June 4, 2010

Happy Belated First Blogoversary and My Love Affair With Chewy Cookies

Since I was child, I’ve been a late bloomer in so many things. I’m always slow. So slow that I was supposed to wish my little journal a happy first birthday last Monday. Heck! That didn’t happen. If you’ve been reading up my ramblings here, you know what excuses reasons I’ll be citing, eh?

(Here she goes again … Jam your ears if you wish to …)

Yes. I’ve been worn out by job. I need to catch up with more sleep. A panda is typing away on the keyboard now. As I drive to work, I’d mutter to myself, “Time to go to hell again.” After the grumble, a LONG sigh follows. “Time to fight for my life till 6 p.m.!” I guess that’s work life; we suffer to earn a living. (Duh!)

Let’s blow all the gloomy clouds away. No more complaining. This entry means a lot to me. I brainstormed. I racked my brain. I couldn’t decide on which direction to take to write. Too emotional. Uffda!

So, be warned. As usual, I’m long-winded – except this time, I’ll be unusually long-winded – because Dodol & Mochi turned 1 on May 24! And I was super-late for that! Ugh!

Now, how and why did Pei-Lin start blogging?

Sad to say, I was reluctant to blog during my college years. I thought of blogging. But, I was quick to shook off the idea too as I was busy with school, in the kitchen and behind the camera. In fact, I started off journaling my culinary adventure way earlier through photography. I began sharing my (food) photos publicly on Flickr in January 2009, on which I’ve met and learned a whole lot from amazing food photographers and stylists.

One of my earlier food photos: dorayaki (銅鑼燒), filled with home-made azuki bean paste, from January 2009. This is at least presentable enough to go public. Don't even try to imagine how those preceding food pictures of mine looked like! They were an eyesore!

I was a journalism student. Now, I write to earn a living. (Yes, I write pretty much 24/7.) On top of that, English is my second language. I write to express myself and am loving it. Those were some of the reasons why I chose to blog. No doubt, blogging has helped improve my writing through reflection, organization and practice.

At the same time, I wanted to be heard by the Food Blogosphere. I didn’t want to be left out of the conversation. Shortly after my graduation last year, I started Dodol & Mochi on May 24. Surprisingly, blogging has also led me to new and unexpected friendships! We even had bloggers’ meet-up, which seemed surreal!

Credit also goes to the following people, who had inspired and encouraged me to blog:

My American family, whom I will be sharing with you more later in the post.

My own biological family. They were wondering about the privacy issue at first. It hasn’t bugged me anyway. This is my space, and I do whatever that pleases me here.

My long-time blogger-and-baking friend You Fei, of loving baking. I think our friendship sparked off in this little conversation.

My Flickr buddy Leslie, a.k.a. kiwiasia. She kept wondering why I didn’t have a food blog in the first place … Hahaha! Anyway, she shares really interesting photos from her travels and kitchen experiments! Thanks, gal!

Last but not least, it was these words that had actually gotten me into the Push-Button Publishing deal. Thanks, Molly of Orangette!
“My best advice is just to write. Write honestly about whatever moves you. Start a blog, keep a journal – whatever works for you. Just keep writing, and have fun with it.”
As with how Pei-Lin started to bake and cook – and to take pictures of her foods frantically …

Before I went to the U.S. to pursue my undergraduate education, I was a true culinary idiot. I was that city girl who lived a fast-paced life; who tried to mold herself after a career woman. I couldn’t fry an egg. I’d flee away at the sight of a knife. I’d be terrified by the funny vibration given by a running hand mixer. I’d be overwhelmed by the “deafening” clunk made by all the pots and pans.

The environment can be a powerful force. It forces a change in you, somehow and unknowingly. My psychology professors told me that human is a composition of 60 percent nurture and 40 percent nature. Now, I’m a firm believer in that. When I look back, I’m glad that I decided to study abroad. I’m very thankful for this very path I took, for the American dream I’d been grasping onto since 14.

