The last cookie recipe!!! For a french baking book you just had to know that the last cookie recipe would be macarons. The first baking item that comes to mind when you hear french patisserie are macarons. After getting the Bouchon Bakery book a couple years ago this was the first recipe that I attempted to make. That was a terrible idea!! Thankfully I have made them a few times over the past couple years as I've gotten more and more baking experience so making them for the blog post wasn't quite so daunting.
These cookies start with a dry mix of finely ground almond powder that you have to put through a fine mesh sieve coupled with powdered sugar. The one thing that I found that was different was the introduction of egg whites that you fold into the dry mix before incorporation of the italian meringue. At this point, I folded in the seeds from a vanilla bean and mixed well.
After this I went about tackling the italian meringue! This being the most complex of the three types of meringues, you have to heat a simple syrup to drizzle into the meringue as it mixes. This helps to create the most stable of meringues which aides in the stability and shape of the macarons throughout the bake. Once the meringue is at stiff peaks and glossy, you incorporate a third of it into the almond flour powdered sugar mix to temper the mix before folding in the rest.
Once the meringue is fully incorporated into the mix, I added some gel coloring that Amanda wanted to dye the cookies as I kept mixing and incorporating the meringue cookie mix. Then came the fun (read: challenging) part of folding the mix. This part seems to take forever and contrary to usual belief, the mix becomes more and more loose throughout the folding. At this point you keep folding until you are able to trace an "8" into the dough where the form will hold just for a second or two before falling back into the dough (I had to be quick to snap the picture). Once you reach this stage, you pipe the dough mix on to a silicone mat (or parchment paper) into even circles and let it rest for 30 minutes. This allows the skin to form which is crucial for the development of the feet during the bake. Finally, you bake the cookies where the heat is high when the cookies enter the oven and then you lower the temperature once the cookies are put in the oven. The high heat initially allows for the rise of the cookie and the establishment of the feet, while the lower heat after bakes the cookie through.
I have to say that having a convection oven is a major help (I don't have one) as the heat circles throughout the oven instead of having the heat in one direction. This leads my macarons to be a bit splotchy on top but it didn't change the flavor or texture, just consistency.
From there the cookies were done and it was simple enough to put a chocolate buttercream together. I didn't use the Bouchon recipe because I was making these late at night and I realized I didn't have all the necessary ingredients, but it was still delicious. Once the buttercream was done, it was fun and easy to match the cookies up by size and pipe the filling into each half sandwich.
These aren't as daunting now as they used to be and I'd absolutely recommend you try them yourself since they're 10x cheaper to make them than to buy them. I was so happy with this recipe and was glad to finish the cookie section on a high note!
Florentines. This the first time making something from the book where I really had no idea how it was supposed to taste. Based on the ingredients I had some of an idea that it would be nutty, and a little sweet from the candied orange peel, but never having a Florentine before, and it being so different than most cookies, I was intrigued. I looked at the ingredient list and was immediately thrown off guard. Most of the first recipes had all the necessary ingredients for the recipe on there, however as you go on, and the recipes get more involved, they often just list a quantity of an ingredient later spelled out in the back of the book (like "Pâte Sucrée 310g See page 129") where then you have to figure out how to make that before you get started.
I didn't think this recipe would really take that much time, but due to my lack of normal prep for this recipe, it took what I thought would be a 3 hour project to what was closer to a 7 hour project (most of that was waiting time that should have happened overnight the previous day). However I'm stubborn and just kept motoring along until I had finished.
So for the start, they instruct you to make a Pâte Sucrée the night before so that it has time to chill and hydrate completely (I did do this ahead of time thankfully). I had seen it made before but didn't have any experience so I was excited to give it a shot. The name itself just means sweet pastry dough and it's really very basic. Butter, sugar, and a bit of flour pressed together basically. The one bit of technique I was interested to try out was the classic method of using the heel of your hand to press and spread the butter into the dough, to really get full incorporation. I was worried about the butter getting too warm throughout this process but my cold baking hands came in handy and it worked like a charm. From there, it was easy enough to form it into the rectangular block that the book called for before letting it chill in the fridge.
