Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pecan Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies with Fleur de Sel

This recipe is from the amazing baking blog, Sally's Baking Addiction. In taste and texture, it's pretty much exactly like my Less Fussy Jacques Torres-esque Chocolate Chip Cookies. It has chew, fluff, goo, and crispiness.  It's scrumdiddilyumptuous!

I kept the recipe almost exactly the same as Sally's, except that I used salted butter. I pretty much always use salted butter in my baked goods because I really like the way a little extra salt makes my sweets pop (and I have a salt tooth, if that's a thing). 

I also added toasted nuts and topped each cookie with a tiny pinch of fleur de Sel, you know, so these would be snobby cookies. Just kidding! Any flaky sea salt will due or skip it. I really think this recipe benefits form the extra salt though.

The chilling in this recipe is absolutely essential (so don't get any funny ideas) as it helps the fats to solidify, making for a chewier, plumper cookie. Not chilling the dough will likely result in a very depressing, flat, spread out, greasy cookie, so I don't recommend it. Also essential, is the under-baking, which is pretty much the key to taking any cookie from good to phenomenal.

Sally has a long and interesting tutorial explaining this recipe. It's definitely worth a read if you want to delve deeper into the mechanics of all the steps. As per my usual method (See my Whole Wheat Cardamom Snickerdoodles and Less Fussy Jacques Torres-esque Chocolate Chip Cookies recipes), I rolled up all the dough into balls and froze them. In this case, I pre-chilled the bowl of dough for about an hour first because it was so soft from the melted butter. 

I love this method because I can take a few cookies out, pop them on a cookie sheet, and let 'em warm up while the oven preheats. Then, viola, yummy cookies ANY TIME!!! It also (sort of) keeps me from eating through an entire 20 some odd cookies in two days (ok, one day). It's a nice trick.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Pecans, Walnuts and Fleur de Sel
Yield: 20-24 cookies if you use 2-3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie

Step One:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Heat your oven to 350F and toast the chopped nuts for about 10 minutes until they're fragrant. Keep a  close eye on them, as nuts burn in an instant. Set aside to cool.

Step Two:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt (I would increase this to 3/4 teaspoon in the future)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini semi-sweet chips)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
OPTIONAL: sea salt for sprinkling

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan on your stovetop. I usually heat it over a low flame until it's about half-melted, then I cut off the heat and let the residual warmth melt the rest. Once it's all melted, set it aside to cool slightly (we don't want it to cook the eggs!).

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt. In a separate bowl, stir the melted butter and sugars together until smooth. Stir in the egg and egg yolk, then add the vanilla. Add the dry to the wet and stir to combine. Add the chocolate chips and nuts.  Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days in the fridge. Or use my freezer method (see above).

To bake, remove the chilled dough from the fridge or freezer and allow it to warm up a little, say for 15 minutes or so while you preheat your oven to 325F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment. Roll the dough into balls (use about 2-3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie) and set them a few inches apart of the baking sheets. Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel or any flakey sea salt and bake the cookies for 12 minutes. 

The cookies should look slightly browned around the edges but under-baked in the centers. Remove them from the oven at this point and allow them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes. Then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Enjoy with cold milk!