Monday, February 15, 2010

Magical Cookies

Feeling low tonight after watching Book of Eli, I decided to make our household fave, Chocolate Chip Cookies. Even though only temporary, there's something about the warm melting of freshly made chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk that makes you thankful for being alive. Or maybe that's just me... Though I've made these cookies almost a hundred times, tonight I decided to document the process with my tips and tricks for a perfect cookie. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe


8 oz Butter

3/4 C Granulated Sugar

3/4 C Brown Sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 C All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1-2 C semi sweet chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven 350 degrees F.

Using mixer, cream butter and sugars together approximately 3 minutes on medium to high speed or until light and fluffy.

While butter and sugar are mixing, set aside a separate bowl and mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda)

Mix eggs and vanilla into creamed butter/sugar mixture until just combined

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, one-third at a time until mixed

Stir chocolate chips into dough

Scoop onto cookie sheet (use disher as shown here for best results):

This scoop is approximately 1.5-2 oz. I use this size for my preferred cookie size (about 2.5-3 inches across when baked)

Drop scoops of dough onto baking sheet, careful not to place them too close together.

For best results place into freezer for about 5 minutes just prior to baking. I've found this solves the problem of butter-based cookies from melting too fast and creating a flat, ugly cookie.

An optional yummi-fying step just prior to putting cookies into the oven is to add just a small sprinkle of salt to the top of each cookie. As shown below, I only took a very small pinch and used that one pinch across all of the cookies. Use kosher salt or fleur de sel (something fairly large grained) for best results. Do not try this with table salt!

Bake cookies at 375 for approximately 12-14 minutes (depending on how long frozen and how "done" you like your cookies!)

Remove cookies from baking sheet with spatula and place onto cooling rack. Enjoy your cookies within 10 minutes for the most delicious gooey results but these cookies will be really good for 24 hours. Store in air-tight container for best quality.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Butter and Me...and me

Today I received a delicious dozen of valentiney cupcakes courtesy of my wonderful husband. We don't normally do "Valentines" but this was a tasty surprise. So far, my lunch has consisted of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. :)

I'm not sure what pastry chef Kelly Garcia uses to make her buttercream but it's delicously light and fluffy with the right amount of sweetness. This is of course beyond the obvious cutification of her cupcake delights. For great cupcakes in the Phoenix area, seek out Butter & Me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Attempt at Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

A favorite sweet at our house is classic chocolate chip cookies. Preferably made with Guittard semi-sweet chips if anyone is wondering...but nevermind, because this posting is not about the finer points of chocolate chip cookie perfecting (of which we've done plenty), it's about taking the great chocolate chip cookie and trying to find it's cupcake sibling. Kind of like a "brother from another mother" concept...only not really since this is just the baked goods world.

So upon setting out to try to make a cupcake taste just like a chocolate chip cookie, I sought one of my favorite cupcake bloggers, Chockylit, on her blog Cupcake Bakeshop. I was thrilled to see she was back from being on hiatus last year and revelled in all the cupcake finery she has produced. Searching and searching I could not find a chocolate chip cookie cupcake so I settled on a cake recipe that she made for Samoas cookie cupcakes. The cake recipe is called "Brown Sugar Butter Cupcake" so that sounded close enough for me.

I created the cake batter as instructed and then swirled in about a 1/3 of a cup of dark chocolate chips. I scooped the batter into cupcake cups and baked for about 20 minutes. The result...

OK, so I didn't know what or how to eat these. I decided to make some ganache for the top, at least just to add some gooey yumminess to them. On their own, the chocolate chip cookie cupcakes are somewhat uninteresting. Kind of like eating a cupcake without frosting, if you ask me...So, the next step involved making an icecream sundae out of the cupcake with ganache topper. Very yummy, especially when the cupcake was just barely warm still. A hit indeed! In our home, chocolate chip cookies (especially those baked in skillets) are often paired with vanilla icecream, so this step was not an unusual turn of events.

However, for practical cupcake purposes, this cupcake could not really be declared a success. I couldn't propose a new cupcake flavor that relies on icecream to make it yummy. In my experiment, I didn't want to bust out J's involved Italian Merengue Buttercream (nor do I really know HOW for that matter), so I discuss here a possible option for making this cupcake a servable reality. With the smooth ganache, the chocolate chip cupcake is definitely a dark chocolate lovers heaven, though it's not super-duper chocolatey like one of those double chocolate cupcake varieties. I propose the following actions: glide on a thin coating of dark chocolate ganache, refrigerate until set, then pipe (or pile on) some very lovely vanilla buttercream atop the shiney chocolate coating. This would have the effect of vanilla icecream, without the melty mess! There's something decadent about a double-frosted cupcake anyway, right?