September 21, 2011

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

A while ago, I became dissatisfied with my rendition of tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. While at first I thought that was heresy, a quick internet search revealed I was far from alone. The recipe, of course, makes an amazing cookie, but perhaps because it is so simple and so good, it holds out the enticing prospect that there could be something just a little more complex that would be even better. Thus, like so many others, I have embarked on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. This isn't a sort of rigorous quest where I make lots of recipes at the same time and then taste them against one another, though. I bake at night and I bake largely to eat, so I don't have either the time or the inclination to produce more cookies than can be eaten in a single sitting. Instead, my quest simply involves making a different chocolate chip cookie recipe every time I want them, which is -- of course -- a lot. So I have baked the NY Times best cookie recipe, and I have made the various Levain bakery knock-off recipes, and I've baked various offerings from different blogs. Nothing has been quite right (though the Levain bakery knock-offs come close...I may have to do a post on those soon).

Last week I decided to try again. I looked through a bunch of different recipes, but I needed something very fast and that matched up with the ingredients I have. And so I decided on one based on Dorrie Greenspan's Chocolate Chip Cookies. As it turns out, it became quite loosely based on this recipe, as I wanted to use muscavado sugar, rather than the light brown she calls for. (I have become obsessed with the dark caramelly taste of muscavado.) And then there were some measuring errors, and some problems finding chocolate chips, and some haste...So in the end, I had my very own cookie recipe. And my verdict was: Pretty good. Not better than tollhouse, and not good enough to end my quest, but a nice something different. These cookies are more caramelly, and have a darker, less sweet, more mature taste in general (I think the dark chocolate and muscavado are responsible). I would almost think of them as an entirely different breed: dark dark chocolate chip cookies.

A note: these cookies taste and cook up MUCH better after the dough has been refrigerated for 24 hours. Ordinarily I wouldn't know that, because I think it is insanity to put together a whole bunch of delicious ingredients and then not taste the final product for 24 HOURS. And, in fact, I baked up a few batches of cookies right away. But then it got late, and I was tired, and I sort of liked the idea of having fresh baked cookies a few nights in a row, so I put the rest of the dough in the refrigerator and baked up a small batch for the next three days. I swear they got better every night. The texture changed from sort of "soft baked" on the first night, to a lovely mix of crispy on the bottom/just baked on the top, and the taste got just a bit sweeter and more vanilla-y. I don't know why, but there you have it.

- Madison

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Dorrie Greenspan
Sweetness Factor: 6; Indulgence Factor: 6; Difficulty Factor: 3; Chance We'll Make It Again: 7.

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown (preferably muscavado) sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tsps vanilla
2 large eggs
8 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans (microwaved for two minutes to "toast" them)

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda in one bowl, set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add the sugars, and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minutes after each egg addition. Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating on low speed for about twenty seconds after each addition. Add the chips and the nuts, and mix on low speed, or by hand, just until combined.

Drop batter by rounded teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Make one batch, to sate your hunger and curiosity. Put the rest of the batter in the refrigerator for 24 hours (or up to three days). Make the rest of the cookies as you desire.

2 comments:

  1. So funny--I just posted a coffee cake using muscovado sugar, so we are on the same page. It's good stuff. I agree about dark chocolate too. I think (whole grains aside) that's what's so genious about Kim Boyce's recipe--she has you chop up bittersweet chocolate rather than use chips. Such a difference.
    I've read the suggestions on letting the batter "age" in the fridge too. I just don't want to wait! Finally, check out the america's test kitchen with browned butter. Those are pretty ah-mazing too. I have a post on it on our blog.

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  2. I was actually thinking of trying those this time, but then I didn't because I thought the recipe made too few cookies (and I was giving some of them away). They are definitely next on my list though!

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