Monday, August 11, 2014

Current Crack: Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Walnuts

Let's get straight to the point: these Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Walnuts are culinary crack. I enjoyed them so much, that when they're not around, I resort to eating the chocolate chunk chips and walnuts straight out of the bag. They are a match made in heaven because the slight sweetness of the chip is balanced by the earthy flavor of toasted walnut.

Combine with the usual suspects like brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract to create what is currently in my top three of chocolate chip cookies. The other contenders include recipes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Alton Brown. Nipping at fourth place is a recipe from Food52 by Phyllis Grant that I greatly enjoy.  Each has their own admirable qualities but if you twist my arm, this recipe is currently the top dog.

My definition of a rock-star cookie is one that is moist and thick- I have never been keen on the thin, crispy variety. It wasn't until recently that I realized the addition of nuts took things to a whole new level, especially walnuts and pecans. I don't like anything super sugary and they provide a nice counter balance.

There are various factors that one must take into consideration to create a rock-star cookie. Make sure to not over mix and give the raw dough time to chill in the fridge to create consistency in temperature. If the dough is too warm, it will turn into a puddle while baking. One reference I find helpful is this table of cookie ailments. It doesn't seem difficult, but baking cookies is an art and I learn something new every batch.

If you're not all about walnuts, feel free to switch out with any other nut. You can also use regular chocolate chips instead of chunks if you're not into big pockets of gooey awesomeness (totally not biased). The benefit of chips is that they keep their shape better since there's less mass to melt. I love dark chocolate so I use bittersweet (67%) Chocolate Baking Chunks made by the Whole Foods generic 365 brand; it's conveniently, pre-chopped chocolate.

For this top-notch Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, check out the post on Williams and Sonoma page.