Baking Diary – Log 24 – 06.04.2014
Hi ya, my regulars. 🙂
I am back! Yay, it has been roughly 2 months since I started blogging again now. I have (hopefully) developed a good habit.
So, it’s time for celebrating. Some months ago, I read quite interesting and tempting statement from the Smitten Kitchen that you are not fully a food blogger unless you have your own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Well, as a semi-enthusiastic food blogger, I was very excited to find mine, and blog about it, and finally become a certified foodie. 🙂
One wise man once said: ” Like the omelet, which many believe to be the true test of a chef, the humble chocolate chip cookie is the baker’s crucible.”
Trying one too many recipe, which is always a good excuse to bake 4 batches of cookies in 1 hour, 3 days a week, I finally have found it. Yes, I found it, MY chocolate chip cookie recipe. Chocolate Chunk Cookies, to be exact, because its chocolate percentage in the dough is even more than the flour itself. Since I cracked THE code, these cookie monsters have been very frequently requested by my customers (yes, I run a little make-upon-request online bake shop, a very small tiny one) and my mother (yes, she is a very picky eater, even more picky than I am), so it should be good, shouldn’t it? This is a version of David Leite’s (the wise man above) Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies; you can read his quest of finding and creating this recipe here, on the New York Times.
Excited yet? Me too. Moving on! Recipes (Adapted from Leite’s Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies) Make approximately 25 25g cookies, 6cm diameter Difficulty: Easy
- 245g (2 cup – 2tbsp) cake flour
- 170g (1 2/3 cup) bread flour
- 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp. sea salt
- 285g (1 ¼ cup) butter
- 150g (2/3 cup) brown sugar
- 100g (½ cup) white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 500g (1-pound) chocolate (chopped into big chunk of at least 1cm. If you can find big chocolate disk like one Leite originally uses, that is beyond awesomeness)
- More sea salt to sprinkle.
Step 1: Sift the flours, baking soda/powder, salt together, set aside.
Here, I would like to share 2 facts that I found very interesting.
Firstly, in my opinion, this recipe has the perfect ratio of bread flour and cake flour in the dough. I am sure before arriving here, you have read else where about the impact of using different flour in baking cookies. I read mine right here, a sequel of Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes by the man Alton Brown of the Food Network, known as The Chewy (bread flour), and The Thin (all-purpose flour), and The Puffy (cake flour).
In summary, as the names suggested, bread flour will make your cookies chewy and thick, all purpose – thin and crisp, cake flour – soft and puffy. Ultimately, the mixed use of both bread flour and cake flour will give you the most enjoyable cookie texture on Earth, thin and crisp on the outside, soft and chewy and thick on the inside, perfection. Experience a little, find your favorite ratio, it’s going to be worth it!
Secondly, this recipe use both baking powder and baking soda. this two leavening agents have different impact on your cookies, which has been beautifully demonstrated here in Tessa’s Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 1 at Handle The Heat. Part 2 which explains the use of different flours and fat is also very much informative. In short, baking powder makes the cookies more cakey and puffy while baking soda makes the cookies spread and thin.The combination of both give the cookies a pleasant crisp and thinness on the outside, still soft on the inside, and a reasonable amount of spread.
Step 2: Cream butter very well until light and fluffy with both brown/white sugar, and sea salt. Before… And after. Here, also a very interesting point in the revolution of cookie making, the use of both granulated white sugar and brown sugar. Cookies that use only white sugar are flat, white, chewy, and slightly crunchy cookies but with little flavor. Meanwhile, cookies that use brown sugar only are thick, brown, and soft with an intense butterscotch flavor. Furthermore, for cookie recipes that use baking soda, it does require brown sugar (an natural acid substance) to react. So the use of both type here produce the perfect cookies with a beautiful brown color and nice spread, crunchy on the outside… (well, we know what’s next, soft on the inside, right, Rose? Well, you got me there, 😉 there are many factors that lead to the same result.), and (here is the important point) a nice, and deep, and rich butterscotch flavor.
