Monday, March 20, 2017

Layered Chocolate Chip Cookies

Layered Chocolate Chip Cookies - made dough February 28, 2017, adapted from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Of all the things I've made in my baking life, chocolate chip cookies have to rank as one of the top baked goods in terms of how many recipes I've tried for them, how often I've made them and how much I like eating them. I feel like I've tried every variation there is in terms of ratio to brown sugar vs granulated sugar, all-purpose flour vs cake flour vs bread flour or some combination of all three, chilling them, freezing them, chilling then freezing them, chocolate chips vs chunks, semisweet vs milk chocolate vs white chocolate and so on. It's hard to find a chocolate chip recipe whose actual recipe would surprise me.

Well, guess what? I found one. Layered chocolate chip cookies. Who knew they were a thing? That Skinny Chick Can Bake found it out from Martha Stewart and I found it out from her blog via pinterest. The ingredients themselves didn't surprise me. I always use dark brown sugar in my chocolate chip cookies to get more caramel flavor, even if the recipe calls for light brown sugar. In fact, I don't even buy light brown sugar anymore for baking. It's always the dark brown sugar. The ingredients also deviate from the norm in that it uses four egg yolks instead of 2 whole eggs. That means there's more fat in the dough which makes for a richer cookie. That's fine by me.

But it's how the cookies are made that's different from what I'm used to. You mix up the cookie dough as normal but stop before you add the chocolate chips. In fact, you don't add chips or chunks at all. Instead you use shards of chocolate. So you're going to need a block of chocolate for this recipe. I used Trader's Joe's Pound Plus Milk Chocolate. I didn't cut into chunks but instead angled my knife to cut long, thin shards of chocolate.
After you mix up the dough, you divide into three equal portions. You can weigh each portion to be exact but I just eyeballed it. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. After the dough is chilled, roll each piece into approximately same-size rectangles. You don't have to be perfect but some degree of uniformity is desirable since you're going to stack the portions on top of each other. Once I rolled out the first rectangle, I deviated from the recipe by spreading a thin layer of Nutella over it. The original version just called for spreading the chocolate shards between the dough rectangles but since we're talking about layers, I wanted a real layer in there and that layer would be Nutella. Layer the Nutella then sprinkle a layer of the chocolate shards over it. Cover with the second piece of dough, layer with Nutella and chocolate shards, cover with the third piece of dough.

I pinched the edges sealed and then used my rolling pin to flatten the whole thing slightly. If I had to do it differently, I wouldn't have rolled it out as thinly as I did since I like chubby cookies. These cookies do spread a bit so you don't want the three layers to be too thin. Then I used my round cookie cutter to cut out round cookies. This is why you have to cut the chocolate into shards because the cookie cutter will cut through them more easily than chunks.

As with anytime you cut out anything from dough, you'll always have "dough scraps". Don't bother trying to reroll them to cut out more cookies since the Nutella makes it all messy (in a good way). Instead, I gathered scraps together to form dough balls. These looked like more normal scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough instead of prissy rounds but both will have a place in your stomach, believe me.

When you bake them, the round-cut cookies will look demurely "perfect" with the Nutella and chocolate shards tucked inside. In hindsight, next time, I would press more chocolate shards on top of the cookies to indicate what they are inside. The cookies made from rolled dough scraps will likely not be that distinguishable from normally scooped out chocolate chip cookies but they will have nice swirls of Nutella in every bite, thanks to the layering. Cool, huh?

The best part is, regardless of how you put this together, the recipe for chocolate chip cookies itself is delicious. You know how jaded my taste buds are for something I've made so many times for so long but this is a terrific cookie recipe. Yes, the layering part takes a little more time and trouble than the average cookie recipe but layering in the Nutella and chocolate shards makes it worth it.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate chocolate, chopped into shards
Nutella - as much or as little as you want, optional but recommended
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, dark brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eqq yolks and vanilla; mix to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture and mix until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Divide dough into three equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and flatten slightly. Chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Unwrap one portion of chilled dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a rectangle less than an inch think. Spread a thin layer of Nutella. Sprinkle with half the chocolate shards.
  5. Roll out the second portion of dough to a similar size and use to top the Nutella-and-chocolate coated layer. Spread another layer of Nutella on top and sprinkle with remaining chocolate shards. Top with last portion of dough, rolled out to a similar size as the first two portions.
  6. Lightly dust the cookie dough with flour and gently roll out dough to a rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a 2-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Evenly space dough rounds on baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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