Okie dokie. The weather, is lousy. I’m bored of dark moody photos when it’s dark and moody enough outside. It’s not Thanksgiving in Canada so I’m not much fussed about pumpkin, turkey, cranberry or mashed potato recipes (been there, done that – sorry folks). I’m not ready to do Christmas baking soooo…
Let’s make cookies! Yay!!! <— Kermit T. Frog yay
I made these cookies for two reasons… well, no… three reasons:
- I had to use up the leftover Halloween candy in my freezer
- I wanted to try out a new chocolate chip cookie recipe
- It was necessary to do a highly scientific taste test of which are better: Smarties (the real Canadian/UK chocolate kind – not the candy kind you get in the US that we call Rockets up here) or M&Ms.
When I say necessary what I mean is… I had both kinds before me at the same time and was eating them all together and it became obvious that one was far superior to the other… (you have to read this entire post to find out which one… AND NO SCROLLING DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO PEEK!! That’s cheating! Don’t be a cheaterpants!!)
Food Husband Sean gave me a copy of the The Treats Truck Book cookbook by Kim Ima to mess around with. It’s a really cute book – he thought it would appeal to my designer self (which it did). I just had to give him cookies in return.
I made the raspberry brownies a few weeks ago and then yesterday, I decided to make her signature cookie, The Chocolate Chipper. Except, I kinda changed it a bit (but not a lot). I wanted them to be a little more chocolate-y so I subbed some cocoa powder for some of the flour. And I used chocolate M&Ms, Smarties (the Canadian kind) and peanut M&Ms and a few chocolate chips.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter or margarine
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/8 cup (I know, weird amount) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups flour
- 1½ tbsp cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1½ cups of chocolate chips, or suitable candy substitute
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy
- Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
- Slowly add to the wet mix until well combined
- Stir in chocolate chips or candy (do by hand if you’re using an electric mixer)
- Drop by tbsp onto prepped cookie sheets (parchment paper, silpat or greased) about 2 inches apart
- Bake for 9-12 minutes (I had to bake for closer to 15)
- Let them sit on on the cookie sheets for a few minutes after removing from the oven, before moving to cooling racks
- Eat them!
Not all cookie recipes are created equal. These cookies turned out very soft and a little chewy but the edges didn’t firm up as much as I like, despite leaving them in the oven an extra 3 minutes. They almost had a store bought quality to them, which I’ve never managed to achieve at home before! (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not!) I might try them again and try baking even longer just to see if I can get a little bit of crispness around the edges.
Food Photography Tips
Photographing food that is light, bright and cheerful, when the light you are working with is dark, gloomy and miserable is a challenge. So I chose to shoot on white with simple colours that were bright and bold (kind of matching the candy!).
This is just two pieces of white foam board and light from my south facing kitchen window. I also used a tripod so I could shoot at a low ISO and a slower shutter speed without any shake.
I’ve mentioned this before but I find that over-exposing photos shot on white really helps make the white really bright without so many grey overtones – although they’re still visible here, especially in the last photo. But all of these were overexposed by a few stops. It works well when you use bright colours in the photo as well because they don’t wash out as easily.
You can do some contrast tweaking in Lightroom or your post processing software of choice along with some dodging/burning to help fix any issues with washed out colours, which I did indeed do here (I have a tutorial on dodging and burning coming soon!)
Who’s Better? M&Ms or Smarties
Well, I can honestly say, it wasn’t even a contest. Hands down it was Smarties. Crunchier shell and the chocolate wasn’t anywhere near as sweet as the M&Ms. Odd thing is, I never noticed this before. I like them both but because I never eat them together, I never realized just how different they are and how different the chocolate is.
Way to go Smarties! Yay!! <—- more Kermit T Frog