The next morning, I found out that I should have started making the candied orange peel the night before to let it dry. I quickly got the peels going in a simple syrup that the book outlined before trying to let it dry out enough to chop up later. I've candied orange peel before not using the method outlined in bouchon, but I wanted to give their method a shot to try and stay on brand. One of the surprising things I found in this book that I accidentally didn't follow was the removal of the pith (white bitter part of the fruit against the peel) after candying the peel. I honestly don't know why they would have you do it that way, I personally find it a lot easier to work the knife on the pith without it being cooked. In any event, the candying went smooth and I was happy with the result, even if I should have done it the night before to allow for drying completely.
The next part was to spread out the Pâte Sucrée into the thinnest, widest 10" x 14" block that I had done before (I definitely didn't get it perfect but it would turn out okay). Like in previous recipes, I measured out the distance on the parchment paper before turning it upside down so that only the lines could be seen without the dough coming into contact with the ink. Once it was spread out, I covered it with parchment and then lentils to weigh it down (didn't have enough rice) and baked it for the first blind bake.
Following this bake it was the easy part of making the nut filling. This was the first time making something with a truly scientific ingredient. I had seen people use "glucose" before for recipes (notably Christina Tosi's Milk Bar cookies) but had never bought it before. A quick trip to amazon and it was shockingly cheap to get a container and so I was excited when it showed up two days later. This can best be described as a thicker, less sticky corn syrup. Like corn syrup, it is an inverse sugar, meaning it's not going to crystallize. More advanced recipes use this ingredient basically as a way to keep crunchy parts of desserts a bit softer. This way you can bite through it without cracking your teeth, and when I saw the nut topping going on these cookies, that was my first worry. It absolutely did not disappoint. I've never made florentines before this recipe as I said before but I'm assuming that had I used corn syrup instead of glucose, it would have ended with me going to the dentist.
Anyways, once I had the glucose and sugar mixture going in a pot, I added the nuts and chopped candied orange peel, stirring to incorporate before pouring on top of the blind baked pastry base.
From there it was a simple bake until the nut layer was a pleasing golden brown color before letting it cool completely. The final step was to melt down 100g of chocolate to pour and spread into a thin layer across the bottom of the slab. The seam on the middle photo below was where the pastry was too thin when I rolled it out, so that's the caramelized nut layer peeking through I promise I didn't burn the pastry!
From there I attempted to cut it into the squares which worked fairly well until I got impatient at the corners and just started breaking off pieces. Finally finished with these cookies I snapped the last couple of photos before cleaning the kitchen for what seemed like a hour. My hard work was rewarded though once I bit into the first cookie. The first flavor was toasted almond, followed by the sharp sweetness from the candied orange peel. Finally, pushing through the top layer was the buttery, crumbly pastry layer until I finally got to the rich 70% chocolate. It was a lot of work for what seemed like a small yield, however after tasting it, I absolutely would make these again (with some better planning).
The quintessential fall cookie. A simple butter cookie with warm fall spices packed together into a short dough = an addicting cookie that you just keep grabbing for until you realize there aren't any left.....oops.
With a bit of cake flour mixed in instead of all regular flour, these cookies while they seem dense and short have just a little bit of lightness mixed in that elevates the texture ever so slightly. These spice cookies are a specialty of the Netherlands and Belgium so I'm convinced that Christmas time there must smell amazing if they're baking these all the time.
These cookies start out as any short butter cookie would...you whip room temperature butter until it's aerated and fluffy before mixing in the whisked sugars. The sugar butter mix is whipped together until the volume is restored and you get an incorporated mix.
Then after mixing in the flours on low just to incorporate the flour into the dough, you have the final, compact dough. It needs to be chilled before rolling it out, so the book instructs on making a 4" x 6" block to wrap up with cling film and to chill for a couple hours or overnight. After this, it's easy enough to roll the dough out to ~1/8 inch thickness and cut into whichever shapes you want. Since these cookies are traditionally a Christmas time cookie, they use fairly large (shocker) snowflake cut outs. I didn't want to have massive speculoos cookies and surprisingly enough I don't have any decorative cutters, so i settled for 2.5" circles.
