Friday, April 22, 2016

Eats: Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Hello! I'd written about my Chocolate Chocolate cookbook here. 
I've made a few cookie recipes from the cookbook since that post, for parties and for out-of-town trips. Out-of-town trips? Yeah, my husband has been known to hunt down places where cookies and other goodies are sold when traveling; he's gotta have his desserts (and yet he's one of those people who never gains weight!)So I figure by making a treat before an excursion, at least we're saving some  money. 

He had an out-of-state conference to attend recently, so I dutifully made Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Chocolate Chocolate for him to pack along. Author Lisa Yockelson's directions are a bit fussy, as you'll see, but the results were worth it. 

First, the recipe:

Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies (adapted from Chocolate Chocolate)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
13 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (see note below)

Sift the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar into bowl or onto sheet of waxed paper.

Cream the butter in the bowl of a freestanding mixer on moderately low speed for three minutes. Add the sugar and beat for two minutes. Add the light brown sugar and beat for two minutes longer. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Blend in vanilla. On low speed, blend in sifted ingredients in three additions, beating until the flour particles are absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the dough even-textured. Blend in the chocolate chunks. 

Cover the bowl of dough and refrigerate for one hour. 

Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Place heaping two-tablespoon-size mounds of dough on the prepared cooking sheets, spacing the mounds about three inches apart. Keep the mounds high and plump. 

Bake cookies for about 16 minutes, or until set and light golden on top. Let the cookies stand on the cookie sheets for two minutes, then transfer then to cooling racks. Store in airtight tin. Yield: about three dozen. 

Notes: the recipe calls for chopped bittersweet chocolate, but feel free to use other sizes/types of chocolates. If you have chocolate chips on hand, that's fine, I'm sure. I had a partially-open bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips stashed in the refrigerator, so that's what I added. But as that bag didn't have 13 ounces of chocolate chips in it, I made up the difference by cutting up some leftover Easter candy: Hershey's foil-wrapped Special Dark eggs. So, my batch had both chips and chunks! I'm guessing author Yockelson would approve, as she has at least one cookie recipe in the cookbook that calls for both chips and chunks in the dough. 

As you can see, the recipe is easy to make, but the fussiness comes in the number of steps in the mixing. In general, chocolate chip cookies don't have so many separate mixing steps - for example, the butter and sugars are usually creamed together. But since this was the first time I was using this recipe, I decided to follow the directions as written.

Yockelson has breathless descriptions of her recipes and this one is no exception: "These soft and chewy cookies are buttery and mellow, with just a hint of caramel and chunks of bittersweet interspersed within the creamy, vanilla-centered dough". 

I added: "Smooth, rich, buttery". And these words, and the author's, really are true. These cookies may have those extra mixing steps, but as I'd said, the results were worth it. I don't think you'd get a better cookie of its type at a fancy bakery! 

I have one photo, of the last cookie from the batch:

Yockelson suggests that these cookies be eaten within two days of baking, but the above cookie was already nine days old. 10 seconds in the microwave and it tasted as if it'd just come out of the oven. 

If you make this recipe, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!


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