Friday, May 05, 2006

poker: part 2

I had a hard time deciding what to make for poker. I really wanted to make a cake, but ultimately came to the conclusion that it just wasn't good poker food. I then decided cookies were the way to go. It's easy finger food. I went simple and made chocolate chip cookies.

I have been experimenting with various chocolate chip cookie recipes. I like the toll house variety, but I think it's just because it brings back fond childhood memories. I use to bake a lot when I was young pup. Anyway, I have a really hard time making "pretty" chocolate chip cookies. The edges are always too crispy and they fall flat. Over the course of experimentation, I've learned a lot. It's important to make sure the cookie dough is fully chilled. It's important that the baking sheet isn't hot when putting drops of cookie dough onto the sheet. My edges are crispy because my oven is too hot. Things like that.

I still haven't found the perfect cookie, so I tried the "Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Baking Illustrated. It's an interesting recipe because it uses 1 egg and an extra egg yolk and the butter is melted.

I was pleased with how the overall look of the cookie. They were big and looked pretty good. I used the chocolate chips from Trader Joe's. I had a lot of reservations about using these chips. I was afraid that they wouldn't melt properly and wouldn't give the cookie the right chocolatey gooeyness. Nestle chips melts well, but some of the others don't i.e. Hershey's. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The chocolate melted perfectly and on the plus side the chips are bigger than your average chocolate chip. I will definitely use Trader Joe's chips from now on as they are far superior to any of the other chips I've tried.

Overall the cookies were pretty good. They were a little bit chewy, but as they sat overnight, they definitely became a lot chewier. I know this because I had one for breakfast. I also would have liked them to be a little bit sweeter. I like cookie dough that is good enough to be eaten straight from the bowl. How else am I going to get salmonella? This batter wasn't really sweet enough to do that. I will have to test out some more chocolate chip cookie recipes soon.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 18 Large (I came out with 15)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nostick cooking spray.
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.
4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with teh fingertips of both hands an pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the havles 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the havles together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough's uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2.5 inches apart.
5. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden ye tthe centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through thte baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

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