I landed on the American soil in the coldest month of the year. On January 16, 2007, I found myself shivering in the freezing northern Minnesota, in the place I called home for the past 3 years. (Two years and 8 months to be exact – and never traveled home even once.) During my first 7 months there, I was suffering from severe culture shock and depression. Most of my time was spent burying in the sea of homework and textbooks. But because I needed to eat, I forced myself to cook. Back then, food was randomly fixed and was as sloppy as it could get. I called it “trash-can food.”

(Growing up in an Asian culture, we’re taught to study – nothing but study – since young. It’s stereotypical, and might be inapplicable to some. Nonetheless, it’s a fact. The society here looks up on you when you excel academically, which is, I think, saddening.)

The first revelation came to me in March that same year. I was burning up books during spring break, locking myself up in the dorm. Then, my dearest American family convinced me and invited me out to their place, to spend quality time together for a day. (At that point, I was still trying to “figure them out” and to build trust in them.) I gave a reluctant “yes.”

Little did I know my family was going to cook and bake up a storm for all invitees. “Home-cooked food!” I exclaimed. “It’s been ages since I had good food!” Though I can’t recall what were served, I know for sure pies were on the menu. When I saw my good friend-cum-sister Keren preparing her pie dough, I got very curious. I stepped up and offered to “help” her.

Keren W. baking chocolate chip cookies

I fumbled. I fretted. I found myself having hard time rolling out the dough. I shrieked as I witnessed myself tearing up the dough (by accident). Keren came over and patched up the pieces. “Oh, you can actually mend torn dough this way!?” I asked. Bewildered, I felt enlightened at the same time. There, these revealing moments seeded a passion in me for baking and cooking.

That was me rolling that pie dough in March 2007. I'm glad I asked Keren to help take a photo of me in action -- and as I fumbled!

The addiction kept growing. In the summer that same year, I partook in a wedding. As usual, the nosy Pei-Lin offered to “help out” in the kitchen. I baked who-knows-how-many pans of brownies to feed a hungry horde – from Betty Crocker brownie mix. Shortly thereafter, I began a baking frenzy when I stayed on my family’s farm to help them out with the chores … till school resumed in the fall.

The brownies I baked at the wedding. I'll never bake from mix again ...

I moved out from the dorm to live in an off-campus apartment. My pantry was almost empty; I started out without much. The first I owned was an old muffin pan I got from Mrs. Ula Hoffer, my American grandma who was about to throw her antique away. (Her first name is pronounced as YOO-Lah.)

From left to right: Grandma Ula, Sunil and Emily. And, I got to bake the brownies for Sunil and Emily's wedding. 

On one chilly fall night, I saw a few cardboard boxes sitting at my apartment doorstep. It was close to 10 when I reached home from an evening class. Though cold, exhausted and hungry, I felt exuberated and dubious at the same time.

As I scrounged through the boxes, I found a cute little home-made birthday chocolate cake covered in peanut butter frosting (yes, that was my dinner, as pictured above), some sweet home-grown tomatoes and pumpkin – plus, gobs of baking ingredients: baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips, baking cocoa and brown sugar … just to name a few.

Last but not least, a handwritten note that read, “Happy Birthday!” I knew immediately these were the birthday presents from my American family. I couldn’t help but burst into tears. It was just heart-warming.

And so, my first serious culinary venture came about when I turned 20 – that very birthday I just told you. I decided to give myself a birthday present, something home-made. Nothing fancy. Just some good old chewy chocolate chip cookies.

For my 20th birthday, from 3 years ago ...

Before I landed in America, I only knew of crisp and crunchy, or short and crumbly cookies. Now, I’ve embraced “soft,” “chewy,” “cakey” and “fudgy” in my lexicon for cookies. They are a fundamental part of the American gastronomy. I dare telling you that the American experience is incomplete if you haven’t tried the chewy cookie or fudgy brownie.

Trial #2: These M&M cookies dried up faster, and weren't as flat as I'd wanted them to be.

And the mysteries persist. Since I started baking, I’ve seen people either declaring they’ve found THE recipe or are still searching for THE one. I’m no exception.

Trial #2: These chocolate chip cookies dried up faster, and weren't as flat as I'd wanted them to be.

