Friday, September 25, 2009

Chocolate chip cookies

Oh It has been a big while since my last post. Not that I was travelling or busy with my work. I was busy baking, photographing and researching (of course, food-related). There are long long long list of items that I wanted to blog about. I wrote down on paper and post-its that I sticked around my kitchen walls. Okay, one by one. phew..w..w.

Chocolate chip cookies is a sinful snacks. Or you can consider it a meal if you have them from Levain. Here is my version with less fussiness. I just melt the butter in micorwave rather than cream it for 15 minutes as usual recipe calls for. I also opt to use bread flour, which tend to absorb more liquid than normal all-purpose flour. The reason i use bread flour is that , in shanghai, it is a lot easier to source bread flour (as you know, steamed buns are popular here.). Also, if you need the chewiness, bread flour would not hurt the texture. However, if you have all-purpose flour, you can simply use it , with same portion.

I like this recipe, especially with a touch of salt. It is just good that way. I normally reduce sugar to 90% (see recipe below). Storing: they are good 'outside' the fridge for a couple days. Best is to munch right away from the oven. So far I failed to keep them moist beyond day 3 even if I put them on Ziploc back. On day 4, they just turned into crisp and hard cookies no matter how they were stored, i.e. in Ziploc bag, in air-tight container, in the fridge or on kitchen counter. I found a tip on a web site that recommend putting a piece of fresh apple in the cookie jar. It claims this would help maintain the moist for a few days. But I wonder if those pieces of apple would turn rotten after 1 day (???). Would the cookies moist and molded? I don't know. If anyone try this, let me know.

This recipe makes 750 g of dough. So , if you make 30-g dough (for 3-inch diameter cookies), this batch yields 25 cookies.

No fuss Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies -

2 C of bread flour (255 g or 9 oz) or alternatively, all purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
½ C of brown sugar
1 C of granulated sugar
1 tsp of table salt
1+1/2 sticks or ¾ C of butter (170 g or 6 oz)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp of vanilla extract
52% (dark) chocolate chuck, chopped.
Salt (sprinkle on unbaked cookies)

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside. Make sure the brown does not clump up.

Micarowave butter in medium heat until completely melt (should not bubbling), mix in sugars. Stir with fork until they are completely incorporated and that you cannot see streaks of butter. Before mix in eggs, ensure butter mixture is not too hot. You can just simply poke a clean finger in the mixture and feel if it is too hot for your finger tip. If it is okay, pour in the eggs. Stir vigorously for half a minute until well-blended. Add vanilla extract, stir to combine

Add wet ingredients to the dries (or do it the other way around if you do not want to dirty too many bowl). Stir with fork until well blend. The good thing about making chewy cookies is that, it is a study animal, you don’t have to be kind. Just stir, smash, flip or do whatever to mix the dough.

Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap. Push down the plastic so that it touches dough surface. And rest in the fridge until firm to make a ball, around 2 hours. For best color and taste, NYtimes recommend 24-36 hours rest in the fridges.
Talking aboug fridge, mine is not working well lately. I guess it is one of the very old models when anti-frost has not yet invented. So, whenever it was frosted, it stopped working. It just died. Then one day I found out my congee turned into “Gee” (as in "Gee! What is that smell!").

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 325 F. If you want giant cookies, say 4-inch diameter, make 40-45 g of dough and then add dark chocolate chunks. I normally make 25-30 g dough, which yields 3-inch diameter, the right size to cure my crave.

Put the dough on the tray, lined with un-greased parchment paper, 2-inch apart. Flatten them down a bit. ***This is important*** Sprinkle salt very lightly on surface before you put the tray in the oven.

****this is also important (yes, notice 4 asterisks here!)**** bread flour differs in each location. Their ability to absorb liquid differs and this results in wet or dry dough that later reflect on the shape of cookies. The dough may not flatten at all. So, I suggest you try baking one cookies first and see if it flats out properly.If not, in the next batch, you can just flatten them down with your finger tips to the desired shape before baking.

Bake for 10-15 minutes for smaller cookies (25-30 g ball) , or 25 minute for giant cookies. Rotate the tray half way through to get them evenly browned.

They should be just a little dry out on the edge/surface but soft in the center. If you have thermometer, it should register 85C in the center. Do not over-bake or they will be just dry and hard. If the oven is too hot, the cookies will get burnt before they are done.

Remove from hot tray and cool on the rack.

Enjoy while they are warm. Got milk?