They almost didn’t make it all the way to baking, that’s how much cookie dough (fine, and chocolate chips) I sneaked. This is why I’d never be able to work in a professional kitchen and maintain food safety, my saliva would be on every piece of equipment.
It’s birthday season again! Tomorrow we celebrate my sister’s step into the deep dark void known as teenagehood. The cake is in the making (which I shall post about tomorrow), but she was also not-so-subtly hinting/demanding/threatening that I make something for her to share at school. To win her brownie points with potential group project members, no doubt.
Everyone likes chocolate chip cookies. They’re quick to mix which is appreciated on a hot summer’s day like this. Although, thanks to the heat, my frozen logs of dough were the consistency of soft butter by the time the last few slices were cut.
For the majority of the cookies I baked them more on the crispy side for easier maneuvering for my sister to distribute. The rest were softer in the middle for the chocolate lava effect that I lust after.
For added complexity of texture and flavour, I like adding nuts to my cookie dough. They don’t intrude upon the chocolatety flavour so much, but provide decent crunch. This time I added some almonds, pistachios and coconut cream coated peanuts just because we happened to have them around. Hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans etc. would be nice as well.
To personalise them further, I finely ground a few pieces of blackened orange peel and added that, which added a deeper, earthier tone than the straight up brightness that zest tends to add.One last thing: have people come up with an unanimous choice of flour to add to their cookies? Some recipes call for bread flour for a chewier cookie, while others swear by pastry flour for a more tender crumb. I compromised and went for an intermediate protein content, as I don’t want to feel like I’m chewing on a piece of steak, nor is a cake-like texture ideal for something that should have a bit of body to them.
Not-so-classic but still my fav choc chip cookies (yielded 29)
115g unsalted butter
90g brown sugar
80g white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
175g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
200g chocolate (I used 70% dark)
up to ~110g mix-ins
Measure out and bring all the ingredients to room temperature, which takes all of 10 seconds in Brisbane weather. If you’re adding nuts you may like to toast them first. Chop the chocolate into ~1.5cm pieces, and roughly chop the nuts.
Rub the zest in with the sugar until the oils from the zest come out and moisten the mixture. Cream the butter, salt and sugar mixture together until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the egg and vanilla, give it a spin to emulsify. Sift the flour and soda together, add them in and mix on the lowest speed just until the flour is gone. Stir in the chocolate and nuts.
You may notice the dough is not quite stiff, it therefore needs to chill before baking. There are a couple of ways to do this. 1) Cover the bowl and refrigerate the entire dough, and portion out with a scoop/spoon later; 2) Portion them out now on the tray and refrigerate the covered tray; 3) Spread the dough out on baking paper in a thick snake and twist to form a log, which was the method I used. Make sure the logs are thoroughly chilled and hardened before you try to cut, otherwise you’ll have a hard time portioning equally like I did.
Slice 1cm rounds and place them at least 5cm apart on a tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 15-20 minutes, depending on whether a softer or crunchier cookie is desired. They’ll harden considerably upon cooling, so don’t let them completely harden in the oven or they’ll be very dry and abrade your gums.
Cool on the tray until okay to handle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (though I can never, ever wait).
Dough can be stored salami-style in an airtight container/bag for a few months.