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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies

There has been so many great new cookbook releases this spring, I can barely keep up! What's wonderful about these titles are the quality of material coming from Canadian authors: Sara Britton of My New Roots, Rosie Alyea of Sweetapolita, and Tara O'Brady of Seven Spoons. I meant to do a post for each book as they released, but the weekends just seem to fly by (why aren't weekends three days instead of two?).

But I had three beautiful bars of chocolate, the cookbook, and Tara's post to get me off my butt to make something. Plus, who can resist basic, great chocolate chip cookies?
Look how beautiful the tasting bars are! I've never used Valrhona chocolates before, but I've heard about their excellent reputation. Plus, they're always getting mentions in cookbooks where chefs repeat: use quality products. Really, I felt like Charlie from the Chocolate Factory when I ripped off the gold foil and saw the gorgeous design on these bars.
I felt like I was destroying art chopping up the chocolate bars. But at least they had a guideline of grids on it. You can chop them up a bit smaller, but I wanted to be able to taste each different chocolate piece in the cookie.
Do you like the sweet and salty combination? I found that the little sprinkle of sea salt on top was strong, so don't go overboard! Just put less than a pinch on top of the batter.

Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady
(Makes about 24 cookies)

1 cup of unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
210 grams of chopped chocolate (Tara calls for 340 grams of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate)
Flaky sea salt (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 360°F (180°C) - don't forget to check with an oven thermometer. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter in a saucepan and melt on the lowest setting. You want the butter to melt, but not sizzle and lose moisture.
  3. Take a chef knife and chop up your chocolate. I used three 70 gram bars of 32% cacao, 46% cacao, and 72% cacao. I combined all three together so that the cookies would get a mix of blond, milk, and dark chocolate bits in it.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Using a stand mixer, pour in both sugars and the melted butter. Whisk until combined. Add in the eggs one at a time. Pour in the vanilla extract. Once it's blended, switch the whisk attachment to the paddle or use a spatula.
  6. Carefully add in the dry ingredients and mix a little bit (doesn't have to be well blended at this point).
  7. Add in the chopped chocolate and fold into the batter until well combined. The less mixing you do when the dry ingredients are added, the better. You don't want the batter to become too doughy and smooth.
  8. At this stage, you can refrigerate the batter. I did for 5 minutes because the batter was looking a bit shiny and it is mentioned in Tara's notes - thanks for troubleshooting!
  9. Scoop out about 3 tablespoons of batter and form it into a ball. Place on parchment paper and space each one 3 inches apart. Optional, sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt. I did for 12 and left the other 12 as is.
  10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. When you take them out, let them rest for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
I love how quickly the cookie batter came together, there's no need to chill the dough for hours or overnight. All about the immediate gratification here.
Unbelievable. Just because I'm standing on a chair taking cookie photos, it doesn't mean someone should swoop in and grab one. Luckily, I caught the thief red-handed in the photo and was able to confront them later.
Oh these cookies are good. They're soft and chewy on the inside. And yes, they're cookies worth dreaming about and craving for. They would make a great base for nutty cookies too (walnuts or pecans anyone?).
Happy publication day Tara!

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