Monochrome Cookies

11 Nov

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There’s something to be said about mindless recipes, and I’m gonna say it.  The fact that a recipe takes roughly zero parts of your cortex to make isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, a lot of times it’s a damn good thing.

Think about it.  If you pick up some monstrous Thomas Keller macaron recipe that takes 40 hours and a stand mixer the size of a Ford small block to make, you’re the one doing the work.  A lot of work.  Which is fine, and that doesn’t make it a bad recipe in the least.  But it also means that what’s doing the cooking is your cooking, your knowledge of cooking and folding and buttering and all that lovely stuff.

But in a simple recipe, the recipe‘s the one doing the work.  In a recipe like, say, a chocolate chip cookie recipe, you’re just along for the ride.  It grabs you by the hand, shows you a few things to put in a few bowls, and suddenly cookies in your mouth.  Just like that.

Now, just because a recipe’s easier doesn’t mean it’s better.  I could trudge my way down to the sweatpants-laced hell that is the boxed cake mix section, fart a batch of little debbie somethings out in 15 minutes, and think nothing of it.  That don’t make it good.  But a good, simple recipe that gently guides you along to baked good perfection?  That’s a beautiful thing, people.  So I just took two of those recipes and smashed them together to make these Monochrome Cookies.  Hopefully you won’t feel weird about me holding your hand (which you shouldn’t.  I thought we had something special, readers?).

Here’s what you need:

-1 1/4 cups AP flour

-1/4 cup cocoa powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1 egg

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 4 ounces dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (go for 72% darkness, trust me on this one)

– 4 ounces white chocolate or chopped chocolate

Here’s how you do it:

Now, as you can see from your eyes, this is pretty much two different kinds of cookie stitched together in the middle, meaning at some point you’re gonna be dealing with two different doughs at once.  Point being: make sure you have bowls.  A lot of bowls.

Ok, now for the actual recipe.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Divide your flour and baking soda into two bowls, so you have a 3/4 cup flour and a 1/4 teaspoon soda in one bowl, and a 1/2 cup of flour, a 1/4 cup of cocoa, and 1/4 teaspoon of soda in the other.  Whisk ’em both.  Yes, I know that’s a lot of dividing and fractions and whatnot, but you shouldn’t be in the kitchen in the first place if numbers with lines through them makes you itchy, so pipe down.

Action shot!

Action shot!

Cream the butter in a stand mixer for two minutes, on medium.  Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Actually, just keep doing that whenever you add something in the stand mixer.  Scraping is good, people.

Add the sugars and salt, and mix those in for one minute, until it’s all nice and smooth.

Next, add the egg and vanilla and mix.

Now comes the sort-of-not-really-tricky part.  Get in there with a spatula and divide the stuff in the stand mixer into two parts.  Leave one half in there, and the other half in a separate bowl.

Add the non-cocoa’d (that’s a word, right?) flour mixture into stand mixer dough, mix just until fully combined, and stir in the dark chocolate.

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Do the same for the cocoa’d flour mixture and white chocolate.

Next, start forming the cookies.  If you want hideously big cookies like I made, use about a tablespoon of each dough, if not, go for a half tablespoon.  Either way, take a something-spoon of each dough and stick them together in the middle, like I did.

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Now this is the most important tip you’ll ever learn about chocolate chip cookies: PUT SALT ON THE TOP.  Just a sprinkle.  It looks like a small thing, but trust me, you’ll never eat chocolate chip cookies the “normal” way again after you do it.  Or you will and you’ll be disappointed, at which point I can’t really help you.

Put the cookies on a parchment-paper-covered baking sheet and stick them in the oven for 15 minutes if you made big cookies, and 12 if you did the small ones.  And make sure to turn the pans around  when they’re halfway done.

All that’s left is to take them out, let them cool off for 5 minutes, and shove ’em down your throat with a glass of milk.

Shove some beats down your throat too, with this week’s track from Alph-Lyla with Toshiaki Otsubo.  It’s Take Back the Tower: 

Admittedly…I like a hard recipe.  I like getting my hands dirty, spending 8 hours in the kitchen cursing at inanimate objects that did nothing wrong other than not pureeing exactly the way I wanted them to puree.  But most people aren’t me, and that’s probably a good thing.  Most people just want something simple and warm and chewy, and hey; I can’t blame them.  So take it easy on yourself, make some damn cookies, and I’ll see you fine folks next week.

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