September 9, 2010

Resistance is Futile

Sometimes you just really want a cookie.

A perfect chocolate chip cookie with crunchy caramelized edges and a chewy center. 

Sometimes this craving comes when you know you'll be alone for the rest of the week and making 3 dozen cookies just doesn't make any sense, at least when you're considering a sensible and balanced diet.

And sometimes you run across a recipe for said cookies that is just so exactly what you were looking for that there is just no resisting and you compromise.  You make only a half recipe.

Then you remember, in the upcoming week there are 2 birthdays, which means 2 birthday cakes.  Two sugary sweet delicious cakes (one chocolate orange cake, one cheesecake) that you will also not have the will power to say no to.

So long moderation.  Bring on the sugar!

My cookies don't need to win beauty contests, they just need to make me smile.  So they're as flat as a pancake and the all the chips congregate in the middle, making a craggy range of chocolate and they're a little floppy when you move them from cookie sheet to cooling rack.  They still have a deep caramelized flavor, chewy and buttery, nicely contrasted by a sprinkling of sea salt that's added just before baking.

Exactly what I was after.

P.S.  Lest you think I'm a total glutton, I only baked about half of the half recipe I made.  I took the rest of the dough, plopped them in cookie sized drops onto a baking sheet and froze them, transferring them to a freezer bag after a few hours.  Now I can have cookies whenever I please (just not right now, there's too much cake around)!

Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker

How fun is this recipe?  You get to make your own brown sugar!  The extra molasses really deepens the flavor, I may have to make my own from now on.  And read carefully.  You have to use bread flour here; the high gluten content will help keep your cookies resembling cookies with all that extra moisture from the molasses you don't want to end up with a blob covering your cookie sheet.

3 dozen bigger cookies, or 60 with smaller spoon-sized scoops

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark molasses
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies just before baking

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the granulated sugar and molasses until no large molasses clumps remain.  Add the softened butter and cream the mixture on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for about 20 minutes (or a few hours, or overnight), then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Lightly sprinkle each dough ball with a few flecks of sea salt.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Mine we perfect at 8 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer the cookies on the parchment paper to a cooling rack.

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