Friday, January 23, 2015

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Finally, finally, finally baked a chocolate chip cookie I was happy with! Give me a thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie, alongside a well made coffee, and I am in bliss. This, after so many failed attempts at baking the kind of cookie I love.

I tried so many different methods like keeping the just made cookie dough in the fridge from 24-48 hours before baking, baking cookies as soon as I complete the dough, less sugar, more brown sugar, no baking soda, only baking powder, melted butter, softened butter, corn starch, etc, etc. but they never turned out the way I liked. Almost every time, they spread and would be flat discs by the time they cooled. Some may enjoy a thin, chewy on the inside, crispy edge cookie, but it just doesn't float my cookie boat.

Which brings me to my point that baking is a science. So many factors can lead to different types of cookies or baked goods.  It's not like cooking, where you can throw a bunch of ingredients together and taste as you go to create a dish. Which, I know to some, sounds daunting. Most of my readers love measurements, so I try my best, but believe me when I say this, it's okay if you are not exact in your cooking!  There is room for experimentation/error in cooking.

Baking however, requires exact measurements and weights. It is mostly the reason I never really enjoyed baking, and loved the creativity of cooking with whatever I had on hand with no measurements as a guide. Basically, I cooked like my dad. Now that I enjoy baking and even have made a small business of it, I am very aware of my measurements and take into account every grain of flour because it is so important in making sure your baked goods turn out.

There are many articles out there in the internet world regarding the science behind different types cookies. If you're a cookie baking fanatic, I suggest you Google "cookie science," or "science of baking cookies," or follow this link to my favorite article about the science of baking your favorite type of cookie.

If you read my blog, you'll notice I posted a brown butter nutella cookie recipe almost 2 years ago, and although great cookies, they too were on the flatter side. I think these are better!

My cookie recipe yields a thick cookie, with a chewy center, and slightly brown bumps on top. I use good quality dark chocolate chips,  salted european butter, toasted nuts, and as always, a sprinkle of sea salt on top.  I just got back from a trip to Napa, and went fan girl crazy in Dean & Deluca. One of my buys was vanilla bean salt. I have been craving chocolate chip cookies since that day almost 3 weeks ago.  And my not so secret ingredient, is instant coffee! It gives the cookies a richer, deeper flavor. Trust me on this. If this sounds like a good cookie to you, definitely give them a try!

I would love to know how they turn out for you. You can tag me on instagram with #liveloveatrepeat.

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: A baker's dozen (aka 13 cookies)

7 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 + 1/4 cup all purpose flour, unbleached + extra
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso granules
1 cup toasted nuts (your choice, I prefer large walnut pieces)*
1 + 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Sea salt to sprinkle tops (optional)

*To toast nuts, put them in a pan on medium low heat and shake around until they begin to smell nutty. Take them immediately off of the burner and into a bowl to cool

Pop the butter in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 10-15 seconds. You want to the butter to be just slightly melted. Let cool.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and instant coffee or espresso.

In mixing bowl, combine cooled butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the bowl, and add the vanilla and egg, beating until fully incorporated.

Add the flour and beat on low speed until combined.  Add a tablespoon at a time of the extra flour until the dough comes together with minimal dough sticking to the bowl. I used about an extra 1/4 cup of flour.

Mix in the chocolate chips and cooled nuts.

Let the cookie dough chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out dough, and then with your hands make a scraggly ball. I'm pretty sure scraggly is a word. In order to get the nice bumps in your cookie, you want the top of your cookie to not be smooth when you scoop out the batter. So basically, form it into a rough ball. If I'm not making sense, just make a ball. It'll still be a cookie.

I was able to fit 6 on my first batch, and 7 on my second, on the cookie sheet. Bake one tray at a time for 9-11 minutes. At minute 5, I sprinkled on the vanilla bean salt (or any sea salt) onto my cookies and promptly closed the oven door to cook for the remainder of 5-6 minutes. Once you see small brown spots on top of the cookie, or the edges are BEGINNING to brown, the cookies are ready. Let cool, or eat them straight out of the oven. Up to you!