The Cookies Affair: Part 1 and Liebster Award

I said 2 weeks ago that I wouldn’t bake until the scale goes down to The Number, but my family questioned my insane decision not to bake, and my cousin came home with her favorite oatmeal cookies recipe from her friend whose oatmeal cookies hit the right spot for her. So what can a person do but buckled under pressure. I baked a batch of William-Sonoma’s chocolate chip cookies and a batch of oatmeal cookies. The cookies came out just the way everyone likes it but me. I was in a cookies baking funk. My goal was to post about cookies last Friday, but that was not to be. I checked into my blog anyway and saw the sweetest message. Another blog recognition, the Liebster Blog Award, bestowed on me by a fellow blogger, The Intrepid Baker. She, by the way, makes mouth-watering salmon and bacon wrapped scallops on cedar planksย and her blog is super awesome . What a pick-me-uppers. Now that I am a little more perked up, I am going to do a little research into baking the batch of cookies that would satisfy moi and share the search with you.

But first, I would like to thank you The Intrepid Baker for the award. (Liebster being German origin ? so I want to say it in German.) DANKE very much Intrepid Baker!

And as a recipient of this award, I am to pass it to five other noteworthy (as you know there are many more noteworthy blogs than five) blogs:

I envy food bloggers that travel…better yet, live in another country and experience new culture. Here are the bloggers living the dream life: ๐Ÿ™‚

Cooking in Tongues โ€“ You don’t want to miss reading her globe-trotting experiences (beautiful pictures that make you wish that you have a pair of Dorothy’s ruby red shoes to whisk you off to the location), and recipes that inspire.

Mango-Ginger- An Ex-pat Aid worker living in Thailand sharing tips on cooking without borders. Yum!

Home in Greece โ€“ This blog is about adopted home in Greece and cooking like the natives.

And I really enjoy reading history of a dish, and how-and-why is cooked from someone’s kitchen so here are two informative and entertaining blogs…

Live 2 Eat Eat 2 Live โ€“ is an anthropology of food along with personal stories behind each dish.

Gluten-Free Fabulous โ€“ I am so happy to present this award to my good friend Laura who introduces wholesome foods and gluten-free cooking to our kitchens.

The rest of the rules: copy pasteย Liebster Award Blogย logo onto my blog. :

ย 

The Search…
Call me crazy, but the need to bake the perfect chocolate chips cookies and oatmeal-raising cookies has led me through some emotional rollercoaster. What do I want in these cookies? Chewy-moist center, a little crisp on the edge and with a hint of caramel. So this obsession led me through hours of research (and neglected work), but the clues to my quest are not in one source but different sources, and here’s what I found: The science behinds baking cookies…

America’s Test Kitchen suggests to melt the butter to make chewy cookies, and roll the cookie dough into a ball for perfect round cookies.

Alton Brown’s secret is bread flour

Scientifically Sweet said it’s the humectantsย (sugar solution like corn syrup)

Southern Living– brown sugar has more moisture thus effects chewiness, and keep butter and eggs cold if you don’t want the cookies spread too much.

NYTimes suggests refrigerating cookies dough 24-36 hours to get the interesting texture and taste, and butter should be around 65 degrees cold (at room temperature where is just warm enough to leave a slight finger print, but still cold) for creaming. One of the experts in the article stressed that โ€œButter is like the concrete you use to pour the foundation of a building…So itโ€™s very important to get it right: the temperature, the texture, the aeration.โ€

Sur La Table points out in their Art and Soul of Baking that it is important to use butter, not substitute, for the rich flavor. Don’t be tempted to use shortening to keep cookies in perfect shape. Use butter, keep the dough chill before (and in between) before baking.

Baker Bettie, What’s Cooking America, NYTimes, and Culinate have a wealth of information that would enable you to come up with the right methods and ingredients you will need to make your preferred batch of yummy cookies. It is important to understand all the chemistry involved. ย How each ingredient reacts with each others. The techniques that enhance the process. ย So I really recommend looking into these sources before you bake…unless you already got tricks in your bag, in that case would you mind share them with us too? ๐Ÿ™‚

The baking…
I used the Triple Chocolate Chip recipe from William-Sonoma Essentials Baking again, but omitted white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips in my batter (though, I will share with you the ingredients as written in the book). The techniques, however, were incorporations of what I gathered from the research. The result (drum-roll please) was moist and chewy center, and crisp on the edge with hint of caramel! ย I Did it! A little sweeter than I like (next time I am going to experiment with lessening the amount of sugar). ย The cookies spread thin but that is ok because they have the texture I was looking for. ย If you like the texture too but want more structure, you will have to read up on the flour, baking soda, and butter.

