For my first post of the new year, I am going to wrap up the remainder of business from the last: my Miso Awesome Cookies!
Come to think of it, this post should actually be called:
Dr. Daisy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cookie 🙂
(any Kubrick fans out there? anyone?)
When I entered the Brooklyn Cookie Takedown last month, my first thought was to make a truly trashy cookie packed with milk chocolate chips and Fritos. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Then Dave C. suggested the combination of dark chocolate and nori. Suddenly, the vision of an Asian cookie coalesced in my mind. I was unable to get the idea of an umami-amped chocolate chip cookie out of my head.
I went to the Japanese market that weekend and got shredded nori and white miso. I added them to a chocolate chip cookie recipe for which I swapped out the walnuts for soy sauce-roasted almonds. Et voilà!
I made inedible choco-chip seaweed hockey pucks 😦
That was my first attempt at baking cookies for the Brooklyn Cookie Takedown, one of nine.
Yes, dear Readers, it took me nine test batches to get the hang of this whole cookie business because I am really not a very good baker or cookie maker 😦
Actually, before the Takedown, I always took a pass on baking cookies because I was so bad at it! Once, I made a delicious double-chocolate chip cookie by accident. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I didn’t take notes on what I did. That experience will sadly never be replicated.
These are some of the reasons why almost all my cookie efforts prior to the Takedown did not work out:
• I never let the butter soften. That meant that whenever I tried to properly cream it, I would end up with butter blobs on the wall, on my glasses, in my hair, and sugar all over the floor.
• I never sifted the dry ingredients together because I was too lazy. I also never learned how to properly measure flour.
• I chronically overbaked because I could never shake the feeling that cookies had to be nice and golden on top. It works for chicken, why not cookies?!
• I would just use one cookie sheet, which meant that I was baking forever. Furthermore, I never let the sheet cool down before I plunked more cookie dough on top of it.
How did I improve?
After test batch #5, I decided to finally do it right. I started by hitting the cookbooks.
Here’s what I learned:
• Suck it up and sift 🙂 You don’t need to buy a fancy sifter, just a mesh strainer and a sheet of wax paper will do. You would never think it makes much of a difference, but it does.
• Instead of measuring flour by volume, weigh it. According to Cook’s Illustrated, one cup of all-purpose flour should weigh about 5 ounces.
• Cut cold, hard butter into small cubes. The butter will soften faster that way.
• Don’t overwork the butter. The longer you cream the butter and sugars together, the more air you beat into the fat. The more air that you have in your fat, the more your cookies will spread out while baking.
• Eggs blend better when they are at room temperature.
• Ideally, you should let your dough rest overnight in the refrigerator. Barring that, at least let the dough chill completely, about 3 hours. Properly chilled dough also helps ensure that your cookies don’t spread out too much.
• Do not overwork the flour. The longer you take combining the wet and the dry ingredients together, the tougher your cookies will be.
• Never arrange cookie dough on hot cookie sheets. The cookies will begin cooking on contact. Not. Good.
• Work with a minimum of 2 cookie sheets, that way you can have one cooling down while the other one is in the oven. To have four sheets is ideal because you can have two sheets cooling while two are baking in the oven.
• If you check the cookies and think that maybe you should leave them in a little longer, override your instinct and pull them out of the oven! They will continue to cook on their sheets for a few minutes more. (Thanks for the tip, Tomoko!)
• Like pancakes, be prepared to ruin the first batch as you adjust your baking times for your cookie size, cookie sheet material (light versus dark sheets), and oven (mine runs a little hot).
How I finally came up with my cookie recipe:
Now all this might sound elementary to you Awesome Cookie Bakers, but it was a revelation to me. Once I figured out what I was doing wrong from a technical standpoint, I made another batch of chocolate chip-nori cookies. You know what? They were disgusting! Now I know why there are no chocolate and roasted seaweed cookie recipes out there: they’re gross!
Back to the drawing board. Standing in the Japanese market again, I was trying to think about what else could go in a cookie. Wasabi peas? Why not! As wasabi is actually not a particularly strong taste, I swapped out the dark chocolate for white chocolate.
From the chocolate chip-nori hockey puck recipe, I kept the tamari almonds and the white miso paste.
From now on, I may always drop a dollop of white miso paste into my cookies. It doesn’t seem to add any noticeable miso flavor, but it definitely makes the taste of everything else in the cookie pop.
Even though this is the recipe for my not-award-winning cookies, I still feel like I won because I learned so much. I overcame my fear of baking, and I came up with something crazy that was also delicious!
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 sticks of butter (16 tablespoons), cut into cubes and at room temperature
1 1/4 cups of white granulated sugar
2/3 cup of light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of white miso paste
4 teaspoons of wasabi paste
8 ounces of white chocolate chips
8 ounces of tamari almonds, roughly chopped
8-9 ounces of wasabi peas
How to prepare:
1. Sift together the dry ingredients.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and the sugars together for no more than one minute.
