Dahlia Bakery’s All-American Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Dhalia Bakery's Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Wow. I finally found myself a pocket of time and my head was swimming with ideas of what to bake.  I’m sure you are thinking, with all these ideas, why did she end up making chocolate chip cookies?   Well, to be honest, I just really had a taste for them.  When I was flipping through The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, of course, the chocolate truffle cookies caught my eye first. But, the chocolate chunk cookies were a close second.  There isn’t much better than a big, chewy chocolate chip cookie and a tall glass of ice cold milk.  And these looked like my kind of cookie.

Most chocolate chip cookies have essentially the same ingredients, just in different proportions. If you are looking for a special ingredient, I hope you aren’t disappointed that there isn’t one in these cookies.  Why are they so good then? It must be that the ratios are just right.  The cookie tastes just as it should, of butter and brown sugar.  It has a very slight crispness to the edges, but is perfectly chewy throughout, and they stayed chewy for three days.  At Dahlia, Tom Douglas uses a mixture of milk and bittersweet chocolates.  I used all semisweet cut from a Callebaut bar, as unbelievably, I was out of milk chocolate.  I also used only 14 oz of chocolate (only??), instead of the 19 oz called for in the recipe. As much as I love chocolate, with too much, I believe you can’t taste the deliciousness of the cookie.

As you probably know, I don’t make many recipes more than once.  But this one is a keeper.  I’m looking forward to trying the two chocolates next time or M & Ms or Reese’s cups or……

Dahlia Bakery’s All-American Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 24 to 26 cookies (I got 24 big cookies)

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla

3 1/2 cups (482 grams) all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons  (10.5 ounces/298 grams) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (25o grams) packed, moist brown sugar

1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) milk chocolate chunks

1 1/2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line your cookie sheet(s) with parchment.

In a small bowl, break the 3 eggs, add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt. Set aside.

Into the bowl of your Kitchen-Aid, add the butter and both sugars.  Cream on medium-high, with the paddle, until very light in color and fluffy, ~ 4-5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Beating on medium, pour in half of the egg-vanilla mixture and beat until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides again and add the rest of the egg-vanilla mixture.  Beat briefly to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the electric mixer, beating on low until evenly distributed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix just 10 more seconds.  Don’t overmix.  Add the chocolate chunks and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the stand and using a spatula scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is mixed in.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion the cookies in 2.5 ounce portions (~ 1/4 cup), placing them evenly apart, 6 cookies per cookie sheet.

Bake until mostly golden brown on the edges but still pale in the middle, ~ 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.  If you are baking 2 cookie sheets at a time, also rotate them between racks.  Do not overbake.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove the cookies from the sheets.

Source:  The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle

Brown Sugar Berry Shortcakes

Strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit.  Unfortunately, you can’t get great fresh strawberries year round.  Now that strawberries are in season, I made sure to pick some up at the grocery store so I could make a dessert highlighting them.  I wasn’t sure what though, so I pulled a few books off the shelf, including Cook’s Country 2006 annual, and found these brown sugar berry shortcakes.  I just loved the idea of using brown sugar to sweeten the berries, the shortcakes and the whipped cream.  While these shortcakes may look difficult to make, the dough comes together rather quickly in the food processor.  Some of the berries are crushed and sweetened to make a sauce for the berries and then you make sweetened whipped cream.  A few steps maybe, but all of them actually quick and easy.

I honestly don’t think I have ever had real strawberry shortcake.  Before today, strawberry shortcake to me was one of those little sponge cake cups that come in plastic wrap sold by produce, topped with strawberries and Cool Whip.  When I asked my daughter, Sammie, if she liked strawberry shortcake, she told me, “Yes, I love HER!”  So, I guess we were both a little confused.  But, at least, I have been corrected.  I will not make that mistake again.  These are strawberry shortcakes.  Period.  😀

Brown Sugar Berry Shortcakes

Yield:  6 servings

Fruit: 

6 cups of mixed berries (strawberries- hulled, halved and sliced, Raspberries- whole, Blackberries- halved, Blueberries- whole, currants- whole)    I used just strawberries

4-6 Tbsp packed light brown sugar

Shortcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder    Due to the large amount, I recommend using aluminum free for better taste.

1/2 tsp salt

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

1 large egg

1/2 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted (to brush shortcakes)

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Brown-Sugar Cream Topping

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For the fruit: 

Crush 6 cups berries and brown sugar in a large bowl with a potato masher.  Fold in the remaining 4 cups of berries and let sit at room temperature until sugar has dissolved and berries are juicy, about 30 minutes.

For the shortcakes:

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 375F.  Line rimmed sheet with parchment paper.  Pulse flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until no lumps of sugar remain.  Scatter chilled butter pieces over the top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 7 pulses.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk egg and sour cream together in a small bowl.  Stir into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until large clumps form.  Using your hands, knead lightly until dough comes together and no dry flecks of flour remain.  Be careful to not overwork to keep your shortcakes tender.

