Happy New Year internet!
I had a great 2023, better than I could have imagined. I accomplished so many (mostly gender-related) goals: top surgery, pronoun & legal name change, starting ✨testosterone✨, accomplishing a pull-up, climbing 5.11 grade routes, getting a faint six-pack. If 2024 is half as cool as 2023 was, I will be very happy.
Anyway, this post is about a chocolate chip cookie that I have very strong emotions about. This is the kind of cookie that will top your taste buds. It is extremely rich and has a lot of flavors going on. As the name suggests, you'll need 48 hours, mostly for the dough to rest.
This recipe is from Alvin Zhou. I recommend watching his recipe video, it's beautifully shot.
-1 stick unsalted butter (this is 8 tbsp aka 1/2 cup)
-1 cup light brown sugar
-1 tsp kosher salt
-2 sticks unsalted butter (this is 1 cup)
-2 ice cubes
-1/2 cup regular white granulated sugar
-1.5 cups dark brown sugar
-2 tsp espresso powder (I used instant espresso)
-2 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp good vanilla extract
-2.5 cups all-purpose flour
-6 oz chocolate, 70% cacao minimum
-Maldon sea salt (or any flaky sea salt if you can't find Maldon)
-bowl for mixing
This recipe takes 3 days total. It takes a couple hours to prep the dough, which then rests for 2 days. Then you're free to bake.
Day 1: Dough Prep
First let's prepare the toffee. Combine the toffee ingredients in a nonstick pan and cook under low heat, mixing constantly. Mixing constantly is very important, or else the butter and sugar can separate and things can start to burn. Continue cooking and mixing until the toffee reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Over time the toffee will start to become thicker and tastier-looking.
Once you've reached 300 degrees Fahrenheit, take the pan off the heat, and pour the toffee into a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer to cool. I recommend letting the toffee cool to room temperature before placing in the freezer. I did not do this but have recently learned that this might have prevented my slight separation of butter and sugar, as you can see in the edges of the photo below.
Start preparing the dry ingredients for your dough: place the brown and white sugar, salt, espresso powder, and baking soda in bowl. Mix very well, until the consistency is like sand.
Then, prepare the brown butter. Place 2 sticks unsalted butter in a pan and heat under low heat, stirring constantly. If you leave this butter alone for a few seconds, I cannot guarantee that it won't burn! I am not educated about food science, but over the next few minutes it seems that the milk solids will separate from the butter and float around, and then get increasingly toasted. Mixing constantly prevents these bits from getting burnt.
You want to cook and stir until you get a wonderful golden-brown color, like so:
Then take the pan off the heat and place two ice cubes to rehydrate the brown butter. Your brown butter might splatter from this. I find it helpful to have a lid at the ready before I place the ice cubes, so that I can cover the pan while the splattering is going on.
Once your brown butter has calmed down, pour it into your dry dough ingredients. Stir, and then crack your eggs into the mixture. Add vanilla and stir well, until you can make ribbons with the batter.
Add flour and mix.
Cut up your chocolate. Alvin recommends cutting it up in a cross-hatch pattern (diagonally left-to-right and right-to-left) so that the pieces are all slightly different shapes and sizes, which can makes the cookies more varied and fun.
Place the chocolate pieces in the batter and then take our your toffee from the freezer. You'll want to separate this into pieces similar in size to the chocolate. Alvin does this by placing the toffee in a plastic bag and mashing it with a rolling pin. This works but I don't like using plastic bags for sustainability reasons, so I'll have to give some thought about how to do this in the future.
Place the tofee in the dough and mix everything together.
The last step is to prep individual cookie dough dollops. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use an ice cream scoop, cookie dough scoop, or similar to dollop scoops of the dough onto the paper.
Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours. The long refrigeration time is so that the cookie dough flavors can develop and "get to know each other."
Nothing to do here, your cookie dough is still sleeping.
Bake your cookies! I recommend baking in batches, so that the cookies have enough room to spread out without touching each other. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your baking sheet.
Bake for 20-ish minutes, then take out of the oven. Sprinkle with your flaky sea salt.
They will be very gooey at first. Let them rest at least 20 minutes before eating so they can solidify enough.
These cookies are so rich. They have many different kinds of sweetness going on: decadent richness from the dark chocolate, light candy-caramel flavor from the toffee, slightly bitter and toasted butteriness from the brown butter. These different components also make their texture pretty varied. The salt balances out the sweetness well. After one of these cookies, I am a little full. They are the perfect treat to spoil yourself during the holiday, or any time really.
If you make these cookies, let me know. Here's to a good 2024. I will be back hopefully soon with some soup recipes for the cold weather.