Matcha Cookies Help?

Aleria
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 49 weeks ago.

Okay, so I want to make these cookies that Maki posted ages ago
http://www.justhungry.com/leaf-shaped-black-sesame-cookies-matcha-tea-ic...
because I'm addicted to matcha and these look delicious. However, I'm a bit stuck on the amounts. I'm from Canada - we don't use scales in our cooking (here in BC if you own a scale it's seen as.. dodgy). So I'm at a loss as to how much of those ingredients I'd need. Normally I'd just guess, but baking is a lot more precise than cooking, so any help would be wonderful.

I'm asking for metric please, because on here I've noticed that definitions of cups tend to be different between countries, which just weirds me out. I grew up with dual metric/imperial cookbooks that listed a cup as 250 mls, so to see anything different is just.. strange. Anyway, I digress.

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Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?
Aleria wrote:

I'm asking for metric please,

What sort of help do you want, Aleria?

The ingredients are already in metric:
# 50g raw black sesame seeds
# 120g dark brown or muscovado sugar
# 250g whole wheat flour
# 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature

The only suggestion I have in the absence of weighing equipment is to guess based on the packets the ingredients come in.

If you buy 100g of sesame seeds use half a packet.
If you have 1kg of flour, use a quarter of a packet
And for the butter, check to see if there is any indication on the wrapping (in the UK there are usually lines saying 50g, 100g, 150g etc)

Aleria
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 49 weeks ago.
Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

Oh geeze, metric, um.. liquid I guess? Like milliliters. Unfortunately I buy most of my stuff in bulk - the butter I can figure out from the package, but not really the other stuff.

maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

Hi Aleria. While most of the recipes on Just Hungry and Just Bento are in cups and weight, metric and pounds/ounces, for some recipes the measurements need to be more precise, so they are in weight. The cookie recipe in question fits that requirement. A digital scale is not expensive...and somthing to consider if you get into baking, or even just watching the amounts you eat!

____________________________________

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- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

I just took a look at the recipe and it has ounces, most North American glass measuring cups have a measure for ounces, so you can use that as a guide if you are unsure.

And I hate to be contrary, but I make a lot of gourmet baked goods and a scale is really not necessary. While it is more precise, it would go against the way I learned to cook and ruin the fun of it for me. I think of baking as a learning experience and the recipe is a guide, I know what the textures are suppose to be like and the best way to know how something will turn out is to taste it. But I will say where precision matters to me is in vegan baking, if the pH is off then whatever you are making will not turn out (but even when I bake vegan stuff I do not weigh my ingredients).

Anna
Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

65g of all purpose flour is 100ml
100g of butter can be approximated at 100ml
85g of white sugar is 100ml
I've baked for a couple of decades in Europe and in the US, and these memorized automatic conversions have served me well so far.

Humidity and other conditions influence weight/volume conversions, but I find that most baking recipes I've ever used work out using these conversions. It is really rubbish that you should weigh everything. And yes, I am a scientist by training. Precision has its uses, but baking is also about the "hand feel" and ability to improvise.

Aleria
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 49 weeks ago.
Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

Well, officially Canada uses the metric system - it's what's taught in school. But a lot of people in their 30's and older still feel more comfortable with imperial, and that's what they teach their children. In my Home Ec class I was one of the few kids who knew both sets and could convert between, but that's thanks to my mother and the type of cookbooks we always used.

The only thing I remember using the scales for was the few recipes where we used meat, and oh boy did our whole class groan over that. The digital scale we used was very finicky and annoying to use, so that's my only memory of using one. I for one hated the water displacement method, since I was used to measuring from packets, though ours are measured in cups/millilitres rather than ounces/grams. It just seemed like more trouble than it was worth!

I like the idea of looking for an older traditional scale, but have no idea where to start looking..

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

Strange, when I try to reply I just reload the same page.

Yes Anna and Stephanie, when you know yourself what the flour feels and looks like you don't need to weigh it, but someone else doesn't have your knowledge - how tightly do you pack the flour? Do you shake it to settle it? There's a huge difference in weight between flour that's just been poured into its container, say, and flour that's been sitting there compressing for a few weeks. Different types of flour act differently too, so although you can get by with volume measurements with ingredients you are familiar with (I did it myself for years) it's not so easy to transfer recipes that way. I think when Maki says this recipe requires precision you can take her word for it that it does.

And 100ml of butter? How do you measure 100 ml of a solid object? Yes I know you can use water displacement but that's terribly fiddly and not at all obvious for a newbie baker. Much better to use the markings on the packet.

Go and buy a scale Aleria. Well worth it.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

Aleria
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 49 weeks ago.
Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

I have been baking since I was 5, and have never had problems with metric measurements. For butter or margarine, if it's a small amount I use measuring spoons, or large ones I go off of the amount they are packaged in, since I usually use margarine squares. I do know how to do water displacement, but don't really feel it's necesary and have never used it outside of Home Ec class where if you don't you lose marks.

