HAPPY NEW YEAR!! May 2017 be YOUR year, grab 'em by the .... cookies!! :D
*Either read on to learn more about the Cookie Science or simply scroll to the bottom of the page for the recipe*
Disclaimer: In my quest for the perfect cookie, I've done a bit of cookie-research. So this post is a little longer than the rest as I share with you what I've found during my online cookie adventure. Hope you enjoy! <3
This year I decided to spend New Years Eve with family friends who were in town. A potluck dinner with mostly Kerala-style dishes?! What a great way to ring in the New Year! So, I figured I'd contribute a vegetarian Kerala fruit cake for New Years (I made one for Christmas but it bombed so colossally I needed another occasion to practice making it... perhaps I shall post it up, it was a fairly photogenic cake :P). However, the hosts of the party was making a banana bread cake a la my previous post so I decided I'd cook up a few batches of chocolate chip cookies... Not something that's traditional Kerala-style, so I had to do some research. I was keen to make the MOST delicious cookies I could make (who isn't?) using ingredients in the pantry and NO egg (because COOKIE DOUGH love amiright?!). Not a tall order...
Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Odyssey
I have to confess, I was initially hoping to make a vegan cookie, probably because I like challenges and this posed a pretty tough one, especially since I had imposed many stipulations on myself. I wanted the chocolate chip cookie to be vegan, using ingredients in the pantry and, above all, it had to be egg-less. Reason being, my mum's allergic to eggs yet makes up for it by having a ridiculously sweet sweet-tooth! And low key, I needed my 2016/2017 cookie dough fix <3
Alas, almost every cookie asked for flaxseed to be added or for applesauce to be used (both are good egg substitutes, yet neither are items readily stocked at my home). I just wanted a delicious and simple recipe.
Finally, I chanced upon a recipe by keepinglifesane.com (did she just read my mind?!) and it ticked the boxes of simple, seemingly delicious and egg-less! It wasn't quite vegan (butter is used), but I figured this is a good start and I didn't have much time left to scour the depths of the internet. Why? Because I decided to keep the baking to the last minute. So there I was, the day before New Years Eve and I had yet to chill my cookie batter overnight. The. Stress. Was. Real.
While scouring the internet I also happened upon my favourite blog: sallysbakingaddiction.com and Sally imparted so many knowledge bombs it was hard not to take it all on board. (I'd suggest giving her blog a follow if you don't have any dietary restrictions, she's a baking QUEEN).
So, when whipping up my batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies using the recipe I found, I gave it a few tweaks using Sally's baking expertise. Here's what I've learned for making soft, chewy and thick Chocalate Chip Cookie deliciousness. ENJOY!!!
The Cookie Science
Rule #1: CHILL your batter in the fridge. (3 hours/ up to 3 days.)
This allows all the flavours to be well introduced to each other and elevates flavours to a whole other level. I have not taken this rule seriously enough before. But, I'm now a believer. Once chilled, let sit in room temperature for around 30 minutes - makes it easier to roll out the batter.
Rule #2 Make sure all ingredients are at the same temperature.
It just makes it that much easier to combine all the ingredients. Also it doesn't cause any ingredients to seize up with the sudden shift in temperature which makes it much easier to mix together.
Side note: Ayurveda also suggests not combining hot and cold foods. Especially when eating, the combination of heated and chilled foods inhibit good digestion.
Rule #3 Measure EVERYTHING
Baking is more of a science than your everyday cooking, A spoonful of flour more could change the whole consistency of the batter. Also, makes it easier to recreate once you've struck recipe gold!
Bonus Roll the dough out taller, not thicker.
If you want a thicker cookie that is. Just roll out the dough into little balls and let the oven do its magic - it will become cookie shaped within about 5 minutes in the oven without merging with its neighbouring cookie.
Key Ingredients Used
Ghee- Adding ghee helps increase chewiness but it also increases the grease factor. By that I mean, if there's too much ghee you'll have runny batter that spreads giving very thin cookies. Best way to offset this is to increase the amount of flour. Ghee or vegetable oil (1/4 cup of it) is also a great substitute for egg!
Cookie Science - This is what happens when ghee is substituted for butter and you decide to dollop onto the baking tray 2 tablespoons of batter instead 1/1.5 tablespoons:
You get palm-sized, gorgeously chewy flattened cookies. Must say the ghee gives it a beautifully nutty aroma though!
Vanilla Essence - Use 2 teaspoons (tsps), you can thank me later. 2 tsps makes the vanilla no longer just a nuance in the cookie, it gives it its own personality. I've now found out, I like my chocolate chip cookies with some sass and personality.
Cornstarch - Use 1/ 1.5 teaspoons. This was new to me (thanks Sally!). But it's this inconspicuous, magic ingredient that gives the cookie more softness and more thickness. Basically, a major YES for a chocolate chip cookie that you want to bite and luxuriate into instead of breaking teeth. WIN.
Brown Sugar - Using more brown sugar than white results in a chewier and softer cookie. Didn't know that, but hey, if brown sugar is supposedly healthier and using it gives me my kinda cookies... all in favour say aye... AYE!!
1. Using a mixer, beat the ghee with the granulated and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in vanilla essence. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Now, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix in the water and milk. The cookie batter will be quite thick. Fold in the chocolate chips making sure they're evenly mixed into the batter. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. I chilled the batter overnight.
2. Remove cookie dough from the fridge and let stand for around 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Scoop about 1.5 tablespoons of dough, roll and place on baking tray. Bake in batches for 11-12 minutes.