Travellust.


Relaxing in the kitchen.
24 June, 2007, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

cookies.jpg

It’s summertime, so that means that the food and beverage industry is making its way down into a sales valley. It doesn’t mean we go broke, it just means that it’s a little slower than say, the fourth quarter. But, lets be honest, down time is never a bad thing is it?

Tonight I had the opportunity to take off. So what did I do? Bake of course. After last week’s four-course dinner party for eight, I’ve been avoiding the stove at all costs. It’s not that it was labor intensive, but cooking in the heat, in the heat has lost it’s appeal (no matter how good your A.C. is). However, when I left work tonight, I realized it had almost been a week since I had turned the oven on and the itch was becoming more and more persistent.

I consulted a friend who has access to great semi-sweet chocolate chips, so I called in for a favor in return for a finished product and got on my merry way. “Favorite” chocolate chip cookie recipes remind me of a question that I get asked at work all the time by guests: “What is the best steak on the menu?” In response, I sincerely explain to them that “the best steak” is a truly “personal preference”, much like how they like that steak cooked. Truth be told, by the age of sixteen, ok maybe 20, most people have figured out what kind of steak they like, whether it’s a well-marbled rib eye, or a petite filet mignon. On that note, I also think that by the same age people have the same understanding of what kind of chocolate chip cookie they like. Chewy, crunch, thick or thin?

For me, the most important quality of a cookie, regardless of its shape, size or the kind of chocolate that it contains (because good quality chocolate should always be a given), is that it stay chewy after completely cooling. Now I know that certain name brands come out of the oven oozing and gooeing chocolate, but give it twenty minutes and I promise they will harden like rocks.

I cannot recall how I found this recipe, but it lit up my taste buds and many others at an “upscale” tailgating party. I won’t tell you that they will be especially chewy after a couple of days, as moisture is a hard variable to control. But, I am sure that if you follow the directions the chips will stay chewy and gooey until they’ve all disappeared. My best advice with these cookies as with all things baked is to store them in a cool and dry place.

*Note: This is a great base recipe, so go wild with the sweet stuff; you can certainly substitute for M&Ms, white chocolate, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Saveur Magazine at Saveur.com

Ingredients

2 1/8 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon table salt

12 tbsp. unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), melted and cooled slightly

1 c. brown sugar (light or dark, I’ve always used light)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (be sure to use the good stuff; remember: garbage in – garbage out)

1-2 c. chocolate chips (semi or bitter; I usually lean more towards two cups; please see the note on vanilla extract)

Method

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

Form scant ¼ cup dough into ball. (*you can change the size here depending on how big or small you want the cookies; my experience shows that these turn into very big cookies, so if you’re thinking about ice-cream sandwiches, I would go smaller)

Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted.

(Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes).

(Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

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