A good cookie – by the American standard – should be just crisp around the edges while remaining soft in the center. And very sweet, too – at least, for many Chinese. (I have a horribly sweet tooth, by the Chinese standard.) I’ve tried oodles of recipes, which claim to make you great chocolate chip cookies that are soft and chewy. Nonetheless, I got disappointed each time.

Some called for corn syrup, an ingredient I detest using. Some ended up too soft, so soft that they fell apart in my hand. Some were too cakey to my liking. Some dried out too fast. Some hardened up as they cooled, calling biscotto a close cousin of theirs.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been in a chewy-cookie mode. Been churning out chewy cookies to fix my sugar craving. One day, that adventurousness in me subdued. I thought, “Heck, what’s the point of trying here and there for the same thing without a guarantee to success!?”

Trial #1: Made with the recipe, unchanged, from the cookbook "Joy of Cooking: Christmas Cookies." These were disappointment. The cookies just fell apart the moment I held them. That was why I decided to photograph them this way ...

Straying from one recipe to another, I eventually returned to Betty Crocker, again. Not Betty Crocker cookie mix. It’s that classic chocolate chip cookie recipe from “Betty Crocker Cookbook,” a cookbook that many American cooks and bakers grow up with, including my American sister Keren. Because I felt like I’ve known the recipe for years … too familiar that I felt empowered to tweak it. (Sorry, Betty!)

(By the way, General Mills is based in Minnesota. So, does that make Betty Crocker Minnesotan? Hahaha! Anyway, there ain’t such lady. Betty Crocker is just an invented cultural icon and a brand name from America. I’d been fooled by Ms. Crocker for almost 2 years!)

“Dude, where’s the oats!?” I thought. The light bulb in me lit abruptly as I was commuting back home from work. Oats is a healthy answer to the chewy question that had been bugging me. I pulverized organic rolled oats to get ground oats. Instead of light brown sugar, I used dark brown sugar. In Malaysia, I still can’t find the moist brown sugar I once knew in the U.S. What we have here is dry, brown granulated sugar. (I think in British English, it's called "golden caster sugar.") I’ve been using organic molasses sugar, which is moister than the local one but drier than the one in the States. So, I increase its moistness by adding molasses. It may seem odd; however, it’s been working for me so far.

The high sugar content contributes to the chewiness and softness of the cookies. So is the molasses. It also prevents gluten from developing too much. So, don’t cut down on the sugar. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, perhaps, chewy American cookies just aren’t your thing.

As with most American recipes, whereby such measuring units like cup, tablespoon and teaspoon are used, all the chewy cookie recipes I've come across are indeed written this way. But to ensure accuracy and consistency, as usual, I weighed the ingredients (in metric units). I don't quite fancy the idea of measuring ingredients by volume because it's not really accurate.

I’m very happy to say that, after two trials, these cookies of mine came out slightly crisp around the edges while staying soft and chewy in the center. These qualities kept for 3 days, at least for me, in an airtight container. Thanks to the ground oats and dark brown sugar! The cookies don’t crumble in your hands, too! I could actually pick them up and hold them in my hands to chew on. Oh, besides the good old chocolate chips, I also made some with M&Ms for a real American twist! Add some chopped walnuts for a crunch, if you wish to. With some tweaking here and there, I think my quest for THE recipe can be put to a halt, as for now.

Chocolate Chip-Walnut/M&M Cookies -- Chewy American-Style
Adapted from "Betty Crocker Cookbook" (1980 ed.) and "Joy of Cooking: Christmas Cookies," by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker & Ethan Becker

50~60 g walnuts, roughly chopped -- optional, for chocolate chip cookies; not for M&M cookies
* To toast the walnuts, bake them at 150°C for 13~15 minutes. Then, remove the nuts from the oven and let cool completely in the baking sheet before using. *

180 g all-purpose flour
100 g ground oats
* I processed 100 g (organic) rolled oats in the food processor to pulverize them. Some coarser bits will remain. So, no worries. Quick oats should work just as well, too. *
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 egg -- at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

