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Chocolate Chip Cookie Mashup: Tollhouse vs. Specialty’s Bakery 06.09.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in BnB.
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6 comments

thawing cubes!It’s a great day when you can make chocolate chip cookies, regardless of, well, anything.  The kitchen fills with the cookie smell, all activities outside the home must be put off, conveniently forcing you to relax and bake as the kitchen fills with the nostalgic aroma of warm cookies.  And, of course, there’s the raw cookie dough.

Our favorite recipe has always been Nestle’s Toll House classic cookie recipe.  This is primarily because it is conveniently located on the back of a bag of their bagged chocolate chips.  However, my overwhelming problem with these cookies is that they tend to turn out like little pillows of homogeneity.  (though not nearly as uninspiring as Joy of Cooking’s recipe…what gives Rombauer?).

Fast forward to a few weeks back when fellow cookie lover Nancy posed the following: “How can we emulate the deliciousness of a cookie from Specialty’s Bakery?”  Whoa, great idea.  For those of you that don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, Specialty’s is the de facto source for cookies in Seattle and the bay area.  Their cookies are squarish, super thick, soft creations.  Serious cookies.  The company website even allows you to sign up for email alerts that notify you of warm cookies near you!  We challenge you to find a better chocolate chip cookie.

same ingredients, different results!Most chocolate chip cookie recipes have the same ingredients and method of preparation.  Variation in the final product therefore occurs in two distinct parts of the recipe, ingredient proportions and finishing (aka, forming and baking).  Here’s our variation on the old classic in Bread and Buttress’ attempt to emulate the qualities of a local classic.  Note that we like our cookies chunky, so there are a few additional embellishments in this first effort.

Bread and Buttress’ Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1 t vanilla

Cream together at medium speed for 10 minutes.

  • 2 c. AP flour
  • ¼ c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. chopped/ground pecans
  • ¾ c. old fashioned or quick oats
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 c. chocolate chips

Meanwhile, mix these dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

  • 2 eggs

yes, frozen.  note the remnants from squaring the cookie block.  make round cookies with 'em.Add eggs to creamed butter/sugar.  Once incorporated, begin to add the dry ingredients in three separate batches, mixing each time until just incorporated.  Cover a cutting board that will fit in your freezer with a piece of wax paper.  Spread dough out on the cutting board, forming into a rectangle one inch high.  Place another piece of wax paper over the top and smooth down.  Freeze.  After a couple hours or even days, remove from freezer and cut dough into 1” cubes, allow each batch to thaw on cookie sheet for 30 minutes.  Go ahead and eat frozen remnants of dough raw.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Center of finished cookie should NOT be browned but rather light and raw looking.  This ensures a gooey center.

Oooooooo...

Here are some links:

Flickr user JDong has some shots of Specialty’s cookie selection.

Here’s another emulation recipe without the chunks.

Good Easts episode on chocolate chip cookies via youtube.

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Ganache and Buttercream…My Humps 06.01.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in Recipes.
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1 comment so far

My lovely lady lumps.I don’t quite know what to call these haphazard little creations.  The idea came from a post over on Cakespy and goes by the German name “Granatsplitter”.  But I can’t pronounce that.  Rather, I think it takes the best part of the cake, the frosting and covers it in rich chocolate.  Not only that, it utilizes the remains of any cake crumbs that might be leftover from, say a prior project.  “Waste not, eat more,” I say.  What results is a dessert that is perhaps a little risqué.  Mouth feel is flirty, the flavor combo is dangerous, and the aesthetic…well, um…

You’ll find the recipe here.  It’s translated from German.  I think you can do as I did and just wing it with leftovers and a little new ganache.  Note that you’ll want your ganache really cool so that it doesn’t melt the refrigerated buttercream.  If you have lots of time, let the ganache cool and the buttercream warm up for a tougher outside and softer inside.

Let’s go:  Take the cake remnants and leftover frosting and beat them together. It may help to finely chop the cake remnants first.  Fool around with proportions.  I used a 1:1 ratio.  Make sure the buttercream is soft.

It will end up a little firmer than regular frosting.  Good, spoon it out of your bowl and onto a sheet of wax paper that has been placed on pan, mounding up two to three spoonfuls.  Make some room in your fridge and refrigerate the mounds till solid, about an hour.

pouring ganacheMeanwhile, you can prep the ganache:

  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Put the cream in a saucepan and heat till it is foaming and rising towards the pan rim.  Remove from heat and add the chocolate.  Let it sit for a few seconds and then whisk.  Whisk.  Whisk.  The chocolate will incorporate into the cream and you will get a warm, dark bunch of chocolate sauce.  Let cool till a spoonful poured back into the pan will remain on the surface instead of sinking.  It’ll be about 90 degrees.

Transfer a chilled buttercream lump to a wire cooling rack that has a pan or parchment underneath.  Pour cooled ganache over the lump.  If your ganache is the right temp, it will not liquefy the outer layer of the buttercream and slide off.

Continue with your other lumps, letting the ganache cool while on the wire rack.  After 30 minutes, transfer lumps to a plate and serve.  They can be cooled for a long time too.  Yum!

Thanks to Susie Evans at Office Nomads for the action photography.

Is the blurriness a product of the intention or the lighting?