Baking, Cookies

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Jacques Torres

I was skeptical of this recipe because it called for several ingredients that I didn’t have and they were expensive! I didn’t even know what “feves” were until I googled it!

Just finding these ingredients was an adventure in itself. I found the Swans Down cake flour at Target, King Arthur bread flour at Wal Mart, and Dagoba chocolate drops (73% cacao content) at Whole Foods. CAUTION these three ingredients alone, cost over $14!  So, this recipe isn’t very friendly to the wallet, but it truly is a gourmet cookie!

Recipe (Adapted for my purposes):

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 (oz) package of Dagoba chocodrops (Found at Whole Foods for $7.99)

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. (Make sure butter is room temperature!) Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and stir gently. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

4. Using a spoon, scoop dough into generous sized golf balls. Bake until golden brown for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. (The dough was very hard, so I couldn’t use my regular cookie scooper.  You’ll probably have to make the balls by hand, the old fashioned way.  I would suggest rolling as many balls as possible and sticking them on a plate in the refrigerator.  That was they are ready to go, once you have a free pan.)  ** Only put 6 cookies on a standard cookie sheet.  These will spread!  Cool for a few minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack.
Don’t skimp on the flours! Bread and cake flours are an absolute must! (It might take some time to gather all these ingredients. I couldn’t find cake flour at Whole Foods, but found it at Target! Go figure!)

These cookies are soft and chewy, but durable enough to be packaged for gifts. My cookies came out to be 3.5” in diameter. They were bigger than your average cookie, but not ginormous! While baking I was concerned that they weren’t going to “spread” enough, but they actually did in the last 5 minutes of baking! So, don’t be alarmed if they don’t spread right away. Be patient!

I’m calling this my “gourmet” chocolate chip recipe, because they look and taste professional!

 

Original recipe found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html

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Baking, Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies!

My boyfriend requested that I make oatmeal butterscotch cookies.  I never thought of this combination before, so after much research, I was lead to this recipe from AllRecipes.com  The reviews were mostly positive, so I figured why not?

I was concerned that this recipe was not going to make 4 dozen. Prior to adding the oatmeal and butterscotch, there wasn’t a lot of dough.  I thought 3 cups of oatmeal was a lot, so I only added 2 cups at first.  But you really need 3 cups of oatmeal, so don’t be afraid adding that last cup.  These cookies spread nicely on the baking sheet.  (I would recommend using parchment paper.)  Make sure to let them sit for 3-4 minutes on the pan, before transferring them to a wire rack for cooling.

I came up a little short on 4 dozen cookies, I got 46!  Not bad though!

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter, softened (1.5 sticks)

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.  In stand mixer beat butter, white sugar and brown sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla.

Slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture into incorporated.   Stir in the oats and the butterscotch chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment or slip mat. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges begin to brown.  (I had to bake mine for 12 minutes.)

Original recipe found here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/oatmeal-butterscotch-cookies/detail.aspx

Baking, Cookies

Samoa Cookie Bars!

Made these for my coworkers back in April, just now I get around to blogging about it.  It was a pretty successful recipe: tasted great!  (This recipe does require a lot of TLC though; it sure takes a long time.)  Did change the order of putting this together and one little step at the end, read all the way through.

Recipe is from Baking Bites:  http://bakingbites.com/2009/02/homemade-girl-scout-cookies-samoas-bars/

Step 1: Coconut Topping

  • 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 300.  Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides). Toast for about a total of 20 minutes, stir/check on it every 5 minutes.  Coconut will be golden when done.  Remove from oven, cool, and set aside.

** I did this part first, because this required the oven to be at 300 degrees and the cookie base at 350 degrees.  I wanted to gradually increase the temperature on my oven.**

Step 2: Cookie Base:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Set oven to 350F. Make the crust.  Line a 13×9 pan w/ parchment paper.  (It’ll be easier to lift out and cut then.)

In a electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla extract.  Slowly beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand.  (Don’t overbeat!)   Pour into 13×9 pan and make crust even with hands.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Step 3: Chewy Topping

  • 12-oz of chewy caramels (I got a bag of these from Target.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk (used 2%)

Begin with a double boiler on the stove.  Unwrap the caramels and add the milk and salt.  Cook on high until the caramels, milk, and salt are melted together.  Remove from heat, add the toasted coconut.

Evenly spread over shortbread base using a spatula.   Let harden/cool

Step 4: Putting it all together

  • 10 oz of chocolate chips

When cooled, cut into bars.  (Lift from the parchment paper to make it easier to cut.
Melt chocolate chips in double boiler (or microwave in short intervals.)  I used the double boiler method.  Using an offset spatula spread a layer of chocolate onto the base of the bar.  (I tried dipping, but then the base would crumble and make my chocolate messy.)  Place on wax  paper or silicon baking mat to dry.

Take remaining chocolate mixture and put in zip lock bag with the corner cut off.  Drizzle over cookie and make a pretty design.  =)

Store in airtight container and enjoy!!!

Baking, Cookies

Snickerdoodles


This year I inherited the book, 1001 Cookie Recipes: The Ultimate A-To-Z Collection of Bars, Drops, Crescents, Snaps, Squares, Biscuits, and Everything That Crumbles. The previous owner of the book had only tried 1 recipe out of 1001, so I was skeptical of the potential results.

Browsing through the many recipes, I noticed that most of them called for vegetable shortening. Shortening is an ingredient that I try to avoid. I don’t consider myself a “health freak,” but I try to avoid unnecessary calories when appropriate.

The ORIGINAL recipe (as seen in the book) – pg 387:

Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Abbreviated instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt
  • In large bowl, cream shortening (or butter), and sugar. Beat in eggs. Beat in vanilla extract. Gradually blend the dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pinch off 1 inch pieces of dough and roll into balls. (Or use a cookie dropper.) Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.


Instead of (my substitution):

  • Vegetable shortening – I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter Cooking and Baking


Some pictures:

In the cinnamon sugar.

On the baking sheet.

Final Thoughts:

  • Would I make them again? Yes. These cookies (even using a butter/shortening substitute) were very soft and cake-like.
  • Suggestions: Before baking, press dough slightly on baking sheet so it doesn’t look like a perfect ball. Just a nice circle will do.