Tag Archives: shortening

Triple Chocolate Cookies

10 Feb

Triple Chocolate Cookies with Oats
Qty. approx 48

Notes:

You can substitute the cocoa and chocolate more to your tastes, and use candy bars if necessary: Natural for the Dutch-processed cocoa; milk chocolate for the unsweetened, etc.

You can use any kind of chips you like.  These cookies are a good way to empty any open bags of chips laying around.  You can also experiment with the amount of chips you use.

If you’re called away, keep the dough cool (but not frozen) until you can finish the batch.

Dry Ingredients
1¾ c. bread flour
¼ c. AP flour
¼ c. Dutch-processed cocoa
1¾ c. oats
1 c. brown sugar
¼ c. white sugar
1 TBL instant espresso
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
8 oz. white chocolate chips
8 oz. semisweet chips
4 oz. milk chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients and Fats

2 TBL unsalted butter, melted
6 TBL unsalted butter, softened
2 TBL lard or shortening (lard preferred)
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 TBL dark corn syrup
2 TBL vanilla (or to taste)
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 TBL vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place rack in the middle; line room temp baking sheets with parchment.

Begin melting chocolate with 1 TBL of the vegetable oil. This can be done in the microwave, or over direct, very low heat.  Once melted, mix in cocoa and allow to cool.

While you’re at the stove or microwave, heat up a very small amount of water to add to the instant espresso, then set aside.  Then, melt the 2 TBL of butter and set aside to cool. (That’s important!)

While the chocolate is melting, begin assembling the rest of the cookies:

Cream the butter, lard, 1 tsp of the salt and brown sugar in a mixer set to medium.  (Use beater attachments.) This will take about four minutes to fluff up and lighten in color a bit.  If you need to use a hand mixer for this, that’s fine; no need to worry about timing. Everything can sit for a few extra minutes if necessary.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix your room temp eggs, single yolk, white sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cooled espresso paste, cooled melted butter and last TBL of salt.  (If the butter’s too warm, it’ll cook the eggs.  No joke.)  Use a whisk to incorporate the ingredients, but gently: Do not incorporate air.  If you incorporate too much air, combined with the baking powder your cookies may rise too quickly, the droop and spread.

Allow this mixture to sit for a couple minutes, mix, then repeat once more in another couple minutes.

While the egg mixture sets and activates, assemble the dry ingredients in another bowl: Whisk together flours, oats, baking powder and chips until slightly aerated and well-mixed.  This takes less manpower than you think, so be careful not to overmix.

At this point, you can turn around and mix the egg mixture.  (You’ll notice that the salt has activated the flavors, sugars, and eggs. Another stir helps this along.)  Now, you can incorporate the chocolate into the egg mixture with the same whisk.

Pour the egg/chocolate mixture into the bowl containing the creamed butter and sugar.  Mix this on low until incorporated; about 30 seconds or so.  This will not be a smooth mixture, so again, don’t overmix.

Finally, add the flour/chip mixture.  Use the lowest setting, or mix by hand.  A good rule of thumb?  Your batters and doughs are usually mixed properly well before you think they are.  Overmixing will flatten bakery, making it tough and dense.

Set the dough aside in a cold space to set the dough: About 30 minutes in a freezer, or 1 hour in a fridge or cold mudroom.  AC vents are useful for this in warmer climates, too, but if necessary, you can let the dough set on its own at room temperature for a few hours.  The melted chocolate will take care of this eventually.

Once set, use a 1½ TBL scoop to place 9 to 12 cookies on the pan.  (I always start low in case I’ve done something wrong.)  You’ll want to shape these cookies using either your index and middle fingers, or the bottom of your scoop.

Rotating, parchment and room temp cookie sheets will help ensure that your cookies do not burn.

Bake for 12 minutes, rotating at the 6-minute mark.  You can do these two cookie sheets at a time, too, by using a rack just beneath the middle one.  However, this makes rotating the cookies—turning them around and switching racks—very important.

Repeat until finished, using room temp cookie sheets each time.  You can re-use the parchment each time so you don’t have to wash them.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I washed my cookie sheets.  But you know what?  What burns never return, my friends.

Please let me know if you have questions, suggestions, or anything else.  Your feedback is important to me!

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Easy Like Lionel Richie

2 Jan

Rest assured, there are more failures to write up for you, my nine readers (see below to start), but before I retire for the evening, I’d like to leave you with a small little trifle that turned into a big success.

I mentioned in an earlier post that making the best holiday treats means making small, handheld, easily transportable treats.  This means that sweet little candy-ish things that’re made assembly-line style while you’re parked in front of a “completely legal” feed of, say, weekday football games…well, these treats are as perfect as that sentence isn’t.

