Fine Wine … Sharp, Peppery Cheese … Crusty Bread …. Chocolate Chunk Cookies … What do these delectables share in common?
Other than the obvious, all deliver an unforgetable taste experience due to the process of prolonged aging. Who knew that letting cookie dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (the ideal rest time is 36 hours) would result in a better-tasting cookie? Sadly, we are often at the mercy of a bit of a Cookie Monster mentality that tantrums, “Me want cookie NOW”! Little do we realize that a little extra fridge time allows flavours a chance to marry and mellow, opening up a relaxing environment for the texture to fully develop to its potential. You know what they say about patience…
A word of caution here is well-advised – Don’t let be known that there is cookie dough chillin’ in your refrigerator!
As with many foods, there are individual differences when it comes to how things should taste. Chocolate Chunk Cookies can be thin and crispy; thick and doughy; soft and chewy. They can be nutty … or not; They can be chock full of chocolate chunks … or not. My preference has always been for soft and chewy; no nuts; and lots of chunks.
In order to master the art of a soft and chewy cookie, there are a few tips. One is to use melted butter instead of soft butter. The reason why Blondies and Brownies are so soft and chewy is because they start with melted butter …this strategy translates to cookies. Another tip is to use an extra egg yolk. Also, adding a little cornstarch to the dough contributes to a soft and chewy texture (I learned this many years ago from Anna Olson, pastry chef in Ontario – www.annaolson.ca).
Other suggestions for making these the best ever — – don’t over-bake; use a lower oven temperature; don’t flatten the dough too much prior to oven-time.
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus a 36-hour rest) Baking Time: 12 minutes
Yield: 16 large chewy cookies
340 g (2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 mL) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
175 g (3/4 cup/1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
160 g (3/4 cup) packed demerera brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (large size), at room temperature
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (350 g) semi-sweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
- Blend together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
- In a mixer bowl, mix together the melted butter, the demerera sugar and the granulated sugar until well combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and the vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Fold the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture until thoroughly blended.
- Fold in most of the chocolate chunks – save a few to add to the tops of each cookie before baking. Refrigerate dough for at least 24 hours (36 is ideal).
- On baking day: To ensure that the dough is easy to handle, let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour prior to baking (more waiting!). Preheat oven to 325oF (165oC).
- Use 3-4 tablespoons (45-60 mL) of dough for each cookie. Place about 8 dough balls on each of two parchment covered cookie sheets. Gently flatten very slightly and place the extra chocolate chunks on each of the cookies.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes. Do not over-bake. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.