3. Beat the eggs, one at a time, into the creamed butter-sugar mixture. Add the vanilla, the miso and wasabi pastes. Continue beating for another minute or two.
4. Using a stiff spatula, fold in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time.
5. Once all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, fold in the white chocolate chips, the chopped almonds, and the wasabi peas. Once the all the goodies are evenly distributed throughout the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight if you can.
6. If your heating element is on the bottom of your oven, move the oven racks to the top of it. Pre-heat the oven to 325°.
7. I used a melon baller to make smaller cookies for the competition, but if you want larger cookies, use a tablespoon or a small scoop. Drop the balls of dough about two inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
8. Bake the cookies for 4 minutes. Rotate the sheets 180°, moving the top cookie sheet to the lower rack, and the bottom cookie sheet to the upper rack. Bake the cookies for another 4 minutes. If your cookies are larger, you may need to bake them for a little longer. When the cookies are done, they should be just barely golden around the edges. The centers should be soft, but not raw. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them rest on the cookie sheet (they will continue to cook) for a minute or two before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
51 thoughts on “Miso Awesome Cookies”
Send me one to test 🙂
Next batch 🙂
Goodness, I had a much needed laugh reading this at 4am in the morning (my only quiet time in my extremely chaotic house 🙂 !!). I have about 100 cookie recipes written down on index cards which my daughters pulled off of all those Joanne Fluke novels they read last summer. They are begging me to bake but I know that my results would turn out disastrous (I am so lazy and would do EXACTLY what I am not supposed to do-all those things you mentioned!).
I am glad that your cookies turned out so awesome for you…the pictures look fabulous (wish I could pluck one out of the computer right now and eat it!). I always like unusual combinations and the fritos mix sounded quite good as well …maybe next time you’ll give that recipe a whirl?
all the best, Dr. Daisy! (must feel fantastic being able to put that “dr” in front of your name :D!!)
Thank you, Brie, for the kind and lovely comment! I’m not familiar with Joanne Fluke books, but am intrigued! Are they YA books about cooking? Wait, I can google this 🙂
I think that being more of a savory cook, I know that a little more of something, or a little less of something else, will not ruin my meatballs or my sauces. Baking on the other hand is so precise! Totally gives me anxiety. Or at least it did. There is something about having had to crank out those 300 cookies for the Takedown that beat the fear out of me!
Doesn’t chocolate and Fritos sound good? There is an ice cream shop in Long Island City that sells chocolate dipped Fritos. They are delicious. And probably illegal 🙂
No they are actually adult mystery books about a baker who always manages to discover dead bodies! I know I probably should not be letting them read these but they are adult books chock full of SAT vocabulary words and I am thrilled that they enjoy reading as much as I do! In the summer they can literally devour one book per day!
Oh boy do I want those chocolate dipped Fritos…do they put them in the ice cream?
That sounds awesome! I will check them out. Thanks for the recommendation! When I think back to being that age, I remember a lot of literature for children and young adults that was pretty gruesome. Like anything by RL Stine!
I think they do sell the chocolate-dipped Fritos to be sprinkled on ice cream. But I think that I ate them too fast on their own to have thought that far ahead 🙂
Way to turn it into a learning experience! I’m always amazed at how much baking relies on science. Congrats on making the cookies work, they look and sound delicious!
Thanks for the great comment and all the support, Edna! I think that has been the best thing about the Takedowns: learning. I learned how to make nougat for the Bacon one, and I learned how to make cookies for this one. Mac and Cheese Takedown coming up too 🙂 But I’m looking forward to Hot Sauce. Wouldn’t that rock? Hot sauce!
I admire your perseverance. I would have cashed in my chips by batch four. These lessons that you have learned and so generously shared about cookies are valuable. Since I got an electronic scale I weigh everything. EVERYTHING. And I keep telling myself, ‘SLOW DOWN.’ Daisy, you so awesome!
Keep weighing! For anything more than a teaspoon or a tablespoon, I’m all about weight instead of volume!
And thanks for telling me I’m awesome 🙂
I like that you didn’t give up and kept experimenting. We learn more from our mistakes than our success. Have you tried adding bacon to the recipe?
Thanks, Scroungelady! It’s true: I learn more messing up than getting it right the first time around. The lessons mean more to me too.
I thought about adding bacon 🙂 But I also thought that for this Takedown, there would be a lot of vegetarians coming, so I thought against it. There were a couple of bacon cookies there — one of which placed — so maybe I should have gone with my gut!
Good point – something appealing to vegetarians. I’ll be thinking about combinations and let you know if I get an inspiration. You too – let your mind wander and you’ll be amazed by your insight.
Can’t wait to hear what you come up with! The crazier the better because you never know what will work 🙂
Well, I have been selling shoes on eBay lately…but not those just yet.
I’m sure that there are others in the same boat.
Good for you for selling on ebay. I am always for a good closet clean-out!
Susan is right: You so awesome!
Miso Awesome, Youso Awesome too!!
These look so good! You should so enter them in the cookie contest!
