Thursday, March 15, 2012

Soft-Centred Chunky Chocolate Cookies

Freshly baked Soft-Centred Chunky Chocolate Cookies - YUM!
I have been baking a lot lately in an attempt to help fundraise for my little brother's Ice Speed Skating Club: Hauraki Racing Club at Paradice Ice,  Avondale.  The cookies have been an absolute hit and raised lots of money for the club.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to share this mouth-watering Soft-Centred Chunky Chocolate Cookies recipe with you.

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?  I didn't grew up with chocolate chip cookies, I know how shocking!  In Taiwan, we have many delicious cookies that are mainly short-bread based and coated with sugar or chocolates, and many varieties of wafers.  Growing up in Taiwan also meant eating many traditional snacks that seems to be a lost art these days, so I didn't really needed a fix from the Western cookies at the time.  It wasn't until the mid 90s, when my family immigrated to New Zealand that I was slowly introduced and later hooked on by these delicious chocolate chippy cookies.  First introduction was your normal supermarket brand cookies that you'll have during morning teas, or at camps.  Later in primary, we had "technology" days were we went out to Orewa North Primary School and learnt different skills such as woodworking, sewing and of course cooking.  I will always my first encounter with the Vanilla Chocolate Cookies, I still have the recipe!  Over the years, as I was busy concentrating on important things rather than "how to make myself a good house wife or baker", I began to buy the Double or Triple Chocolate Cookie Times!  During my varsity years it was the chocolate cookies from Subway just down the road.  However, none of which is or will ever be as good as the ones bake at home.

It has been a year since the life-changing earthquake first struck on our beloved garden city, Christchurch in the south Island, and it will be a year since I first tasted these "Soft-Centre Chunky Chocolate Cookies" made by Nishani Dayaratne.  Many of us put our science into good use and created delightful baked goodies to fundraise for the people in Christchurch, this was when Nishani made her cookies.  Come to think of it, she hasn't made the cookies since, where I have for multiple occasions - what can I say?  I HEART COOKIES!  I later discovered the recipe is very similar or near exact to the one I already had from the "Taste" magazines I ordered one year, the differences are the types of sugar and how the ingredients were measured - one by weight and the other by volume.  Not sure how many of you are keen bakers out there, although from a scientific point-of-view, I do have to agree that measuring dry ingredients by weight is more accurate than by volume.  However, it is so much quicker to do it by volume and if you're only baking something like cookies, a slight error wouldn't matter too much!  So this is the recipe I like to share with you today - the one measured out by volume.  It is delicious!  If you warm up the cookies in the microwave for 10sec, it'll become heavenly!  Enjoy :)

Soft-Centred Chunky Chocolate Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
250-280g dark chocolate, cut into approx. 1cm2

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.  Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.  In a medium bowl, sift through and mix together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugar.  I tend to cream the butter with sugar until it becomes paler (Image 1).  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended (Image 2).  Whisk in the vanilla.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients until combined (Image 3).  Stir in the chocolate (Image 4).
  3. Using a spoon, scoop up some dough and roll it into a ball and place it onto the baking sheets leave a 5cm gap between each doughs (Image 5).  I make sure there’s at least 2 pieces of chocolate chunks in each cookie and weigh them (32g per ball).  It is important to make sure the chocolate chunks are on the top, so it won’t melt away from the side or burn at the bottom of the cookie.
  4. Bake for 12min and check (depending on your oven) until the centre has melted and slight colouring in the edges (Image 6).  Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets or a wire rack.

How do you know if you made a good cookie dough in this particular recipe?  By hand actually!  When you roll the dough out in your hand, it should not stick and all it should leave on your hand is layer of glossy butter and melted chocolate afterwards.  If your dough is too wet, adjusts slightly with some more flour, but be careful not to add too much!  When you whisk in the eggs, don't overdo it - just enough to incorporate the eggs into the mixture.  When I do it, I whisk it slightly to breakdown the egg and then mix it in by stirring.  I tend to bake cookies one tray at a time since I like them evenly browned, however if you're short on time, baking two trays in one go still yields good results.  If you like your cookies to spread out more, then press it down gently before you bake them, I like my cookies chunky as it tend to retain moisture better.  You can also try making the cookies in 40g, they are also quite good but I wouldn't make it bigger than 50g each.

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