Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter and Yeast

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try. 

After a month of Tofu Tuesdays I've decided to switch it up.  I'm still experimenting with ways to make tofu tasty, so it may make an appearance every once in a while.  I'll just wait until I find recipes I'd make again (like last week's Chocolate Mint Bars ) and stop sharing all the flops with you.

Instead of Tofu Tuesday I'm going with Tuesday's Twist.  This series will feature a classic recipe or food concept with a unique twist.  The twist will be something along the lines of a new technique or an unusual ingredient.  Isn't that what Weird Recipe Wednesday is for?  Well, yeah.  But I'll try to make Tuesday's recipe a little more normal and a little less weird.  Just a little though, you know me.  Really I just wanted an excuse to try out some more fun recipes that didn't involve tofu.

This week we'll take the classic chocolate chip cookie and bump it up a few notches.

This recipe comes from Willow at Will Cook For Friends.  She and her boyfriend had a bake-off to see who could make the best chocolate chip cookies.  What caught my eye in this recipe was the yeast.  I ran across the idea of using yeast in cookies last fall, but had never actually seen it in a recipe.  I experimented with yeast in a peanut butter cookie last winter, but let's just say I had a few too many variables going on to really tell what was happening.  Sometime I hope to try replacing the baking soda completely with yeast, but this seemed like a good place to start.

I also had yet to try the browned butter technique in cookies.  Amazing.  Butter is melted and cooked until golden brown and nutty.  We're talking a whole new level of flavor here.  I'm going to have to try this in so many other applications.   Another twist is the use of bread flour to replace some of the all-purpose flour.  Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour thus influencing the final cookie texture.  I just so happened to have bread flour on hand from this pizza crust, which of course meant I had to make these cookies.

I chilled the dough 5 days to allow the yeast flavor to develop.  I didn't notice much flavor change here, maybe a little but it was probably my imagination (and I tried the dough every day, maybe even more than once each day).  If you try this, don't expect there to be much cookie dough left by the time you get to baking it.  While the yeast flavor wasn't quite what I was hoping for the browned butter more than made up for it.  The dough (and cookies too if you get that far) has an enhanced nutty, caramel, toffee flavor that makes the extra step of browning the butter completely worth it. Seriously. 

I left out the optional nuts and went with the lower end (1-1/2 cups) on the chocolate chips.  I love chocolate, but I think 2 cups of chips would overpower that beautiful browned butter flavor in the dough.  Because most of the butter is melted the dough is initially very soft  Don't be tempted to add extra flour, the dough hardens considerably after chilling.  The final texture yielded a nice balance between crisp edges and a soft chewy center. I would definitely make these again.

I'm still not quite sure of the protocol on this but I believe food blogger etiquette dictates that I share the link for this recipe rather than posting it myself.  Since I didn't make any changes or adaptions you'll need to head over to Will Cook For Friends for the recipe.  Besides, that way you can try out both this version and her boyfriend's recipe and decide for yourself who makes a better cookie.  If his are anything like hers it'll be a tough call.

Food for Thought: "You create beauty with your attitude, your behaviors, your actions. It's all up to you."

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