In my adapted recipe, I cut the amount of sugar in half, why? Because the original, except for the overwhelming sweetness, is beyond awesomeness. I was devastated and fearless, so one time I dared cutting the sugar amount, and prayed that it turned out alright. Thanks God it did! Still that wonderful flavor and texture, now with more acceptable level of sweetness to me. So, if you prefer sweeter cookies, follow the original recipes.
Step 3: Add eggs in, one at a time. Beat well until combined after each addition. See how beautifully beaten the mix is now. Try not to add all eggs in at once because we need to stabilize the butter-sugar mix. Step 4: Add in the sifted dry ingredients, in 3 additions. Mix until just combine after each addition. Step 5: Add in the chopped chocolate, mix until combine using a spatula. One note is that you SHOULD use the best chocolate you could lay hand on for this recipe. 60% cocoa content is a good start. My dear 1 pound of dark chocolate chunks. 🙂 Step 6: Now, you have a whole heaven of raw cookie dough. OK, you can have a pinch of it, maybe 2 (or 3, or 4, my God, stop me!)… Warning, it is highly addictive. Don’t say I did not warn you! 🙂 Fight the temptation to eat it all raw. Wrap it well in a bowl with cling firm. The dough need a good 36-hour beauty sleep in a fridge to mature. This gives the dough time to fully adsorb the liquid, which in this case is the glutinous liquid of eggs, making the dough drier and firmer, giving it better baking consistency (meaning more evenly browned, same height, and flavor) and a more profound, richer taste of toffee.
I simply could not explain this better than the man himself, so spare some time and read his article. 🙂 A 24-hour would be the minimum for this miracle to start working, but everything changes dramatically at mark 36, so your patience will be worth it! Step 7: After 36 hours resting in the fridge, our Sleeping Beauty is now ready to be awaken. You can start baking now. So preheat the oven to 180 degree C (350 degree F) , using an ice cream scoop, or with such firm and dry cookie dough, a sharp knife is more sufficient. My usual weight per cookie is 25g, which yield a roughly 7-8cm diameter babe. But you can go up to a huge giant individual cookie of 100g, or a mini cookie of 15g, just need to adjust the baking time. After dividing, we have a tray like this. Step 8: Sprinkle a little sea salt on top of each ball, don’t be too generous, it’s time to be a bit stingy here because you just want a just right amount of saltiness to brighten up the butterscotch and chocolate flavor, not to make a savory dish, remember? And don’t fear the verdict of adding salt to a dessert/sweet, I have salt in each and every of my sweet recipes, it’s kinda my thumb rule. A little contrast is what makes everything goes well together, think salted caramel for instance, or adding sugar to boost curry spiciness.
Shh, my secret to nicely spread cookies is to flatten the cookie ball lightly with your hands before baking. 🙂
Step 9: bake them in the preheated oven for approximately 15-20 minutes (it’s really depend on the size, my 25g require about 15-17 minutes, a giant can go up to 25 minutes), until they are golden brown, the edge felt hard to the touch, but the center is still soft. Step 10: Let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. I dare you wait a minute longer ;). And dig in, feeling that crispiness on the outer edge, then warm chocolate coat your tongue, and finally, that chewiness inside just fancy your teeth. And the whole process start all over again, after every bite, it’s like having continuous orgasms, only faster, at better consistency, and more satisfying. >:) It is called “consummate” for a reason, right?
The dough freezes very well, so after a good 36 hour rest, you can shape all into balls, the freeze the balls, then defrost and bake them right away whenever a craving hit you. However, don’t keep the dough for more than 72 hours in the fridge temperature. You can make this well ahead of time, and keep them in an airtight cookie jar for at most a week (but I doubt it survives that long, unless you hide it in a money safe, with 24/7 guard, and a laser protection. Haha, I did exaggerate a bit, but really, it is THAT good!). Wrap it nicely as a gift, and you may have new best friends for life. Every time you want to enjoy a cookie warm, pop it in the microwave for 10-20 second, and you are good to go.
OK, it’s the end of this post. If you read it till this moment, you can see that I seems to be in a good mood writing this post, well I am, and at the same time, I am not really. But the most important thing is keep aiming, and keep moving forward, right?
Until next time,