I recently went to dinner and shared a trio appetizer. That is, we ordered one appetizer: a trio of foie gras. I know. I’m a terrible person. Now onward. One piece was seared and lovely, crisp and yielding. Your standard go-to move. The next taste was a foie gras brulee style, complete with a burnt sugar top, and finally, foie gras ice cream. The ice cream tasted like just that. Ice cream. The after taste might have been foie gras, I suppose. But really, I liked it more for the idea than the execution. And I suppose that’s true with a lot of things.
Imagine if you will, a chocolate chip cookie made with duck fat in place of cow’s butter. It would of course still have sugar and vanilla. But you’d pay extra for the idea. I imagine French Laundry, or some other fabulous restaurants experiment with such things. I wonder if it makes any difference. I love fat. Not the kind I can see. The kind I taste. The way it coats, a silky luxury to it. I can’t help it. I don’t think everyone is this way, wanting to try duck cookies, and to see if using clarified butter makes a marginal difference in flavor. I do love learning about fat, too. How melting it, freezing it, or using it room temperature before creaming it with sugar makes a difference.
I’m just back from the dentist, clean of cavities, tartar, and plaque, which stands to reason that there’s no better time to eat sugar. I have been having a serious craving for chocolate chip cookies for days now. I want to bake some, at least six dozen or so. Freeze some, eat some. You know the drill. Ah, but to find the right recipe… it’s a task. Everyone has views on what the prefect chocolate chip cookie should be.
Someone once said the perfect breast should fit into a champagne glass. I don’t know who this someone was, nor do I care to. But they didn’t say a flute, long and narrow, or those fat champagne glasses that they often stack in a wet pyramid. But clearly, everyone has views on what a perfect set are, just as we all have opinions on our cookies.
There’s the crisp camp. People who prefer Tate’s Cookies (formerly Kathleen’s Cookies), buttery, thin and crisp. Then there’s Martha Stewart’s recipe for Alexis’s Favorite Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is very large, thin, crisp on the edges, and very thin and chewy. It uses 4 sticks of butter, not 2, like most recipes. These are the kinds I often make. Where the butter is creamed, not melted first. Things like this make a difference. If you melt the butter vs. simply cream it, you’ll get a different type of cookie. Of course there’s the butter to flour ratio to consider. And then of course there’s the lard factor. Crisco or butter? Or half and half? I’m pretty old school when it comes to my chocolate chip cookies. I don’t care for pecans in my chocolate chip cookies. I feel they’re too soft. I want a hard walnut to the tooth. It’s nearly a meal on its own. *Oh, and as for potato chip cookies… blech! Some people like them. But really, do you need any more added fat and crap in your body during the holidays? They’re so not worth it. Don’t bother.
Some prefer their chocolate chip cookies large and chewy and use a special technique to get them this way. They’ll spoon out the perfect sized drop for the sheet, then split it apart, then rotate the pieces and reassemble them, leaving rough edges. Insisting this adds a new texture to the mix. I wouldn’t know. I don’t have patience for this. I also SUCK at baking. I have a convection oven and need to learn how to use it. For those hoping for a chewy cookie, I direct you to Alton Brown’s chewy recipe. There you’ll also find his recipe for the thin and the puffy. But really… who likes puffy cookies is beyond me. They seem so store-bought to me. Please, if you have a recipe to add in the comments, please say what type of cookie it yields. And if you know anything about what the lard factor adds to the mix, please share.
I think the consensus is probably crisp on the edges, chewy and yielding in the centers. Some like them more soft and light, others, more crisp, softened with a dunk or two in milk. Of course there are other fantastic cookies out there, but right now, I need to get the chocolate chip cookies underway before I get to my cranberry, white chocolate, macademia nut cookies. Oh, how I love cookie season.