95 g granulated sugar
120 g dark moist brown sugar
* I can't find moist brown sugar locally. So, I used 110 g organic molasses sugar and 10 g molasses. Don't use blackstrap molasses! It's too strong for these cookies! *
75 g unsalted butter, softened
75 g shortening

170 g semi-sweet chocolate chips / 120 g M&Ms
* I actually eyeballed the quantity when it came down to these ingredients -- including the walnuts. It ain't hard, eh? *
  1. Whisk (A) together and sift once, dump the coarser bits of the oats into the mix too; set aside till use later. Then, lightly beat (B) together. Set aside.
  2. Cream (C) together till light and fluffy, then gradually mix in the egg-vanilla mixture to combine.
  3. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture by hand. Halfway through the mixing process, stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts, or M&Ms. Mix things up to incorporate -- ensure that the morsels get distributed evenly in the dough toward the end of mixing.
    * After I'd fully incorporated the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, I divided the dough in half. One-half went with chocolate chips and walnuts whilst the other half went with M&Ms. *
    If you prefer to work with a firm, less-sticky dough, you may now cover the cookie dough with cling wrap and send it to chill in the fridge till it's firm.
  4. You may also opt to bake the dough immediately after the mixing process. For each cookie, drop the dough by one tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheet -- spacing 2 inches apart in between the dropped cookie dough as the cookies will spread. To ensure perfect-looking round cookies, I purposely shaped each of the dropped cookie dough into a rough-looking ball with two spoons. Messy though.
    For chilled, firm cookie dough: one tablespoonful for each cookie, scoop the dough out with a spoon. Then, working quickly in between your palms, roll the dough into a ball and place it onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough -- spacing 2" in between the balls of cookie dough as the cookies will spread.
  5. One sheet of cookie dough at a time, bake at 180°C for 8~10 minutes or till the cookies look brown around the edges while the center looks somewhat golden in color -- and a little underdone, too. The cookies will spread during baking.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them stand on the baking sheet for 3~4 minutes. Now, transfer the cookies to cool on the cooling racks completely.
  7. Repeat step 5 and 6 with the remaining cookie dough.
  8. Serve or store airtight.

Once again, a Happy Belated First Birthday to Dodol & Mochi -- my baby, my canvas. Life's has been getting insanely busier and crazier than ever! I hope I'll still be able to keep my thoughts and words flowing here -- and to share with you the ups and downs of my kitchen experiments. Oftentimes, I do feel exhausted though. Still, here's a big thank-you for reading and visiting my journal! Do you know a comment or an email from you can actually lift me up, especially after a bad day at work? Thank you! Here's a monster cookie just for you!


Su-Lin said...

Happy blog birthday! I love how you broke down that recipe - definitely going to give it a go as I too have a very soft spot for chewy cookies. And they're so hard to find here!

Bonnie Williams said...

Oh, Pei-Lin, what a fun post. As I sat down at the computer tonight I thought I better just check out what Pei-Lin was up to and I was rewarded.....but you made me hungry for chocolate chip cookies! We were working all day cleaning and decorating at the church building for Keren's graduation party on Saturday evening. Wish you could be here to join us!

edith said...

A very Happy Belated Birthday to Dodol and Mochi!!!

Pei Lin, this is a very beautiful write up!

Yes isn't it sad that Asian kids are only taught to excel in studies? Because society is such, parents are left with no choice unless they have tons of money or a choice to relocate. Sometime I feel pain for my kids thus my hubby and I tried our best to let them have a childhood.

Your learning journey is remarkeable. I hope some day my children will have a bit of "you" - perseverence.

Anyway, I hope you can find a balance between work, rest, play and blog.

All the best and take care.

Kitchen Corner said...

I could feel the joy in you with the blogging journey. It really meant a lot especially you share life with people through your foods. Happy Blogoversary to you!

faithy, the baker said...

Yup.. older gen Asians prefer crunchy cookies..lol..soft cookies is like expired cookies. I'm also searching for the right chewy cookies too. lol! I think our weather also plays a part - i always wonder if because of our humid weather the cookies turned out softer than usu after the next day imo..when it tasted best when out of the oven, crisp on the sides and soft on the inside. But the next day, it turns completely soft! Glad you started your blog!

babe_kl said...

