Tag Archives: Chewy

Flat and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies: Sophisticated, Elegant, and Perfect for its Genre

Do you need another chocolate chip cookie recipe for your arsenal?  I really was not looking for one – beyond the America’s Test Kitchen recipe, about which I already have written here. However, sometimes I am compelled to try a variant or new recipe just for fun.

The October issue of Saveur featured Amanda Hesser’s Flat and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie, excerpted from her latest publication, The Essential New York Times Cookbook.  This is a wonderful cookbook, I must tell you, even though I have yet to make anything else from it after receiving it at Xmas – the recipes span the more than 150 years the NYT has been publishing on food.

Also in that edition of Saveur, my favourite food writers Jane and Michael Stern wrote about some of the glories of central Ohio cuisine.  There are many varied and delightful specialties in that area of the Buckeye State, some of which I have sampled on road trips.  I liked the Stern’s description of a tantalizing chicken noodle soup recipe from a Polish restaurant, Babuska’s Kitchen.  The recipe included directions for home-made noodles – something I had never done before – and seasonings for the soup such as fennel seed and garlic, neither of which I typically use.  It was a super-soup recipe, which I recently made for dinner on a blustery rainy Friday night – to be capped off with more comfort food:  chocolate-chip cookies.

For the major CC cookie genres, the review – and the recipe

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MandelBread or Mandelbrot-Delectable By Any Name: What Would Jessie Dish? Week 12

I have absolutely no recollection of this recipe from my childhood. As part of my grandmother Jessie’s recently discovered files, “mandlebread” is a fantastic recipe.   Either I had never eaten this cookie or simply cannot remember it.  For a child, perhaps it is too hard as cookies go? Mandlebrot does not go as well with milk, say, rather than with tea – ugh for most kids – or coffee – double ugh.  It is also devoid of chocolate, so I might not have cared for them, obliterating the memories of one try from my mind.

The recipe is very specific with its directions and was a breeze to follow –  with one odd exception: “nuts”. “Mandel” is “almond”, so I suspect Jessie just knew to use them – rather than other favourites of hers, such as pecans or walnuts. A mandelbrot, or, mandelbrodt, is an middle-European counterpart to biscotti, made typically with almonds (“mandel”, in both German and Yiddish, “brot” meaning “bread”).  Mandelbrot has made a bit of a comeback in cookie-dom, along with the resurgence in world-wide coffee-culture (in this iteration, think Starbucks and free WiFi as opposed to Le Procope in Paris and “philosophers cafes”).

Around age 70, Jessie enjoyed the Mayan ruins in Mexico.

What I found amusing about this recipe is that I could not find a photo which somehow would correspond. So I chose one of my grandmother at the ruins of Uxmal on a winter getaway to Mexico around 1974. Jessie visited Israel right after Egypt a few years before her trip to Mexico (and I have used the one photo I have from that tour already) but never went to middle-European destinations (e.g., Austria, Hungary, or Germany, where mandelbrot once reigned supreme), so the Mayan setting will have to do!

Mandelbrot with flowers from our gardens (courtesy of CJM Floral Engineering, Inc.)

For the cookie’s character and the recipe…

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The Ultimate Thick Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie: Your Quest for Perfection Ends Here with this Recipe

The cookie above left is smooth, while the other had the jagged-edge technique.

What can be more satisfying than finding what you were seeking for years? The perfect chocolate chip cookie can be elusive, despite its simplicity and iconic status.

I found that the traditional Toll House Cookie recipe (on the back of the chocolate chip package of the same name) yields serviceable cookies but did not produce the thicker, chewy toothsome variety, which I prefer.  I am not even considering the time my mother used baking powder instead of baking soda in the Toll House  recipe she made – under duress, for a school bake sale – resulting in rock-hard disks, which may have been over-baked, as well.   (To avoid being accused of being an ungrateful son, just past Mother’s Day, my mother frequently has told this story, without my prompting….)

Over the years, I occasionally would discover a bakery or home baker who created the ideal cookie:  one that has a minimally crisp circumference, contrasted by a soft, chewy pliable interior, yet filled with more-than-enough chocolate chips and the nutty counterpart of pecans or walnuts.  The nut-component truly is optional, but I will dare to take a stand and declare that I am 100% pro-nut.   However, I never did find a recipe to produce the ideal treat.  I even bought a cookbook nearly 25 years ago – and still have it – entitled enticingly, The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. This book promised to reveal the paragon of chocolate-chip-iness, yet none had the exact texture I craved.  Many of the award-winning recipes are good, and there were some interesting variants on the classic…just not “The One”.

Crisp perimeter with a satisfyingly chewy thick interior

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Chewy Soft Brown Sugar Beurre Noisette Cookies: An Intense Extravanza of Brown Nuttiness

A crisp perimeter surrounds the chewy interior.

Are you a cook or a baker? There seems to be a never-ending debate on this culinary dichotomy.

For me, I relish the accuracy and science of baking, where measurements, technique, and thoroughness are so important. Part of the appeal to me is the exactness, while the other draw is my sweet tooth (or a mouth full of sweet teeth – I think I have way more than just one). Of course, there can be room for deviation and creation; however, this is within the limits of the chemical reactions of wet, dry, leaveners, etc. There is the possibility of adapting recipes with different extracts, spices, nuts (or not), and/or chips of varying chocolate-ness (or not, like butterscotch or peanut butter or that imposter, white chocolate). However, a framework of a recipe is necessary.

Cooking v. baking  and the recipe for chewy brown sugar beurre-noisette cookies Continue reading