Dorie Greenspan’s magically caramel-y chocolate chip cookie
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Prolific doesn’t begin to cover Dorie Greenspan’s career. In the last 20 years, she’s written 14 cookbooks, a newspaper column, countless articles, and been in videos. In her latest cookbook Baking with Dorie, Ms. Greenspan has come up with yet another way to reinvent the chocolate chip cookie, taking it from traditional to terrific with one simple but effective baking tip.
First make the dough, which she suggests doing with a mixer but also works just fine done by hand. Next the dough gets wrapped and chilled. No surprises here. But then these seemingly humble cookies are sliced and baked not on a baking sheet but in a standard muffin tin. “Because these slice-and-bake cookies are baked in muffin tins until their bottom and sides are deeply golden, the butter and sugar brown so completely that they produce the full, nutty, edgily sweet flavor of caramel,” Dorie explains. That wonderful caramel flavor is the first to hit your tongue when you take a bite. It’s so perfect that she named the cookies Caramel Crunch-Chocolate Chunklet Cookies even though there isn’t any caramel in the ingredient list.
The magic of these cookies can be explained by science. Heating sugar breaks it down into glucose and fructose. Those molecules then break down further and react with one another creating new flavor compounds, like phenols and esters. Thanks to those new compounds cooked sugar and butter become so much more than simply sweet. They meld together and transform into something buttery, bitter, malty, and nutty all at once.
As if that weren’t enough, these cookies have even more special characteristics. First of all, Dorie makes them with both granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar. While the granulated sugar is doing its job of keeping the cookies moist and sweet, the confectioners’ sugar adds tenderness giving them the texture of a soft and chewy shortbread.
Dorie also suggests that you use chopped chocolate instead of chips. While chips stay whole in baked cookies, chopped chocolate introduces pieces of varying sizes that are nicely distributed throughout the cookie. Each cookie has loads of chocolate, from tiny flecks to nice, big pools, giving every bite a more complex flavor. The muffin tin also keeps all the cookies the exact same shape and size so they cook evenly and look fantastic. What more could you ask for? This Dorie Greenspan fan (or “Greenstan” if you will) is 100% satisfied.
Recipe: Caramel Crunch–Chocolate Chunklet Cookies by Dorie Greenspan, from Samantha Seneviratne
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