Once the cookies were cut out it was easy enough to bake them off for ~14 minutes for each batch (they don't spread out at all so you can place a lot of them on a baking sheet together). Instead of coating them in powdered sugar like they do in the book I had other plans.
I had already made these cookies before starting this project so I knew that they had a great taste. But knowing that and it being October, I wanted to make something to elevate the flavor some. Enter an apple ginger glaze. Apple. Ginger. Glaze. I know, you're salivating already.
I don't usually shop at Whole Foods because it's a trap and I would spend hundreds of dollars there every week if I could. I had to go there though when I was getting the materials for this bake since I needed something specialty that Kroger couldn't provide and while I was there, a Ginger Apple cider caught my eye. It was cloudy and warm, and this is where the samples at Whole Foods were a game changer. Usually I don't buy the cloudy cider but after tasting this I knew what I had to do. I bought a bottle (shocker) and decided right there I was going to make a glaze with it for the cookies.
While the cider is/was delicious, I wanted to punch up the apple flavor a bit so I cut 2 granny smith apples and added it to the ginger while I reduced down a couple cups of cider and let it simmer for ~30-35 minutes until the apples had somewhat caramelized and the sauce had reduced enough to use as a glaze. Wow. Game changing move right there. Because of how this site uploads photos it cut off the actual brand of this cider so if you're going to go to Whole Foods to try and find it (which I would), the top banner part that is cut off reads "R.W. Knudsen family". Go forth and buy allllll the cider! The resulting glaze was warm with the main flavor of granny smith apple and warm ginger in the background.
After making the glaze, I let it cool until it was just warm enough to glaze over the cookies without running off immediately. This was by far one of the more simpler cookies in the book so far but definitely was top 3 flavor wise with the glaze for me. Perfect fall treat while the weather is getting cooler.
Shortbread cookies. When I saw that they were the next cookie to be made, I was a bit disappointed, thinking to myself that the TLC's were going to be the last "boring" cookie. Even when typing the header for this post, the word shortbread doesn't evoke a strong desire to make them even though I already ate them and know just how delicious they were.
That's just what they were: delicious. Yes, they were simple. Yes, it was just a rectangle of butter and flour and sugar pressed together. But despite that, it was not my least favorite cookie from this group. I did make the decision before I made these cookies that no one in their right mind wouldn't also make dipping sauces for them so I allowed myself to make two sauces without consulting Bouchon for a recipe. After consulting my coworkers, I decided on a salted caramel sauce and a dark chocolate ganache to dip the cookies in. Wow wow wow was the salted caramel sauce the way to go. Don't get me wrong, the dark chocolate ganache was still dark chocolate ganache so of course I ate that too, but it was clear from the first taste test which was superior for Amanda and I.
Now to get into making the cookies themselves. I already said it's basically a rectangle of butter and flour and sugar pressed together. Yeah, I still stand by that. As per usual you let some butter soften to room temperature before adding sugar to cream before adding the vanilla and then finally sifted flour. Nothing new or fancy from the last several recipes that use this method as the basis for the dough. Once I prepared the dough, I pressed it into a 5" x 5" block and let it chill.
The one thing about this recipe I could appreciate was the precision used in the measurements for rolling and cutting the dough. They tell you to go from the 5" x 5" block to a 6" x 9" rectangle, and then to make certain cuts spaced evenly throughout this dimension to end up with the 24 cookies of the same dimension that this recipe yields. Obviously I've been baking for a couple years since I have this blog and have seen my fair share of how people measure things out for rolling and cutting. My preferred method is to mark up the parchment paper you'll be rolling the dough on, and then flipping the marked side to the opposite side the dough will be on, so you don't get sharpie on your dough (there are easier ways to die it black than that lol). So, while the dough was chilling in the fridge I marked out the rectangle I would be rolling it to on both sheets of parchment that dough would be rolled between, and then I also marked out where the cuts would be made on the bottom sheet for when it was already done being rolled. This worked to an absolute charm and I'll definitely be doing this method in the future.