Happy 1st Blogniversary!!! Wish you more to come!

Bakertan said...

Hi pei-lin

Happy belated 1st blogoversary!. this is a very interesting and well written post. you should have started blogging earlier, given your flair for writing.

seems like you had many adventures with the cookie. most cookies would seem too sweet for the ordinary person. But i find them quite ok since i have a sweet tooth. I do prefer some fine salt to be included at times to contrast the sweetness.

sadly, cookies dun keep as well as they should given our hot humid tropical climate. Just a few hours of storage in air tight containers is enough to make my shortbread cookies go awkwardly soft when it should have been short and crumbly.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Happy 1st blog birthday, Pei-Lin!! Looking forward to more chewy cookies posts!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Happy Blogging ! All cookies look yummy.

Quinn said...

There she goes again.....darling, this blog is really for you to vent out anger and dissatisfaction isn't it???? I'm reading, just vent it out!

And as we are saying that, that is a very gorgeous cookie you flaunt us! Even that M&M cookies too! We have both in Australia and it surprises me too, because I always taught they are very Modern Australian in my opinion and that only I like chewy cookies. My family is a lil' weird, when they bought cookies like that, they complained it's gone bad, lau fung (leak wind) so yeah....

I second Edith about the education system, which is seriously, in my opinion, hopeless! What i disagree, I think money is not an issue and you don't have to relocate to other countries just because of that. Example, my parents never let me join school's volleyball team and jungle trekking simply because they think it is unnecessary and all I need to do is, study study study, like a bookworm. But if I'm grooming kids in Malaysia now, I'll definitely let them do what they like, it's their life and no one should stop you or tell you what to do and what not to do. Damn, I'm complaining bout my parents here on your comment box, sorrry!

pigpigscorner said...

Happy blogoversary! I love chewy cookies too and like you I never knew such cookies exist as the best cookies I had were Famous Amos.

Blessed Homemaker said...

Pei-Lin, I finally see your post on chewy cookies ;-) I've bookmarked this recipe but will replace shortening with butter as I don't usually have shortening at home. Will let you know how these babes turn out when I bake them.

noobcook said...

Happy blogoversary! your foods all look so delicious and your blog is fun to read :)

Happy Homebaker said...

dear Pei Lin, Happy blog birthday! The very first batch of cookies I made for my kids where those with M&Ms! Thanks for sharing your baking journey for the past year, and I am looking forward to reading your posts for the years to come :)

Anonymous said...

Pei Lin, I have been reading your blog fromj Australia for a while. You are a wonderful writer and I ove visiting. I feel sad for the young girl who arrived in America, wish I could have shown you ow to live! Thanks for a wonderful story and food expo

Leslie said...

Happy Birthday "Dodol & Mochi"! I am so glad you started your food blog. You are so talented and I am grateful you share your cooking/baking tips with all of us!

I hope to visit you one day in KL!

Kiwiasia (Leslie)

Food For Tots said...

Time to blow the 1st candle for your wonderful blog. Congrats, my dear!! Nice to hear your story. Looking forward to seeing more fantastic cooking and baking in future! Love your chewy cookies!!

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Pei Lin,
Happy blogoversary to you! I can't believe it's only 1st year! Your bakes, your thoughts and all yours posts seemed like you've been doing it for years! Going through the chronological order of events, it does bring back fond memories doesn't it?
Thanks for sharing the recipe. Looks like something my children would like - chewy cookies! Continue with your wonderful posts, I'll be following those beautiful thoughts. :)

Angie's Recipes said...

Happy 1st Blogoversary! Thanks for sharing such a special post with all of us.
I like M&M cookies...so beautiful.

ICook4Fun said...

Happy Belated Birthday to your blog!! I've been following you since day one. You cook and bake very well and not to mention your photography skills. Keep up the good work Pei-lin and hope to read more posting from you. Take care and don't work too hard and have some fun :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

Pei Lin,
You're looking for the moist dark brown sugar???
Gosh!!! Did you try kedai runcit??

