Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best-Ever Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Despite consistent spectacular failures, I still fall for NYT recipes so it should as no surprise that I am also seduced by online recipes that claim to be for must-have foods from trendy eateries or, in this case, a trendy coffee shop.  Seriously, how could anyone resist a review that starts out:  “ By mid-afternoon, the line at Culture Espresso stretches out the door and onto the sidewalk. Once inside, Midtown New York City office workers are handed white paper cups with artful foam and, if they are smart, a chocolate chunk cookie as big as a basketball player's palm, still warm from the oven.”?

Further along are claims that all the recipes used by this gastronomic wonder were created by a Culinary Institute of America-trained pastry chef.  What could possibly go wrong?  Perhaps if I had examined the recipe closely before making it, I would have seen exactly what was wrong with this recipe.

There are two differences between the Tollhouse Cookie recipe and this one, one probably unimportant and one very important.

The first difference is that this recipe calls for “European –style unsalted butter” which is purportedly higher in fat than our American unsalted butter, 84% vs. 80%.  However, no reason why higher fat is better is offered.

The other difference is the sugar, specifically the lack of brown sugar.  As I was measuring it, I thought to myself that these cookies were going to be really tasteless without the depth of flavor offered by the molasses in brown sugar.

And I was so right.  These cookies are completely tasteless except for the chocolate chips.  The texture also leaves something to be desired.  The edges are crunchy and the middle barely chewy.  All in all, a huge, huge disappointment.

One good thing came out this: my new cookie scoop.  I had a $5 off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond.  The cookie scoop was one of the items I picked up (it’s amazing how much money I will spend just because I can get $5 off!).  Scooping out the dough was so much faster and easier than trying to get a consistent amount of dough on a spoon.  And the cookies were much more uniform in size and shape.  I can’t wait to use it again!

Verdict:  A total waste of time and ingredients.

Best-Ever Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(Source:Yahoo Shine )

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) European-style unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chunks

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between additions and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix. On low speed or by hand, stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, mixing until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Using a cookie scoop, ice cream scoop, or two spoons, form dough balls and place on prepared cookie sheets with a few inches of room in between. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 F with rack in the center. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. 

Bake for 10-13 minutes (depending on the size of your dough balls), until they are golden brown around the edges and puffy in the center. Let cookies cool a few minutes on baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Recycle: vanilla bottle
Compost: eggshells