Have you ever noticed the insane myriad of approaches to making cookies that contradict one another? Sherry Yard says if your chocolate chip cookies fail your butter was too warm/soft. Alice Medrich says chocolate chip cookies should only be made with melted butter. That NY Times recipe (the only one of the previous 3 to earn my unqualified thumbs up–although I have not tried Yard’s) says the cookie dough needs to sit for at least 24 hours.
I am feeling particularly irritable on this topic because I made Alice Medrich’s chocolate chip cookies yesterday for my brother, despite my trepidation over melting the butter since the last time I tried that the cookies seemed greasy to me. I should have listened to my intuition.
Look, I will not sit here–as all of the authors have–and authoritatively claim what will work for you. I just know melting butter does NOT work for me. The cookies spread into creation–2 of them actually spread off of the pan!
But I am curious–has melting the butter worked for any of you? If so, do you have any tips or secrets to share?
Annnyyywwwaaayyy, because I am feeling chatty, let me share something that happened this morning and then I will get on with these Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies that did succeed.
This morning, Alex comes into my bedroom and says “Mommy the birds are out in our yard!” (What birds? But I am still asleep) So I said they probably found the crumbs that I throw out in the front yard for them and isn’t that nice? and went back to sleep.
A short while later, after my alarm has gone off, I am having trouble waking up so I called to Alex and told her to come talk to me because I couldn’t wake up. She says she does not want to because she is watching the birds. I said you can see them here too, she says no it is better in her room. I ignore her and say that is crazy (and why is that crazy? It isn’t–her room faces east and mine faces west and if I had not been half asleep this difference might have occurred to me).
While we are debating the matter though I crack open an eye and realize that outside MY window it looks like The Birds.
If you told me there were thousands of birds in my front and back yard this morning I would not contradict you. Chances are it was more like hundreds, but it was a lot at any rate. A friend of mine says they were probably starlings. When I got downstairs I took some pictures out the backdoor in our family room– although the pics do not really do it justice. They were starting to dissipate by then.
That will teach me to argue with my 3 YO. And do you know none of those birds were actually pecking the ground where I had dumped any crumbs?
Anyway, about these cookies. I am not a fan of nuts in cookies. Almost never. But, I do love hazelnuts with chocolate, I had just found skinned hazelnuts at the store, and I needed to make cookies for John’s class so I figured I could satisfy my curiosity about this recipe but plan to send a lot into his students.
These are terrific; I am glad I did. John was not a fan but he really did not like the hazelnuts, and as with all nuts in baked goods, you either like them or you don’t, so I do not see it as a reflection on the recipe. The girls and I enjoyed them tremendously and were happy to hear that there are about 7 fewer students in his class this semester.
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Nancy Baggett’s The All-American Cookie Book
7 oz (1 1/3 cups) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
252 g (2 cups) AP flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
heaping 1/4 t salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) shortening, room temperature (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks as it was what I had but white is what she calls for)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 T milk (I used 2%)
2 t vanilla
1 cup (6 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips
Set a baking rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat to 350 F.
If you have had success grinding nuts to a powder before, then separate out half of the nuts and grind you a powder–chop the other half. What I did instead was partially grind all of them in the food processor until I got 3.5 oz to sift through as powder. The remaining chunks I left as they were.
Whisk together the hazelnut powder, the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and shortening together until totally blended and then add the sugars and cream to fluffiness. Add the egg, vanilla and milk and totally blend together. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended. Add the chocolate chips and the hazelnut pieces and mix those in. Set the dough aside, preferably in a cool place, for 15 minutes (this is not necessary but I like it as it allows the dough to meld better and firm up a bit–if I had easy room I would always do in the fridge).
Using a mid size ice cream scoop, scoop out level balls of dough, about 12 to a sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through. Because they should bake in the top third of the oven, only one sheet at a time can cook. I got 34 cookies. Let them cool on a rack on the sheet for about 3 minutes and then transfer the individual cookies to a cooling rack.