Monthly Archives: December 2017

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 36 cookie
The nutty taste of brown butter, a good dark chocolate chip and a final sprinkling of salt work in concert to elevate these cookies to star status – named the best-tasting chocolate chip cookies by our expert panel.
Published in The Washington Post.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Joy Wilson of JoytheBaker.com

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalte butter, half at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • Flaky or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Steps

  1. Melt the chilled half of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop. Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan often. The butter will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will form in the bottom. Once the bits are amber brown (2 1/2 to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the heat and immediately pour it into a small bowl, bits and all. This will stop the butter from cooking and burning. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the remaining 8 tablespoons of room-temperature butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth (but not quite fluffy). Reduce the speed to medium-low; beat in the vanilla extract and molasses until well incorporated.
  4. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with the granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes (medium-low), until smooth; the mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy.
  5. Reduce the speed to low; add the egg and egg yolk, beating for 1 minute, then stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the flour, kosher salt and baking soda; beat on low speed just until everything is incorporated. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and finish incorporating all of the dry flour bits into the dough.
  6. Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon-sized balls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the balls. Use a light two-fingered pinch to sprinkle each portion of dough with coarse or flaky sea salt.
  7. Bake (upper and lower racks) for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  8. epeat to use all the dough.

Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

As I and my neighbor were exchanging cookies in the spirit of the season, we noticed that we both had cookies that looked alike. Mine were the Ron Paul Black Angus Cookies and hers were the Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies. I asked her for the recipe so I could see what the differences were. It is my pleasure to tell you that there are only minor differences in the recipes.

One very eerie thing about the two recipes is that they were both published by the Oregonian FOODday section on December 5th. The Black Angus on December 5, 2006 and this recipe on December 5, 2013- seven years later.

If you are really interested in this exact recipe, here is the pointer:
Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Since so much of the recipes are identical I am choosing to only publish the differences.

Black ruffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

From Catherine Buford, Daily Cafe at Rejuvenation, Portland

Description

If you like chocolate with your chocolate, these cookies are for you. Former FOODday est Kitchen director Linda Faus says they’re “slightly crisp on the outside and pure chocolate and pecan goodness on the inside”

Ingredient (differences from Black Angus)

  • Instead of 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) use 11 Tablespoons (1 stick 3 Tablespoons)
  • Instead of 1/4 teaspoon salt, use Pinch salt.
  • Instead of 1 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped pecans use 1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans- no toasting.

Instructions

There are no changes to the instructions before the dropping of the dough to form the cookies.

  1. Instead of dropping 2-Tablespoon portions drop heaping Tablespoonfuls. Instead of baking 11 t0 13 minutes, bake 12 to 15 minutes.


My neighbor says that she differed from the recipe by toasting the pecans and not using as much bittersweet chocolate.

I was astonished to find that most of the recipe is word for word the same as the Black Angus recipe. But what can I say. I think the credit goes back to Ron Paul, and Catherine Buford should have only noted that she was making small changes to the recipe.

Black Angus Cookies

This is an excellent recipe for the chocolate lover. It uses coffee to accent the flavor of the chocolate. It is only missing the other item we are now seeing in recipes of cookies that contain chocolate- the sprinkle of sea salt on the dough just before baking. That could easily be fixed by the person making these wonderful cookies.

This recipe was published way back in 2006, and yet is seemed to predict a lot that is happening now in the cooking of chocolate oriented cookies. First, it starts with bittersweet chocolate. That is now available in chip form and is being used by a large number of the recipes I see. Second, this recipe melts the chocolate and butter into a smooth mixture before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients. That also is showing up in a lot of current recipes.

Ron Paul Black Angus Cookies

from the Oregonian FOODday Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Makes 5 to 6 dozen (or less)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped (3 1/3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks; not margarine)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted and coarsely chopped pecans (1/3 pound; see note)
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. In top of a double boiler over hot water, place bittersweet chocolate and butter and heat until melted, stirring occasionally; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until well-combined. Pour in the bittersweet chocolate mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the flour mixture, pecans and semisweet chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough in 2-Tablespoon portions (or using #50 scoop), 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are still shiny but are beginning to set in the cente. Do not overbake. Remove immediately to wire racks,or aluminum foil to cool.
  6. NOTE: To toast nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to scorch them. Or, spread on baking sheet and bake in 375 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until brown Or, spread nuts on a paper plate on in a microwave-safe pie pan. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.


My hint for the pecans is to toast them first, and then chop them. It is easier to toast large pieces than the many small pieces from chopping.

I find that the cookies are very slow to totally solidify. That means that if I try to take them off the baking sheet, or even the parchment paper too soon, the bottom centers stick and it makes a mess. I would recommend lining the baking sheets with parchment paper, and then pulling the parchment paper off the baking sheet and onto the cooling racks when the cookies come out of the oven. Use a new piece of parchment paper for the next batch. Take the cookies off the parchment only when they are stone cold.