Once I had the dough rolled out with my cuts already marked out, it was simple enough to cut them with a long chef's knife, and then put them on the baking tray to bake for 15 minutes. While the book talks about baking with two sheets at the same time, I like to use a rimmed baking sheet, which I only have one of, so I put the other half of the dough in the freezer while the first half baked before taking it out and baking the other.
Having the cookies baked and cooling on the wire tray, I turned my attention to the dipping sauces. The first I'll just mention briefly is the dark chocolate ganache. It's absolutely the simplest sauce, since all you need to do is heat up 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan just before it starts to bubble up and then you take it off the heat and pour it over 100g of chopped dark chocolate (most bars of chocolate you buy are 100g and say so on the packaging). You let it sit there to melt the chocolate for a minute before stirring it to be homogenous. For this sauce specifically I used 85% dark chocolate since I was already making a sweet salted caramel sauce and so I wanted something more bitter to contrast it. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of this but I promise it works just that easily.
So next was the salted caramel sauce. This one takes just a few more minutes but could still not be any easier. You start off by putting 1/4 cup of water in a heavy bottom saucepan with 1 cup of sugar (this isn't my recipe so the amounts are measure in volume not weight which I forgot to measure when I did this oops). Additionally, I prepared 2/3 cup heavy cream on the side and 3 tbsp of room temperature butter. You heat up the sugar/water in the pan on medium high heat until it starts to bubble up and boil, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. Once you see bubbles, you stop stirring and let it cook until a deep amber color has come, roughly 4-6 minutes depending on how high your heat is (I set mine at 8 out of 10 and it takes 4:30 to reach this stage usually). Once the deep amber color has been reached, take it off the heat and slowly add the cream, stirring with a whisk the whole time. The mix will sputter and steam profusely, so just be ready for that. Then add the butter tbsp at a time and keep whisking to incorporate. Finally add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp salt, whisking one last time to finish. Pour the molten caramel sauce into glass or other heat-safe containers to store and let them sit out to cool. This sauce is great on a vast number of things, including the shortbread. HIGHLY recommend making this to pair with them. The pictures I'm posting below from left to right are: The sugar just after it starts boiling when I stop stirring, the deep amber color after I added the cream and as I added the butter (you can see a couple of pieces), and then finally the glossy finished product in the pan before I divided it into different jars.
All in all, this recipe was a great success. The cookies were all gone within 24 hours and I have no regrets about the amount of cookies or caramel sauce that I consumed. I absolutely will be making this recipe again in the future thanks to it's simplicity and deliciousness
*Also you may have noticed that I put the exact recipes with amounts for the sauces in but never before for any other recipe. I won't post the recipes along with the tutorial of how to make the recipes in the book, because that would basically be me publishing their book without their permission for my benefit. If you are that curious you can buy the book (which I would recommend!). The sauces are not from online and not the book so I thought I'd save you the trouble of figuring out which caramel sauce recipe was the best.
TKOs. The mock Oreo cookie. These cookies were a bit of a redemption after the better nutters. One of the chief complaints so far from Amanda is that these recipes are more trouble than they're worth so far, with the exception of the double chocolate. These cookies had a better depth of flavor and truly were for me, a more refined Oreo. This cookie utilized a shortbread cookie that was packed full of the darkest cocoa powder I've ever seen to give the classic Oreo richness and color.
The recipe started off like any other. Getting the butter to room temperature before creaming it with the sugar was to be expected. The first surprise I had was just how much (86g) black cocoa it called for. This obviously turned the dough mix pitch black and left my hands looking like I had been rummaging through top soil.
The rest of the dough came together pretty easily, just needing to be mixed together, rolled into a 9" x 6" block to chill for a couple hours before being rolled out and then cut into circles. The regular size cookie called for 3" fluted Matfer cutter which I did not have and could not find to buy on Amazon, so I settled for my ring cutter. I didn't want the cookies to be quite that large since 3" is a pretty daunting size for a sandwich cookie, so I ended up with 2" circles, which also obviously yielded more cookies, so bonus!
