Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies v. Alton Brown

I think I found my go-to chocolate chip recipe that works better than the Giada version; more traditional and similar to the ones I had at the Cookie Guru. Alton Brown's "The Chewy" cookie recipe got great reviews on Food Network so I decided to give it a try. I made a couple of tweaks, including reducing the amount of white sugar, adding chopped heath bars for extra toffee flavor, subbing in almond milk for whole milk and changing the baking time and temperature for my oven. I made one crucial mistake; I wasn't really thinking and used cake flour instead of bread flour. I would have even been better off with A/P flour which is at least closer to bread flour in terms of gluten/protein content vs. cake flour which is on the other end of the spectrum (lighter). As a result, my cookies weren't exactly "chewy" per the title of the recipe, but still very good. The bottoms were just slightly crunchy, the cookies were soft, moist, and there was plenty of oozing chocolaty toffee goodness. I used quality callebaut chocolate chip discs from Surfas which I think make a difference since it's all about the chocolate chips. I have to say, I enjoy making cookies over other baking as they are relatively straightfoward and easy to make. Not too many ingredients or steps, not too long cooking time, not too messy and too much cleanup. I've converted Alton's recipe to cups as opposed to ounces and included my alterations:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (adapted from Alton Brown's "The Chewy Recipe")
  • Melt 2 stick of butter over low heat and let cool slightly
  • Combine with a little less than 1/4 cup of white sugar and a little less than 1 1/4 cup of light brown sugar in a Kitchenaid stand mixer on medium with the paddle attachment for a minute or two
  • Sift together 2 1/4 cup of bread flour, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of baking powder (original recipe called for baking soda)
  • Whisk together 1 large egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, 2 TB of almond milk
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and add the wet ingredients and mix for about 30 seconds
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients until fully combined, scraping down the sides
  • Turn off the mixer and stir in 1 2/3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped heath bars (about 5 oz)
  • Chill the dough for at least an hour
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees (360 degrees for my oven)
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet. I was able to fit 8 cookies to a sheet. It's much easier to scoop and form the dough when chilled
  • Bake for about 18 minutes, turning the pan once. I used the middle and top racks in my oven
  • Let cool for 5 minutes on the pan and transfer to a cooling rack
  • Eat with a nice cold glass of almond milk
For some reason, the cookies baked on the silpat don't spread as evenly as on parchment paper. They often have jagged edges and are a little burned and lumpier on top. I'm not sure if its because of the silpat, or because they are on the lower of the two shelves which is at a slightly higher temperature. I tried to compensate by using a higher shelf and reducing the temperature from Alton's recipe but they still turned out funny.

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