Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Halloween Cookies

After a day spent working from home (thanks for staying on, power) and listening to the wind, I got a little stir crazy and decided that I needed to make cookies, immediately. There was a chocolate chip cookie recipe I've been dying to try (her qualifications for the ultimate cookie intersect perfectly with mine), so I assessed my existing supplies. 

I haven't purchased chocolate chips for a really long time, but we had just bought three huge bags of Halloween candy (and had a random disc of Taza salt & pepper hanging around). I had no cake/pastry flour, but I did have APF and cornstarch. The recipe called for a pound of butter, so I figured halving the recipe would be a more reasonable batch size for random evening cookies. I did some quick conversions (if you're ever going to bake anything, you need a kitchen scale. Trust.) and made some necessary adjustments (I've never met a chocolate chip cookie recipe that couldn't benefit from extra salt, double vanilla, and some espresso powder). Twenty-five minutes later, I had a new favorite cookie recipe (that actually closely approximates the Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie--next time I'll be adding pretzels).   

Ridiculously Good Halloween Candy Cookies
adapted from A Tender Crumb 

{makes two half sheet pans full of cookies}

--one block European-style butter (I think it really impacts the texture, but if you don't have it, use two sticks of American)
--3/4 C granulated sugar
--1 1/4 C packed brown sugar (sugar isn't as finicky as flour so it doesn't need to be weighed)

--2 eggs
--1 tsp vanilla extract

--180g bread flour (substitute APF if you don't have it, but if you do don't skip it)
--142g all purpose flour
--20g cornstarch (the APF + cornstarch approximates pastry flour for perfect cookie texture)
--2 tsp table salt
--1 tsp baking powder
--1 tsp baking soda

--~8-10 oz of chopped chocolate (I used eight mini Snickers and two discs of Taza salt & pepper dark chocolate)
--1 Tbsp espresso powder (I don't drink coffee, but noticed that lots of chocolate recipes call for it. I ground about 1/2C of coffee beans at the grocery store on the finest setting and keep it in the freezer)
--handful of thin pretzels, roughly chopped (I'm completely certain this will work)

1. It's ok if the butter is in the fridge (or probably even the freezer). Take it out and cut it into tiny cubes and place in a big bowl. 

2. Measure out the dry ingredients with your handy kitchen scale in a smaller bowl; set aside. 

3. The butter should be softish by now; if not, wait a few more minutes. Add the sugars and whack the mixture around with a wooden spoon for a while til it's evenly combined. 

4. Add the eggs and stir a lot with the spoon. The eggs make it much easier to stir, so try to get some air involved at this point. Feel superior to all of those cool people with their stand mixers. Also add in the vanilla and stir for a while more. 

5. Add the flour and stir til thoroughly combined. 

6. Stir in the espresso, chocolate, Snickers, and pretzels. 

7. Set the oven to 350 and put the bowl of dough in the fridge. Eat kind of a lot of it. The mild stomachache is totally worth it. 

8. After about 10 minutes, pull out the dough and fill a greased half sheet pan (I'm out of parchment paper too!) with about half of the dough. You can go large or small here, the thickness of the cookies will wind up about the same either way. 

9. Bake for around 9 minutes (for small cookies) or 15 minutes (or large cookies). Keep an eye on them and pull out when the cookies around the edges get browned at the edges (they'll still be puffy and pale in the middle). They will inevitably have expanded to run into each other, which is ok. They'll just be square. Still super delicious.

10. Cool on the pan. Cook the rest of the cookies in the same manner. Eat them. You're really going to want to eat all of them, but it's better to have some left for tomorrow. You're going to want some tomorrow. 

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