Once the circles were cut I did the responsible thing and put the dough back in the fridge to chill one last time before placing the circles on the silpat lined tray to bake. Since these cookies have minimal leavening agent (1.6g baking soda), their size doesn't change much through baking, which allows you to fit more on the pan than you normally would, although I did space them out a bit farther than what the images below show. I forgot to take before and after shots from going in and coming out of the oven so this was the best I could do.
One of my concerns for this recipe was the filling. They tell you to use a specific amount of 35% white chocolate and unless you specifically buy 35% white chocolate online, you are most likely getting 20%. The amount of cocoa butter in the white chocolate will dictate the percentage, and the higher that is, the better. For some reason, white chocolate can be called white chocolate in the US as long as it has 20% cocoa butter, and companies don't have to tell you what percentage it is. Because of my grad school budget, I couldn't justify spending the money to order the Valhrona 35% Ivoire chocolate bar that would have probably made this much easier.
I made the filling according to the recipe using my Kroger private selection (yeah I got real fancy) white chocolate chips (probably 20%) the night before I made the cookies so that it would have all the possible time in the world to thicken before I needed to pipe it. The next day it was way too runny even then and when I put the filling in a piping bag to test it, it all ran out immediately. Thankfully, I figured it would so I had it pointed to the container the rest of it was in (basically a genius I know).
Then thinking about the difference in cocoa butter to other sugars in my white chocolate as compared to IVOIRE, I decided to be the true grad student that I am and calculate how much more of my chocolate I would need to have to get the same amount of cocoa butter in the recipe. Once I added the additional 56g, it was almost perfectly set, however I had forgotten to account for the excess sugar and other components that my extra volume of chocolate added. At this point I was annoyed and so I just dumped in the rest of the bag (another ~60g) and funny enough, it was the perfect consistency that I was looking for (lesson learned, always just add ALL the chocolate). After heating up all the white chocolate I had over a double boiler I finally had my filling which I let cool in the fridge another 30 minutes before final piping.
Finally I was ready to pipe, and sandwich these bad boys. I laid out the cookies all together and did the school yard thing and put all the ones that were the precise same size next to each other. Thankfully as I said before these cookies don't grow too much so it was fairly simple to find everyone a dance partner. At this point I did my best to attempt the teardrop piping technique that they utilized for the TKOs for the book. I was actually pretty happy with my teardrops for the most part!
Finally, I put the tops on gently and let them chill one last time to let the filling set one last time before I popped one (and then 2 more) into my mouth. The black cocoa gave the cookies a nice deep chocolate taste (while also making my mouth entirely black).
I would actually make these again now that I know I just need to put all the chocolate into the filling at once. These short dough cookies were a nice little experiment and will get me ready for the shortbread cookies which will be coming in the next post.
Better Nutters. Basically the fancy version of the classic nutter butter cookie. Coming into this bake I was incredibly excited. I love peanut butter cookies and this was the first cookie that was a "classic". It was my first attempt at a sandwich cookie of any kind, and the ingredients and flavors had me salivating.
Unfortunately this was the first big disappointment. Despite executing the bake on these cookies as well as I think someone could, the taste didn't live up to the hype. Having given a cookie (or half of a cookie since they're massive) to 5 other people around my office as well as Amanda, none of them were impressed. One of my testers didn't even finish her half she said. The flavor was unfortunately muted, and having a large size, it can be a lot to eat when every bite doesn't captivate you. Personally, I thought they were okay. They weren't my favorite, and they weren't my least favorite so far. However, given how much time was put into making them, I won't be making them again any time soon since it took several hours between the various chilling steps. Now, let's get into the recipe.
If there's one good thing coming from this recipe is my realization of how much I love the smell and taste of roasted peanuts. I didn't buy them roasted because often they aren't roasted enough for my liking, and the recipe gave recommendations for roasting them for yourself. This turned out to be a great decision and I had to roast some more on the side so that I didn't eat all the ones I had weighed out for the cookies. If I were to make this again I might double the amount of roasted peanuts to add to the dough because having more of this flavor might have improved their peanut "punch". Giving these a rough chop looked like this for me and I thought this size was just right when eating the cookies, I only wish there had been more.
