Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Not long ago in a rather close land, a fair baker set out on a mission to find not one but two chocolate chip cookie recipes worthy of her kingdom's love.  She had found The Crispy many moons ago on one of her first adventures by heeding wisdom from the reigning queen of a far away land.

Since that time, the fair baker, her kingdom, and The Crispy had lived happily ever after.  Or so it seemed. A few years later,  a knight returned from many months out surveying the lands.  When greeting the fair baker on his way to lunch, she inquired about his travels.  He said, "I've searched high and low for something but it seems it can't be found."  "What is it?" she inquired.  "Well, while the kingdom has embraced The Crispy, I've been longing for The Chewy."  She gasped, realizing she'd forgotten to finish the second part of her chocolate chip cookie mission from yesteryear.

For weeks after this encounter, she called for recipes from kingdoms near and far.  Testing every one, some were  underbaked, some were still crispy, and some didn't taste right.  Until... at last, could it be?  She found one!  Thrice she tested the recipe, and thrice she was overjoyed!  When she presented The Chewy to the knight, he, too, was overjoyed.  "Finally, fair baker!  You've done it!"  And then the baker, knight, their kingdom, The Crispy and The Chewy really lived happily ever... especially the dairy farmers.

That was fun but exhausting.  Now, a few important notes about this recipe before you begin:

1. Bread flour, you say?  Hear me out.  On my first trial of this recipe, I used all-purpose flour to see if A.B. was just making an unnecessary fuss about this ingredient.  While the AP flour cookies were good and chewier than my regular chocolate chip recipe, I wanted to do some research and see for myself what the advantage of using bread flour was.  Turns out that bread flour has a higher protein content (12-14%) than all-purpose flour (10-12%).  The higher protein content encourages the product to rise more and have a chewier texture (hey, bread is chewy, isn't it?).  Though, if you don't bake that often, use the all-purpose flour.  Just keep in mind that 1 cup of bread flour = 1 cup + 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour.

2. The mixing of the butter and sugar in this recipe will not be like the creaming typically found in most cookie recipes that involves softened butter. You're basically just thoroughly mixing and incorporating a little air into the sugar and butter here since the latter is already melted.  Don't be worried when it just looks like gooey brown sugar.  That's what you want!

3. Parchment paper.  Here I go again.  It is not necessary, per se, but it does help in this recipe when the parchment paper gives the dough something to adhere to so it doesn't just run all over the place and instead bakes up into a chewy deliciousness.

4. When a batch of cookies is in the oven and the other cookie sheet is cooling, keep the bowl of dough in the refrigerator.  I didn't do this on the first batch and the cookies weren't quite as puffy/chewy as the others.  My cycle was to bake cookies for 7 minutes, rotate sheet, then with about 5 minutes left, scoop out cookies and prepare the next sheet to go into the oven.  But, if you're a faster worker and aren't distracted by Gilmore Girls on TV, use whatever timing works for you.

And the great thing about storing these cookies is that they get CHEWIER each day!  Instead of drying out, especially in this season of heaters and low humidity, they get chewier in the container.  Oh my goodness.  I won't say what cookie I'm referring to, but in my opinion, these totally trump that popular soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie in a red package.  And these have so much more flavor!  Sure, those are soft... but can you taste the brown sugar?  Or the vanilla?  And ohhhhh, the chocolate chips.  If I were a total nerd (which, of course I'm not), I'd have counted the number of chips in each ball of dough.  And hey, that boyfriend that patiently waited for these for months was pretty happy.  Especially since he's gotten three batches of these in the last two weeks.  :)  What can I say, I'm a people pleaser.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Alton Brown's recipe via Food Network)

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons milk (any kind will do)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 F at least 30 minutes prior to baking cookies so that the heat in the oven is uniform.  In a saucepan over low heat on the stove,  melt both sticks of butter, stirring constantly.  When butter is just about melted, remove from heat to cool a bit.  (If you're using the microwave, that's perfectly fine.  Melt butter in heat-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each cycle, until melted.)  Either way, allow butter to cool for about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, sift/whisk (basically, just break up any clumps of flour) together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.  Pour the melted butter into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add both sugars to the same bowl.  Mix butter and sugars on medium speed for about 3 minutes. 

Add the egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla to the bowl and mix until well combined.  Add the flour mixture in four parts, slowly incorporating, until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Using an ice cream scooper or spoons, scoop out about 1 1/2" balls of dough, and place on baking sheet.  Make sure to leave about 3 inches between cookies, because they will spread out when baking.

Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through for even cooking.  Remove from oven and cool completely on rack.  Can be stored in airtight container for up to a week.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, chewy chocolate chip cookies... like a fairy tale come true.