23 March 2009

Cookie Craving

Last night over wine and fondue on a girls' night, we began talking about our favorite cookies. It was the perfect opportunity to profess my renewed love for the just-out-of-the-oven cookie. Really, who doesn't like a warm, gooey cookie? Pair it with some ice cream, and that's my idea of the perfect dessert.

Recently I've started stocking my freezer with balls of cookie dough that are just about 10 minutes away from that perfect dessert. It's a tip from the pros. Make one batch of dough, bake off just what you need (OK, want) at that point and freeze the rest. It's a technique that will pay off tenfold, I promise. Instead of having a heaping mound of cookies as a result of one afternoon's craving, you'll get your fill then and have more for later. And not only does this trick settle a late-night sweet tooth, but it could also make a great, easy dessert for a casual dinner party with friends. A cookie fresh out of the oven could rival the most pretentious of cakes or pies.

Of course, you can buy premade cookie doughs at the grocery store, and many of those aren't bad, but this method would allow you to make any kind of cookie you like. Below I've listed a recipe for a great chocolate cookie that is meant to be eaten warm. It also happens to pair quite nicely with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream.

To freeze cookie dough: Make cookie dough following recipe directions. Shape dough into appropriate size balls, discs or cut shapes based on recipe instructions. Place dough on cookie sheet, making sure no cookies touch. Place in freezer loosely covered for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour or until frozen. Transfer frozen dough balls to freezer bag or storage container. To bake, remove however many cookies you want from the freezer and allow to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes and then bake as recipe instructions indicate.

Molten Chocolate Cookie
adapted from Guittard Chocolate Company recipe

2 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips

3 Tablespoons butter

2 Large eggs

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler over low heat, stirring until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat on high until mixture is a pale yellow and slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Mix in chocolate on low speed, stopping to scrape the bowl. Slowly add flour and baking powder on low speed just until incorporated. Cover dough and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Scoop dough into balls and either bake immediately or freeze. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. The outsides should be crusty and the inside will remain soft and gooey.

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