Sometimes basics skills are what you need. I think we all know the value of basic skills such as being able to take public transport and read to a junior level; all these are needed to survive in our economy. You might have a list a bit longer than mine and yours might be based upon what you consider most important. None the less the main idea is that we all need them.
Your basic skills should not be taken for granted because without them life can simply not function as well as it does. Think about it. If you could not read, how would you understand general information at hospital, school or work? You will never discover that you had a favourite book. Also forget trying to even go shopping; so many things rely on this one skill.
Like the basic of life, the kitchen also has it own set of basic skills. Some may disagree with me but the only difference between a good chef and great chef is the level of mastery they have over their kitchen skills. Knife skills, recipe reading and cleanliness make a major difference when you have multiple dishes to cook.
I only have started to appreciate the basic skills since I started my patisserie course. While my class might only doing simple things such as knife cuts and basics of cookery, I see that you can never be too learned in the kitchen to try and improve them.
Even after 20 something years and owning more than 5 pastry business, the teacher still claims his knife skills need to be worked on. Honestly inspirational
Another reason why I have come to value basic kitchen skills is that the most annoying television reality kitchen show is back on in Australia for new season.
I am not sure if the channel is looking for loud, big mouthed and conceited people but it seems this year the contestants are more so than ever before. If I ever become anything like these people; some shoot me. Yes becoming a big headed is one of my greatest fears.
Argh I cannot stand it; how do you develop an ego that is that inflated?
Sure, I am not a beginner baker but I defiantly consider myself a beginner cook. Not having any formal training before hand; this experience with a real cooking school is exciting and constantly challenging. Learning knife skills, basic techniques for blanching, cream and making custard is incredibly rewarding as well. Not to mention all the yummy stuff that these kitchen skills can produce (aka. Ice cream with steamed pudding). Funny how my rants always lead to my sweet tooth for ice cream.
Being at class reminded me of the importance of creaming. Creaming you ask? It is when you beat the sugar and butter together until it becomes one fluffy mix. This is an unavoidable task in creating cookies that hold together when little flour is used or ones which have enough “body” to support the fillings. There are also a huge number of other factors too but I normally cream the butter for at least 5 minutes if the butter is room temperature. This step is important in the making of these cookies. The use of corn flour is no brainer to help soften the plain flour; but the egg yolk helps with the chewy but soft set texture too. Like all good cookies you need to fridge it but I am patient enough (just) for these cookies.
After beginning inspired by the host of salt sweet treats on the Web, I used two types of popcorn in these cookies. The crunchy salty bite of butter popcorn and the sweet chew of caramel corn are the highlights of this cookie; however it would not be complete with chunks of chocolate would it?
This cookie, with softly caramelized edges, hold the butter goodness of popcorn, the chew of caramel and bitter sweetness of dark chocolate; you can only imagine the texture of these when the dough is yielding. All you need to know for good cookies is creaming, light hand and fridge time; if you know that you will always have a winner!
Sweet and salty popcorn Choc Chip Cookies
Makes 40 cookies.
Adapted from this recipe for Soft set giant M&M cookies
Inspired by Joy the baker and smitten kitchen
3g fine salt
170g brown sugar
60g caster sugar
1 scraped vanilla pod
2 egg yolks, cold
200g plain flour
80g corn flour
2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1.5 crushed buttered popcorn (microwaved packet)
1 cup crushed caramel popcorn
90g dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven 180C, Line two trays with baking paper
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar, till very fluffy and light brown about 5 minutes on kitchen aid.
Add vanilla, salt, egg yolks. Then beat till fluffy
Mix in your flour, baking powder, baking soda and corn flour. Fold in lightly.
Add your pop corns and chocolate. Scoop out balls of cookie dough on to baking paper and freeze covered until the next day.
Pre heat oven for 180C. Bake frozen cookie balls on lined baking trays for 9-12 minutes then remove from oven. Allow them to continue to cook and cool on tray.