This brings us to it, and it’s based on the very popular chocolate-coated Ritz-and-peanut-butter sandwiches that a lot of people make this time of year.  I love those things.  But for these new treats, I came across some perfectly round pretzel crackers, a little larger than a quarter.  A freak for all things salty and crunchy, I knew there had to be a good use for these.

First, I ate used an entire bag myself while watching an episode of “Burn Notice.”

But, I also managed—somehow–to save the remaining bag and thought that instead of peanut butter, I could make use of a jar of Nutella that’s been taunting me since I bought it in the summer.  Honestly, why do I do this to myself?  This is a carb-free house.  Usually.

So, two pretzel crackers, salt side in, Nutella and… what kind of chocolate to coat?  After several taste tests it was decided to go with white chocolate, which would also provide a really nice color contrast.

There are a couple of tricks to making these successfully, the first of which is the most important: As Nutella liquefies quickly under heat, make sure these are fully chilled before dipping.  Unlike peanut butter, to which saturated fats are added for stability, Nutella is gooey paste, made of hazelnuts, cocoa solids and here in North America, modified (with more unsaturated fat) palm oil.  It doesn’t stand on its own.

To keep the flavors balanced—they’re all very strong—keep the layer of Nutella pretty thin, and add about a TBL of shortening (or more) to your white chocolate to thin it out.  Then work quickly: Even very chilled, some Nutella will get into the white chocolate.  So long as it’s not much, though, it’ll mix right in.

Then throw them on some wax paper to set.  Some decoration really adds to them, such as a light dusting of white sanding sugar, chocolate cookie crumbs, or whatever cute things you have handy.  It doesn’t really matter, because people will love these no matter what.  Trust me on this.  Have I ever steered you wrong?

Don’t answer that.

Better Bakers Love Lard (and shortening, too)

15 Jul

So, when did the War Against Fat begin?  Was that the 80s?  The 70s?  I don’t know.  I was born in one decade and grew up in the next, and I do remember hearing about the evils of fat on, like, Phil Donahue or something like that until even I thought rice cakes might be good.  (Nasty!)  I never did hear about the Death Fat at home, where fat was used in cooking because good food calls for it.  The trick is, of course, that virtually none of the food I had as a kid was of the processed variety.  Lucky me, I know, so until the day I get my angioplasty, I will preach that fat in food is fine so long as it’s not processed food.

But fat in bakery?  It does give one pause, doesn’t it, because great bakery is based on the delicious but luckless triumvirate of flour, sugar, and fat.  Here’s the thing, though: The best bakery is not something you have everyday in large quantities.  It’s rich enough and filling enough that you can’t eat a lot of it.  And yes–it’s not processed, so you’re already ahead of the game.

This means that making great bakery, and great desserts in particular, is no time to starting thinking about nutrition content.  Portion sizes, maybe, but honestly, if you start making “healthy” substitutions, you’ll just end up with these foul little bricks of crap that will give Dean Ornish a heart attack anyway.  Also, your guests will laugh at you behind your back.  And you’ll deserve it.

If you’d prefer to avoid humiliation at the hand of some silly health claim, allow me, then, to offer you a short treatise on the true beauty and real utility of lard and shortening:

Lard.  This is an amazing addition to your bakery, people.  I can’t say this enough.  Cookies?  Cookies are my passion, and I swear to God, they are so much better with a little lard.  (To start, I usually substitute two tablespoons of lard for the same amount of butter.)  Any cookie I make with lard behaves beautifully in the oven and retains its character for longer than I could ever hope for.  What’s more, the flavors deepen over time while the cookie still tastes fresh.  And pie dough?  In combination with some butter, well, it’s so amazing, I can’t even say.  If you have a hard time finding it, check your ethnic grocers or, failing that, the closest butcher.

Shortening.  This stuff’s not only for greasing your pan.  Where I prefer to use lard, you may prefer to use shortening, although I hope it’s because you’re a vegetarian and not because you think shortening is healthier.  It is not.  It does an admirable job, however, keeping soft cookies soft long after they’re cool, and makes for some damn flaky pie crust.  Plus, it’s easier to find than lard.  (Personally, I can really taste butter-flavored shortening, even in small quantities.  But your people may love it, so give it a shot, if you like.  Some bakers do swear by it.  Otherwise, the plain white kind is great.)

But whether you choose shortening or lard when your recipe calls for it, it’s important that you think not of the fat, but of the flavor.  As I’ve insisted, the health claims against fat are rather dubious anyway.  Remember instead the very real fact that you just don’t eat this stuff every day.  So don’t fuck around, people.  Use fat.