Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game Day Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
I've been baking chocolate chip cookies for-EVER. Even longer than I've been a 49er Faithful and that's been a loooonnnnng time. It's a big day here in San Francisco for us Niners fans. The NFC Championship game is this afternoon and I'm going to watch it at a friends house. My first offering was to make my 7-layer mexican dip, but she's planning a chili bar, so the dip seemed a little redundant.
On to plan B, which I'm learning (I'm always still learning) should just be plan A and be done with it. The Chocolate Chip Cookie. One can NEVER go wrong with Chocolate Chip Cookies.
In spite of an Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I'd been making for nearly 15 years, I came upon my current favorite last year via The Amateur Gourmet who got it from Top Chef Just Desserts chef Eric Wolitzky. The recipe gives the measurements by weight and could not be easier. It also makes an enormous amount of dough. My tweak to the recipe is using a combination of chocolate chips and cut up chunks of bittersweet or dark chocolate. I like the little shaved bits that spread throughout the cookie as well as some oversized large chunks. I also brown the butter. That's a little tip I got from Smitten Kitchen. The browned butter adds a nutty richness in flavor.
Who knew that when I stumbed across this recipe at AG that my cookie production would be amped up in some pretty awesome ways. The best was the strategy of freezing cookie dough (form the cookies and freeze them on a cookie sheet, then transfer them into a ziplock freezer bag) so that freshly baked cookies are only 15 minutes away, any time, any day. Brilliant. It also propelled me to buy a kitchen scale. I was amazed by the variance between weights and measures, especially when you get into larger quantites like flour when baking bread.
At the same time, I got another great tip from watching America's Test Kitchen. I bought a small ice cream/portioning scoop for consistency. Restaurant supply stores and Smart and Final sell portion scoops in numbered sizes from about 10-30 which corresponds to the number of scoops per quart of ice cream. I use a 16 if I want a big cookie, something I would give as a hostess gift maybe. If I'm making them for a crowd I go 24.
I've given these out a lot in the last year and in spite of all the great feedback they are still a work-in-progress. Just like me.

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