Monday, 14 December 2009

Cookies from a Box

To satisfy my baking craves, I was contemplating whether to bring some of my baking tools along to Beijing when I was packing for the trip. In the end, there was simply no space left to stuff in that tiny diet scale (yes I use it for all my baking) not to mention the electric hand held beater or even a balloon whisk.

The service apartment that we are staying comes with a handsome built-in oven, it makes my tiny tabletop oven at home seems so miserable. It would really be a shame if I am not able to do some baking with my dream oven. To my delight, I chanced upon boxes of Betty Crockers at this little gourmet store near our apartment. Without much thinking, I grabbed a pack of chocolate peanut butter chips cookie mix.

It was only after I got home that I realised there is no measuring cup in the apartment's kitchen. Since I have no intention to go hunt for a measuring cup, I had to think of a way to measure the amount of oil required to make the cookies.

It happened that I bought a pack of 250ml whipping cream to cook some cream sauce pasta, so I used the empty carton as a reference and was glad to discover that the volume of one of the mugs is exactly 250ml. But, that didn't solve the problem altogether, the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of oil. So I poured one cup of water equally into 3 paper cups and made a marking on one of them. Voila! I made my own measuring cup :)

To stir up a batch of cookies from a box is so simple, quick, and very convenient especially when there are no basic baking tools on hand. I only need to mix some water, oil and an egg with the powder mix, and in a matter of minutes, I was able to pop a tray of cookie doughs into the oven.

While the cookies were baking in the oven, I suddenly remembered that there was no cooling rack in the apartment. At that point in time, to end up with a tray of soggy cookies would be unthinkable.

After some quick thinking, I came up with my improvised cooking rack...a set of chopsticks which I brought along came in handy!

While the cookies were cooling off, the boys couldn't resist the sweet aroma, so they kept 'wondering' into the small kitchen, hoping to steal a cookie from my 'cooling rack'.

For the rest of the week, I was able to enjoy my afternoon cup of coffee with some homemade cookies. They are not as bad as I thought. In fact, I didn't expect them to taste so good...crunchy on the outside and a little soft in the inside, way better than those I had tasted at some cafes. These are just a little on the sweet side, but once I dunk it into my cup of latte, the sweetness was just right. Till we get back home, I must say I am very satisfied with these homemade cookies, from a box.


Family First said...

Love they way you improvise! So creative and well thought! And thanks for sharing with us even on your vacation! Lucky you, you can have a lovely long vacation in your own apartment.

Kitchen Corner said...

WOW! What can I say?! You are SUPER! Ya, I know when the hands start itchy, you could do anything which seems like impossible haha :) Well done super women!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

You are just incredible, in this kind of situation, you are able to bake, salute you !!!

May said...

You are a genius with the improvised cooling rack :)
Have you tried the Betty Crockers Brownies? They are also v good n easy to bake.
I am going to bake your honey buns recipe this week cos u said its a good recipe, right?

Blessed Homemaker said...

Superb! When we are itching to bake, we can think of all ways and I must say you are one great mom!

martina said...

It's great! Cooking is the only thing that makes me feel now your temporary accomodation it's home! When I stayed in California last year (for 25 days) I didn't have an oven :( and baking was the most missed thing of home!

Anonymous said...

This really ought to be called A Survivor's Guide to Baking Cookies. Hehe. Love all the improvisations you've made! I'm sure the end result was worth it :)

Pei-Lin said...

HHB!! This post made me laugh! First, I can already relate myself to your itch to bake. Second, at the moment I saw your wooden "handcrafted cooling rack," I couldn't stop but laugh!! I did exactly the same during my last one month in the States when all my bakeware & cookware had been shipped home. Because the American family friends I was staying with at that time refuse to use cooling racks, I had no choice but to make myself one with the chopsticks available. (Yea, they do have chopsticks. Thanks to us international students, LOL!) Oh, well! I guess we baking addicts share so many things in common!


Bakeling said...

So ,you can bake in any corner of the world now with an oven !

变则通 !

Tiny bakery said...

your wooden rack are so amazing!!!!!!

Allie said...

very smart thinking indeed! You're so creative! The cookies look lovely!

tracieMoo said...

Haha.. I couldn't have thought of that! It looks great :) I guess when there's a will, there's certainly a way.

Anonymous said...

haha! love your improvisation.
clever. looking awesome.

Our Precious said...

I'm very impressed! That's one great way to cool the cookies!!
I used to be your silence blog reader but this time I must put my tots down. You're too cool!

honey boy said...

Haha... What can I say?!! when the addiction is knocking at you, you would think of ways to get what you want! Well done!

Honey boy

honey boy said...

Hi HHB, May i add your blog to my frequent visit link?

Honey boy

FL Mom said...

You're so cute and creative! Cookies look delicious. Yes, the box mixes tend to be very sweet, but they do just fine in a pinch. The resort had better watch out that the oven doesn't get packed into your luggage when you leave! :)

megan said...

you're so creative! This is my first time to your blog, and I"m impressed. :) I spent a summer in China a few years ago, so I"ve enjoyed reading about your experiences. I'll be back :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi May, yes, I have tried Betty Crockers Brownies, they are really good!

Hi Pei Lin, so u experienced the same desperate moments like me ;)

Hi Honey boy, thanks! It will be my honor to add me in your link :D

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Kim, I am staying at a corporate service apartment, as such I do not know the rate that is being offered, but the rack rate is about S$200 a night for a 1-room apartment. I will recommend staying at places which are more accessible to the major attractions, or where there's a subway station which is within walking distance. You can always take a cab here, but sometimes due to the heavy traffic I find taking the subway (similar to our MRT) much faster. The nearest station from our apartment is at least 15-20mins walk away. It is not so convenient but is a good neighbourhood though, more for extended stay but I won't recommend it if you are planning for a short visit and doing alot of sightseeing.

TaB said...

Hi hhb, I miss ur baking posts!

Anonymous said...


That's pretty reasonable.. I'm quite particular about hotels especially China - must make sure its at least 5 stars.

Ok nvm, I'll search for an alternatives.

Thanks !

Sarah said...

Wow, so cuuute! What a great idea.

Love the chopstick cooling rack too.

xox Sarah