Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My baking endeavour: Walnut and Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's funny how my attempt to bake was always sparked off by a particular ingredient I have. The last time I decided to bake some brownies (but didn't blog about it) was because of a bar of imported cooking chocolate given my uncle.

This time, I had bought a packet of fresh walnuts from my trip to Yunnan in September and they have been sitting in a tightly closed jar for more than a month now..
In the back of my mind, I've wanted to bake walnut chocolate chip cookies, but procrastinated.. Until last weekend when I was at the grocery store, I suddenly remembered and bought some of the main ingredients..

For the record, I have done chocolate chip cookies before at least twice in my life! But I've lost the old recipe from secondary school cookery class!! So naturally I turned to the WWW for help. And yes, I did find quite a lot.. but can't decide which is best so copied three of them.

Then this afternoon when I chatted with
boo_licious of the famed masak-masak blog, I told her of my baking attempt and she recommended this particular recipe, which she said has been a favourite of many. After looking at the recipe, I decided to go with it!

It's simply called `My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies' and it's adapted from BAKING: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Here is the recipe I followed, found here!

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt 3/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ouncs bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks

1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchmentor silicone mats. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a ruber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. (The dough can be covered andd refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen. If you'd like, rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they're solid. There's no need to defrost the ough before baking-just add another minute or two to the baking time.)

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls. Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine.

Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

I went straight to it after printing out the recipe and then only realised that I needed to convert some of the measurement back to metrics - and thank goodness for the Internet again!

I would say I follow about 90 per cent of it but felt I needed to add a bit more flour as the mixture was pretty soft and wet. And since I don't have baking sheets, I used oiled-aluminium foil which I thought was ok. I also don't have an electric mixer so had to use manual labour to mix the dough.. which was also quite ok!

Anyway, I'm not a food blogger so there is no step-to-step photos to show.. I only remembered to take photos towards the end when I have the final mixture of the dough before putting them into the oven. I even forgot to take photos of the pre-baked cookies (ie small rounded dough)

Then came the slight disaster. It turned out that the baking time was actually shorter than stated. Either my oven is extra hot or I've just had it on for too long before that.. I had followed the recipe and put the timer to 11 minutes (between 10 - 12) when I put in my first tray of cookies inside. I didn't follow the rotation part but when it was about nine minutes, I took a peep and had a shocked! The cookies were already almost burned - very brown!!

But they're still edible, just that it's not the way choc-chip cookies should be!! So after that, I've reduced the baking time so the subsequent trays were ok, looked pretty normal! Phew.

Here is a mixture of the `brown' cookies and the normal ones..

Despite the boo-boo for the first tray, overall I must say the taste was more than satisfactory..(in fact the photos don't do justice to the taste! hehe) Only I hoped I've not over-baked the first batch! Dad's comment was `very good' and he ate quite a lot of it. Mom and the two helpers too! Since we had quite a lot, I brought some (the nice ones and not the burnt ones of course) to a meeting at church tonite and let some of my friends tried.. got positive feedback and all were snapped up!

Actually chocolate chip cookies are one of the easiest stuff to bake.. so shouldn't be too pleased :p Wonder if I am ambitious enough to tackle something more complicated next time. Maybe a cheesecake since mom loves it? ;)


boo_licious said...

Glad the cookies turned out great! You can make them for our next gathering?

jesscet said...

hmmm.. if they turn out unburnt! thanks again for the recipe! :)