The Cookie? really?

I’m not dead! BUT – my computer died on me, and I’ve been busy reading for my exams, so my blogging activity has been pretty lame. But that’s all in the past, now, right?

Because today I have cookies.
Some cookies I have been pr-e-tty exited about to be honest.
For various reasons:

1: I finally got to crack open my giant chocolate bar I bought at the airport in barcelona.
1 kg of pure dark 70% chocolate. Yes, 1 kg! I couldn’t resist that thing, it was coming home with me. Oh, how I love big food. It kinda turns me on…

2: Browned butter. I’ve heard this stuff transforms ordinar cookies into something quite out of the ordinary – and that’s what my eternal cookie quest is all about! Extraordinary cookies!

3: Chilling the dough. I always skip chilling parts in recipes, and I’ve never ever had the willpower or patience to chill (and not eat) the dough. And not having cookies either. But I believe in this. All good food gets better with time – or not all, but a lot of food gets better if you give it time to develope the flavours.

I mean, how can this possibly fail?
I searched the internet widely before finally deciding on the recipe. But these three steps were mentioned in so many “best chocolate chip cookies”-recipes, there had to be some truth to it. Quality chocolate – check! Chilling the dough – Check! And browned butter – Check! I even caramelized and roasted the nuts. Jeez. Those cookies better be good I tell you!

It was a tough battle between recipes, it came down to three, but I finally chose this one from SugarPlum.

Yield: 50 cookies
(Do feel free to half the recipe – how can anyone have 50 cookies around? Not me! And I also replaced walnuts with hazelnuts. I love hazelnuts and chocolate. That’s me.)

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

1 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200 C/375 F.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Boil 1-2 minutes, whisking frequently, until golden brown; stir in walnuts until well coated. Place on a sheet pan, and bake for 5 minutes or until well toasted; cool.

Melt 1 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue to cook the butter, whisking frequently, until it starts to brown and foam, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking soda; stir in 2 teaspoons salt until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup softened butter, brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar until well combined and grainy, about 1 minute; beat in browned butter for 1 additional minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined; stir in chocolate and walnuts with a wooden spoon until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. (You could speed up this process by placing the dough in the freezer for about 45 minutes.)

Drop 1/4 cup measures of dough onto cookie sheet, forming into large mounds, and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown around edges. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

So….the result. The verdict. The bottom line. The reward for beeing able to let the dough chill in the fridge for several days. (Though some of it strangely may have found its way into my mouth.)
Well, actually I’m a little bit disappointed. Not because the cookies were bad or anything, I just didn’t really notice the big-O-difference. With the browned butter, chilled dough and all. Maybe I didn’t brown it thoroughly enough. Maybe I overchilled the dough? But I thought letting it rest for long was a good thing. Or maybe my expectations simply were too high. They tasted delicious either way. A real crunchy outer crust and a chewy center – packed with chunky pieces of dark quality chocolate. I mean, that’s never wrong. Not in my book. But I’m left with a feeling I did something wrong, or missed out on something. I just don’t know what. I guess I just have to work on it. Practise my browning butter skills. Bake another sheet of cookies for a shorter time. I can start that rightaway, cause I froze most of the dough, so I can have fresh cookies at any time. Ahh, Bree van De Kamp would be so proud. My idol. But still. So many people can’t be mistaking and raving about this cookie for nothing, right? Any experiences out there? I want to get this right! Better roll oup the sleeves again, I guess! This cookie buisness is rough.

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Dorie’s chocolate chip cookies

cookies

Now that autumn is here, there’s something in the air. Something besides leaves and water. Something that makes you crave things, like baked desserts, apple pies and to me also cookies! Chocolate chip cookies, to be exact. It might have something to do with the post where I found this recipe as well. Maybe. But still, I’ve had cookies on my mind for some time now, so it was time to put thoughts into action. Like every other baker, I’m on an everlasting search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Though, I’m not sure if I really want to find the perfect recipe, I mean, the fun is searching and trying, right? Anyway, when I stumbled upon this recipe at slowlikehoney, especially with those mouthwatering photos, I knew I had to give it a try. The fact that the recipe was from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, from my home to yours, gave me even more faith in it. I don’t have the book, but I think I have to purchase it on Ebay or something, because I’ve come across so many delicious things from that book, and everybody says it’s great. So, definitely on my wish list!

I remember when I started baking, my favourite thing to make was probable chocolate chip cookies. Only, we didn’t call them that. My mom has a recipe from her mother, and there, they’re called Old Virgins. Or Gamle Jomfruer, in Norwegian. A kinda strange name for a cookie, indeed, but despite the name, I loved baking and eating them. I remember them as crunchier than a regular ccc, but just as good! And back then, (jeez, it sounds as if I’m waaay old) I hadn’t tasted another ccc, so to me, it was the best. But now, with all my cookbooks, and all the recipes on the internet that are available, I felt that my mom’s old virgins could not possibly be the best. I mean what are the chances? But now, many recipes later, I think maybe they’re not so bad after all. They never were bad, but maybe they were actually better than I imagined. I know for sure I’ve made my batches with not-even-close-to-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies. And wouldn’t it be nice if I came back to that recipe, after all that searching? Like closing the sircle. Hmm, interesting thought. I’ll have to make them again soon to taste what they were really like.

But that was a degression and really has nothing to do with these cookies, because they were, I think, pretty close to perfection! Even though I overbaked them slightly, they still had a chewy center and crispy edges, and large chunks of chocolate and roasted hazelnuts. Just the way I like it. And they even remained chewy, or soft, after cooling, which is not always the case. Hmm, I wonder if this could be it? When do you know, really? I mean I can’t really omit that there is a better recipe out there. But maybe I’ll never get my hands on that one, so for now, I think this is as good as it gets. Chocolate chip cookie heaven.

chocolate chip cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?
Origin: “Baking: From My Home To Yours” by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:
● 2 cups/ 4,5 dl flour
● 1 tsp. salt
● 3/4 tsp. baking soda
● 230 grams/ 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
● 2,3 dl/ 1 cup sugar
● 150 grams / 2/3 cup light brown sugar
● 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
● 2 large eggs
● 300 grams 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I didn’t use all that chocolate, half of it was enough for me)
● 2,3 dl/ 1 cup chopped walnuts (I used hazelnuts instead)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven 190 C degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together.

3. Beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth (you can use a stand mixer, but I don’t have one so I used a hand mixer). Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. By hand with a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate and nuts. The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. (Normally, I put it in the fridge for just a half an hour just to firm it up but this time I couldn’t wait. )

4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10 or 12 minutes, or until they brown at the edges and are golden in the center. Pull sheet from oven and allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool to room temperature.

Serve while hot with a large glass of cold milk. Ahh, the sweet smell and taste of home. Try this recipe today, you won’t be sorry.