Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookies Done 8 Ways

     Yesterday morning I awoke to find an email from King Arthur Flour that completely changed my day.  It turns out that this week is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week and I didn't even know about it!  Let's see... an entire week dedicated to the baking and eating of Chocolate Chip Cookies?  Whoever came up with this idea is a genius!  So, naturally, I did what any dedicated blogger with an obsession for baking chocolate chip cookies would do.  I rushed to the store to pick up extra cookie ingredients and chained myself in the kitchen for the next 8 hours creating new and exciting ways to make Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Of course, I'm here to share them with you.  I wouldn't want any of my friends to miss out on this Chocolate Chip Cookie Extravaganza.  (My teenage son is certainly excited about it.)

     Let's begin with a basic cookie recipe.  The one I've been using for the last couple years comes from Cookies & Cups.  The link to the recipe can be found here.  The website is owned by Shelly and she is an amazing baker.  What I love is the way she creates wonderful foundation recipes that give us room to create our own incredible recipes.  Personally, I love to take basic concepts and turn them into something creative and new.  This is so much easier to do with people like Shelly providing such wonderful foundations for us to learn and work from.  So, now that you have found the amazing foundation recipe, let's get started on our celebration of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week.

#1 - Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies
Let's begin with something simple.  Start with the base recipe and for your add-ins, use 1/2 cup Kraft Caramel Baking Bits, 1/2 cup Pretzel Pieces (I broke up mini pretzels in a zipper bag), and 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips.  Easy as pie.  This recipe was actually my son's request when I started baking.  It was all I could do to keep his hands off the cookies long enough to get a picture.

#2 - Root Beer White Chocolate Chip
One of the reasons I love the basic cookie recipe from Cookies & Cups is because the recipe uses 1 Tbspn of Vanilla Extract.  Most cookie recipes use as little as 1 tspn.  By choosing a foundation recipe with a larger amount of extract, we have the flexibility to dramatically change the flavor of the cookie by changing the extract we use.  In this case, I used Root Beer Extract instead of vanilla.  The entire 1 1/2 cups of add-ins is white chocolate chips.  This one simple change and choice of add-ins made for a delicious and very unique chocolate chip cookie.

#3 - Dark Chocolate Chip Cherry Almond
Again, we can alter the flavor of the cookie foundation by changing the extract.  I wanted a very strongly almond flavored cookie and so I changed the entire tablespoon to Almond Extract.  If you prefer a milder almond flavor, try using half Almond Extract and half Vanilla Extract in your cookies.  For the add-ins, use 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips, 1/2 cup Sliced Almonds, and 1/2 cup of diced Maraschino Cherries.  Be sure to pat your cherry pieces dry with a paper towel before adding them to the cookie mixture, otherwise you will end up with a wetter dough than you want.

#4 - White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut
How about a well known Chocolate Chip cookie flavor that my husband says I don't make nearly enough?  These cookies simply use the base recipe and add in 1 cup White Chocolate Chips and 1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts.  I choose this ratio because of the high cost of Macadamia Nuts.  If you don't mind the expense, feel free to even the ratio out and use 3/4 cup of each.

#5 - Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Chip
We are going to add some extra ingredients to our basic recipe this time.  We want a chocolate foundation for these cookies.  There are a number of ways to achieve this.  Personally, I prefer to use cocoa powder because it means one less staple product to keep in my pantry.  However, if you prefer squares of Baker's Chocolate, you can go that route as well.  After the foundation dough is made, you will need to mix in the chocolate.  I place 6 Tbspn Cocoa Powder in a small bowl and add 2 Tbspn Vegetable Oil.  (You can use any oil that you feel comfortable cooking with.) Mix this until you have a smooth, thick liquid.  Personally, I don't add any additional sugar to my chocolate.  I like the contrast of the slightly less sweet cookie with the sweeter chocolate chips that are baked in.  If you feel the need to maintain the sweetness of your cookies, you can add 1 Tbspn of sugar into your chocolate mix.  If you prefer not to use cocoa powder, simply melt 1 square of Baker's Chocolate (unsweet or semi-sweet depending on your preference).  Now mix your chocolate into the cookie dough with your mixer.  Add 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips, 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips, and 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

#6 - Mocha Chocolate Chip
For these cookies we are going to use the technique of switching out the extract from the recipe, as well as adding chocolate to the cookie foundation.  Replace the Vanilla Extract with Coffee Extract.  You will want to use a coffee extract rather than brewed coffee because you will get a much stronger flavor without altering the consistency of the dough.  Now add in your chocolate as in Recipe #5.  Your add-ins for this recipe will be 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.

#7 - Chipotle Bacon Chocolate Chip
This recipe is going to require the most additional work because we are going to candy walnuts and bacon pieces.  First, you will need approximately 1/2 cup of cooked bacon.  You can use pre-packaged bacon pieces if you like.  It works better if you have some bacon grease to add in, though.  Personally, I cut a package of bacon using my kitchen shears into large "bite sized" pieces.  Then I toss them all into a pot and cook until all of the bacon is done to my liking, and drain off the grease into my bacon grease container, which I store in the fridge.  Take the 1/2 cup you want to use for the cookies and place it back in the pan.  Put the rest of your bacon pieces in a air-tight container and store in the refrigerator to use in other recipes or to top a salad.  Add 1/2 cup walnuts to your bacon, along with 1/3 cup + 1 Tbspn Sugar, and 1 tspn of Chipotle powder.  (This recipe is not for the faint of heart.  These cookies will definitely have a kick to them.  Beware!)  Cook on medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar melts.  You can add in 1 tsp of bacon grease to help with the process if you feel that you need a bit of liquid.  I'm sure you can find detailed instructions on candying things online and they will include specific temperatures and such.  I apologize.  Granny taught me to add a pinch of this and a dash of that and to stir until it "looks right".  That's how I candy things as well.  When I see a nice, shiny liquid, I spread my mixture on some wax paper and let it dry.  It takes on the appearance of a brittle.  Once it's cool and hard, I put it in a zipper bag and break it to small bits with a hammer.  (Don't you regularly use a hammer in your recipes?)  Now, back to our cookie base... Add the broken pieces of brittle, along with 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips.  Remember my warnings!  These cookies might bite back.  Keep a glass of milk handy.

#8 - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
This time we are starting from scratch with a new recipe.
I/2 Cup Butter (1 Stick)
!/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
! Egg
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (I recommend King Arthur Unbleached)
3/4 tspn Baking Soda
1/2 tspn Baking Powder
1/4 tspn Salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
1. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in egg and peanut butter until you have a smooth consistency.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add to mixture slowly, combining well between each addition.
4.  Add in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
5. Drop in spoonfuls on baking sheet.  Do not press them down.  We want these cookies to bake up and keep their thick shape.  Trust me, the insides will be delicious with all those chocolate chips.
6. Bake 9-10 minutes until the cookies are light brown. (Ovens are all different.  Adjust the cooking times to suit your oven.)

I hope you enjoy the assortment of Chocolate Chip Cookies I have put together for you.  It's time to get to the kitchen and start baking for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week!  I would love to see your cookie in the comment section below.  We can always use more kinds of Chocolate Chip Cookies in the world!

No comments:

Post a Comment