For a few days I’ve been out of job. Hopefully this condition won’t persist for long. While I’m on a job hunt and taking time off to recuperate, I’ve also been thinking about the things I missed out on in blogging. Then I remembered I have yet to share with you my absolute favorite recipes for chocolate chip cookies.
(Note: I mean the hunkier, tender and chewy, crisp-at-the-edges, much-sweeter American variety. I prefer this to the dwarfed, baked-till-dry, crunchy, sometimes-shortbready, less-sweet variety that many Asians are accustomed to. Now that I’ve made my preference clear.)
About two years ago, I proclaimed, boldly, that I possessed an out-of-this-world chocolate chip cookie recipe, courtesy of our friend Ms. Betty Crocker, and that I’d thus stopped my search for the recipe. Well, I was proven wrong one-plus years ago, while reading through the archives of Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette blog. I landed on TWO chocolate chip cookie recipes by accident.
The first of the two I chanced upon was for Kim Boyce’s Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. At the point of “discovery,” a sudden urge to bake surged in me, because (1) it’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe (duh); (2) it calls for whole-wheat flour. I was quite hung up on the notion of homemade junk food made wholesome, but then I realized it was misleading — sugary and fatty food can never be good for you. And just when I’d made the cookies, I was convinced that albeit a minor twist, whole-wheat flour is here to add a wonderful nuttiness to your otherwise everyday chocolate chip cookie.
One thing I feel sorry for Boyce is that: The amateur baker in me couldn’t fight the itch of modifying her recipe. I merged hers with the technique used in the other chocolate chip cookie recipe; however, not much change to the ingredients. I prepared the dough on a late Thursday night to bake on the following Sunday afternoon. At that juncture, I was darn excited. But as much as I’d hoped mine to turn out exactly like Molly’s, they did not. I wasn’t disappointed nevertheless; I had to lick my fingers, because they were this good:
When freshly baked and, of course, cooled (I associate eating warm, soft cookies with eating cookie dough), these chocolate chip cookies were tender, with teeny pockets of gooey chocolate and the earthy nutty flavor of the whole-wheat flour shone through from within. Which reminded me of the digestive biscuit. So in this case, Molly has got it right.
Boy, am I glad to have stumbled upon Boyce’s recipe for her Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, or what.
Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce, as well as Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, Jacque Torres, and David Leite
To ensure the highest of standards, I used Bob’s Red Mill stone-ground whole-wheat pastry flour and fleur de sel. Also, if you happen to have dark brown sugar, which is, for me, harder to come by, use it in place of its “lighter” counterpart.
Instead of baking right away, I let the dough “age” in the fridge for about 67 hours. This is the revolutionary technique I learned from the second chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I’ll soon be telling you about.
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
227 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
227 grams good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together (A); set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, cream together (B) until pale and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure even mixing. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla next. With a rubber spatula or large, sturdy wooden spoon, mix in (A) mixture by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing. When the flour mixture is almost incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips and mix until combined. Cover the bowl of dough with cling wrap, and let the dough rest and “age” in the fridge for up to 72 hours.
When it’s time to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment or silicone mats.
Remove the dough from the fridge. For each cookie, scoop three tablespoons of the dough onto one of the prepared baking sheets. If you want perfectly round cookies, roll the dough between your palms, working quick before it yields to the heat of your hands. Leave about three inches in between for the cookies to spread. If the dough, especially when right out the fridge, feels hard, work a little harder to scoop it out. It’ll soften gradually in room temperature (actually, faster in the hot Malaysian weather, so I had to work faster, too); if it’s gotten too soft to work with, chuck it back into the fridge and let it harden up.
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are evenly browned. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies sit on the sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Yield: about 20 cookies
P.S. Watch out for the second chocolate chip cookie recipe in my next post, which, hopefully, won’t be long from now.