Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bad weather. Good cookies.

What do you do when it's June, but temperatures are running twenty degrees below normal and it's pouring rain, you're confined to indoors and there's no outdoor dining in sight for the next few days? Make cookies, of course!

These use a positively decadent amount of chocolate chips. They melt, they ooze, they stick to your fingers and have to be licked off. You will eat too many warm cookies and ruin your appetite, then eat too many again for dessert. You'll add some more to go with your coffee. In the process, you'll forget about the weather and sit back with a smile on your face and stretch marks on your belly.

Put them out and watch friends eat a normal amount, then sidle up to the cookie plate and slyly pluck another cookie as clandestinely as they can. Then another. Then they'll try some kind of sleight of hand, making the cookies disappear without appearing to move. Eventually, you'll catch them at it and they'll reward you with a classic grin and a half shrug, probably the same thing they did as children when caught in the same act.

So, here's the magic formula. It transforms skinny people into round people, makes them forget about the rain, and gives grown adults an excuse to lick their fingers. It's adapted from a cookbook recipe, now evolved so far that it doesn't have a lot in common with its origin. This formula uses a food processor, since I don't have a fancy stand mixer with all the attachments. You can also make it in a mixer with a paddle attachment, being careful not to overmix.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Food processor method, metal blade

yield: about four pounds of cookie dough. The quantity of cookies is up to you - some like small cookies; use a teaspoon to portion and round the dough by hand for 2"-3" cookies. Use an ice cream scoop for 4" cookies. I like the small cookies since I can eat more of them.

If you have a decent scale that weighs in tenths of ounces, you can put this all together in a food processor bowl, pulsing to mix ingredients as you go and zeroing out as you add ingredients. Less washing up this way. Don't use the food processor to mix the chocolate chips since it will grind them up - dump the dough into a bowl and mix them in by hand.

  • 1 lb 1 oz (4 cups)    All purpose flour
  • 0.25 oz    (1 1/2 tsp)    baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp    kosher salt
  • 8 oz        unsalted butter, cut into 1 oz. pieces (2 sticks)
  • 10 oz (2 cups tightly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 5 oz granulated sugar (or use all dark brown sugar)
  • 2.25 oz (2) large eggs
  • 1 oz (2 Tbsp) dark rum
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 24 oz dark or extra dark or mixed chocolate chips (two packs is 23 oz - good enough)

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In food processor bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugar. Mix using metal blade.
  3. Add room temperature butter to the food processor bowl and mix.
  4. Add the eggs, dark rum and vanilla to the food processor, pulse until mixed.
  5. Transfer to mixing bowl, fold in chocolate chips by hand.
  6. Form the dough into balls, size according to how large you like your cookies. The balls will melt into cookies in the oven.
  7. Place the balls on parchment paper covered baking pans, leaving space around them so that the cookies won't touch when they melt.
  8. Place baking sheets on the top and center racks of the oven and bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the cookies are a bit browned (or more browned, according to your taste).
  9. Remove cookies from oven, allow to cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. I like to tilt the cookies by overlapping them so that air can circulate beneath them.

You're done. Restrain yourself. Remember that the chocolate is molten when the cookies come out of the oven, and will be painful when it sticks to your fingers and lips. Best to wait a few minutes before giving in to your cookie-eating urges.

Store the remaining cookies in an appropriately marked cookie tin, assuming that you, your friends and family did not eat the entire batch.

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