Thank you for the tip about ounces, that's probably what I'll have to go with for now. I wanted to make these since I actually have the ingredients and therefore don't have to buy anything special for them.
I will think about the scale, but except on here I don't have any recipes that require it. If it's not too much maybe I'll ask my family about one for a present, but we don't really have that much money to be buying new appliances and such.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

I somehow thought they used metrics in Canada anyway? I thought the USA was the only country left that used Imperial.

I'm astounded that your Home Ec classes teach water displacement though, ours always made us use scales, and that was a good long time ago (I'm 53) when we didn't tend to use them at home. Our butter comes in packets with 50g marks (or 2 oz ones in the old days) on the packet, and that's how I measured it for years. Likewise I used cups for flour and sugar, and did the estimation from packet size for more obscure ingredients. I only got a scale when I stopped smoking three years ago and had to watch my weight, but it is really very handy for cooking. They're not expensive, and you might find an old non-electronic balance in an op shop if you're lucky. They can be rather attractive, although not quite as simple to use.

But as far as accuracy goes, we were always taught, and it's STILL in New Zealand's best selling book (the Edmonds Cookbook) that a cup of flour was 4 ounces (125 g) and a cup of sugar was 8 ounces (250 g). I used those conversions for years and years, quite successfully. And they're wrong. By quite a long way. I think the sugar one is pretty OK, but the flour is way out. Which just goes to show that most baking is very forgiving. I really only had major trouble with sponges - and lo and behold, now that I have a set of scales, I make excellent ones.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

It's funny about feeling more comfortable with Imperial - we switched to metric when I was an adult and I can still only judge people's heights and weights by feet/inches and stones, but I'm perfectly comfortable with kg for food. I've never been happy with fluid ounces, even before we went metric although I'm OK with pints, but litres are good. I'm good with cm for small things, but I'm more comfortable with inches for things like sheets of paper or anything a bit bigger, like waist and bust measurements. And then for very small things (I'm a scientist) I can only think in metric - I have mechanic friends my age who chatter away about thousandths of an inch and I can't visualise that at all.

Digital kitchen scales are dead easy. You turn them on, then you put the food on. That's it.

Try second-hand shops for an old balance - the really nice old brass ones will be expensive, but you may be able to find something plain. Just take a packet of something you know the weight of with you to check for accuracy.

maki
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

Digital scales these days are not in any way finicky.They make weighing things a snap. I really do recommend getting one! Also somewhat related, the book Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.

maki
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Another thing about weighing vs. eye-balling etc.

(Yes I'm derailing!)

For me, weighing or measuring things is important when I am writing recipes, since people reading my recipes must be able to reproduce the recipes reasonably. For this reason, I've becoming a much bigger fan of scales, not to mention accurate measuring cups and spoons, since I started my food blogs. In one of my earlier recipes I rather eyeballed things, and the recipe (since edited!) didn't turn out well for people. Ever since then I've tried to be as accurate as possible - and I also tell people that if they want to be sure of reproducing my results, they do need to follow the recipe. Of course an experienced cook can make something that they are happy with by eyeballing things, going by touch, etc., but for beginners especially, following a recipe is quite important. Reproduceability is another reason why commercial kitchens rely on scales too.

I am afraid I don't quite get how weighing and measuring things takes the fun out of cooking either...why would that be?
(We had a similar discussion about this some time ago on Just Hungry, with opinions on either side.)

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Another thing about weighing vs. eye-balling etc.

I feel it would take the fun out of it for me, scales are not common in the US or most of North America to my knowledge. There would be no way to reproduce my great grandmother's recipes with a scale. The scale becomes another step for me and tool I do not feel would really help me, which takes away the fun of baking.

And as someone who shops at a fair amount of second hand store I have not seen any scales that I can recall, just because I do not think that many people here use scales.

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

My mother always owned a set of old fashioned scales, although she didn't use them much. They are actually quite fiddly to use, with sliding weights, and you have to wait for them to settle down after each adjustment. My aunt had some the same, and I inherited them at about the same time I bought digital scales myself. I mostly remember my aunt using hers when making jam, and I have to say that making jam is the only time I ever used to really feel the need for scales - I'd take my fruit somewhere I could weigh it (the corner store people are most accommodating), so I'd know how much sugar to put in. I don't quite see how you can translate "equal weights of fruit and sugar" into volume measurements; different fruits definitely don't weigh the same volume for volume.

I do see where Stephanie is coming from though. It's a sort of pride in one's skills I think - weighing seems almost like cheating. Anyone can follow a recipe, so where's the skill? It's just too easy. Although it astounds me how many people (claim they) can't follow a recipe!

I second the endorsement for Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio. It's stuff you pretty much already know if you are a "seat of the pants" cook, but it's nice to have it organised for you in such a logical way.

maki
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Re: Matcha Cookies Help?

When we were moving house earlier this year (in Switzerland), we find an ancient scale with weights in the corner of the cellar. The scale had rusted away basically, but we salvaged some of the heavy iron weights. When we finally unpack, I'm going to polish them up and use them as doorstops and so on!

One thought about scales in the U.S. - mostly they seem to be sold to dieters, so there may be a negative connotation to them in that sense. In Japan, recipes usually are quite precise, even on a site like cookpad.com (people put measures like 8g sugar etc. there). May say something about national tendencies or something too!

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