Monday, July 11, 2011

Crazy from the Heat

Today is turning out to be one of the hottest days yet.  Right now the temperature with heat index is hovering at 110 degrees.  I'm not a fan of hot, humid weather.  My initial plans for the day included stopping by the garden center and running a few other errands.  Those plans have since changed and I have stepped outside only as absolutely necessary to take the dogs out and retrieve my sun tea.  In my geeky curiosity, I decided to take its temperature:  110 degrees.

So how did I spend my air conditioned morning indoors?  By turning on my oven.  Now what kind of sense does that make?!  None whatsoever, not even to me.  But I have some newspaper articles I want to send to my dad, and I apparently feel the need to send him cookies every time I need to mail him something.

The cookie of choice today was chocolate chip.  The only chips I had left in the pantry were Ghirardelli Double Chocolate (60%) so I went ahead and used the recipe on the package.  It's worth pointing out that the recipe on the package is titled Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, however, the recipe on their website under this title is totally different.  The recipe I used was what they list as Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I did make a couple of changes though.  And instead of just printing the recipe, I thought I would do a pictorial this time.

I started with my dry ingredients.  I used 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of natural cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  I whisked this together and added 2 cups of the chocolate chips. 

Next I combined 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and two sticks of softened, unsalted butter.  Well, mostly softened since I hadn't planned ahead to take it out of the refrigerator last night.  It just took a little longer to cream with the sugars.

Lastly, I needed 2 eggs (also quasi-room temperature) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  I cracked the eggs into the measuring cup I used for the flour since I was going to have to wash it anyway.

The original recipe includes optional nuts, but since Dad can't chew them I left them out.

Once everything was ready to go, I turned the oven on to 375 degrees, plugged in the mixer and got started by creaming the butter and sugars on medium high speed. 

As I said, my butter was still slightly chilled, so the creaming process took a little longer than it normally would, probably a full 7 minutes with stopping and scraping a couple of times (I'm really big on scraping.)

Lower the speed to medium, and add the eggs one at a time.  Mix after each egg until the batter no longer looks curdled.  I actually ended up adding a white, a yolk and then the remaining whole egg just because that's how it came out of the cup.

Then add the dry ingredients and chips on low speed.  At this point the mixer will sound like it's driving down a bumpy road.  Mix only until the dry ingredients are combined.  Any strays can be worked in with a spatula or wooden spoon.

At this point, the cookie dough smells amazing.  I almost ate some raw.  Almost.  I have a thing about eating raw egg products.

 I used the biggest cookie scoop I have to portion these.  I knew with using all butter and no shortening the cookies would spread a lot, so I left plenty of room.

(Normally I am completely anti-shortening, but it does have its place in cookies.)

Bake for 9 - 11 minutes.  I split the difference and baked them 10 minutes for chewier cookies.  Remove immediately to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Let the pan cool a bit (or use two pans) and repeat until all the dough is used.  Since I had most of the counter space taken up with cooling racks and other appliances, the utensil drawer made a handy spot to let the cookie sheet cool. 

The recipe says it makes about 4 dozen, but with the size I made them I ended up with about 3 dozen.  And that last sheet of cookies had some seriously large cookies.  I think perhaps I'll keep those for myself.

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