Tuesday, February 8, 2011

cookie o' the month...

Just in time for Valentine's Day, angelo:HOME blog contributor, Baker Beth to the rescue with a recipe that's as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious. Enjoy.

For The Love Of Baking ...

For me, baking is a humble expression of love and cookies hold a special place in my heart.

In my book, cookies are not grand. Cookies are comfort, childhood memories, the joy of arriving home from school to a full cookie jar and a cold glass of milk.

For many, the quintessential comfort cookie is chocolate chip.

And with Valentine's Day just around the corner, what better time to bake for the someones we love?

In thinking about how to approach chocolate chip cookies in a different way, I thought about the chocolate chip lovers in my life. They are happiest with cookies fresh from the oven, gooey and warm. The edges crispy, the centers soft, the chocolate melted.

So for this recipe, I decided to divide and conquer.

I baked cookies, sans chips. Wee cookies, about the size of a 50-cent piece (if anyone remembers those), because they're cuter that way and bite size. I baked both classic “blonde” cookies and chocolate cookies, too, for those who need more chocolate with their chocolate.

Then I melted dark chocolate with heavy cream into a thick ganache, for dipping. I used a warmed, heavy glass dish for serving, but you could use a butter warmer or small fondue pot to keep the chocolate melted.

Personally, I like walnuts in my cookies, but not everyone does. If you have similar circumstances, I suggest serving a small dish of ground toasted walnuts on the side so walnut lovers can dip cookies into the chocolate and then into the ground nuts.

Go forth and bake for someone you love. And share. And enjoy.

— Beth

Variation of Nestlé Toll House Cookies
(Adapted from the back of a bag of Nestlé Toll House morsels)

2 1/8 C. all-purpose flour
1/8 C. baking cocoa
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. teaspoon salt
1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. When combined, remove half of dough to a bowl. Add 1/4 C. baking cocoa (I used dark cocoa) to the remainder of the dough and incorporate.

Put chocolate dough into another bowl, cover each bowl with plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.

Working with one bowl at a time, scoop out small portions of dough and roll them into small balls, about the size of a normal gumball. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 375° F for 8 minutes (or more, depending on how large you make the cookies and the temperament of your oven). Cool on sheet 1 minute then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the first batch of cookies is in the oven, prepare cookies from the second bowl of dough, then bake accordingly.

Ganache for dipping

In the bowl of a double boiler (a glass bowl over a saucepan will do nicely, just be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), warm 1/4 C. of heavy cream then add 1 C. chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips.) Stir until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream. (Note: Keep the water at a bare simmer and take
your time. If you attempt to melt the chocolate too quickly, it’s likely to scorch and turn grainy.)


Jen said...

What a great idea! I will be making this stat. Thanks Beth.

Traci said...

I am so making this! Thank You Beth and Angelo.

Anonymous said...

Beth, for those of us who don't care for nuts in our chocolate chip cookies (sans chips), many thanks!

Beth said...

You're so welcome.

I didn't include it in the post, but this would be awesome with little peanut butter cookies, too. The cookie version of a Reese's peanut butter cup. Mmm.

dstoutholcomb said...

yum...I'm lazy and heat the cream in the microwave, then put the chips in for ganache. less likely to seize.

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