The Research Project: CCCs No. 2
Look at that bit of gooey chocolate, straight from the oven. You want one, don't you.....? :-P
So, most of you are aware of my current research project in which I'm trying to find my perfect choc chip cookie recipe. Although 'perfect recipe' is perhaps not the right idea; I'm trying to find the recipe that best works for me, and gives me exactly the kind of cookie I want; fairly thick, but crispy on the outside and chewy and gooey in the middle. Basically, like the ones you get at Mrs Fields cookies. I know it can be done at home!!
After the post a few days ago I had lots of people leave comments and email me with recipes; thank you! I was very flattered that so many people read the blog and feel interested enough to leave a comment. There are some really interesting recipes and techniques there and I hope to try them all.
So....last night I was in full chef mode. I made some basil pesto, some excellent Thai fish cakes (went freeform there, no recipe!), a dairy-free macadamia, coconut and lime cake (post very soon) and, finally, at 11.30pm on a school night, I decided to whip up another batch of CCCs to take to our dress rehearsal tonight.
The recipe I chose (from the list I now have) was based upon the amount of butter and chocolate I had in the house. I chose the recipe sent to me by Linda, who seems to be quite a culinary perfectionist herself, which she adapted from seeing it on the Food Network, Canada. Her recipe used about 1/2 the amount of butter of others, and specified chocolate chunks rather than chips. I liked that idea, and I used a chunk of dark couverture from Chocolatier. Oh no - no cheap compound chocolate chips for my privileged friends!
The interesting thing about this recipe is the use of some cornflour (cornstarch), which changes the texture in the same way as in a sponge cake - it makes it softer and more tender. All very worthy qualities for my perfect CCC. However, I think my execution of the recipe made them too soft. After 9 minutes I took them out (admittedly I did have the oven lower than than the recipe specified, but I was following instructions from Gaggenau which tells me to lower temperatures by at least 10C), let them sit for a few minutes and tried transferring them to a rack. I had real trouble doing this, as they started falling apart, and then falling through the rack itself! So, I put them back in the oven for a few minutes to firm them up a bit more.
Interestingly, the tasters at rehearsal didn't like this batch as much as the crispy crunchy batch I brought, and wasn't happy with, on Tuesday. They loved the flavour (thank you Stephanie - I did add extra vanilla essence - good idea!), but felt the texture was too soft and flabby and the whole cookie too flat; not enough to sink your teeth into. One person described them as 'very American' (?!). This didn't stop them from eating the whole batch, though! Even flawed CCCs are better than no CCCs!
I do think some of the problem might have been in my execution; the lower oven temperature might have played a part, and also the fact that I didn't use quite as much chocolate as specified. I do think this recipe has promise, though. I really like the use of the cornflour, and I think the addition of some finely ground oatmeal with the cornflour might create the perfect type of texture I'm looking for. I also think I needed to make each cookie larger; more dough in each unit would possibly have made a chunkier cookie. However, whenever I drop a 1/4 cup measure of dough (or whatever is specified) I usually start laughing at the huge American cookie size, and scrape off a bit to resemble a standard Aussie biscuit size. It's also pure stinginess on my part; I want to get as many cookies out of the dough as possible. I need to stop doing this and just damn well follow instructions!!! (what a cathartic process this project will be for me....)
But, onward and upward! More CCCs to come - and my choir friends very excited about acting as tasters and critics for the next batches.
Again, thank you Linda for a very interesting recipe. I like it because it has exercised that scientific part of my brain that analyses the chemistry of food. In fact, this whole research project will do a very good job of that!
Read on for the recipe:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe By :Kayaksoup adapted from an Anna Olson recipe
Serving Size : 24
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter -- softened
1 cup (200g) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (250g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces (285g) bittersweet chocolate -- cut into chunks
1.Preheat oven to 350 F (175C).
2.Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
5.Let cool slightly and enjoy.
Linda writes: I found this recipe on Food Network Canada, upped the chocolate slightly and recieved the adulation of friends, family and coworkers. The keys are the cornstarch and the bittersweet chocolate. You can use chips instead of chunks.
Niki writes: I added extra vanilla to this recipe as well as a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, becuase I love the aroma. I also added about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, which all contributed to an excellent flavour.