Sunday, February 21, 2010

Basic Cookie dough and variations

Another recent dinner invitation by J & F! I always ask them if I can bring anything and they always say 'no'. Haha, don't they know I'm always dying for an excuse to help out with cooking? This time finally they said 'Cookies!' I was able to arrive a little early to the dinner party to whip up the cookies together. I think doing things like that together is a good way to exchange ideas. And as soon as possible, I am getting the recipe from J of her delicious broccoli pie! So sweet of them to always make vegetarian options to eat every time I come over.

I use a basic cookie dough that is used for good old standard Tollhouse chocolate chips, that goes roughly like this:
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of soft butter or baking margerine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar (or other extracts with variations, like orange or almond extract)
  • 2-2 1/4 cup of all purpose flour (will alter the consistency, depending on your tastes)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • optionally any of your favorites: walnuts, almonds, cashews (any kind of nut really), candies (J requested M&M's), raisins, etc.
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C.
  2. The best way to mix them is with a blender, but if doing it by hand your life will be made easier by this simple order of mixing. Butter and sugar, then eggs, then dry ingredients, until a stiff dough is formed.
  3. Mix in the additional stuff by hand, otherwise the blender will chop them up and it won't look as pretty. (although it'll still taste great)
  4. Drop spoonfuls or roll a small ball of dough and lay about a dozen per baking sheet, either greased or lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake 8-12 minutes, supervised, so they don't get over cooked (or else you'll miss the chewiness)

Of course, if you vary your dough, you'll vary the end effect. If you like a crispier, thinner cookie, add more white sugar and less butter. If you like it chewier, add more butter. Butter and margerine have a different effect in the baking as well. Real butter is ideal for a chewy cookie.

Some of my favorite variations are those with homemade Dutch caramel and cashews and anything with lots of extra chocolate, like these Double chocolate cookies with peanuts.

This time, I made chocolate cookies with almonds and walnuts, and M&M cookies. The M&M cookies had more flour and I rolled them before placing on the backing sheet, so they turned out a bit more like cake-puffs. The chocolate cookies I spoon dropped onto the sheet, so they had a bit more rustic look to them. For these I added about a quarter cup of cocoa powder into 2 cups of flour.* The dough was not as firm as the M&M cookie dough, so the result was a bit chewier cookie.

*Tip: When adding cocoa powder to dough bases, it's best to add them to the dry ingredients first before adding to the rest. Otherwise, it is so fine that it tends not to mix evenly with the other ingredients.

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