Monday, January 16, 2012

Ode To My Chocolate Chip Cookie

1, 2, 3, 4 by Plain White T's
I can't think of anything that a chocolate chip cookie can't fix or make even better.  I'm pretty sure that that is exactly what was on the minds of Plain White T's as they wrote this song.  It could very well have been titled "Ode to My CCC."  Broken hearts are mended and bad days ended with one little bite.  Happy times are celebrated and memories created with the making of a simple batch.  Hopes are sent soaring and children become adoring with just one heady whiff of their aroma.  Even a marginal batch of chocolate chip cookies can work miracles.  But when you have a really, really terrific recipe - like this one - well, I'm thinking that world peace might not be out of the realm of possibilities.  As the T's say, "There's only one thing, to do, three words, I love you!"

Do you even remember the first chocolate chip cookie you ever had?  I don't.  Chocolate chip cookies are as much a part of the fabric of our lives as the air that we breathe - and I certainly don't remember my first breath!  And I, like everyone else I know, have been on a quest to find THE recipe.  The recipe that makes you hap-hap-happy!

The hunt is different for all of us because we all have different expectations of what that perfect chocolate chip cookie should be.  You have the crispy fans.  You have the ultra-soft fans.  You have the "tons of chips" camp vs. the "there's too many chips in this here cookie" fans.  Some want milk chocolate, some want dark chocolate, and then there's those that want some of both.  Regardless of our preferences, though, we all want chocolate chip cookies.  And we want them NOW. 

My personal criteria for a good chocolate chip cookie, regardless of how it's dressed up is:
1.  Initial crunch factor - it should have a delicate yet discernible crack when your teeth sink in.
2.  Soft center - the initial crunch should yield to an impossibly soft center where the melty chips live with whatever other delectable tidbits you threw in.
3.  Chocolate - good semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I will agree to add in some milk chocolate chips now and then to appease my husband, but my own preference is the darker chips.
4.  Flavor - the heady flavor of real vanilla paired with almond extract is euphoric - and a must, in my book.  

I've 'dated' several recipes over the years, settling down with one for awhile until another one comes along, catches my eye - and tastebuds - and steals me away.  Then I found this one at Orangette.  It piqued my interest in so many ways - the use of two different kinds of flour, the sprinkling of sea salt, the 'curing' of the dough, the use of weights instead of volume.  Well, I fell in love and proposed marriage after our very first batch.  Things have been great!  It's still my go-to recipe.  

People have asked me about my recipe and I've explained about the different flours, etc. and I've noticed it kind of intimidates folks.  Most people want a more straight forward approach, I suppose.  So I've been tampering with the recipe a bit, 

trying to make it more user friendly and have come up with what I think is a really wonderful version.  Call it our "baby."  Go ahead and take it for a stroll!  Bounce it on your knee and get to know it!  I'm sure you'll love it as much as I (we) do! 

I still say that curing or aging the dough is key.  I even did my own experiment.  I made this recipe, scooped them out onto a sheet tray, covered well with plastic wrap, and chilled in the refrigerator.  Then, each morning, for three days, I pulled out a few and baked them.

This is day one.  It cooks up lovely and tastes great.  

Day two - still cooks up wonderfully but not much noticeable difference in flavor.

Day three - same bake time.  The texture is supreme and the flavors are now beginning to mellow a bit.

I can add to my experiment the information I have gathered from past baking experiences.  When I usually make chocolate chip cookies, I start by freezing the scooped portions, then remove them from the cookie sheet and place them in a gallon-size freezer bag.  The dough continues to age but at a slower rate.  They last for a couple months in the freezer and I can tell you that those cookies that get baked up last have the most wonderful and deepest flavor of all.  I am a big fan of chilling the dough.  It's benefits far outweigh the patience required to have to wait.  Don't like waiting?  Then go ahead and make up an extra big batch and freeze the scooped portions!  You will always have delicious cookies no more than half an hour away!  When your supply is running low, time to crank out another batch!

In today's recipe I give them an especially delicious combo - coconut and toasted pecans!  "There's only one way to say those three words and that's what I'll do - I love you!"

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 3 1/2 dozen
Printable Recipe Card
10 oz. unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 sticks)
10 oz. light brown sugar (1 1/4 c.)
8 oz. granulated sugar (1 c. plus 2 T.)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
15 oz. all-purpose flour (3 1/3 c.)
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
2 c. chocolate chips
6 oz. pecans (1 1/2 c.), chopped and toasted
6 oz. shredded coconut (2 c.)

In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy - about 4 - 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle occasionally .

While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure out the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, whisking together until well blended.

When butter and sugars are fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix to incorporate.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and let the paddle make a couple turns to start blending them in.  Stop the mixer and add the chips, pecans, and coconut.  Turn on the mixer and blend until the dough just comes together.

Scoop onto a sheet tray into equal portions using an ice cream scoop (for regular-sized cookies I use a #24 scoop.)  Chill for at least 12 hours or freeze then bag them.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place portions on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  If chilled in refrigerator, bake for 7 minutes, turn the pan, then another 7 minutes.  If baking from frozen state, bake for 8 minutes, turn, bake another 8 minutes.

A quick word about baking by weight.  Everyone scoops differently so one cup of flour for one person could have much more or much less than another person's one cup of flour.  The ONLY way to make consistently good baked items is to measure by weight.  Food scales don't have to be super costly.  Do yourself a favor and start weighing your ingredients!


  1. Are these the chocolate chip cookies we had? And are you willing to share your chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe? 8-)

  2. I'm not sure who this is so I can't answer for sure but if you've had this cookie in the last couple weeks, then yes, this is the recipe for that cookie! And, yes, I will be sharing my chocolate chocolate chip cookie - I'm just not sure when yet! Stay tuned!

  3. I am intrigued! I have never thought of aging the dough, although I have frozen the scooped dough for later because I love the convenience and less mess. We have struggled with cookies that taste divine but get too flat. Mr's Eields recipe. I will have to try yours.