Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chewy Chip Cookies

I have an undeniable love for cookies. A treat with endless variations and possibilities, cookies are the ultimate, perfectly portioned treat. This year I was thrilled to participate in the 2nd annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by the bloggers of Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. I was excited to have a reason to create some unique, original cookie recipes to share with world and the opportunity to participate in raising money for Cookies for Kids' Cancer along the way. I had so much fun working on creating the perfect, crowd-pleasing cookie that I sort of, well...cheated. I couldn't pick just one cookie flavor, so I made two! Maybe I didn't completely break the rules because the two resulting cookies have the same cookie dough base with different additions - one with decadent white chocolate, pistachios, and cranberries the other with dark chocolate chips and candied BACON! I hope these two recipes showcase the diversity that can exist if you have a solid cookie dough recipe base. Let me know what you think!

Chewy Cookie Dough Base (adapted from Alton Brown's The Chewy)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 tsp course salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dried orange peel (I like Penzey's brand), or 2 tbsp fresh grated orange zest

White Chocolate, Pistachio, and Cranberry Version
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks (use real cocoa butter based chips such as Ghirardelli or Global Organics Fair Trade White Chocolate Chunks; it makes a huge difference in the flavor)
1 cup roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Dark Chocolate with Candied Bacon Version
2 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp organic maple syrup
3 oz candied applewood smoked bacon (about 4 large slices)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • to learn how to candy bacon, view this post from pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz
1. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the bread flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in orange peel/zest. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until fluffy.
3. With the mixture in stirring mode, add the sugar and brown sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until well blended and fluffy.
4.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low/stir and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
5. With the mixture once again in stir/low mode, slowly add in the flour mixture. I usually add mine in 3-4 batches, ensuring each batch is mixed in before adding more.
6. Once combined, add in the ingredients for the specific version you are making (either white chocolate or candied bacon)
7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours.
8. Fifteen minutes before you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit.
9. Scoop tablespoon sized portions of cookie dough at least 2 inches apart (1 oz for two-bite cookies, or 1 1/2 oz for larger cookies) onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 1 oz cookies for 10-12 minutes and 1 1/2 oz cookies for 14-17 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes than remove cookies and place on a rack to cool.

Servings: Makes 36, 1 oz cookies or 24, 1 1/2 oz cookies.  

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