I’m so excited to let you know that I’m in the process of starting a whole new blog. Trissalicious has always been and will always be a personal blog but in addition to this, I’ve decided to start another blog called The Cooking Basics. The blog will focus on the basics of cooking which I think is important for any cook to know – for example, how to make stocks, sauces, types of cooking techniques – think almost everything you wanted to learn in culinary school without taking any exams! Over the next few weeks I’ll be busy on content and lay-out but I am confident it will happen sooner rather than later. So check back in a few weeks when I give you the new blog address and the first installment.
But enough about that – let’s move on to these gorgeous cookies…
I like to think, that when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I am an expert. After all, I was once a director of “The Practically Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Company” – the other directors included my brother and two other sisters. The PPCCC started when my Dad, a then subscriber to a U.S. based magazine called Consumer Reports, stumbled upon an article featuring chocolate chip cookies. At the end of the article was their recipe for what they considered to be one that was practically perfect. We tried the recipe, loved it, and loved the name of the cookie and decided that other people would love it too. So with the encouragement of our parents, we started selling chocolate chip cookies – first to friends and family, then we sold to classmates and then decided to start selling to schools and offices around Manila.
At the peak of our business, we had to rent a separate kitchen, hire three bakers and three men who would ride their PPCCC motorcycles to deliver the chocolate chip cookies around Manila. But I guess, the one thing I am personally most proud of was that the business generated enough money such that none of us “directors” needed to receive an allowance from my Mom and Dad during the life of the business.
When each of us graduated and started working, there was less inclination to concentrate on the business and eventually we closed the business down. But, I still like to think that each of us is still a pretty good judge of what makes a great chocolate chip cookie.
While I would like to give credit to Thomas Keller for his chocolate chip cookie recipe, truth is, equal credit has to be given to one of my recently discovered favourite blogs, Food Gal. I’ve had the Ad Hoc book for a couple of months now but strangely enough, had never come across the cookie recipe. It was while pouring over her blog one day that I chanced upon her review of Ad Hoc’s chocolate chip cookie. She mentioned there were a few things that set this cookie apart from the rest, in particular, how (and I am just copying verbatim):
You start with butter that’s cold, not softened at room temperature.
You beat in said butter half at a time.
Two specific types of chocolate are used: 55 percent, and 70 to 72 percent.
You chop the chocolate, then sift it to remove tiny fragments so that the cookies bake up with a neater appearance.
Sweetness is provided mostly by dark brown sugar, not light.
There is no vanilla extract added.
And if you prefer softer-textured cookies, you don’t underbake them. Instead, you mist them with water before baking.
So I made them this weekend as it was a great excuse for me to try out * Lindt’s new 70% Cocoa Specialty Cooking Chocolate and their 50% Dark Cocoa Excellence Chocolate range. After all, I’ve always thought that when you are making something as simple as a cookie, you’d better make sure to use the best ingredients you can.
I knew instinctively when I saw this recipe it would be good… when I tried them – I knew they were but of course, I couldn’t be absolutely sure – so I called another meeting with former Practically Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Company Directors and asked their opinion. They said it was a little bit crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle and full of chocolatey goodness.
They judged it to be… practically perfect.
Chocolate Chip Cookie – from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc (I’ve converted to metric)
- 295 grams flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 140 grams 50% chocolate, cut into chip sized pieces
- 140 grams 70% chocolate, cut into chip sized pieces
- 225 grams cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 200 grams brown sugar
- 170 grams granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the over to 350C. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
- Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl. Stir in the salt.
- Put the chips in a fine-mesh basket strainer and shake to remove any chocolate “dush” (optional).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat half the butter on medium speed until fairly smooth. Add both sugars and the remaining butter, and beat until well combined, then beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the next and scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine.
- Mix in the chocolate.
- Remove the bowl from the mixed and fold the dough with a spatula to be sure that the chocolate is evenly incorporated.
- The dough or shaped cookies can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 5 days or frozen for up to two weeks.
- Freeze shaped cookies on the baking sheet until firm then transfer to freezer containers. (Defrost frozen cookies overnight in the refrigerator before baking.)
- Using about 2 level tablespoons per cookie, shape the dough into balls. Arrange 8 cookies on each pan, leaving about 2 inches between them, because the dough will spread.
- Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny, switching the position and rotating the pans halfway through baking.
- Cool the cookies on the pans on cooling racks for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to the racks to cool completely.
- Repeat to bake the remaining cookies. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
*Thank you to Lindt Australia for providing me with such delicious chocolates.