By now it should come as little to no surprise that the Hot Knives blog doesn’t really do dessert. Maybe its because we get all the sugar we need from beer. Maybe its because our sensory receptors for sweet have been burned by too much hops. Maybe we were both independently, but thoroughly, demoralized by high-school chemistry teachers and the sheer thought of chemical compositions required for cakes makes us wanna puke on our shoes.
Maybe that got a little extreme…
Anyway, we don’t bake much. But in our perpetual programme of pushing personal boundaries (next up: yoga) we threw ourselves at the task of baking a sweet creation for two recent food events: a beer tasting at Verdugo Bar, and a radical Birthday Dinner Party for our new friends Mike and Nikki.
The goal was to find a sweet treat sugar dunces like us could replicate that would stand up to the awesome power of dessert beers, high-octane stouts like Speedway Stout or Old Rasputin. Cookies, right? But how to make them a little weird, a little more extreme? After reading competing cannons on cookies we experimented with a technique found on the other coast: Resting the dough for a full day and a half, which vibed real well with our current obsession with the slowness of bread.
The (essential) finishing touch, a hefty pinch of smoked salt, elevates the butter and egg saturated dough to a Goliath like height; a place where we got over ourselves and donned the shroud of sugar.
Smokey Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Jaques Torres
(Makes 3 Dozen)
1 and a 1/4 stick Butter
1/2 plus 1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. white sugar
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup minus 1 Tbs. cake flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 oz. bittersweet couverture chocolate pistoles (not chips)
1 Tbs. finely ground Smoked Salt
1. In a counter-top mixer, blend the sugars and the butter together using the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes on medium speed until creamy.
2. Sift the flours, soda and powder, and salt (regular salt, not the smoked stuff yet) together in a separate bowl.
3. Add the egg and the vanilla extract to the mixer and continue to mix for another three minutes.
4. Add the flours and slow the mixer to low speed: Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl so that everything gets mixed in.
5. Add the chocolate and mix for another three minutes.
6. When the chocolate is totally embedded in the dough, stop the mixer. Turn the dough out onto some plastic wrap and form the dough into a square shape. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap – -double wrap so that it doesn’t absorb and flavors from your fridge–and chill in your ice box for at least 24 hours.
7. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
8. Take a 2-tablespoon piece of dough and roll it into a ball a little less than 1″ in diameter. Repeat. Place the cookies on a silpat or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Space them about 4 inches apart.
9. Sprinkle a hefty pinch of smoked salt on each cookie ball; don’t be afraid.
10. Bake for 7-8 minutes; until they are settled, but not brown on top. Let them cool for ten minutes before serving.
Beverage: Ruben and The Jets
Soundtrack: The Buzzcock’s “Why Can’t I Taste It?”