Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Baker's Crucible: Chocolate Chip Cookies


The New York Times has pronounced that 'like the omelette, which many believe to be the true test of a chef, the humble chocolate chip cookie is the baker’s crucible'

Liking nothing but a darn good baking challenge, I set out to meet my baking match.

[I feel at this stage we need cheering audiences, strobe lighting and an over-excitable man with a booming loudspeaker to announce me in my pinny in the red corner and the mighty chocolate chip cookie in the blue corner]

There are 2,180,000 recipes for chocolate chip cookies on google. Where to start?

Really a chocolate chip cookie recipe ought to come from an American baker. I mean, Americans grew up on the chocolate chip cookie. We Brits grew up on the hob nob. Its just not the same.

Martha Stewart, Dorie Greenspan et al all have their own versions, but many American baking blogs refer to Alton Brown as the King of the Cookie. No, I hadn't really heard of him either. A quick wikipedia later and I can reveal he is host of foodie shows such as Iron Chef America (cooking while weight lifting I'm thinking) and Feasting on Asphalt (apparently not a programme devising interesting ways of cooking with concrete, but a progamme exploring eating on the move). So now you know.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients

227g butter
304g bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
32g caster sugar
160g light muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
250g dark chocolate chips

(the above are the UK conversions from the American 'cups' measurements, the original of which can be found on The Food Network. Conversions courtesy of All Recipes)

1. Heat oven to 375 F, 190 C, Gas Mark 5
2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat
3. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside
4. Pour the melted butter into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugars. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed.
5. Add the egg, yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined
6. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
8. Chill the dough
9. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet
10. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes, and keeping a close eye on them until they are done.

Some tips...
  • This recipe makes a couple of dozen cookies. They tasted great.
  • In terms of chilling, some of the New York bakeries chill their doughs for 36 hours. I chilled mine overnight (about 24 hours in total). According to The New York Times the original creator of the chocolate chip cookie would let her dough rest overnight, and this results in a 'richer, with more bass notes of caramel and hints of toffee'. Many chocolate chip recipes I've been reading state three hours of chilling will suffice
  • You may wish to rotate the baking sheet for even browning half way through baking
  • The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days, although I think they are at their best warm, fresh out of the oven with a glass of milk. Just like in the U S of A.



5 comments:

  1. These look really good! Can you make some more and bring them home? Xx

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  2. yumm....bet they're better than new york cookies!

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  3. Ohh Evi, you've given me a great idea, perhaps our next holiday should be to come over to NYC and check the cookies out!
    Beth, will see what I can do, although I'm thinking to make some other Easter goodies to bring back...xx

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  4. yummy!
    found your blog from joy the baker's blog!
    it's very cute :o)

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  5. Thanks ever so much Katie! Really glad you enjoy reading it! Kate

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