Thank you! I should . . . do I have to come up with a connection between wasabi peas and James Madison? I can get creative! 🙂
Like I said, you don’t have to make them colonial, just fun and good!
I think I have an idea. Not these, but I excavated another cookie recipe from my mother’s recipe box when I was at home.
Sounds good! Don’t wait too much longer! Deadline is coming up fast!
Awesome tips! As a walking baking disaster, I love reading about all the ways I am probably failing. The tips on working with butter especially. I must study these and commit to memory before I next reach for my oven.
Thanks, Genie! I’m definitely glad that I did it. Now I find myself actually clipping cookie recipes. Hooray!
You’re a genius.
Thank you, Tammy!
9 times. That’s impressive! I usually give up by the 3rd or 4th time. I would agree that sifting flour is very important for cakes and cookies but not so much for muffins.
Thanks, Kelly! Yes, I was stubborn and persistent because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself at the Takedown! And shame payed off 🙂
Baking is the holy grail of cooking – well done for getting it right!
Thank you, Trixfred! It took a loooong time! And I’m still learning 🙂
I loved reading about your process and you showing the mistakes you made. No one is perfect, and all it took was trial and error to get it right. Awesome!
I am a fan of miso soup, but never would’ve imagined miso with chocolate chip cookies, and this coming from someone who loves the savory/sweet combo.
Thank you for the kind comment, Dienna! Yes, it was a lot of trial and error. Well, mostly error before I decided to do my research properly! I thought that the miso flavor would be much stronger, but it turned out to just kind of amplify all the other ingredients, especially the butter and vanilla. If you do try it, let me know how it goes!
Nice presentation dear. I enjoy your writing and how you mistook and how you improved. And it is a very good thing that one can learn from your mistakes that you mentioned in your post. Awesome Cookies!!!
I nominated you for an Inspiring Blog Award, because you’re awesome: http://yummypackedlunches.com/2013/01/24/inspiring-blog-award/
Thank you so much!
Learning by your mistakes is good but posting about it is great. It will make us all better bakers.
Thank you, Karen! I feel like there is always room for improvement and innovation. For me, this is especially when it comes to baking 🙂 Thank you again for the kind comment! Am sending you a warm e-cup of hot chocolate (Belgian, or course)!
What a great cookie primer! And your cookies look amazingly delicious. Miso in dough… Cannot be any weirder, and is probably far better, than bacon in cookies. Will have to give it a try 🙂
Thank you, Hannah! I think that they girl who won second or third place had a bacon-caramel cookie. I thought about doing that, but I had this idea that there would be a lot of vegetarians at the competition, so I nixed it.
But you know what I really wish they would have a competition for? Molded Jello-Salads. You know, those multi-layer things filled with sour cream, canned mandarin oranges, and ham? Maybe I’ll make one one of these days. I mean, not to eat because they just look too gross, but to make because they look gross and amazing!
Ha, gross and amazing, yes. Also, they make me think of my Grandma Roe, who had in her recipe box a card for something called “Presbyterian Salad” that involved lemon jello, lump crab meat, ketchup and iceberg lettuce. Also actual lemons, cut into roses. You know that’s going to be a winner. It might even BeSo Awesome 🙂
OMG. I want that recipe. That sounds . . . Presbyterian! 🙂
It would BeSO AWESOME!
I have to give a boat full of kudos to you because I am truly in awe of how willing you are to be adventurous in the kitchen. Miso? Wasabi? Geez….I think the furthest I’d go is maybe adding some more chocolate chips. I like how you outlined all of your mistakes. I’ve made the same mistakes myself. You’d think that not sifting the flour or not measuring the flour exactly wouldn’t be a big deal but it is. I tell people that baking is a science and cooking is an art.
Thank you! Well, I thought the whole point of the Takedowns was to go bonkers! So you can imagine my surprise when the more traditional cookies won! But I am glad that I did it. Miso in cookie dough may become my little signature from now on 🙂
Yes, you have to be so precise in baking. The times that I have messed up and come out with something good are really rare. Dry, cracked cakes. Cookies like rocks. Cupcakes like stones. I really chalk it up to 1) my crappy flour measuring, and 2) I never have the right sized pans!
I’ll definitely have to try this recipe. I tried to make miso cookies once and it was a total failure.
I fell in love with Takahachi Bakery’s miso cookies (I did fell in love with other products they have too) and one lady was so kind as to tell me how to bake them – just without the proportion of each ingredient. I was so disappointed by my cookies that I never tried again 😦
Now that I have a recipe, I can try again!
(yes, I’m a little bit late commenting and reading – sorry :-/)
Takahachi Bakery? Is that in New York? Must get me some of those cookies!
Thanks for letting me know 🙂 And let me know what you think if you try the cookies!
I’ve been wanting to do a review of the place for the longest time: http://takahachibakery.com/
I love this place.
I will definitely try the recipe so I’ll let you know 🙂
Thanks for the link! I am totally checking it out. Looks awesome!