Photo by Kim
The Finer Cookie
Whenever we do cookies, I'm always interested in getting Kim's opinion. Not that she's the only baker who likes cookies--with a few exceptions, most of us look forward to the cookie weeks. But her blog is the only one with "Cookie" in the title, and "the finer cookie" at that. This week Kim surprised me by announcing that Famous Amos cookies used to be, in her mind, the ne plus ultra of chocolate chip cookies. But by the time I got to the end of her blog, I realized that she was no longer holding poor Amos up as the cookie master. He is now "child's play," whereas Rose's "improvements" played to Kim's more mature and sophisticated palate. After all, did (Wally) Amos brown his butter? Use Muscovado sugar? I think not.
Jen has "cake," not cookies, in the title of her blog, but she loves chocolate chip cookies, especially homemade ones, and especially ones made with Guittard chocolate wafers instead of chocolate chips. So hers are actually chocolate wafer cookies, but let's not quibble over small things. Being the lady of science that she is, she baked half the dough after it had been in the refrigerator for the minimum 30 minutes and baked some after an all-nighter in the refrigerator. No contest: the 24-hour cookie was "pillowy, cakey, and delicious," which sounds like the way to go.
Vicki intended to buy chocolate chips for her CC cookies, but picked up a bag of chocolate chunks instead, a move she described as a "lucky accident." Another "lucky accident" was forgetting to flatten the unbaked cookies, which resulted in "nice and cakey" cookies--just the way she likes them, with "great flavor" to boot.
Nancy is "not much of a chocolate-chip cookie baker," although she'll eat them if she runs into them, and especially likes a "crispy-chewy" version "with melty chocolan'te." Although this version was crispy-chewy, it didn't quite have the "buttery mouth-feel" that she likes, although the browned butter "added flavor." By the way, I think these cookies have forced us to try to come up with adjectives to describe our ideal CC cookie: crispy? cakey? chewy? some combination of the above?
I don't think Rachel's kids asked themselves what word they'd use to describe these cookies--they just ate them. And Rachel was feeling bad about adding the walnuts to the dough, thinking for sure that the addition would cause her kids to turn up their noses at these cookies. She needn't have wasted her sympathy, though. As she was pondering what photo might show off the cookies to best advantage, the kidlets were gobbling up the cookies--and Rachel was left with a picture of an empty platter. No word on whether any of the children told maman they loved her beurre noisette!
Kristina - always in search of the perfect cookie - had already made these chocolate chip cookies, so she tried the "Melt-in-the-Mouth" variation, which is made with grated chocolate. Very finely grated chocolate, in fact, so that what she "ended up with was basically double chocolate cookies,"--"fine, but not what I was expecting." But Kristina, who grinds her own flour, also reminded us that "you haven't had a perfect chocolate chip cookie until you've had one with freshly ground flour."
For Jenn, also always in search of the perfect cookie, this recipe means "the search is over." Jenn usually likes to cut the recipes in half (or thirds, or fifths), but this time she made the whole recipe, freezing half of it to bake on another day--just too "dangerous" to have "so many chocolate chip cookies lying around the house." These cookies are "best eaten warm when the chocolate chips are oozing."
Did I mention that these cookies are on the Quick & Easy list? For Orin, they were so quick and easy that she "caught [herself] checking the recipe several times making sure [she] didn't skip any of the steps or ingredients." Just to make things a little more complicated, Orin used three different kinds of chocolate: 46% and 63% chips, as well as 100 grams of unsweetened grated chocolate. "Knowing these were not going to be gas station morning cookies," she doubled the recipe. "Melt in your mouth chocolate heaven!"
Catherine was also a bit suspicious of the "Q & E" designation, especially when she realized that the recipe called both for making beurre noisette and skinning walnuts--"two baking tasks which require the baker to exercise the highest degree of zen." Omitting the walnuts required Catherine to undertake only one zen chore. She did very well at browning the butter, maintaining an admirable in-the-moment patience. Unfortunately, the zen butter spilled all over the kitchen. She had to make a second batch, which turned out neither as brown nor as zen. After all this, she liked the biccies, but "wasn't wowed by them."
Tony, unusually for him, made only one change to the recipe--adding a teaspoon of walnut oil to the recipe. Although his bad angels were whispering to him that he should have added some dried cherries soaked in his favorite raspberry liqueur, he managed to ignore them. Tony has developed a bartender-like technique for skinning the walnuts. Rather than rolling them around in a dish towel, he puts them in a clean glass jar and shakes the living daylights out of them. This dislodges all but the most stubborn skins. He doesn't mention whether this technique requires "the highest degree of zen."
Next week is "a week of rest," or, alternatively, a makeup week. I had a few requests for such a week, and I am to please. I'll be cruising along and through Panama and Costa Rica, so I won't do a roundup (and there may be nothing to round up anyway). The following week, the Lemon Almond Cheesecake is featured. I made this for a party a few weeks ago, and people were begging for seconds. It's very, very good.