The Chinese call it 黄糖 and the malays call it gula merah. Those in kedai runcit is moist, so moist that they clump together, and can even get mouldy if not kept right. they are so dark, that they look like pulverized gula melaka. If they kedai runcit give you those in packets, it's nt what I'm refering to. It's usually in loose form.

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Hi Pei Lin, Happy 1st Blogoversary! you are a wonderful writer, like your posts. And the cookies, make me drooling...

Jo said...

Pei-Lin, happy belated blog birthday. Wah this sure is a long post .. I had to stop and take in breaths in-between. But what a great post and what an achievement. Keep blogging and posting and writing. BTW I love chewy cookies as well.

petite nyonya said...

You're not long-winded, you're just someone who loves and enjoys telling stories and that's a wonderful talent! Savor it and make full use of it. I for one, enjoyed reading your posts so keep it up. I am having cookie cravings right now!! Anyway, happy burrrthday to Dodol & Mochi! Hope work gets better soon!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Was suffering from cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@Su-Lin: Yea, do lemme know though how the recipe turns out for you! I heart soft cookies too! Maybe I shouldn't be surprised to hear about chewy cookies' popularity in the U.K.

@Bonnie: Haha! Thanks, Bonnie and all! Oh, just tell Keren to whip some cookies up for all you to munch on. I'll write to you all again soon. I got a reply from Keren. Now I'm wondering how did the party go. Bet it was fun! How I wish I were there and were able to bring some food over.

@edith: Thanks for the birthday wishes! My baby is happy now. *Chuckling* Hey, no worries! Both you and your hubby are good, responsible parents! I can tell you're trying to provide your kids with the best while they're still growing up. Sometimes, relocating doesn't guarantee you a happy life either. Oftentimes, it's our family, friends, the love and support you get, the passion you have for life and whatever that interests you ... the things that make you feel balanced amid a hectic life ... These are the unnoticed factors that lift you up when you're down. I admit I don't really enjoy my job now due to myriad factors. At least, I've got another life after work. My life, the Pei-Lin aren't all about work ... career. We work to earn a living to survive. I'm glad we're those people who have found an identity that we feel comfortable bearing ... I don't like the idea of mixing work and your personal life up ... It's unhealthy. Once again, thank you so much for the encouragement! I'll try to fight despite feeling fatigued.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Been caught up with cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@Grace: Thank you for being empathetic! I feel so delighted now! Thanks for the wishes!

@Faithy: Haha! Yes, in fact, for those who haven't been exposed to chewy cookies, they'll be like, "Are these cookies expired?" (這些餅乾漏風了啊?) Not just an older-generation thing, ya know ... Oh, I do think our weather plays an evil part ... for ruining our fruit of labor! Damn the humidity! Haha!

@babe_kl: Thank you! We both "add oil!"

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Was suffering from cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@ZY: Hello! Thanks for the well wishes and the encouraging words! Erm ... Oh, no! Still have a lot to learn as I write my life down ... Actually, never thought I'd ended up writing to earn a living too! Haha! Actually for me, these soft cookies are OK for me too since I'm so used to them. Like I said I have a terribly sweet tooth, by our standard ... Oh, yes! I love a lil' bit of salt in my pastries. Have you tried fleur de sel? It's good ... though expensive. Agree, my lemon-yogurt cookies already gone softer in a day when they're supposed to be crunchy! Haha!

@Ellie: Thanks a million!

@Sonia: Thanks to you, too!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Was suffering from cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@Quinn: Dear, thanks for your support arr ... That good old descriptor "lau fong" (leaked wind)! Haha! I'm sure M&M cookies are everywhere. But I think it's originally American anyway. Oh, it's alright for me. I'm sharing your sentiment too, remember? Well, I don't think I can fully comprehend parenthood till I've become a parent myself, which I doubt will never happen! Haha! Well, I know we all went through that experience of being "caged up" and pushed to study. I know it's so un-Western. But I never regret it ... since I'm now cari-ing makan in Asia, should pay off ... Unless I wind up settling in the U.S., it's gonna be a different story. I know my parents did that to me because they love me. I'm sure though it's imperfect either way. There's good and bad either way. I'll try to marry East and West if I ever become a parent. Like I said, experience shapes us tremendously! And DON'T ever apologize here! Quinn ...

