Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Triple Chocolate Chunky Cookies... some people like them.

After cleaning up from my experience baking 30 dozen cookies for Christmas I started in on making some simple chocolate cookies for my friends. These cookies are best if left slightly under baked.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces premium dark chocolate
6 ounces milk chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The process for making these cookies is reasonably simple. First we need to start preheating our oven to 325 F. While this is warming up we can mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. On the stove top we can set up a water bath to gently melt our dark chocolate with the unsalted butter.

Once the dark chocolate has fully combined with the butter we can then mix this chocolate with the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. When these ingredients have been fully mixed we can then start adding the flour mixture to the bowl.

Now for the slightly more tricky part of the recipe. You'll have to chop the milk chocolate up into chunks. This can be done using a sharp knife and a cutting board. Please take great care while trying this part, the chocolate will become slippery as you work with it so take care when working with your knife. When you have chopped up all of the milk chocolate you may fold the chunks into the batter.

The batter, now completed, can be dropped on to an awaiting cookie tray. I use a pair of table spoons to gather up and drop amount of dough onto the cookie sheets, spacing drops about two inches apart. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Things I learned baking 30 dozen cookies in 24 hours...

So I decided to bake cookies for my friends this Christmas. I thought 'excellent idea Jamie, you can take pictures for your blog and make an entry or two about them'. Then the reality set in. If you decide to bake cookies for your friends, then your going to have to make a fair number of them. In my case I needed to make enough to fill one dozen cookie tins. Now making cookies isn't much of an issue for me as I quite enjoy the process and the result; however I wasn't aware how it becomes different when your baking multiple batches of several varieties. So in this post I submit a few points of advice for those of you planning on baking cookies en mass.
  • Drop cookies are your friends! The mixing of ingredients can take some time, but you gain time in how fast you can setup cookie trays for the oven. Good drop cookies include peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.
  • Beware the simplicity of shortbread. It's one of the simplest recipes out there, however preparing each cookie takes time and patience. Generally one rolls out cooled dough on to a cutting board then uses a cookie cutter to form each cookie. The tricky part is not tearing the cookie as you remove it from the batter, then repeating this many dozens of times.
  • Alcohol is your friend! You can make a center piece to your cookie arrangements by making one special batch of alcohol laced cookies - these are of course only for adults :) I recommend making Rum or Whiskey balls. You can put a handful inside of a small re-sealable container so that the aroma is retained. See my chocolate rum balls for an example.
  • Pick out your containers carefully. Those nice looking 16" tins can hold 3 or 4 dozen cookies each. Try for the 8 or 10" tins, they hold about 12 to 18 cookies - this is important in that one batch of cookies can generally fill two tins instead of just one.
I suppose the important thing to take away from this experience is that you really need to think ahead when taking on a project of this size. I know that next year this will be much easier if I follow my own advice ;)