Using a large (#10) ice cream scoop, scoop 6 dough rounds onto the prepared sheet.  If you don’t have a ice cream scoop, do your best to divide into 6 even pieces and use your hands to gently form into semispherical shapes.  Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time.  I would start checking at about 20 minutes.  Cool the shortcakes on baking sheet x 10 minutes.  (Cooled shortcakes can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept on the counter for up to 24 hours.

For the topping:

With an electric mixer, beat heavy cream, sour cream, and brown sugar to stiff peaks.  Split each shortcake in half, using a serrated knife, and place the bottoms onto individual plates.  Spoon some fruit onto the bottoms of each shortcake, top with the whipped cream, and cap with the shortcake tops.  Serve.

Source:  Cook’s Country June/July 2006

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

Ugh.  Another failed recipe today that I had high hopes for.  I hate it when that happens. 😦  So, momentarily defeated, I decided to turn to my friends at America’s Test Kitchen because they never let me down!  I found this recipe for brown sugar cookies and oh my gosh are they amazing!!  They are like the cookie part of a chocolate chip cookie but amped up with browned butter, dark brown sugar and a generous coating of brown sugar on the outside.  I have never used browned butter before.  It seemed easy enough.  Melt the butter and wait until it turns brown.  Let me warn you to keep a close eye on it.  It goes from yummy brown butter to bitter burnt black butter fairly quickly.  The Simply Recipes website gives a good step by step demonstration on how to do this.  I know this is an extra step, but I think the browned butter makes such a difference in the complexity of the flavor of this cookie.  It’s so worth it! 😀  The rest of the batter is just like making chocolate chip cookie dough, only instead of adding chips, you roll the dough into balls and roll them into a brown sugar mixture.  This final hit of brown sugar provides extra flavor and creates a nice sugar crust on the outside of the cookie.  While the outside is a bit crisp, they are perfectly chewy on the inside, as all cookies should be.  And, don’t you just love the cracks in the exterior that make these cookies look wonderfully old-fashioned?  So, while failed recipes are frustrating and even maddening, they are always a lesson learned and sometimes they may even lead to something great.  I wouldn’t have tried this recipe until who knows when and right now I am eating one of these delicious cookies as I type wondering where they have been all my life! 😀

14 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups packed (14 oz) dark brown sugar divided

1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp (10 2/3 oz) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg plus 1 yolk

1 Tbsp vanilla

Melt 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Do not use a nonstick/dark pan or it will be difficult to see the color change.  Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly, until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes.  Transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl.  Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and stir until completely melted.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined; set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.

Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give dough final stir to ensure that no flour pockets remain.

Working with 2 tablespoons at a time, roll into balls. Roll half of the dough balls into the sugar mixture to coat.  Place dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet, repeat.  I got 9 balls/sheet so I made 3 batches.

Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Source:  The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook:  2000 Recipes From 20 years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine

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I am so happy to have received the Versatile Blogger Award from Choc Chip Uru of Go Bake Yourself!  Have you ever checked out her site?  She has the cutest blog and some of the yummiest looking treats!  I can’t help but admire her passion for sweets!

I was also nominated by Sugar Craving Baker for this award!  Another great fellow blogger, a newbie like me, who is all about sweets!

Defining this award: “It is a great way to introduce different bloggers to each other and to promote quality blogs that awardees and their readers may not have discovered otherwise.”

Thank you so much Choc Chip Uru and Sugar Craving Baker!

And here are the rules of this awesome award :)

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
  2.  Include a link to their blog.
  3.  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  4.  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  5.  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
  6. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  7. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

7 things about me….Hmmm….

1.  I have lived in Palatine (a Chicago suburb) my whole life (outside of college)

2.  Pretty much all Disney movies make me cry.

3.  I don’t like wine, but I really wish I did.

4.  My last supper would be:  crusty bread with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, crab cakes with an aioli dipping sauce, a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, bacon and tomatoes, filet mignon crusted with blue cheese and red wine sauce, and creme brulee for dessert.

5.  My husband was in my first grade class.  My son is in first grade and I was looking at his class picture thinking his future wife may be there.  Okay, so the chances are remote. 😀  Very remote..

6.  I had a pet snake in college.  I am allergic to pretty much everything but dogs.  Since we couldn’t have a dog, it seemed like the right thing to do.  She was a pink albino corn snake that I named Zoey.

7.  For about 10 years, I didn’t eat red meat or pork.  I only ate poultry and fish.  One day I had a taste for pepperoni, so I had some, and there was no going back!!

I am passing on this award to the following fabulous blogs!

Lynsey @ Lynsey Lou’s

Jennifer at LoveFoodCookFood

Books-n-Cooks

Jen @ Becoming Pigzilla

Sam @ Sweet Samsations

Kim @ Treats and Trinkets

Chrissy @ Stick a Fork in it

Eva @ Eva Bakes

Jaida @ Sweet Beginnings

The Chocoholic Wife

Jey @ The Jey of Cooking

Oishii

Katie @ So Tasty So Yummy

Nicole @ Prevention RD

Melissa @ I Was Born To Cook

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