Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I was in the mood to make cookies this weekend.  Actually, I was in the mood to make a lot of things this weekend--I also made Home-Made Pasta.  I found a package of Kroger-brand milk chocolate chunks and decided to use those instead of the usual chocolate chips.  One of the things that I love about making chocolate chip cookies, other than the fact that they are awesome cookies, is that there's always a recipe for them on the back of the chocolate chip/chunk package.  Easy-breezy!

I made a slight change to the traditional recipe through a happy accident in previous choco-chip making weekend.  Before, I had forgotten to set out the butter to soften, so I diced the cold butter and zapped it in the microwave.  Except I hit the "minute-plus" button without thinking.  I was so dismayed when I pulled out a bowl of melted butter.  I had no more butter.  It was late in the evening and I didn't feel like making a butter run to the grocery store.  I thought, "Well, I'll just use the melted butter and hope for the best.  If it doesn't work out, well, cookies aren't good for me anyway!"  It turned out to be a pretty good accident.  The dough was almost batter-like and the finished cookies tasted so, well, buttery!  I swear it's because I used melted butter instead of softened butter.  I vowed to use melted butter in all of my future incarnations of chocolate chip cookies. 

In another twist to this recipe, I also decided to refrigerate the dough/batter overnight.  Last fall, I made The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.  One of the key steps in that recipe was to let the dough sit for a while.  At least 24 hours.   The reasoning is that the longer the dough sits, the more time the flour has time to absorb the liquid ingredients.  It also allows the gluten in the dough to relax; resulting in a texture and consistency that's tastier in the final cookie.  This concept held up in The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie and I decided to try it in a choco-chip recipe that was decidedly not gourmet.  I'm happy to report that it also helped out my girl-next-door chocolate chip cookies!  By that, I mean that nearly all of the ingredients I used were store-brand.  The one exception was the Land O' Lakes butter.  This butter is some kind of awesome.  It's made in a city in Florida, about an hour north of Tampa.  Yes, it's really called Land O' Lakes.  No, I'm not sure if there are a lot of lakes there.  It is a very pretty town though.   I generally buy the store brand butter, but there was no generic sweet cream unsalted butter on the shelves today, so I bought the brand that I grew up with.  It's been awhile since I've purchased any kind of branded butter (or branded anything!) and I immediately noticed the creamy texture of this butter.  Even cold, my butter knife just glided through the stick.  With the store brand, cutting through the cold stick takes a bit of work.  Not a whole lot, mind you, just a little bit more oomph.  Anyway, I'm also convinced that using the Land O' Lakes butter also helped out the great taste of my girl-next-door cookies.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies, aka, Girl-Next-Door Cookies
Yield: 4 dozen 

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Land O' Lakes unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package (10 oz) milk chocolate chunks

1) Combine all of the ingredients except the milk chocolate chunks.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in the milk chocolate chunks.  You will have a very thick batter or thin dough, depending on your point of view!
2) Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
3) Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. 
4) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.

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