This isn’t your grandmother’s cookie recipe, that’s for sure! What this recipe brings to the table is a tried and true recipe for cookies, and some newer more complex flavors that go together brilliantly for a fun Easter cookie. So grab your aprons and mixing bowls, and let’s get started!
The debate for the perfect chocolate chip cookie lies in how you were raised, and probably a bit on genetics too. Some love crispy cookies, other like chewy. There’s the debate on fluffy versus dense, loaded with chocolate or with a mild sprinkling of chocolate. Time and time again though, the New York Times version seems to win as fan favorite for the best chocolate chip cookie. I experimented with a few versions of my base cookie, and found this one helped hold everything together much better when adding in my special extras. But, by itself is an amazing cookie, so do be sure to try the original!
The biggest difference with the NY Times recipe is not only the two types of flours added in (cake and bread), but more importantly the resting time. I have found that through experimenting with dozens of cookie recipes, the less you develop the gluten initially, the better. This basically means I stay away from my mixer after I add the flour, and instead mix by hand. And of course, always refrigerate the dough. But what is it about gluten that effects cookies you may wonder?
Gluten is essentially the strong, sticky, stretchy protein that forms when wheat flour and liquids mix. It is truly remarkable, and inherently unique giving structure to baked goods and helps wheat flour morph into many different foods: al dente pasta, fluffy waffles, crisp pastries and even chewy artisan bread. But not every baked good requires the same amount of gluten, and development of it, so it’s important to know how ingredients come together and work. Bread doughs for example require more activation of glutens, while biscuits and pie crusts need only a light hand to hold it all together and produce that certain lightness and flakiness we all love. It’s all in the glutens.
In terms of cookies, the important thing to remember is the more you mix, the more the glutens hang on. But what is even more fascinating is knowing how some of the other ingredients can effect gluten too. Fats weaken gluten. Solid fats such as oils, butter and egg yolks coat gluten proteins and prevent them from forming long, strong strands. On the other hand, Sugar hinders gluten while salt helps it. Sugar molecules encourage tenderness by attaching to water molecules before they can bind with gluten while salt makes gluten stickier and stronger.
So the point of all this science and background is to help you understand just how this recipe came to be, and to help you troubleshoot your favorite recipe, or tailor them to a family member who has different preferences for cookies. In this recipe, the specific flours were included to help the end texture of the cookie become dense, but to form a tender crumb. The refrigeration period helps everything rest and mellow out to develop deep flavors, and cookies that don’t spread excessively and become rubbery. And finally, salting right before the cookie goes into the oven leaves you with a wonderful taste sensation but doesn’t mess with the beautiful cookies you helped develop.
Keeping all this in mind when I was toying with this recipe is what helped me go from flat as a pancake to dense beautiful cookies that tasted amazing. So anything is possible when you’re armed with some science.
Instead of the chocolate chips called for in the recipe, I took 2 cups of Robins Eggs (found in the holiday aisle this time of year), and blended them in my food processor. Since I knew the excess sugar from the pulverized eggs would more than likely cause my gluten-y structure to weaken, I added some extra stability with oats and a bit more flour.
I also didn’t happen to have any cake flour on hand, but I found that this easy substitution seemed to do the trick! For every cup of cake flour called in a recipe, measure out one cup of all purpose flour, take out two tablespoons of the flour. To that cup of all purpose flour, you’ll add two tablespoons of corn starch. You’re still left with one cup, but with a recipe for a finer crumb 🙂
Armed with science, you’re now ready to bake up some new Easter favorites!
- 2 cups of Robins Eggs candies
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 and 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons of diastatic malt powder (optional)
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1¼ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup rolled oats
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- In a food processor, pulverize your Robins Eggs candies until you're left with a fine powder. Larger chunks of the candies are fine and will actually leave you with a pretty end cookie. Set aside.
- Sift together the cake flour, flour, baking soda, baking powder, malt powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer on medium speed until very light in color, about five minutes. Add in your Robins Eggs candies until fully incorporated. Next, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add in the vanilla. Remove from mixing stand and incorporate the dry ingredients and oats by hand until incorporated.
- Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Scoop and roll out golf ball sized dough balls, and place them onto the baking sheet. Six are all you should be able to fit onto a standard size baking sheet as they will spread once heated. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 12 to 14 minutes. Allow pan to cool, and transfer the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.