The other big change about this recipe compared to the others was the composition of the dough. This dough was not a standard "cookie dough" since it didn't have any eggs in the mix. This left it as a short dough, having a high ratio of fat (butter) to flour. While short doughs can be a bit crumbly, or brittle, these cookies had oats added in, which I would guess would be to add a little bit of flavor (which didn't come through) as well as some structure. This dough absolutely wasn't crumbly or brittle by far, leaning more on the buttery, loose side.
Being a short dough, they instruct you scoop it out onto plastic wrap into a 6x6" square, before placing to chill for 1 hour before rolling out and cutting the shapes. While the hour was enough to chill it to roll, I found that it needed 20-30" in the freezer a couple times between cutting out shapes and re-rolling to cut out the rest of the shapes so that they would hold their form. This greatly added to the time required to make these cookies, and was at times frustrating for me. Finally add in the 16:30 baking time and the cookies came out looking generally as expected. They didn't spread out too much as the lack of leavening allows them to keep their shape fairly well, and generally gave off a deceptively strong smell of peanuts, which didn't translate into flavor once the cookies were cool.
Having the cookies done and cooling, I turned to the buttercream frosting. This book being a bit more technical, called for an Italian meringue in their basic buttercream. Now meringues are basically egg whites whipped with sugar. The differences between the various meringues (French, Swiss, and Italian) are the form and timing of how you add the sugar. Italian meringue being the most technically challenging of the three calls for adding a molten sugar syrup at the right temperature into the whipping egg whites that have achieved loose peaks. Since I needed both hands and it required precise timing I didn't take a lot of good pictures of this part of the process, but I was very pleased with my meringue for the buttercream.
The glossy, medium-stiff peaks held the exact consistency I was looking for. The next steps were to add the room temperature butter piece by piece and resulted in a silky smooth buttercream. To finish the butter cream, it was mixed in with peanut butter and salt, finishing off the filling components. So after all was said and done, I put the filling into a piping bag with a star tip and filled half of the sandwich cookies before topping them to finish off this bake.
While these cookies weren't the most successful flavor wise, I was happy with my execution of the recipe. I hadn't made buttercream like this before and while they weren't the best cookies, they still disappeared in 2 days! On to the next bake which are the TKO's, or as I think of them, the mock oreos!
Double. Chocolate. Those two words alone should be enough to make you drool, although if you're one of those people who doesn't like chocolate, you can skip this one, it's definitely not for you. Cocoa powder + chocolate chips + chocolate bar = the best of the cookies so far. The biggest crime about making these were how fast they disappeared from my life.
Whenever I see recipes that call for expensive ingredients I generally try to just use the cheaper alternative. Most of the time, I've found that better technique does more for baking than buying the most expensive chocolate, or the vanilla bean, or whatever else it may be. However, for Bouchon, I want to stay as true as I can to the recipes, so I bought the fancy cocoa powder, and well.......wow. It made the difference. The richness and depth of flavor from these bad boys made me lose myself in a chocolate dream. They are by far the most flavor-packed cookies from the first four basics, and this recipe is one I'll use for the foreseeable future when I want to make double chocolate.
The recipe called for use of Guittard Cocoa Rouge, which honestly wasn't too costly buying from amazon (~$8 for a container you could make at least 2 to 3 batches of cookies for). Paired with my standby 70% Lindt chocolate chopped up, it cured any chocolate shortcomings you ever had. The only difference in this recipe compared to the last was the addition of the cocoa rouge. Being a dry ingredient, the grams of cocoa rouge replaced the equal amount of flour.
The biggest thing to watch out for when baking double chocolate cookies (especially these) is the baking time. When baking normal chocolate chip cookies, you can rely on the changing color of the cookies to know when the bake is finished. For double chocolate, you have to keep a bit of a closer eye, relying on a bit of experience to know when the cookie is done. When I was thinking about what made sense time wise (also consulting the book's 16-18 minute window) I decided that since the only real difference between these and the last chocolate chips was the cocoa powder, the bake times should be relatively, if not precisely the same. My gamble paid off, and I found that the 16:30 time that I used for the chocolate chip cookies was perfect for these as well!
