Monday, March 7, 2011

What's in your skillet?

One last "sweets" recipe for Fat Tuesday, then no more til May.

Ryan loves chocolate chip cookies, actually maybe the dough more than the cookies themselves, and he also loves those giant cookies with all the frosting on them from those places at the mall.  Around Valentine's Day (also his birthday) I came across a few recipes calling for making a larger cookie in either a pie plate or a skillet, so I thought I would try my hand at it since he was going to be out of town for his birthday and this would be something he could actually take a piece with him.  All we could say was, MMMM!  I did, however, try making it again for MOPS, but realized after I had already started that I didn't have all of the same ingredients (mainly I didn't have enough oat flour and I tried sucanat with molasses instead of the turbinado with molasses) - so it wasn't anywhere near mmm that time.

So I am a huge fan of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated, not at all healthy recipes, but incredibly delicious.  If you aren't familiar with their publications, they test recipes over and over to find the best result.  They also test kitchen equipment as well as products.  In December we came across a test that they had done on chocolate and had already tried their number one - Scharfenberger, but it is extremely pricey and I can only find it in large thick bars.  The number two on the list was Callebaut and was much more reasonably priced.  I don't remember what came in third place, but it was something more familiar to me.  I searched online looking for somewhere that I could get ahold of this Callebaut baking chocolate, but could only find options for ordering huge quantities of it in chip and or bar form.  After giving up on the search for Callebaut and starting my couponing adventures I came across a Toll House coupon and deal, so I picked up a bag.  But we had been buying our chocolate chips in bulk from our local co-op and were really enjoying them, so the Toll House chocolate chips went into the cupboard for later.  The next time I was at the co-op buying bulk items I happened to look more closely at the label for the chocolate chips and found out that I had already discovered Callebaut chocolate and it was sitting in my kitchen!  They also had larger chunks of Callebaut chocolate, that wasn't even labeled as such in their baking aisle.  These chocolate chips are infinitely superior to Toll House and I considered donating the bag I had bought to a food pantry, until my stash of good chocolate chips was low and I needed to bake several items that called for chocolate chips.

For some reason when I make dessert I feel less guilty if I can make it with something that is of some nutritional value.  Of course when I am out and eat dessert that doesn't usually pertain.  I've been working on my chocolate chip cookie recipe over the years to get a chewy, moist, yet full (not flat) cookie.  I've found a few tricks to this and have had good results even with adding some whole grain flours.

Skillet Cookie
1 1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup white wheat flour*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour*
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup all vegetable shortening or coconut oil*
1 1/4 cup brown sugar*
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 - 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup (or more) pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside for later.  Combine butter, shortening, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk.  Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (by hand or mixer - whatever you prefer).  Grease a 10 or 11 inch cast iron skillet or 9.5 inch pie plate with butter or oil.  Press the cookie dough
into the skillet or pie plate and bake for 30 - 45 minutes, be sure to check after 30 minutes, especially if you like gooey cookies.  Restrain yourself and allow the cookie to cool before cutting into it.

Side notes: You may want to use a little less flour, depending on your altitude.  I think the 2 1/2 cups is what I figured out when we lived in Boulder, CO.  I'd start with 2 1/4 cups and see if the consistency seems typical or not.  Awhile back I picked up some organic all vegetable shortening made from palm oil, which said it was lower in cholesterol and such, some out there say it isn't good for you while others do.  An alternative would be coconut oil which is extremely healthful, but also some out there will say that it is not.  The other option would be to use another stick of butter.  If you make your brown sugar out of turbinado sugar, I recommend letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight and then let it sit on the counter while you preheat the oven to make it easier to put into the skillet.  This will help the dough to be less granular in texture.  This is also the recipe that I use for chocolate chip cookies, but I increase the oven temp to 375 and bake for 8-10 minutes rotating the cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.

I forgot to mention that you might want to save some of the dough in balls and freeze them for the occasional sweet craving - to eat raw or to bake, that is the question?  Of course if you decide to give up sweets for Lent this would only be allowed on celebration Sundays or after Easter Sunday!

Click on the title of the recipe to view a printable format of this recipe without the pictures.

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