Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Organic Chocolate.

This is currently my favorite baking recipe and these are my all-time favorite cookies. They're so soft and rich and they bake so perfectly without their size being affected. These are great because instead of a bag of chocolate chips you can go to the store and choose your favorite chocolate bar. This makes the recipe very easy to alter to suit your tastes. The first time I made these I used a plain bar of Newman's Own dark chocolate that was 65% cacao, this time I'm using something a little lighter. The chocolate I used for this batch is from a brand called Dagoba. If you are looking for a fair-trade company DO NOT buy from this brand, everything seemed to check out at the store, but when I did some digging online I found out that Dagoba is actually owned by Hershey's. The quality is worlds better from Hershey's usual products, but I do not agree with Hershey's atrocious moral standards and I will not be purchasing this chocolate again. Anyway, the bar I picked is 59% cacao and has a secondary flavor of lavender and blueberries. I love the use of lavender in sweets (don't knock it until you've tried it), and I don't really see how you could go wrong with blueberries, honestly. You can use any flavor of chocolate, though. As long as it has 55-75% cacao it should bake just fine and is just a matter of taste.

The first thing you should do is gather all of your baking tools and ingredients.

You will want to measure them out beforehand as follows: 

1 and 2/3 cups of All-purpose flour.
2 cups -2 tablespoons of cake flour.
2 teaspoons of baking powder.
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
1 and 1/4 cups of all-vegetable shortening.
1 and 1/4 cups of golden brown cane sugar.
1 cup +2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
2 large eggs.
 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

The first thing you want to do is sift together both flours, your baking powder, and your salt into a bowl and set it aside.

Then using an electric mixer beat together the shortening, and sugars until they are blended evenly. If you have a counter top model with a paddle attachment, use it. If not then gently press the mixture together with a rubber spatula.

Slowly add in the eggs and vanilla making sure your mixture continues to blend evenly, at this point the mixture should become nice and fluffy.

With your rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients from earlier into your mixture.

When the dough is a consistent color and texture all the way through slowly fold in your chocolate pieces with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, being careful not to break them into smaller chunks.

Once your dough is finished, it will need to be chilled for at least 18 hours to allow the eggs to completely be absorbed by the more dry ingredients. This is what will allow you to have large soft cookies that rise and spread as opposed to becoming little hard blocks. Do not chill the dough for more then three days, though. I smoosh my dough into Tupperware, but wax paper or plastic wrap works too.

When you're ready to bake your cookies preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare (a) baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.

The best tool to use to make your cookies would be automatic ice cream scoop, but if you don't have one (I don't) you can just form the dough into about the size of golf balls with your hands. I tend to make mine a little big so that they're doughy in the middle.

Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes, watching them closely. They're done when they start to turn golden brown but make sure to take them out before they get hard.

Set them on a wire rack to cool, but make sure to serve them when they're nice and warm so they stay soft.

To pack these cookies I suggest plastic wrapping each one, that way they don't crumble against each other, and each one retains it's moisture.

Thanks for reading ♥

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