Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recipe: A Trio of Cookies

I made a trio of cookies, all very simple, very home-made delicious. After taking this picture, I closed them in the box, tied it up with a pretty grosgain ribbon and a handwritten card- a pretty good gift!

These three recipes are brilliant because (1) they are by celebrity chefs who really know their stuff (2) they use similar ingredients, are hardy mix-all-in recipes, have the same baking times and (3) they can be made back to back, without cleaning the mixer, which I think is what takes up a lot of time.

The trick is you start with the lightest batter first and move progressively to the most chocolatey batter.

As long as you scrape the mixing bowl fairly clean and empty, the later batters don't suffer from remanants of lighter-coloured batter than might remain.

1. Cranberry Hootycreeks

This is a fun, creative recipe that features the healthy chewy combination of oats, cranberry and white chocolate chips.

Beat 1/2 cup of butter till fluffy, add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla. Then add:
5/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Roll the dough in teaspoons and drop onto a baking tray. Bake for 12 min at 175 C.

2. Jacque Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the proverbial chocolate chip cookie, except it's made by Jacque Torres, the master chocolatier. His recipe is set apart by the use of regular pastry flour and also bread flour, which gives the cookie more bite and structure.

This recipe was trialed by Martha Stewart and remains her favourite. How's that for a stamp of approval! This recipe is large so I usually halve it.

Beat together:

1 pound unsalted butter with
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar until fluffy

4 eggs, added one at a time
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups + 2 Tbsp plain flour
3 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
Lastly, add:

2 pounds Valronha or similarly high quality chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces (at least 65% cocoa)
Shape the dough into small rounded teaspoons and bake on a baking tray at 175 C for 15 min.

3. Pierre Herme World Peace Dark Chocolate cookies

This is the most beautiful cookie to make and eat straight warm and chocolatey out of the oven. (I had a crowd of little children blowing on the baking trays and grabbing cookies with their hot little hands).

It is also the easiest recipe of the three because it doesn't involve egg. What makes it work is the addition of "fluer de sel" or sea salt, which you must use to give it a good kick.

Simply beat together:

1/3 cup Valronha or high quality cocoa
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1 stick plus 3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Lastly, add 5 ounces Valronha or similarly good quality chocolate chips or chopped-up chocolate (at least 65% cocoa content).
Round into teaspoon balls and bake on a baking tray for 15 min at 175 C.


1. If your resultant batter is still sticky and shapeless, you can add up to 2 Tbsp more flour. Or, refrigerate covered for 2 hours. This will usually result in batter that is harder and more shapeable.

2. White chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips can be bought at Phoon Huat/Culina/SunLik. The ones at Culina and SunLik are excellent, the quality at Phoon Huat much lower esp for dark chocolate. Don't stinge, my total Culina chocolate bill for all these recipes was maybe $13.

Oats and dried cranberries can be bought at Phoon Huat or regular supermarkets. Dark cocoa can be bought at Sun Lik and Shermay's Cooking School. Sea salt is available at regular supermarkets, just look on the box- sea salt is actually collected out of the sea in France or other parts of Europe and can be refined (white), or coloured. You can definitely get it at Shermay's or Bunalun in Holland Village.

3. I didn't have time to do the conversions for this post but you can google them easily or type in "1 pound in grams". Beware that 1 pound of butter, which is a semi-solid, or a liquid of oil, may not the same as 1 pound of solid chocolate.

From my recollection, 1 pound = 2 sticks = 4 cups equals 454g of butter.