Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Todd English is a well known chef and restaurateur who has penned several cookbooks. His cookies are light and tender with crispy edges and a wonderful texture because of the pulverized oats. The flavorings are great. You don't taste the lemon juice; it just enhances the ingredients. Now you may think it's too much work to toast the nuts and pulverize the oats, but those are the things that take a good recipe to the realm of a great recipe. It's definitely worth the extra work.

Todd English Chocolate Chip Cookies 
adapted from Cookie Madness
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

1 cup toasted walnut or pecan pieces
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. Smart Balance Buttery Spread, room temperature
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 Tbsp. molasses
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice (or 2 tsp. instant coffee powder dissolved in water or coffee brandy)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup rolled oats, pulverized in food processor (measure 1 cup before pulverizing)
2-1/2 cups any combination of semi-sweet, bittersweet, white and/or milk chunks or chips
2 Tbsp. quick oats not pulverized

DIRECTIONS: Toast the nuts by placing them in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes or until they become aromatic and start to release their oil. Remove from skillet and allow them to completely cool.

Using an electric mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and molasses till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon (or coffee), then the eggs, and beat just till blended into the batter. Do not overbeat after adding the eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt till thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture to the batter and stir till well blended. Stir in the oats, nuts and chocolate chips/chunks. Chill the dough for at least an hour or up to 3 days -- it really makes a difference in how the cookies set up.

Here's the batter in the mixing bowl, with the chocolate just added.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spoon large tablespoonfuls of dough 2-3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets (I lined the cookie sheet with parchment paper first, and I used my small ice cream scoop which makes a nice 3-inch cookie from the scoop.) Bake one sheet at a time for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are starting to brown around the edges but still soft in the middle. (Mine took about 14 minutes. I used a toothpick inserted in center -- carefully avoiding chocolate -- just like you would for a cake. If it comes out clean or almost clean, they are done, no matter what the outside looks like. If you hit chocolate, try again on another cookie) Let them sit on the cookie sheet out of the oven for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to finish cooling. Here are the cookies ready to go in the oven:

Here they are baking in the oven. See how they puff up? They come back down when they cool. This recipe makes about 4 dozen 3-inch cookies -- you know the yield will vary according to the size of cookie you make. And I hope you also know that chocolate chip cookies just don't keep well. I always freeze them. When you want cookies, just leave them out for about 15 minutes - half hour. You can always nuke them briefly too.

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