Ingredients:

200 grams all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
ยฝ teaspoon salt
125 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature, 65 degrees F, cut into chunks
105 grams of golden brown sugar (I used 100g)
90 grams of granulated sugar ( I used 45g)
1 large egg (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
185 grams of semisweet chocolate chips

Preparations:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer bowl, add in the chunks of butter and cream it with a paddle blade, in medium speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Slowly add in both sugars and continue creaming until smooth.
  5. Turn the speed to low, and add the egg and vanilla until well blended.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand, and using a big spatula, gently fold in half of the flour mixture when it comes together a little, add in the rest of the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Continue to fold the ingredients together until all is incorporated. Don’t over mix or it will yield hard cookies.
  7. Leave the cookie dough in the bowl and cover it and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or up to 36 hours (if you have the patience. I didn’t) ๐Ÿ™‚
  8. Using a regular sized ice-scream scooper, scoop one scoop into your hand and roll it into a ball. Place it onto a parchment lined baking sheet. It will bake into a 5 inch cookies so leave enough room for the dough to spread about 3 to 4 inches apart. You can bake about 6 -7 cookies per sheet.
  9. Bake the cookies until the edge starting to turn golden brown but the middle is still looking not done. That takes about 9 to 10 minutes for 5 inch cookies. The urge is to bake some more. Don’t. Remember you want to under-cook these cookies. So you get the chewy-moist center.
  10. Remove from the oven but leave themย on the baking sheet because heat continues to cook for another 3 minutes.
  11. ย Transfer them cooling rack to cool completely…or pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy these delicious gems right away!

If you happen to experiment cookies with information gathered here please link your post to me so I can include your batch here as well… otherwise, I will never reach my goal on the scale if I experiment with every factor scientifically, meaning one factor at time. Do you know how many batches of cookies that would be? ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Now onto baking oatmeal-raisin cookies. Stay tune!

Enjoy!

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28 comments on “The Cookies Affair: Part 1 and Liebster Award

  1. Pingback: The Liebster Awards | gff

  2. I like my choc chip cookies chewy too. I tried a new recipe the other day that turned out great chewy cookies with a slight crisp to the edge. (You can read about it here: http://nefermiw.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/baking-chocholate-chip-cookies/) I think the recipe is similar to the one you use, but I was using American cup measures so I can’t be certain. I am a bit bewildered about the use of baking soda in cookie recipes. As far as I know it won’t work without an acidic component e.g. cream of tartar or buttermilk, so I use baking powder in my cookies.

    • Yes, our recipes are pretty similar. ๐Ÿ™‚ I measure most of my ingredients with a scale to get more precise measurement because it affects the outcome. Baking soda reacts with eggs which is acidic (with a pH of 3). So if you have eggs no need to worry about no buttermilk (I normally don’t have buttermilk at home but dozens of eggs).

  3. your cookies look really good! I have personally tried the NY Times recipe and find that it gives me the chewy or crispy type cookie depending on how i bake it – i love the results so far!

    • Hi Janine. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ How d0 you bake yours to get it chewy (is it also moist in the middle?), and do you refrigerate the cookie dough for 36 hours? Thanks for stopping and commenting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I wanted to make these cookies however, I do not measure in grams so, sad to say didn’t make them. Can you translate the grams into ozs. tbs. tsps. etc! Thank you,
    Faygel

  5. If that’s your cookie up top, I’m not sure what you were disappointed about. Your recipe looks like my Betty Crocker never fails recipe. I do find though, I like them when they have a few minutes in the fridge before baking.
    As for ‘the number’ – I hear that. Between cupcakes, macarons, yeasted cakes and Easter, I’ve got to take a breather. Overdoing it has taken on new meaning now that I’m in my 40’s. I’ve got some chicken salad and low sugar berry crisps coming up.

    • Thanks for the compliment. That’s the chocolate chip cookies after much searching about the science behind baking these babies. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love to bake that yeasted cake you made, but I may have to wait just a little bit later to do that…unless I have self control not to taste test it til the whole thing is gone! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Congrats on the award!! And thank you for passing it along to me ๐Ÿ˜€ I loooooove chocolate chip cookies… my husband had never even tried them before I made them 2 years ago, and now he asks for them all the time. One of the best things about being married to someone from a different background is he is so amazed by things like chocolate chip cookies ๐Ÿ˜› Your recipe looks perfect!

  7. Hi Tina, Thanks for nominating me! And thanks for all those great blog suggestions. I’ll have to check them out. The salmon-bacon-scallop one sounds wonderful! (And the cookies look delish too! Wish I could try them.)

  8. That cookie looks like heaven! I bet it’s best eaten all warm and melty in the middle, straight out of the oven. Yummmmmmm!

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