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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about pairs.  So much of the world is replete with pairs.  A pair of jeans, a pair of earrings, a pair of chopsticks, a pair of lungs, Bert and Ernie, Thelma and Louise, Mork and Mindy, Bo and Luke, Bono and The Edge, Ponch and Jon, Tarzan and Jane, Ben and Jerry, fish ‘n chips, PB&J, peaches and cream….you get the picture.  But I really, truly cannot think of a pair I love more, than—Milk and Cookies.

Could anything be more perfect?

I’ve spoken before about how the tradition of after-school milk and cookies didn’t translate across the pond to Ireland.  My beloved Irishman is making up for all those childhood years lost big time as an adult!  To this day, watching him enjoy a simple snack of milk and cookies is like watching a Cirque de Soleil performance–-beyond fascinating.  With delight in his eyes, he savors each cranny of melted chocolate, every leftover buttery crumb; he sips his milk, the way you would a fine wine, timing each sip as if he’s trained for it his whole life.  It’s both hilarious and impossibly endearing.
This recipe for whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies has emboldened him even further.  “Come onnnnn, just one more; they’re good for us”.  I give in.  I love making these cookies GIGANTIC.  I’m talking 4-5 inches round, almost the size of my entire hand.  This allows for a crispy, outer edge before hitting the eye-rolling-to-the-back-of-the-head, soft, gooey center.  You’ll want a napkin on hand for these monsters.  I serve them warm, individually on a plate, and of course, paired with a tall glass of ice cold milk.

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, yields 10-12 gigantic cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

I make small batches simply because I don’t trust myself (or my husband) enough!!  But you can easily double the recipe.  These are best eaten warm from the oven, or later that same day.  Will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

Use the very best chocolate you can find.  Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao, bittersweet dark is my go-to.  I love adding rolled oats, nuts, orange zest, and/or dried cherries or cranberries, and of course, a sprinkling of good sea salt before baking; it elevates chocolate chip cookies from good, to great.

Music Pairing:  Cookie Monster, C is for Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/4 and 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • good sea salt

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.  

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back any bits of leftover grain.  Add butter and sugars into bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  On low, mix until just blended, about 2 minutes.  Add egg, mixing until combined.  Mix in vanilla.  Add flour mixture and blend on low until barely combined, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl.

Add chocolate, hazelnuts and zest to batter.  Using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined.  Scoop 1/3 cup mounds onto sheet, leaving 3 inches between them.  You should fit 6 on a sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 18-22 minutes for the gigantic cookies and 16-20 minutes for smaller ones, rotating halfway through until cookies are evenly dark brown.  Transfer the cookies, still on parchment, to the counter to cool.

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Every once in a while, you come across something that is just so special, so magical, soooo perfect – that you can do nothing except think about it, talk about it, dream about it … best of all, EAT it. True, the viral phenomenon has resulted in hundreds and thousands of postings for the ubiquitous chocolate chip cookie after the article first appeared in the NY Times. Since such a mad, obsessive frenzy developed, is it really worth yet another posting about the sheer genius behind it??

The simple answer: hell ‘yeh.

Who didn’t grow up with warm milk and cookies to soothe your soul after a hard day of finger painting in kindergarten class? Umm.. my beloved T., that’s who. Milk and cookies was apparently not a part of the Irish childhood after school experience. So you can only imagine his delight when he ate devoured his first warm chocolate chip cookie, paired with an ice cold glass of milk. Can we just say life changing? Ever since that momentous day, he asks for warm chocolate chip cookies at least once a week.

Upon reading the article and recipe at first, I was rather skeptical, to say the least. How much better could another chocolate chip cookie recipe possibly be, much less claiming it to be the best chocolate chip cookie? Well, I’ve never been so happy to be oh, so wrong! Who knew a little snooze for the dough in the fridge could make such a remarkable difference? Pure magic. I’ve added a few tweaks to the recipe which, in my humble but accurate opinion (as my cousin would say), elevates this amazing creature even further. It will be mind blowing, I guarantee it. These are the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Oh, and I’ve cut the recipe in half because it is simply too dangerous to have so many floating around the house at once.

best-chocolate-chip-cookies

Best Chocolate Chips Cookies Ever (so good they will break your heart)
Tweaked from Jacques Torres, yields 12 gargantuon cookies

The 60% cocoa content, the larger size of the chip and, of course, the minimum 24 hour waiting time are the key components to the magic of this cookie. Also, be careful not to leave the cookies in the fridge over 72 hours. They will tend to brown much faster when cooked.

Music Pairing: Beck, Beautiful Way

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cups chopped almonds
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 bag of 11.5 oz Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chips
  • sea salt

Method

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mixing well.  Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Add rolled oats, almonds and orange zest. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.  Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Scoop 6 mounds of dough (about 1/3 cup each) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 16 to 20 minutes (depending on oven).

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.  Serve warm with a tall glass of icy cold milk.

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