ve sorely missed. Also, there’s a KEGERATOR in the office. WHAT?!? I have high hopes for this new gig – all I need now are some reliable lunch buddies 🙂

All this hard work needed a reward, so with the little energy I had left, I baked up (yet another) batch of chocolate chip cookies. My favorite Joy The Baker is coming out with a cookbook soon, and KAF was able to share her Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Recipe. It is incredible – very fragrant and rich in flavor. I slightly over baked my cookies, but if you prefer a softer cookie, just pull them out of the oven sooner. You may be asking how this is any different from the similar Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I also love? Both recipes require melted butter, but I appreciate that this recipe does not require bread flour, which I do not always have on hand. And just maybe, these might be a teeny tiny bit better in terms of caramely flavor… I have yet to do a side-by-side comparison, but if you do, please share!

Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Joy The Baker via KAF

Ingredients
1 c (16 tbs) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 c light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped pecans
Coarse sea salt, optional

Directions
Lightly grease (or line with parchment/silpat) two baking sheets.

Place 1 stick of butter (8 tbs) in a shallowpot and melt over medium heat, swirling occasionally. The butter with foam, froth, and crackle. Continue swirling intermittently, until brown particles form at the bottom. The butter will become fragrant and a dark amber brown. Remove the pot and pour the butter into a separate bowl (along with any solids). Let cool for >20 minutes. To speed up the process, I usually dunk the bowl in ice water or keep it in the fridge.
With a stand mixer, beat the remaining stick of butter (8 tbs) with the brown sugar until very smooth, about 3-5mins. Add in the vanilla and molasses and continue to mix. Pour in the cooled browned butter and granulated sugar until smooth and light and fluffy. It looks something like this:

Dough

Now add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for another minute until incorporated. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.

The dough is quite soft at this point, so form the cookie dough into a flat disk then wrap with plastic or parchment, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Again, I usually cheat and just stick it in the freezer.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F. Scoop the dough into balls (mine weighed about 0.80-0.95 oz each). I was able to comfortably fit 12 cookies on a sheet – so make sure you allow your cookies space to spread as they bake. This is an optional step, but you can sprinkle a tiny bit of fleur de sel or other delicate flakey salt over the cookies to get that salty/sweet flavor profile that’s all the rage these days. Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes, until a nice brown. Remove from oven, and let rest briefly before removing to a cooling rack. Don’t let these sit in the pan too long or your chewy cookies will be too crispy – granted, it’s completely a personal preference. Enjoy with a nice cold glass of milk or sandwiched with some ice cream.

Pacman

Thanks for stopping by! Can’t wait to show you what’s cooking next!
AnhD

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