Sunday, January 15, 2012

(Challenge-winning!) Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preface: Hello, regular and visiting readers. It's been a while since I've written a full post on this blog, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things with this post. There's been some insanity going on with other parts of my life, but with any luck, they'll be under control sooner vs later. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the story below.

From time to time, friends of mine hold potluck meals over Sabbath and assign different parts of the meal to the guests. I almost always get dessert, which usually leads to stories that you've read in previous posts (of which the most drastic example is probably the Miracle Blondies). It also makes friends of mine raise a hue and cry when I have to use margarine instead of butter, since most Sabbath meals are meat and I can't serve something with butter.

But this week, I received one of my favorite e-mails ever: "The meal is dairy. Can you please make a dessert?"

I was ecstatic. I could make a Sabbath dessert with butter instead of margarine. I knew I had to bake something special, so I racked my brain for some good ideas. Finally, it hit me: reverse chocolate chip cookies. These are chocolate cookies that contain white chocolate chips. Often, macadamia nuts are mixed in as well, but I've never been a big "nut in cookie" fan, and I wasn't going out of my way to find some. Deal with it, folks.

[Quick side note: I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was making reverse chocolate chip cookies and described them to him. Here was the exchange after I had finished:

Him: That's pretty negative of you.
Me: Well, it's just my way to commemorate Kodak going bankrupt.
Him (shaking my hand): Nicely done.

Nerd humor! Anyway, back on track...]

I found a recipe online (posted below) which looked really straightforward and could easily be done in the stand mixer. "But, wait, Avidan," I hear you regular readers screaming, "how could you do it in the stand mixer? You've said over and over again that you can't use the stand mixer for butter because it has to be pareve (dairy and meat free)!"

Well, regular reader: First, let me thank you for not writing anything in all caps. That would have made me rather upset. Second, back in November,  a friend donated his stand mixer to me, thinking that I would get more use out of it than him and his wife who rarely baked. So now I have TWO stand mixers, and one of them is dairy. And ever since I got it, I've been making all kinds of things. OK, mostly a lot of different chocolate chip cookie recipes, but that's a different story. Anyway, the upshot is that I can cream butter without using a wooden spoon anymore (which is good, if you remember the Mixer vs. Spoon challenge).

I've got no great stories to tell about making the cookies themselves except for one: portion size. The recipe instructed me to use rounded teaspoons, which seemed a little small, but not so bad. Once I had the first batch in the oven, I realized I had a lot of cookie dough left, so I double-checked the recipe. Turns out, the intended yield was 60 cookies. I really didn't have time for that, so I upped the size of each cookie to about a tablespoon (give or take) and increased the baking time a bit.

A word of caution: Baking chocolate cookies is very tricky, because you can't see them brown. You have to rely on a sense of touch to know when the cookie is done. The usual rule of thumb is to gently poke the edges; if they're set, then the cookie is either done or is very close to it. The cookie will firm up out of the oven, so it's always better to underbake than overbake the cookie. I had a few anxious moments about the cookie being done, but they all turned out great and were incredibly well received.

Which brings me to the "challenge-winning" part of this story. It occurred to me after I had made the cookies that they might be the perfect cookie to win a challenge I had accepted some time ago. A friend of mine had mentioned that she had never eaten a chocolate chip cookie that she liked. I accepted the challenge to make her one that she would like, no matter how long it took me. Standing in my kitchen last weekend, I realized that this cookie might just win her over.

The next day, I gave her a cookie and asked her to try it. Her eyes lit up when she realized it was a chocolate cookie with white chocolate in it. Unbeknownst to me, she loved white chocolate, so I felt pretty good about my chances. She ate the entire cookie and proclaimed it to be delicious. I asked for confirmation that I had successfully completed the challenge (and on my very first attempt, too!). With a bit of a sigh, she conceded that I had accomplished the goal of the challenge.

Victory is mine!

(PS: I know someone out there is saying that white chocolate isn't really chocolate, so it doesn't count. While it is true that from legal and culinary definitions, white chocolate is not true chocolate because it doesn't contain any cocoa solids, I'm not getting that nitpicky. We're going with common parlance here. And besides, the friend in question is a lawyer, so if anyone was going to rule on validity, it would be her. So thank you, but I still win.)
"Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies" (Adapted from Toll House® White Chip Chocolate Cookies)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa (I prefer dutch processed if I can get it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened (please, use butter)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 package white chocolate chips (10-12 ounces)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. 
3) Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. 
4) Beat in eggs. 
5) Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
6) Stir in chocolate chips. 
7) Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. IF YOU'RE USING A LARGER SIZE COOKIE: Increase baking time by 2-3 minutes. In either case, remove cookies when edges begin to firm up and centers are somewhat firm. 
8) Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.