|Alice Medrich, Cookie Godess|
Now in the interests of full disclosure, the Chocolate chip cookie that Andrew baked from Alice Medrich’s “Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-You-Mouth Cookies” (Artisan 2010) is slightly controversial around our house. Andrew, who annotates every cookbook he uses, wrote “love them the Best” and underscored “Best” twice. This cookie is buttery and its edges are crisp and caramelized. Their centers are chewy with lots of chocolate. But on this side of the kitchen, I tend to favor a truly crisp cookie, a chocolate chip cookie that tastes wrapped in caramel dough…a chocolate chip cookie like….well, like last year’s Salted Chocolate Chip cookie…http://chewingthefat.us.com/2010/09/hampton-classic-and-new-cookie-classic.html. But that is so last year! And besides, Alice Medrich is a cookie goddess. Alice, aside from giving us her phenomenally good cookie cookbook, was also the first American to popularize the chocolate truffle! She did so in Berkeley CA in 1973. In fact, because Alice’s truffles were not, like their French counterparts, perfectly round but rather looked instead like a real truffle, they were even given the name “California Truffles”. So Alice knows her way around chocolate.
|Renato (L) and
As to the second and third of today’s recipes, frequent readers of Chewing the Fat will likely find it a yawn that Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, those Ad boys turned Bakers Extraordinaire, once again find themselves on these pages. For all the baking-specific cookbooks we own, none get greater workouts at our house than Matt and Renato’s Baked Explorations (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2010) and their earlier Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (Stewart, Tabori Chang 2008). The books are just full of irresistible recipes. But this one is straight out of Food and Wine’s new “Best of the Best”. The cookie itself is surprisingly light in texture while staying deeply richly chocolate.
So here they are: Three fantastic recipes. The ultimate cookies! Which makes me wonder….what on earth is Andrew going to do next year?
Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to soften. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough and place them 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 9 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown at the edges and no longer look wet on top. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and let cookies firm up on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Use a metal pancake turner to transfer them to rack to cool completely before storing or stacking. May be stored in a tightly sealed container for several days. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the eggs, heavy cream and vanilla until blended. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Add the melted chocolate and chocolate chips and beat just until incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
2. Scoop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them two inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes until the cookies are just set; shift the baking sheets for top to bottom and front to back half way through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer then to a rack to cool completely.
3. Note: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
For the peanut butter filling:
For the crumb topping:
1. To make the sweet pastry dough: Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Put the sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until sandy (about 6 to 10 quick pulses). In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and pour them into the food processor. Pulse just until the dough begins to hold together. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
10. To assemble the bars: Spread the jelly in an even layer over the peanut butter filling. Sprinkle on the crumb topping until the jelly is no longer visible.