Have you ever flubbed up a recipe? Left out a key ingredient? Added too much or too little of something? I certainly have. In cooking you can most times get away with it. In baking a major diversion from the recipe can result in a vastly different product. My first attempt at making Grammy's Chocolate Cookies a couple years back resulted in an incredibly thin cookie....because I added an extra 3/4 stick of butter. It was still tasty as you might imagine but not the result I was expecting.
Her "Oops" cookies turned out to be what she thinks might be the "one". You know that special cookie that knocks your socks off, makes you say, "wow" and keeps you coming back for more. She said to me, "You have to try these!" I had made Melissa Murphy's original version a while back and wasn't wowed. But the Oops version sounded pretty enticing.
I replicated Crystal's version to the tee (despite my urge to use semi-sweet chips and keep the egg as I did here). These really are special cookies. The milk chocolate is sweet with caramel undertones. The crunch of the toasted almonds adds a nice layer of texture to these thick yet tender cookies. They are a bit pale in color for a chocolate chip cookie (turns out that eggs help achieve that nice golden brown color, something I didn't know until researching what an egg contributes to baking). I enjoyed these cookies A LOT and felt that wow factor after biting into one. They had a gourmet quality about them in taste and appearance. I think I would enjoy them even more with semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks, but that's just my preference in chocolate.
I am officially on a quest to find my perfect chocolate chip cookie. Though this cookie was impressive, my quest continues. This weekend I also made Alton Brown's Chewy Chocolate Chip recipe which is highly rated by many food bloggers. I took the two cookies to my office for a head to head cookie face off today. Check back in a couple of days to see the Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies and find out how they stacked up with Crystal's Chocolate Chip "Oops" cookies.
To be continued...
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds
by Crystal adapted from Melissa Murphy
Makes 20 three inch cookies
1/2 cup whole natural (or slivered) almonds, toasted (see below)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz. best-quality milk chocolate chips (Crystal and I used Ghiradelli's large milk chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Chop almonds and set aside (we used slivered toasted almonds).
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, both sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy for about 3 minutes at medium speed. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing each batch until flour is no longer visible. Stir in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips or chunks.
Place 2 large pieces of plastic wrap on your work surface and dump the dough out onto the first piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into square and then divide the square in two equal pieces. Place one piece on the second sheet of plastic wrap, form it into a 10 inch log and wrap tightly in the plastic. Repeat with the other piece of dough and plastic wrap. If the dough is too warm to form into logs, refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour until dough firms up. Place wrapped logs in the refrigerator for about an hour until dough is firm enough to slice without smashing the log.
Remove the logs from the refrigerator and slice them into 1 inch cookies and place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes or until thethe bottom edge has a lightly browned appearance and the dough in the center no longer has a raw appearence. Note, this eggless version will be pale in color, so be sure not to overcook.
To toast nuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the almonds in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and you can smell them. Set aside and cool before adding to cookie dough.