@Anne & Jeff: Same here ... It always amazes me why Malaysians are stuck with only Famous Amos!? So saddening ... This world is very huge you know ...

@Blessed Homemaker: Hello! Cookies made with mostly shortening are rounder and aren't as flat ... Be sure to use unsalted butter! But I suppose chewy cookies made with purely butter, in terms of fats, should be even flatter. I'd suggest refrigerating the dough prior to baking, which should help a bit ... hopefully. As for myself, I've made it to point of getting Crisco shortening soon ... Don't want any cheap shortening ...

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@noobcook: Thanks! You seriously don't think I'm long-winded!!?? Haha! Sometimes, I do think I'm though ... =P

@HHB: Oh, so now that we know we share one more thing in common! Thank you so much for the support! We both 要加油! 加好多好多的油哦! 大家努力,為彼此打起!

@Anonymous: How I wish you'd left me with your name! Oh, thank you so, so much for the encouraging words! I know, I was a bit too extreme those days ... I didn't know what's moderation. Well, I change and I learn so long as I still live ... THANK YOU! You have a fabulous weekend!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Was suffering from cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@Leslie: Thank you! Sorry for my inactive status on Flickr. It's actually sorta become my photo storage base now. I really don't have time to visit around there ... Barely have the time to do what I want too. Usually by the time after work, I'd be damn exhausted. *Sigh* Oh, yes! I remember the promise we made LONG ago! We gotta meet up when you two get to revisit KL in the future! Do keep me posted, yea?

@Lai Kwan: Thank you so much! Encouraging words such as these from you and others are what that keep me going ... even though I do feel like giving up oftentimes. =D 彼此加油!為大家打氣!妳是個好傑出的博客哦!

@Jane: Thank you for the encouraging words! I know I sound old, eh ... Hahaha! Actually, recollecting past events does bring fun! Glad that you're in the chewy-cookie loop, too! Haha! At least, we won't consider soft cookies "expired!" Haha! Hey, you're just as good, don't forget that! You keep up with the fabulous work, yea?

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Was suffering from cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@Angie: Thank you! Have a nice one, gal!

@Gert: Awww ... Thanks a million for the encouraging words! I feel so, so much better! Hmmm ... As to my photography skills, still more to improve lah ... Hahaha! I'm nothing when compared to all the other prominent bloggers. I'm TRYING REALLY HARD not to put myself into unconsciousness someday ... I hope I won't faint in the middle of KL someday ... I'm really tired ... It's dangerous I know. Scary. :S Thanks, I'll take care of myself. Promised!

@Wendy: Hey, thanks so much for such valuable feedback! I'll check into that this weekend. But I believe it's crushed-up gula melaka!!?? I'll give it a sniff at the kedai runcit near me ... I can tell if it's the brown sugar I once knew in the U.S. Thank you! Will report to you after the field trip!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hey, guys! Sorry for getting back this late! Was suffering from cold and slight fever. Now, also feeling exhausted ... But thank you so much for the encouraging words! You've made my day! Thanks for giving me the force to go forward and do more! Lately, been pestered by the thought of stopping blogging. *Sigh*

@Jess: Thank you so much for the feedback and encouragement! You're just as good too!

@Jo: Thank you for the encouraging words! I really appreciate that! Erm ... Haha! I feel a bit embarrassed now ... I know I'm long-winded ... Aiyo ... So paiseh lah ... *Faint*

@Joslynn: *LOL* Thank you for the kind words! At least, you're the first one to tell me I ain't long-winded! Haha! Too happy now! To be honest, I think I express myself better through writing than talking verbally, though I can pretty talkative. I can be quiet too, depending on the situation. Sorry to make you drool late at night! Haha! I promise I'll bring you some when we meet up, K? Thanks for the birthday wishes! My baby is damn happy now! HA! (Btw, work isn't getting better. It's getting worse!)

tigerfish said...

