Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Chocolate chip cookie and all is good again...

Each week has the same amount of time to it , the  same amount of days, hours and minutes and yet some weeks are shorter.  This past week was a very short one for me I do not know where it went. The Danube kept flowing , the boats kept gliding up and down , to Budapest and away from Budapest. It was as if everything was in fast motion, I was unable to catch any of the minutes.
So  I decided that this is a perfect time for chocolate chip cookies the great stress buster! 
Before I give you an amazing recipe I have a little story about them .

After we arrived in Budapest I went out looking for chocolate chip cookies . I knew it would be a very different lifestyle here but I had no idea they did not have chocolate chip cookies then . I had brought  my French's mustard and my  frank's hot sauce in my bag but did not think of the cookies.  Chocolate has a way of lowering stress in a  person  and so I really needed those cookies..... but no matter where I looked they did not have chocolate chip cookies. There were wonderful hazelnut cookies for Christmas but no chocolate chip with or without nuts. I got addicted to the pastries here and so soon chocolate chip cookies were all but forgotten. 
Over the years a few places like Tesco  would sell some cookies in a package that tasted like chemicals but still you could not find the real cookies in the coffee shops that a person from North America is used to  . I remembered  buying these cookies in Toronto and zapping them in the microwave. UMMMM so good, with the chocolate melting all over, they were so moist and so perfect to make a bad day good.  Here the millions of  coffee shops have cakes and biscotti. Now I love biscotti but I needed chocolate chip cookies. I would bring some back  in my suitcase when I came back from a visit. By the time I got them home they were totally crumbled. I gave up.

A little about the history of the Chocolate chip cookie....

"Like many great discoveries...and this is one of the greatest, It was a mistake.
Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in 1930 at the Toll House inn she and her husband Keneth ran near Whitman, Massachusetts. Like a bed and breakfast she made food for her guests. One evening in 1937 she got the idea to make a chocolate butter cookie so she broke up one of the bars of semi-sweet chocolate that Andrew Nestle gave her. She thought that it would mix together with the dough & make all chocolate cookies . Needless to say, it didn't. However the cookies came out decent so she served them. They of course were so good they had to be done again. She published the recipes in several newspapers and the recipe became very popular.
This gem of Ruth's she called the Chocolate Crunch Cookie and she made a deal with Nestle that they could put the recipe on their chocolate bar if they supplied her with free chocolate for her cookies at the Inn.Nestle tried to make it easy for people to make these cookies. They even included a small chopper in the package. Finally, in 1939, the Chocolate Morsels that we know today were introduced.
The Chocolate chip cookie is the most popular kind of cookie in America. Seven billion chocolate chip cookies are eaten annually. The Toll House produces thirty-three thousand cookies each day. Some Vendors only sell chocolate chip cookies. Half of the cookies baked in American homes are chocolate chip." from the kitchen site.

So why are there no chocolate chip cookies here.....?.
Of course the reason could be that there are no chocolate chips!  I guess they did not need them as no one was making these cookies in Budapest. Should I contact Lindt?

I have spoken to friends who are Hungarian about these cookies. They have no idea what a cookie is so they were pleasantly surprised when they tasted one. Everyone wanted the recipe.
Today I will share with you a wonderful chocolate chip recipe .This is after looking at and trying many many recipes. I found this one in the New York Times and it was the BEST and did come out perfect every time.

First I must say that the original recipe calls for bitter sweet dark chocolate. In Budapest I have only found thin dark chocolate so I could not use that as chopping that up would produce slivers that would melt immediately and the cookie would become a chocolate cookie.
So I bought cooking chocolate that is used to melt and cover cakes with chocolate.
 I chopped the baking chocolate and whatever pieces where really small I placed in a jar to be used for Hot chocolate.  It was tough chopping 1 1/4 pounds of chocolate but worth it .

Next time I go to Toronto to visit I will be bringing back pounds of bitter sweet chocolate chips or thick bars.
Ok so lets start .....

8 1/2 ounces cake flour  ( retes liszt in HUngarian)( 1 3/4 cups)
8 1/2 ounces bread flour ( 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
10 ounces of non salted  softened  room temperature butter ( 283.5 grams)
10 ounces brown sugar ( read below about the sugar)
8 ounces of white sugar
2 large eggs room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 pounds bitter sweet chocolate chips ( around 567 grams)

In one bowl add the 2 types of flour, the baking soda and baking powder and the salt and mix.

In another MUCH LARGER  bowl add the sugar and butter and beat until sort of fluffy . I do all this by hand as I do not have a machine which can make dough. It is not that hard.
Then add the eggs slowly one at a time .
Then finally add the vanilla.
It will look like this when everything is added.Now  we will add the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and mix until it looks like dough.

Now comes the hard part! Add the chocolate chips.  You have to blend this slowly .It is a lot of chocolate to add to the mixture.
I use a spatula to mix and then my hands as it is hard to get all the chocolate into this dough.

Once it is all added  cover the dough with a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 24-60 hours. This will really make a difference in the taste.

About the sugar. If you do not have semi sweet chocolate then reduce your sugar or it will be really too sweet.  I only used a total of  8 ounces of brown sugar and 6 ounces of white. At the end I realized I could even go less. I do not like things too sweet and the amount of chocolate in these cookies is huge.

1/2 an hour before taking the dough out of the fridge you must pre-heat the oven to 180. ONLY take out the dough from the fridge when this is heated.

Now we will take out the dough from the fridge it is quite hard. I made this dough yesterday sometime in the middle of the night so that for the weekend I could be enjoying chocolate chip cookies. I love the fact that the dough can be refrigerated for up to 65 hours  or frozen for 2 months . This means on a day when you have time you can mix everything ( it takes very little time to do that)  make the dough and then pack it all away to use when you are really in the need of a cookie fix but do not have too much time.
Ok so now I divide the dough into 4 pieces.

3 pieces I double wrap and place in the freezer for future use. Each piece will make approximately 12 cookies.

As I am watching my weight  if I made 48 cookies I would eat 48 cookies so I make sure the temptation is not there.

Look at all the chocolate chips in there!

There is no need to roll this out , I tear off pieces and make balls the size of golf balls. These I place on parchment paper and squish a little and sprinkle with a little  SALT.  The salt will make the difference.

These cookies need to be baked in a cold state and placed in a hot oven so work quickly , it does not matter how they look as they will grow! . Bake on the bottom or 1 above the bottom for 16-20 minutes.

Once done , carefully place on a dish and allow to cool for 10 minutes then eat. They are so good you can not just eat one. Take the rest of the dough from the fridge and make another 6 cookies. These cookies are so good , they are a perfect chocolate chip cookie and by making the dough and freezing it you will always have cookies when you need. Just place them in the fridge and defrost.

OK so these are now done , count the minutes that it takes to eat them . I leave out 2 for my husband because if I leave out more they will all be gone .

 So we now have our cookies on a plate cooling, the scent of fresh baked cookies is so wonderful. My husband is peeking in the kitchen to see when he can steal a cookie, such a sweet tooth he has. I give him his plate of 2 , he looks at the large plate which still has 10 on it but does not say a word. I silently place another cookie on his plate and he smiles.

So at the end of this short crazy week, smelling these cookies and biting into the richness of lots of warm chocolate chip is pure heaven . Suddenly the week is forgotten and I am once again sitting on the balcony enjoying the flow of the Danube and all is good!

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