Epicurean in Sacramento

For Thanksgiving 2017, my Seattle muse and I went to Sacramento California. We drove down on Tuesday, and returned on Friday; that meant we had 3 suppers and 3 breakfasts while in Sacramento. Again, my muse was excellent in picking the spots where we ate.

First, the three supper places.
Cafeteria 15L Tuesday night, we ate at this place. It seemed to be alive with a crowd. The menu was excellent and the food also.
Iron Horse This was our Wednesday evening eating place. It seemed to have the same strong crowd. We had heard that it was owned by the same people as Cafeteria 15L, but I can’s substantiate that. It too, had a good menu and excellent food.
My Nephew & his Wife’s home Thanksgiving supper was at my Nephew’s home. He and is wife did an excellent job of putting all the normal goodies together for an unforgettable meal. There was more than enough food, and all of the favorites. My nephew had smoked both a turkey and a pork butt. Then there were both mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with marshmallows. And dressing, rolls, and a Brussels sprout salad. For dessert, there were three pies that we had brought as our contribution to the meal.

Before we went to Sacramento, I had emailed and asked if we could contribute something such as dessert, and I was thinking pies that we could pick up on Wednesday while things were still open. There was agreement, and both the suggestion of a place to get the pies and the types that would be liked. The place was a store named Ikedas and we found it in Auburn just east of Sacramento. We ordered and reserved our pies before leaving home. When we got to the store, it was booming with people buying pies. Luckily we had reserved ours.

For Breakfast, we went to the following three places:
Wednesday morning, we went to The Tower which is across from the Zoo. This is an entirely different, eclectic place. There are trees growing around the outside seating. If this is the only place you get to eat, I strongly recommend it both for the food and for the atmosphere.
The Grange I thought Thanksgiving day would be a problem, but my muse came through and found this restaurant open for Breakfast. It is associated with the Citizen Hotel, and across from Cesar Chavez Plaza. Like most hotel restaurants, it has a sense of elegance. It was a very comfortable place to eat and had a nice menu.
Finally, our last morning we ate at The Waffle Experience. This is a chain of restaurants and we wondered what it was like. They use waffles for all sorts of bread items. My Benedict used a waffle for the English muffin, and another item used the waffle for a croissant. We also noticed that they used waffles for the bread in sandwiches- one on top and one on bottom.

Sacramento did not fail us when it came to good eating.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

After making these cookies, I put them in tupperware containers and refrigerated them. When I got them out to make my Christmas boxes of different varieties of cookies, I ate one and discovered that the center wasn’t nice and soft and gooey as my muse had wanted, but was rather firm. I think there could be several reasons why.

  1. This is my new oven, and maybe the temperature isn’t as the readout says. I don’t think this is the problem because on another cookie, it seemed under-cooked instead of over-cooked
  2. I cooked the full suggested 18 minutes for refrigerated dough; perhaps that is wrong.
  3. Maybe refrigeration has something to do with it; could the centers dry out even when in a tupperware container?

I will be trying this recipe again in the future, and if I can determine a cause, I will add a not to this page.


My Seattle muse brought this version of a chocolate chip cookie to my attention. She liked how the center of the cookie was soft, and of course the salt on the cookie also makes it taste good. I searched around and found a basic recipe, but as I got into it, I found a lot of issues to resolve. Hopefully all those are resolved in this version of the recipe.

In some sense this cookie reminds me of the Pub cookies in that it is very large- it could be larger than the 4 inch diameter that I made- and is ideal for walking around and crunching as you take life easy and enjoy your surroundings.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Developed by Jacque Torres

Written up by David Leite

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons (8 ½ ounces) cake flour*
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 ½ ounces) bread flour*
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 ¼ pounds (20 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, at least 60 % cacao content
  • sea salt, to sprinkle

* instead of 8 ½ ounces cake flour, substitute 2 cups AP flour, then use only 1 cup bread flour

Instructions

  1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mising welll after each addition.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Turn the mixer on low. Add both flours, the baking soda and baking powder, the salt and chocolate to the mixture in the mixer bowl.Mix only until the flour is no longer visible.
  5. Scoop 3 1/2 ounce mounds of dough onto baking sheets.*
  6. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours
  7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Flatten each dough mound slightly and sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes.
  10. The cookies are done when a crust has formed and the edges are slightly crispy. The middle of the cookie will fall after removed from the oven and cooled.

The dough may be frozen for a month, or refrigerated for up to 5 days if covered tightly.

*The baking sheets may be covered with either parchment paper or silicon mats if desired. Or the cookies can be placed directly on the baking sheets. Do not grease the baking sheets.

A 3 1/2 ounce scoop would be a #9; I used a #20 scoop and was able to get only 4 cookies on a baking sheet. The cookies expand; my final cookies were about 4 inches in diameter.