The cookies came out beautifully! Molten chocolate pools on the top and insides of them, with just enough firmness to give you a bite on the edge and soft, warm chocolate on the inside. I cannot recommend this recipe highly enough, and can't wait to make it again sometime in the future.
The classic. The standby. The first image that comes to mind when I hear the word "cookie". There have been many many variations when it comes to making a great chocolate chip cookie from multiple kinds of chocolate, to the incorporation of brown butter, to the introduction of molasses (which this recipe takes use of) to many others. All of these riffs can add/change the flavor ever so slightly, while still maintaining the spirit of what a chocolate chip cookie is. The fun part about baking is that you can edit/riff off of various recipes in slight ways to make significant changes in the flavor profile. While I love riffing and making things my own, I did follow the recipes in Bouchon to the letter.
Again, I'm only going to highlight the differences in this recipe compared to the two previously, which is the use of chocolate (obviously) and molasses to add a bit more flavor. Now, people have their own opinions and taste when it comes to what types of chocolate they want to use. I personally enjoy using 70% chocolate the most, and at the store, Lindt 70% chocolate is generally on sale, so sue me, it do what I can within my grad school budget :). I've found that using a serrated knife to cut chocolate works best, and allows for you to get more even cuts without fracturing the chocolate mid-cut. This allows for uniform pieces to incorporate into the dough. This recipe, like most that call for chocolate bars to be cut, benefit from smaller, even cuts.
After using the chocolate to incorporate into the dough, the other steps are the same as before. Chill the dough while you preheat the oven, then divide and roll each cookie into an even weight (73g for these) and then bake until you start to see a golden brown color (16:30 for these cookies in my standard oven which fluctuates heat).
These cookies did have a perfectly classical chocolate chip cookie taste. With some small melted pools of chocolate throughout the cookies, you could really taste that dark chocolate and even though I didn't finish with maldon salt before baking, I could still taste a faint saltiness which broadened the notes of chocolate. While I had a few ideas on how to add some flavor to these cookies (i.e. some brown butter for nuttiness and depth), I kept it strict to the recipe as outlined in the book.
The final cookie in this entry four-part series is the double chocolate chip and chunk cookie. Once these four are done, it'll start to get a lot more interesting quickly and I can't wait to go through it with you! Bon Appétit!
The first four recipes of this book are basic cookie recipes. There are slight variations to each of the recipes for different flavors, however, by in large they are the same in content and absolutely the same in technique and execution. To spare everyone from me repeating the same details for the next three recipes, I'll only really cover the differences in them, as well as giving my opinions (and Amanda's) on how they taste. Without further ado, the TLC.
The Laura Cunningham, also known in Bouchon as "TLC". These cookies were created for, as you can probably guess Laura Cunningham, who apparently doesn't like raisins or other dried fruit. Therefore, this recipe swaps out those raisins for pecans. Now, if you're not a fan of pecans in cookies or nuts in general, you're probably not going to like these (like Amanda didn't). They are fairly plain tasting, with subtle hints of cinnamon and pecan mostly, and while I executed the recipe as well as could be done, there was a disappointingly average taste about them.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, I'm not going to go through in-depth like I did for the first cookie since the steps and technique for this cookie mimics the first mostly, with the swap of the pecans for the raisins. I am going to show the relatively fine dicing I did for the pecans and the cookie's final outcome. In addition to the raisin for pecan swap, there was an attempt to make the cookies have a bit more flavor. Instead of vanilla bean paste, they actually recommended scraping half a vanilla bean (which luckily I had one left in my pantry from an earlier recipe as they are expensive) as well as using dark brown sugar instead of light brown in the first recipe to add some of that sweeter molasses flavor.
The same method applies for making sure the butter and egg are weighed out and at room temperature before use. I tended to dice my pecans fairly fine, since I didn't want to bite into a large piece within the cookie. I also ended up scooping all the diced pecans into a large fine mesh strainer to get rid of all the pecan "dust" created from dicing. Having all the dust in the final dough can impact the color and make it look "dirty" after the bake. They ended up being divided into relatively the same sized cookies as the last, and the bake turned out as well as I could hope for!
