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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

~CCDO~ Cookie-shaped Cake-like Delicious Object

Today I realized I've never posted a basic cookie recipe!  Simple, tasty, easy-to-snack-upon treats!  I looked up my favorite recipe, another altered version from my father's repertoire, and got down to it...  mostly because I wanted something besides expensive grocery store candy to sneak into Iron Man 2 in my kit.  These little guys are a real nostalgia inducer for me.  I can recall living in a little red house, just me and my dad, when I was small making these together.  I asked once where my father got the recipe but he can't remember so the origins are lost I'm afraid. So without further adieu:


~Double Chocolate Oatmeal Walnut Spice Cake-Cookies~
aka
~Coco Mini-Cakes~
Printable Recipe 

1 C Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Milk
1 1/2 C Cake Flour
1/4 C Non Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger Root
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 12oz Package Dark Chocolate Chips or Chunks
1/2 - 3/4 C C rough chopped walnuts
2-3 C Oats

SPECIAL TOOLS:  #24 (1.75 oz) Ice Cream Scoop
                                     -- A mechanical scoop with a release works best.

Yield - 2 Dozen Cookies

Notes - These can easily be made Gluten-Free by subbing in Gluten-Free oats and flour.  You can also replace the brown sugar with 2/3 C Dark Agave Nectar.

Preheat your oven to 350f (convection 325f)


Since I tried grinding my own spices to great effect the last Banana Bread I made, I though I would do the same here.  The ginger I used pre-ground but the cinnamon and nutmeg I prepped at home.  

There will always be a significant increase in flavor intensity with fresh ground spices but in this case these are spice cookies so you probably wont need to worry too much.  Just keep it in mind if you prefer one spice over another and want to adjust.

In a large bowl, start by creaming together shortening and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs and blend completely.  Add milk and stir.  Twice sift flour, cocoa, spices, baking powder, soda, and salt and and to wet ingredients in two parts to prevent clumping and uneven mixing.  Stir vigorously until you have a homogenized paste like mixture with very few lumps.  Chop walnuts and add along with chocolate chips.  Make sure these are mixed in well before you add the oats.  If you try to add them after, the mixture will be so thick that it can become very difficult to stir without breaking them to bits in the process.  You should now have a very thick mixture about consistent with quite thick, crunchy peanut butter.  




To help baking and release afterwards, place a sheet of parchment paper over your cookie sheets.  Many bakers will claim that you only should use bakers parchment but unless you will be placing it in for more than 40 minutes at temps exceeding 350f, regular store bought parchment will do fine.  Place your ice cream scoop in a glass of warm water between scoops to help with release and scoop out even scoops onto the parchment lined sheets.

 ~~~FOOD SCIENCE CONTENT~~~

When we approach the subject of leavening, the number one golden rule is this:  Leavening, in almost all cases, simply expands tiny air bubbles present in the dough/batter and doesn't actually create them.  Without the different varieties of leavening, we would end up with hard, cracker-like breads and dense or soupy muffins...  All basic info but it will lead in I promise.
This recipe involves three kinds of basic leavening:  Mechanical Leavening (via the creaming of the sugar and butter,) Chemical Leavening (vial the Baking powder and soda,) and Heat/Steam leavening (the baking itself.)  The 4th kind of leavening through yeast is not often 
used in sweet good as it can lend unwanted flavors to the mix...

Baking soda reacts with Citric Acid, producing CO2 gas

Mechanical - When we beat the butter and sugar together, the sharp sugar crystals cut into the fat, creating thousands of tiny tears and pockets forming air bubbles. These are the bubbles we need to expand via chemical and steam/heat leavening.
Chemical - The chemical leavening comes in to play as components in the baking powder begin to react in a liquid filled environment. When the liquid allows the particles to move more freely, these particles interact in an acid/base reaction, releasing CO2 gas expanding the tiny bubbles.  In certain cases where the pH of the mixture is too high or too low, different formulations of baking powder can create unpleasant flavor due to left over acid salts and others.  In these cases we use some baking soda as a sort of pH buffer, consuming the acids and rendering more CO2.
Heat/Steam - In the final step, the heat from the oven accelerates the expansion of the bubbles through the creation of steam and the thermal catalysis of the chemical leavening reactions.

Once again, given the chance, food can surprise with its relative complexity!  Delicious, fluffy breads and pastries all thanks to thermally catalyzed acid/base reactions and and mechanical micro bubble formation in fatty compounds!  *whew*  as always...  it is SCIENCE!  Delicious!

~~~FOOD SCIENCE CONTENT~~~


Bake 12-16 minutes until they rise a bit and the edges begin to brown slightly.  Don't over bake in the oven as these cookies' thickness allows them to bake further as they cool.  Serve warm or cover with a towel at room temp for up to 3 days depending on humidity ant temp.

I hope these special cookies can bring you and yours some joy both in the making and the eating!  But don't forget: make every recipe your own in as many ways as you can!  Go experiment!


Enjoy! 



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I tried this and it was a big hit with my kids! Thanks you and Cheers! :)

E said...

I am so glad you are sharing your dad's cookie recipe. Just seeing those delicious little cakes brings back so many memories. I especially love when they are still warm and the chocolate chips are melty.
I must try to make them GF (and maybe even with agave too). Thanks for the suggestions.
Yum!

Mary said...

Sounds absolutely delicious!

xxMK
Delightful Bitefuls