Friday, 15 May 2009

THE ZEN OF CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MAKING

Dark and White Chocolate Chip Cookie Nirvana

Achieving a state of higher consciousness through a chocolate chip cookie?

Wouldn't it be grand indeed!
cross-section of a cookie: see the dark and white chocolate strata? pretty neat, eh?

Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, from his gorgeous book A Year in Chocolate: 80 recipes for Holidays and Special Occasions, is such a vehicle to deliver you to cookie nirvana.

You will be enlightened by the delicately crispy exterior that yields to a slightly chewy interior. Unrefrigerated dough baked straight from my mixer yielded a flatter, more uniform cookie. After refrigeration for a few hours, the cookies were more chunky-looking but just as tasty.

The chocolate chip cookies are meant to be gargantuan so as to achieve the proper texture. I made the 3 inch cookie ball doughs and was rewarded with baked cookies that were about 5 inches in diameter. The cookie below was from my first unrefrigerated batch, made straight from the mixer and the above cookies were made from 3-inch balls of refrigerated dough.

The first batch of unrefrigerated dough yielded a baked cookie exterior that was deceptively smooth. It didn't even look like it had much chocolate in it. However, when you break one open, you can see the chocolate strata therein. I used real chocolate bars and not chips (which I think is so important for this cookie): Lindt Dark 85%, and Callebaut white chocolate chunks. The chocolate bars were just broken along their molded lines and since they were kind of big chunks, I found it easier to sandwich them between the raw cookie dough. I didn't want to break up the chocolate too much. I was rewarded by the lovely layers created by this technique.

How could I improve on Mr. Chocolate's fantastic chocolate chip cookie recipe? Well, my adaptation of Torres' recipe was to add white chocolate chunks, which I believe only improved the original recipe. The white chocolate added an almost sweet-nutty, creamy-vanilla sort of flavour and texture that contrasted well with the bitterness of the dark chocolate strata.

I think I overdid it with the amount of chocolate overall (yikes, did I just say that?) because when I adapted the recipe by adding white chocolate, I didn't really decrease the original amount called for in the recipe. There was barely enough cookie dough holding the chocolate together!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Nirvana
makes 3 dozen ridiculously large cookies
adapted from Jacques Torres' A Year in Chocolate

4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour [I used organic, unbleached]
2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 2 1/2 T granulated sugar [I used organic evaporated cane sugar]
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-sized pieces [I used Lindt Dark(85%) chocolate bars and broke along the lines]
1 cup white chocolate pieces [I used Callebaut]
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have ready 2 nonstick cookie sheets, or line 2 regular cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and beat just until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. When all of the flour mixture has been incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate.
  • To shape the cookies, using a tablespoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the dough and, using the palms of your hands, form it into a 3-inch ball. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven, transfer the cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.
  • Store, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
  • [cakebrained note: I keep prepared dough in their 3-inch ball shapes, refrigerated in a ziploc bag for a few days and bake as I need them. I only ever bake 6 cookies on a sheet at one time. This way you have a constant supply of fresh cookies. They're so good hot from the oven! Alternately, you can freeze the cookie balls too and keep them longer, but you may have to add a few minutes to the baking time]






22 comments:

Snooky doodle said...

oh these will take you to heaven with every bite. The chocolate strata loooks so nice. I can t beleive you just said you overdid with the chocolate ha. yummy

Dana said...

I don't really know what to say except I think I need to taste one (or more) of each cookie so I can give a ruling.

Y said...

A whole bunch of chocolate, and a teeny bit of cookie.. It's so crazy, it might just work! ;) (and look and sound delicious in the process..)

Manggy said...

Ooh, that is fantastic! I love how the chocolate just formed a strata like that-- it's like the most decadent filled cookie ever! :)

Elra said...

Sound so peaceful! And delicious too!

Café Chick said...

Thanks for the recipe. It's a very large one, so I may halve it, but I love the chocolate to cookie ratio, ie more chocolate = nirvana. :-)

Elyse said...

Mmm, these cookies definitely deserve the name "nirvana." I love that you've added white chocolate to Jacque's recipe. Yummmmmy! Sorry that I’ve been an absent commenter; I just finished up my law school exams and am finally getting around to my google reader.

Coco Bean said...

Can I have one? I am tempted to start making these cookies right now even though it's 11:00pm. They look and sound like they would be worth it!

Kate - Aapplemint said...

Oh yes, i would love to be in a higher state of higher consciousness with these beauties !!

Juliana said...

Nice cookies...love the way that you post them with flowers, look so soothing. By the way, thank you for visiting my site.

Christie's Corner said...

I've had a stressful day. I definitely need a moment or two or three of zen.

Love your photos.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Wow, that looks fantastic, love all of the photos. The addition of white chocolate sounds dreamy.

Cat J B said...

Oh my, those look delish! I have my own fave choc chip cookie recipe but may just have to change to this one....

thecookieshop said...

Now I'll have to bake cookies AGAIN, all because of this. If someone asks, I'll blame you!

thecookieshopinenglish said...

Sorry, I left you the wrong link. I have an English version, also! Tks for stopping by!

Ivy said...

I love how the chocolate shows in them. Lovely clicks.

Fabjena(TheBestRecipes) said...

Wow, this one should be totaly great! :))

Cakebrain said...

Clumbsy Cookie,
thanks for the commnent! I'm so sorry...my mouse slipped and I accidentally deleted your comment instead of publishing it!

Cakebrain said...

thanks for all your comments everyone! if I could send you all some of these cookies, I would; but of course they're best warm out of the oven!

Kevin said...

Those cookies look so good! Just look at the huge chunks of chocolate in them!

cookies and cups said...

These look sooo good!!!!

Outsourcing Philippines said...

very nice cookie, thanks for sharing it.

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