After week upon week of arid heat this summer, Mother Nature has seen fit to balance the scale with torrents of rain and the type of chill that just seeps into your bones. The poor pooch is pretty much wet all day long cuz whenever it’s time to take him for a pee walk he gets an impromptu shower too. Which gets me to thinking, life is messy and when you’re in the details it doesn’t seem to have a rhyme or reason but sometimes the end result gives you that perfectly crispy cookie with a moist gooey center and a harmonious blend of salty bitterly sweet flavor. Cuz if you think about it, who would’ve thought that an almost medicinally bitter bean encased in a leathery pod that looks like a fossilized, moldy, misshapen melon could yield (with generous amounts of fat and sugar) a divine, earthy, bitter yet sweet and unctuously creamy treat. While I’ve experienced the delectable joys of chocooooolate, my brain still thinks, “But these things shouldn’t taste good together.” And therein lies the rub. Sometimes contrasting flavors complement each other’s strengths like sweet and sour and other times just a little bit of salt makes sweet taste sweeter than if you’d added more sugar. And then every once in a while you get a combination that gives you synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Like the spicy and almost nutty flavor cinnamon adds to chocolate chip cookie dough which makes no sense cuz cinnamon by itself is about as nutty as um, water?
For the longest time I tried to make my brother-in-law’s heirloom (we’re talking multiple grandma levels here) crispy, chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookie recipe and failed spectacularly every time. I swear, he’s leaving a key, super secret ingredient out of the recipe. [shakes fist.] And so, in the throes of sweetly-salty-crunchety-yet-chewy cookie withdrawal I turned to one of the movers and shakers in the cookie underworld. While I couldn’t help but customize it to my personal tastes, this recipe from Gourmet has the baking chemical equations to give you that non-cakey, crispy yet tender gooey cookie. By melting the butter and letting it cool to a liquidy solid, the cookies will spread out and more cookie surface area means a crispier outside. I decreased the white sugar content not only to make a less sweet cookie but also a moister less cakey cookie. How? By keeping the brown sugar the same but halving the granulated sugar your sugar has a higher moisture content ratio meaning when they do spread out on the baking sheet they’ll stay moist enough to bend instead of break when you’re
playing with eating them. Switching the chocolate chips from semisweet to bittersweet not only makes it less sweet but also increases the chocolatey flavor. Doubling the vanilla gives you 3.26X (hehe) more delicious flavor and that tiny amount of cinnamon doesn’t taste like cinnamon but instead tantalizes your taste buds with a hint of spicy nuttiness. Oh, and if they don’t magically disappear in the first few days, they make yummy ice cream sandwiches. Quite a few of these have been sacrificed to the-clinical-fellow-netherworld-demagog Attila the Hun, so ice cream sammys don’t appear to be in my future.
You, Me and Cookie Makes… [chomp!]
1) Because of the sugar content and spread of these cookies, they will bake really quickly, almost twice as fast as a regular cookie.
2) Baking is a delicious form of chemistry so while it may be tempting to just use your measuring cups to scoop out flour, resist the temptation and be rewarded with tender, moist cookies. Those who succumb will be subject to dry, tough coasters parodying cookies as scooping packs in ingredients giving you too much flour and altering your chemical ratios. Like not enough leavening agent to flour.
3) Do I really have to use only 1 3/4 tbsp of the third egg? Why yes, Goldilocks, cuz 2 eggs are too little (dry batter with a crumbly cookie, the egg yolk with all its lovely fat gives baked goods their “tenderness”) and 3 are too much (cakey tough cookies cuz the protein from the eggs gives you structure and some rise or leavening). So yeah, 1 3/4 tbsp is just right 🙂
4) Unless you like tough cookies (or any type of baked goods), stop mixing once no lumps/streaks of flour are visible otherwise you will overdevelop the gluten in the flour and more gluten exposure means more protein cross-linking. While that may be good for an elastic chewy bread, elastic chewy cakes are strangely unpopular 😉
3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt **if substituting regular salt use 1/2 tsp
16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled till semi-solid ~15-20 minutes
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs**
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 c (16 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. If not using silicone baking mats grease 2 baking sheets.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat together sugars and butter till light and fluffy. **Beat one egg and pour 1 3/4 tbsp of it into butter mixture and discard the rest of the egg. Add one whole egg and beat till pale and creamy. Repeat with remaining egg. Add vanilla and mix well. On lowest setting, mix flour mixture with butter mixture till just combined (no lumps or streaks of flour visible). Stir in chocolate chips and chill in refrigerator in for 30-45 minutes. (This will make the dough easier to scoop.)
Using a 1 1/2 tbsp cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop dough onto baking sheet ~2-3 inches apart. Sprinkle a little water on your fingers and lightly press down on mounds to flatten them to ~2/3 their original height. Bake till golden brown ~8-10 minutes. With a 13 x 18 inch aluminum baking sheet, silicone baking mats, and ~15 cookies per sheet on convection it takes me 8 minutes. Let cool for ~5-7 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack otherwise your gooey, melty cookies may become eviscerated. Makes ~4 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies. I don’t count the
payoff offering to Attila and his dark overlords.