Friday, May 13, 2011

Welcome To The Neighborhood

Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery opened in Rockefeller Plaza yesterday and Chef Keller was on The Today Show with Al, showing him some of his favorite baked treats. He started with Chocolate Chunk Cookies. WAIT!  What do you think will make his cookies different? Hmm. Let’s think about that.

One of the most interesting spins I’ve ever seen on Chocolate Chip Cookies is Emily adding browned butter. I really have to try that. Another great variation is the Rocky Mountain Chip Cookies from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, which are actually a combination of chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies – and a fabulous version of each.  

I have to admit I’m no revolutionary. I use the recipe on the NestlĂ© Chocolate Chip bag with the following changes:
Instead of 2 cups of chips, I add 3 cups, and usually I use three different kinds - semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and peanut butter or butterscotch chips. Also, I might chunk up some chocolate, instead of using chips.
I'm very heavy-handed with the nuts (except if I’m making them for kids – then I tend to leave them out). But this is the thing about the nuts – I toast them, REALLY toast them, so there’s no missing that roasted, warm flavor. Also I usually mix cashews and walnuts and sometimes pecans. And I leave them quite big.
The only other different thing I do is to sometimes add an extra egg and bake them in a 9 by 13 dish and call them blondies. (I’ve recently started putting the dough in a much larger jelly roll pan. Then they come out flatter and crisper…AND you get a lot more.)

So what do you think Chef Keller has in store for us with HIS recipe for Chocolate “Chunk” Cookies?

Okay, I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING! He adds…molasses, just a bit, a tablespoon. Not only does it affect the taste and color, Chef Keller says it helps the texture. It gives it extra richness and keeps the cookie moister. Also his recipe calls for DARK brown sugar, which will certainly give a warm, toasty flavor to the cookie. AND there are no nuts in this recipe.

Interestingly, he is beating this mixture much more than I usually do. I try to keep beating to a minimum after the eggs are incorporated. But Chef Keller is chatting away with Al and beating, beating, beating in the flour mixture. He uses an ice cream scoop to form the cookies. I DO THAT! He’s using a big one and he doesn’t appear to be squooshing down the mixture on the baking sheet like I do.  I guess they stay really moist in the middle that way.

Chef Keller also includes a recipe for Bouchon’s famous Nutter Butters. They look awesome, but not as iconic as the Chocolate Chunk Cookies. 

AND Chef Keller showed off his homemade version of Ho-Ho’s. They were awe-inspiring with their perfect shiny chocolate coat. They even approached the nirvana of what I grew up with – Yodels. There were no Ho-Ho’s in MY New York of old; we lived in a Yodel kind of town. But isn’t it nice to know that 
you can get anything in New York now, even a chocolate chip cookie with molasses? 


Anonymous said...

We had Big Wheels when I was growing up!

I went to Bouchon in Las Vegas, both the bistro and the bakery. Excellent stuff (and the cheapest good meal in Las Vegas too). The little "bouchon" brownies were outstanding -- I went out and bought the pan to make them after trying them.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Emily's chocolate chip cookie recipe with the brown butter is awesome. You really should try!

I'm not crazy about the idea of not only using dark brown sugar, but adding molasses as well. I never like the taste of molasses in my choco chip cookies. I only use light brown sugar. Molasses is too strong for me.

Emily said...

Ohhh the Rocky Mountain Chip cookies sound good! I bet I can google that recipe and find it. I don't have that cookbook... I know, I should get it. Soon, I tell you.

YOUR cookies sound amazing! I love that they're loaded with chocolate and nuts!

I think I'd prefer yours over Bouchon's. I don't think that little bit of molasses would make them thaaat good. :)

Sometimes I beat the egg for a long time with the sugars and butter. I think that's why my last cookies were so crackly.