September 16, 2011

Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies

Having an excess of buttermilk leftover from the scone extravaganza, I decided to have a buttermilk themed meal. After some searching around, I settled on a buttermilk chocolate cookies and buttermilk sorbet. So it wouldn't be a meal, it would be dessert! Although this more savory option made the shortlist, and I hope to try it out soon.

The sorbet is incredibly easy to make, but I thought it came out far too sweet, so I won't share the recipe until after I've had a chance to try it again with less (perhaps even half as much) sugar. If you're eager to get a head start, the recipe I used is here. As a side note, does anyone know the technical definition of sorbet? I had always thought it meant your frozen dessert did not start with a milk or cream base, but now I wonder if actually just refers to any frozen dessert that starts with a simple syrup base? I googled for a while, but found many conflicting answers.

In any case, on to the main event. Chocolate buttermilk cookies. Somehow, in the past year or so, I have unlearned that one stick is a whole half cup of butter, and I have convinced myself that two sticks are required. It started with a chocolate peanut marble cake with caramel glaze, a bundt cake whose recipe instructed me to cream 1/2 a cup of butter. Perhaps because I have made so many bundt cakes that began with the instruction to cream two sticks up butter; I threw in two without paying much attention. I didn't realize what I had done until the cake was in the oven. The result was so delicious that the next time I made that cake I repeated it. It happened again a few weeks ago when I was making some gingerbread cupcakes. This time, I realized what I had done before I added any other ingredients, and in an uncharacteristic health conscious moment, I turned off the kitchenaid, pulled the butter out, and measured back in eight tablespoons (1/2 cup). Starting in on the buttermilk cookies, I read the recipe and thought to myself, "two sticks up butter? That seems like too much. Maybe I'll just use a stick and half and see what happens." Half way in to mixing the batter I started to worry the cookies would turn out too dry, so I decided to compensate for the reduced butter by adding a little bit of extra buttermilk. Needless to say, when I finished mixing up the batter I had something that was far mushier than your average cookie dough. It suddenly dawned on me what I had done.

I pressed on, baking two trays worth of extra-butter, extra-buttermilk, chocolate cookies. They were fudgy and tasty, but I wasn't totally happy with their consistency, so I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the remainder to the batter before baking. The second batch were much more what I was I going for. They were still fudgy, but they didn't flatten out as much as the first batch had (compare those on the lower right of the cooling rack with those on the upper left). I served the cookies to a group of friends who came for dinner, and this audience proclaimed the mistake a success but agreed that the second batch had a slightly better consistency. Both batches, however, had a wonderful tangy-bitter flavor resulting form the combination of the dark chocolate (I used about half of a Trader Joe's Dark, 72%, pound plus bar). The recipe below doesn't include the extra butter or buttermilk, but if you are looking for cookies with an extra melt-in-your mouth factor, a few extra tablespoons of butter should do it!

- Franklin

Chocolate Buttermilk Cookies
Adapted from Baking Bites
Total Time: 40 minutes.
Sweetness Factor: 8; Indulgence Factor: 7; Difficulty Factor: 3; Chance We'll Make Them Again: 10.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick!) unsalted butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Melt the butter (either in the microwave, stirring every twenty seconds, or in a small saucepan over low-medium heat). Transfer butter to a large bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder until dissolved. Whisk in the sugars and the vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture. Whisk in the chopped chocolate.

Using two spoons (or your hands), form the batter into 1-2 tablespoon sized dollops and space about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for ten minutes. Let cool for two minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

1 comment:

  1. I too always struggle to use up buttermilk. I wish they sold it in pint containers like cream and half-and-half. Anyway, I baked 4 loaves of cinnamon swirl bread yesterday precisely to get me though 3 cups of buttermilk. I have probablay 2/3 a cup left...Also, I also thought sorbet means no dairy. But sherbet (possibly same root word -- I think arabic?) apparently can? It's all a mystery. I've seen recipes for buttermilk pudding/panna cotta as another alternative, and finally if you have a lot of buttermilk and milk around (never happens to us) you can make ricotta. But then you'd have to figure out what to make with the ricotta, which I always have trouble with when I actually have ricotta in hand...