choc chip cookie bake-off
B and I are having a few of his work mates over for dinner in a couple of weeks and all the courses are sorted, except for dessert. We are toying with the idea of an adult version of milk and cookies – I made a lovely milk ice-cream (essentially Heston Blumenthal’s recipe, made without the dry ice) a while back which would be great served with some chocolate chip cookies. Not having made any before I thought I’d do a cookie bake-off and see which pair best. I trawled the internet and came across Martha’s Espresso Double-Chocolate Chunk Cookies which I liked the sound off. I knew I definitely wanted to include a traditional chocolate chip cookie with a light coloured dough so decided to tweak Ottolenghi’s Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookie recipe, replacing the dried cranberry and white chocolate with dark chocolate. Lastly I wanted to do a more sophisticated version, and remembering that Green & Blacks do a caramel-filled chocolate bar, thought a Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie could work. So I got baking, making 4 batches back-to-back (I did 2 batches of the espresso ones – one with milk chocolate, the other with dark), with all the chopping, sifting, whisking, beating, waiting for oven time and washing up in between it took an entire afternoon.
The results were a bit of a mixed bag, the espresso with dark choc chips was a bit of a let down, rather hard and crunchy, kind of like a dried up brownie. I lessened the cooking time on the batch made with milk choc chips after seeing how the first lot turned out and they turned out better, slightly softer in the middle and the milk chocolate took the edge off the bitterness of the espresso, they were good but not spectacular. The oats and dark chocolate ones on the other hand were incredibly moreish – thin, slightly chewy but also crispy, the oats gave them a nutty flavour. The salted caramel choc chips were also a success, I tweaked a basic double choc chip cookie recipe, using caramel chocolate instead of regular and adding extra salt to the dough and a sprinkling of fleur de sel on the top. The cookies were soft and chewy, and the salt and chocolate pairing was fantastic.
Oaty Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from the Ottolenghi cookbook)
90g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g soft brown sugar
25g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g whole rolled oats
100g good quality dark chocolate (at least 60 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
Put the butter, vanilla and sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is lighter in colour and texture. Gradually add the egg, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. Add the flour mixture and the oats, then the chocolate. Do not continue mixing once the dry ingredients are blended in.
Chill the mixture slightly to help you shape the biscuits. Scoop out a bit of the mix with a spoon and use your hands to roll it into a ball, somewhere between the size of an olive and a walnut. Press the balls lightly on to baking trays lined with baking parchment, spacing them about 6-7cm apart.
Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are a good brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays before serving.
Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Cookies
makes about 36
100g all-purpose flour
55g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse salt
250g caramel-filled milk chocolate (I used Green & Blacks), coarsely chopped
230g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
fleur de sel (or other good quality coarse salt)
Preheat oven to 165°C. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Melt half of the chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly.
Place chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon (or you can use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed). Once mixture is smoother and lighter in colour gradually mix in flour mixture until combined. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate.
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each dough pile with some fleur de sel. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces crack, about 15 minutes (cookies should be soft).
Remove from oven amd sprinkle each cookie with a little more fleur de sel and let cool on parchment on wire racks. Cookies can be in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.
~ by gourmettraveller on July 10, 2009.