Happy Belated Blog-Day!

I like that Betty Crocker collage - I did not know how she look like until now...heee heee

When I started blogging, my photos were terrible! Not that they are superb now but I guess I have improved a little, though the learning cycle can always be accelerated.

Sweeter side of life said...

Wow! What a lovely write up, I really enjoy reading your blog.Your cookie looks really really good. Thank you for posting the recipe, i am pretty confident that the cookie will turn out well if i used your recipe- since you've done the troubleshooting for us. Thank you for sharing your experience ! :D

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

Not it's not crushed up gula melaka. That will be so expensive to use gula melaka. This gula merah is dirt cheap la.

A lot of "tong sui" or "leong cha" shop use this to colour their stuff brown so that they can cut back on ingredients.

J.C. said...

I had a good time reading about your development from a girl who didn't have much culinary skill to one who enjoys baking! I wish many young teenagers would read your blog and develop their interests in cooking & baking, rather than just sinking their heads into books day in day out.

Keep on writing, Pei Lin!! I love reading your words! I wish your blog many more anniversaries to come! Happy Anniversary!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello, all! Sorry for this late of a reply! Been plagued by health issues and fatigue lately ... Gonna see Mr. Doc soon ... *Sob* Thanks for the wishes and encouraging words though! It's always nice to hear from y'all!

@tigerfish: Hey, you actually got better by tenfold! Not little at all! Silly you! Haha! Agreed, we learn from each other and this is an everyday thing. Don't stop! 大家要加油,努力學習喔!

@Yan Ee: *Blushing* Haha! Dunno what else to reply to you ... Really feel so bad ... Haha! Such an honor to share with y'all! It's a reciprocal cycle. Let's both keep it up! Hope to see more from you!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello, all! Sorry for this late of a reply! Been plagued by health issues and fatigue lately ... Gonna see Mr. Doc soon ... *Sob* Thanks for the wishes and encouraging words though! It's always nice to hear from y'all!

@Wendy: Oh, must be 紅糖! Belum check out with the kedai runcit near me lah ... Right now hor, I'm also trying get ground cardamom 'coz I start to miss cardamom smell ... KL doesn't seem to have ground one, only whole buah pelaga. Aiyo ... So ma-fan ... Even McCormick also none ... Alamak ... Dammit! So, I'll kill two birds with one stone soon when I attack Mr. Mamak at the kedai runcit soon ... I promise I die-die will ...

@J.C.: Thank you so much! Really appreciate the encouraging words you've given me here!! I feel so flattered ... I guess everyone has his/her own interest, which is different with each case. Like my bros, they're so into anime and gaming, I'm their opposite. I hope so. I hope I still can cope with this blog as long as I'm alive and as long as blogging is still alive ... THANK YOU SO MUCH once again!

rokh said...

i am one of your serial lurker but i simply love this post so much thus the comment. happy blogoversarry, keep writing and loving! :D

SSmama said...

Hi Pei Lin!
It feels so great to have found your blog! So much of infos and recipes.
By the way,before baking the cookies, should I preheat my oven? (I've noticed that you did not mention in your recipe)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Hello, SSmama!

Yup, you do need to preheat the oven accordingly before baking. Well, preheat the oven unless stated in the recipe(s). Don't worry, I'll spell things out clearly if there are important details to take note of, aside from the usual "routine" of preheating the oven.

Thank you so much for the encouraging words! Albeit feeling exhausted, you've just given me something to look forward to in the days to come! Thank you!

Have a gorgeous week ahead!


ami said...

I was wondering about how much cookies this recipe made, and how big did they end up to be?

Pei-Lin said...

Hey, ami! Thank you so much for popping by!

Quite a batch actually, and I can't really recall. Sorry! The size of the cookie is slightly smaller than your palm. You may give this recipe a try. However, eventually I'll post up two superb recipes for American chocolate chip cookies in the future, hopefully not too long from now. I can't promise when they are gonna be up, since I'm juggling with hectic life that tires me inside out. I hope you can understand. =)

Thank you so much for saying hi! I do appreciate it. Have a good one!


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