I’ve been away from blog posts… super busy with new responsibilities at work which have me quite satisfied but not cooking as much. I am going to try and post more frequently… especially if I can figure a way to do quick posts from my iPhone/iPad since I’m travelling almost every week. If you have good ideas, please leave them in the comments section. I have the WordPress app but it dosen’t format the posts correctly. I’d love to pose my instagram feed but not sure if that works.
Anyway, enough about me- on to some food. Tis the season to make cookies. I thought I’d share with you some tips on how to read and execute a cookie recipe. Along the way I’ll share a recipe that was shared with me by a friend’s mom. These chocolate cookies are un-real. They have a lightly crisp exterior and a moist, almost fudge like interior… It’s a cookie that you don’t so much taste as you EXPERIENCE it…
Check out the recipe after the jump.
Here’s the recipe as my friend’s mom gave it to me. Let me first say, that it is a phenomenal recipe… but I thought I’d share some tips that experienced bakers take for granted. These tips will help the novice baker produce professional results. Speaking of professional results, Ms. Butler — the lovely lady who passed this recipe to me also makes a product called "The Cookie Thing" if you plan on making sugar cookies, pie, or anything that is rolled out you’ll want to get one of these!
The original recipe:
The first thing I do when I get a recipe that I like (I tried one of Ms. Butler’s cookies and it blew my mind!) is convert all of the measurements into weights. Grams to be exact. Grams scale up or down perfectly when you want to make a double or half batch. Here is the recipe converted to grams (this is a double recipe compared to the original because the cookies are that good!) Pro tip #1 convert your recipes into grams.
460g chopped and toasted pecans
453g bittersweet chocolate chips*
90g unsalted butter (6 Tablespoons since they mark tablespoons on the butter wrappers)
88g AP flour
1g baking soda
5g salt (I increased the salt ratio to about 0.5% by weight)
292g granulated sugar
4 large eggs. (Always use large eggs when baking)
12g vanilla extract (use the best quality you can get or make some at home if you can)
453g semi-sweet mini-morsels*
*Ms. Butler has done extensive recipe testing and has a preferred chocolate, but I use whatever’s on sale and the cookies are still amazing. I do like to use the mini morsels for better distribution.
Start with getting your Mise En Place together… don’t just measure as you go get everything ready while your oven preheats to 325F. Pro tip #2: Mise en Place!
After everything is weighed out, place the butter and bittersweet chips in a medium sized bowl. Get a small pot and add about two inches of water. Place the bowl on top of the pot, and the whole assembly over medium high heat to boil the water. This is called a double boiler, it’s a good technique to know; used for hollandaise, and many sauces. Note: only the bitter sweet chocolate gets melted, the mini-morsels will go into the batter whole.
Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer get one! I got a refurbished Kitchen Aid Pro 600 for just over $200 from my local outlet mall and it’s a work horse of my kitchen. You could do this by hand with a whisk but you’re arm’s gonna be sore. Pro Tip #3: Cream your eggs and sugar excessively – about 10 minutes.
Beat the egg and sugar mixture until it lightens in color and increases in volume. Before:
Stir the melting chocolate in the double boiler:
Once your oven is preheated, toast your chopped nuts for about 6 minutes. They should look like this when they are done.
While the nuts are toasting, sift the flour and baking soda. Sifting make the cookies lighter and removes any clumps that may be in the flour. Whenever the flour/baking soda mix is transferred from one bowl to another it goes through a sifter… good practice for all baking.
After the nuts are toasted, mix half of the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. beat it quickly as not to scramble the eggs with the heat from the chocolate.
After the first half of the chocolate is incorporated, mix in the remaining melted chocolate.
When using a stand mixer, make sure to scrape the sides down often, you want to completely homogenize the ingredients and you can’t do that when it’s climbing up the sides of the bowl. Pro Tip #4: Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl!
Sift half of the flour mixture into the melted chocolate/egg batter.
Mix the first half of the flour in completely before adding the second half and mixing completely again.
Pro tip #5: Sift often, sift always.
After the batter is completely together (there should be no white spots in the bowl), add the toasted nuts and mini-morsels. The batter will thicken up significantly.
The batter is almost fudge like at this point:
Now, let the batter rest. Overnight. Plan ahead… if you’re in a pinch, let the batter rest in a fridge for at least a couple hours to let the flour hydrate and some of the chocolate to cool down. Both of these will improve the texture and shape of the cookies. If you have a well equipped kitchen, you can also vacuum seal your batter to speed up hydration and resting. (5 minutes under vacuum = ~20 minutes in the fridge). Get a real vacuum sealer here:
Now, cover the surface of the batter with parchment paper,
place it in the fridge Don’t refrigerate this dough whole in the mixing bowl- it turns into a rock. Best bet is to scoop/portion the cookies and refrigerate on a baking sheet.
and go to sleep… tomorrow, we bake.
Pro Tip #6: Let the dough rest/hydrate!
To portion the dough, you can use a spoon or two, but a small ice cream scoop will give you perfect portions. Uniform size, uniform shape, uniform cooking. Pro Tip #7: Use a scoop!
Season the top of your cookies with coarse sea salt… it really makes the chocolate pop. Pro Tip #8: Season your sweets.
Portion the dough on to parchment paper, place the parchment on a double stacked cookie sheet. The double stacking helps to insulate the bottom of the cookies and prevent burning. Pro Tip #9: Double up your cookie sheets.
Bake the cookies at 325F for 11-17 minutes depending on your oven- you want the sides to just set. I’d take a peek at the cookies after 9 minutes.
Boom. Best. Cookies. Ever.
Ideas for variations:
Use cocoa nibs instead of pecans.
Grind candy canes up and use them instead of sugar.
Clarify the butter, and add up to 20% butter weight in flavorful liquid (espresso, liquor, etc…)
Got a variation or a pro tip? Leave it in the comments section!