News Flash! American Gold Medal flour is readily available in Malmö.
LET THE BAKING BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!
Like The Man you say so what. Wheat does not a flour make. Flours are individualistic little creatures. Each has its own talent, personality and character. How many of you American ex-pats haven’t put 100’s of crowns into making a single batch of chocolate chip cookies only to say, you know they just aren’t the same. Grabbing any bag of flour and baking away is going to leave you with so, so results, sometimes staring at total failure. Especially if your going to bake across borders.
The S. Korean’s are experts at authenticating foreign foods. They make the best Mexican food I have had outside of the South West of N. America. Paris Croissant, a S. Korean bakery and coffee shop chain, produce a lovely array of authentic French breads and pastries. How do they pull this off? The Man did some research and discovered that they import their flour from France. That must mean something.
Two weeks ago I asked Grey’s American Store if they are able to import American flour. I got a very long excuse, customs poking the bags, yada yada yada. Low and behold the following week The Man and I happened upon Golden Medal flour at the Asian store next door to the Thai restaurant on Möllevångens Torget. A little jig of excitement ensued.
Two small bags richer and 56 crowns/8 dollars poorer The Man says, honestly how can flour be that different. Without any sense of authority I began to list a few factors.
1. Where it is grown
2. Different types of wheat
3. Different processing
I just knew that the results were not the same. A bit of lazy research confirmed my suppositions. The soil, the type of wheat, the grinding process, the amount of things added, gluten for instance, all make a distinct difference in how the flour will behave. There is a flour specific for nearly every baking situation.
In the end the discovery of American flour meant one thing. It was time to make some Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Note: This doesn’t only apply to flour. Tea will taste different depending on the iron levels in the water, sugar will taste different depending on whether it is made from sugar cane or beets, not to mention how it is processed. Butter, not the same.
What you need to know about making Chocolate Chip Cookies in Sweden or abroad.
Making chocolate chip cookies can be problematic in that you need certain ingredients you can’t always find in Sweden or in other regions of the world for that matter.
Vanilla in Scandinavia is found in powder form. It has less flavor power. Thus when ever I am home I buy the biggest bottle I can find of vanilla extract, the liquid form of vanilla. It is costly, but worth it. You can find small bottles of it at Grey’s at a premium price.
Brown Sugar has made it’s way to Sweden. However it is slightly different. It is known here as Muskvado sugar. I bought a bag of the American sort in Korea for next to nothing. Thus, this time around I used the Korean version. I suppose this means I made Korean, Swedish, American cookies.
Flour is also different. It soaks up the butter differently depending, Gold Medal flour is more powder like.
Butter again different. It has to be cooking butter and not Bregot or margarine which has a very high oil content. I also use slightly less butter than the recipe calls for the same reason. Too much oil.
Chocolate Chips can be found at Grey’s. Nestle are the preferred brand, however Shop Rite does do a decent knock off. Otherwise substitute the chocolate chips with dark chocolate. Just chop it up into small pieces.
There are hundreds of different Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes. I like to keep things simple. I always use the original Toll House recipe found below.
2 1/4 Cup all purpose flour Gold Medal if you can find it.
1 tsp. baking soda/bicarbonate Not baking powder/bakpulver.
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup butter Room temp! I use a bit less butter when using Swedish butter.
3/4 Cup white sugar
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar you need to pack it down hard in the measuring cup.
1 tsp. vanilla extract substitute with 2 tsp vanilla powder
1 bag of chocolate chips substitute with a large bar of dark chocolate chopped into 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch pieces.
1 Cup Nuts (optional)
You will need two bowls. In a small bowl add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Don’t forget to stir. In another bowl beat the butter sugars and vanilla, preferably with an electric whisk. Add one egg at a time to the butter mixture and whisk until creamy. This is where you give the whisks from the beater to the kids or yourself to lick clean. Then slowly stir the flour into the butter and egg mix. Finally stir in the chocolate morsels and the nuts.
Drop tablespoons of the cookie dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Give them space to expand.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/180C for approximately 9-11 min. in the middle of the oven. Keep an eye on them. They will brown slightly. When they are done remove them from the baking sheet and place them on a wire rack to cool. If you leave them on the hot baking sheet or on a solid surface they will continue to cook.
Keep repeating until you run out of cookie dough.
Store them in a cookie jar or container with a slice or two of bread. The bread will keep the cookies moist. Replace as needed.
Eat as they are or my favorite dip them in a big glass of milk.
Where to shop
American Flour is found at the Asian food store on the corner near Krua Thai. Close to Simrishamnsg. Not to be mistaken for Kina Livs also a handy little store.
Vanilla extract, chocolate chips and brown sugar can be found at Grey’s in Malmö located on the canal between Greekway and Designtorget.
Grey’s provides a few staples like refried beans and pancake mixes however, in contrast to the Asian and Polish food stores, they sell more candy and noevelty foods than kitchen basics. The new owner is very friendly.