Sunday, June 14, 2009
SMS: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds
This week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday treat was Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds. Yay! Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? At any given time I have a backlog of about five CCC recipes I want to try, since there are so many “best” and “favorites” out there. As most readers of this blog are probably aware, last summer the New York Times published this article and accompanying recipe about the consummate chocolate chip cookie, revealing two key components: twenty-four hours of chilling time and salt. I know it has become my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and from my anecdotal data, gathered from reading various food blogs and talking to other bakers, I would I’m not alone.
This recipe only for two brief chilling periods: first an hour, then another half hour after the dough was formed into logs. As thrilled as I was about the prospect of having cookies in less than two hours, I decided to experiment and bake these cookies in different intervals to see if the flavor and texture were enhanced with extra chilling time. The first batch was baked on Friday evening after the dough had refrigerated for about three hours and they were wonderful! I made the second batch on Saturday morning (fifteen hours later); neither Mr. Penpen nor I could distinguish any noticeable difference in texture or flavor between the two batches. I had pretty much decided that our palates were not sophisticated enough to discern subtle nuances in baked goods and give up on the project, but I still had a lot of dough, so I went ahead and made more on Saturday evening. And I’m glad I kept going, because at twenty-four hours, there was a difference: the carmelly brown sugar flavor was much more prominent. (Although the NYT recipe is taped to my refrigerator, I hadn't looked at the article again until today and it says twenty-four hours is where things get "interesting." I will also have an opportunity to try the cookies at thirty-six hours when I host my book club tomorrow night.) But really, I thought they were just as delicious on Friday when they had only been in the refrigerator for a couple hours. I think I may have a new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have never tried baking the NYT recipe without chilling the dough the entire twenty-four hours, but I have heard disappointing results from people who didn’t wait.
Aside from my experiment, the only change I made was using less chocolate than the recipe calls for. I figured that since I would be chopping up the chocolate, the small, uneven bits would spread throughout the dough just fine – not to mention the fact that I didn’t really feel like chopping up an entire pound of chocolate. I know the idea of less chocolate probably sounds sacrilegious to a lot of people, but I made a double batch with 9.7 ounces of chocolate (one package of ScharffenBerger) and all my tasters (my boyfriend and his family) thought they were great. I don’t typically put nuts in chocolate chip cookies either, but roasted almonds sounded fantastic and they were! Mr. Penpen thought the cookies were particularly good when warm from the oven with Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry ice cream from The Perfect Scoop.
Many thanks Melissa Murphy for creating such a great chocolate chip cook recipe (along with an entire book of great treats) and hosting this week. Be sure to check out the Sweet Melissa Sundays site to see Melissa’s post!