I suppose the one good thing about these cookies being not so sweet while still having oats and pecans in them, is that they made quite a good breakfast cookie :)
While I wouldn't make these again if I were just going to make some cookies for fun, it delivered on what I expected based on the ingredients. For a pecan-centric cookie, the flavors were good, and the addition of the dark brown sugar and the vanilla bean were noticed. Bon Appétit!
The ugly duckling. The black sheep. The last to get picked. The leftover. The oatmeal raisin cookie has forever been the least favorite when it comes to the standard array of cookies. The lack of chocolate forces these cookies to take a hit in the popularity contest when standing next to the classics like the chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, and gingerbread cookies.
Personally, I’m a huge fan. I’ve always loved oatmeal raisin cookies, however sometimes I’ve found them to be somewhat mild, tasting mostly of oats and raisins (big shocker there), but nothing more. They also usually suffer from being a bit too dry, as most recipes in my opinion, don’t account for how much moisture the added oats will absorb.
Well, all that changes with these oatmeal raisin cookies. I remember when I got this cookbook for Christmas in 2017, this recipe was the first successful thing I made (the first thing I tried to make were macarons and they went horribly wrong and resulted in Amanda coming home from class to find me standing in the middle of the kitchen that looked like a bomb had gone off). These oatmeal raisin cookies completely change the game in my top ten cookie hall of fame (still developing my list but probably top 3 at this point). The first time I made these beauties they disappeared faster than you can say Bon Appetit!
If I told you I spent 90 minutes making a single batch of 12 cookies, you'd look at me like I must have messed up 4 or 5 times. While cookies are probably the most basic dessert in Bouchon, they still require a bit of attention to detail and technique.
The first thing to do is to get the butter at room temperature. Getting your cold ingredients (milk and eggs) to room temperature not only allows for easier incorporation, but it may also affect the final consistency. Getting butter to room temperature is crucially important to ensure that you are able to beat it and whip some air into it. I find it's best to take it out of the fridge (weighed to appropriate amount) and let it sit out for 10 minutes before you start weighing dry ingredients. While it warms, be sure to sift together the flour and other dry ingredients (not sugars) and set aside while whisking sugars together in a separate bowl. Finally, when the butter is at room temperature, beat in stand mixer for 2-3 minutes or until the butter has become light and holds peaks like mayo when you stop the mixer and pick up the paddle. This will beat some air into the butter which will help lighten the texture of the cookie later.
At this point, you cream the sugars into the butter well before adding the egg and vanilla. This will look a bit broken but it's fine since the flour will stabilize in the next step. Once you add the sifted flour and baking soda into the butter:sugar:egg, mix just until incorporated. Over mixing any cookie dough batter can develop gluten formation in the flour (like when you make bread) and make the cookies chewier and more dense.
Finally, it's time to add the oats and raisins (I used golden as well as regular raisins) to the mix. The instructions say to mix with the stand mixer just to incorporate but I actually fold in these dry ingredients with a silicone spatula so I can better control the even distribution while ensuring there's no over mixing. Once this is done, you'll have the finished dough. It may seem too wet but that's perfect. The next step is to let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. During this time, the flour and oats will become hydrated and will soak up the extra moisture you feel in the dough. Cover it with cling wrap and preheat the oven while it rests.
Once this resting period is done, I took out the dough and weighed it one last time, and then formed 12 equally weighted cookies (mine turned out to be 70g/cookie). I've found it helpful to put the cling wrap you covered the dough with on the scale so that while you're weighing the dough on the scale, there aren't pieces from the dough that get stuck on there or make it messy. The recipe says you can make 6 or 12, but trust me the 12 are plenty large enough. The baking time wasn't specified for the 12 cookie size, so I guessed and checked on them regularly. Be sure to place the cookies far enough apart that they won't touch. I baked 6 cookies/sheet and the spacing on the picture below was perfect. The 70g cookies took 15:15 to cook to my preference and they came out perfect in my opinion. Perfectly chewy in the middle with a slight crispness to the edge that are just as great in texture 2 days later (although with 12 cookies they may not last that long). Bon Appétit!