Monday, May 17, 2010

Rebecca's Tuxedo Cookies

One of the many things Rebecca, my wonderful girlfriend, is good at is baking. Particularly cookies; I discovered this one evening upon arriving home from a bad day in work to a plate of wholesome, chocolate chip delights were waiting for me. Yes, they were made from a dough that both of us had mixed up a couple of nights beforehand, but her way of forming them produced a much more satisfying, thick cookie.

Back then, white chocolate and raspberries had been the key ingredients but I wasn’t entirely happy enough with the end result to post it up on the blog. No offence to the excellent cookies Rebecca made, I’m just a perfectionist. If the first batch of any recipe I take on doesn’t go well then I pretty much forget writing anything until the next bout. Roll on a couple of months and we tried again, only this time with more successful and ‘interesting’ results. The difference? I’d been told by Marion a while previous about a style of cheesecake called the Tuxedo; dark and white chocolate flavour as the name implies. I thought to myself: ‘surely this approach can be applied to cookies, right?’ In hope of not infringing any copyright I might not be aware of, I’m pleased to tell you that in can! So, perfected with a big help from her lovely self, I present to you Rebecca’s (and slightly my own) Tuxedo cookies.

The dough recipe is adapted from one I found at the start of the year on Refined Palate. You can follow the original here.

Makes 24-30 cookies

410g self-raising flour
125g cream flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
2 tbs cocoa powder
250g sugar
250g brown sugar
440g soft butter
2 eggs
1 tbs vanilla essence
2 large bars of white chocolate
2 large bars of plain, dark chocolate

In a medium sized bowl, mix the self-raising flour, cream flour, baking power and sodium bicarbonate. Set aside. In a separate, larger bowl, add the sugar, brown sugar and butter. Stir and scrape the sides of the bowl until you achieve a smooth mixture with no lumps of butter left wanting. Now add the eggs and vanilla essence, stirring until they are well combined and the mixture is again smooth. Begin to add the flour, but not all at once; this will make things very difficult and messy. Instead, add a small amount at a time whilst stirring constantly.

Once you have fully combined the flour and achieved acceptable levels of doughvinity, separate half of the mixture into the bowl that previously held the flour. Add the cocoa powder to one of the mixture halves and stir until properly combined. Grease a sheet of greaseproof paper and line a baking tray with it, then preheat the oven to 190º c. Take the white and dark chocolate bars and break them into small chunks, just large enough to make sizeable chocolate chips in the finished cookies (think everyone’s favourite, M&S sized!). Set aside.

Now comes the fun part: take a piece of dough roughly the same size as the ball of your thumb (a little bigger won’t hurt!) from either bowl and stick them together. Remember that wetting your fingers in water before you handle the dough is a time-saver, as otherwise it will stick and become difficult to work with. Gently push the cocoa dough around the other, with the aim being to make a swirling pattern or to at least end up with cookies that are a little more interesting than half brown, half white discs. Pat the combined dough balls into a roughly spherical shape (I find the best way to do this is just to toss them back and forth between your hands, as per Rebecca’s teaching) and place on the baking tray in sets of no more than six at a time. Push each one down ever so slightly so that each one sticks to its spot, but not so much that you flatten them entirely. The higher they sit on the tray, the thicker they will be and thick, wholesome cookies are what we aim for! As for diameter, I find that if the dough on the tray is roughly one and a half to two inches across then you're going to end up with a good three to four inch in diamater cookie. The good thing here is that you've plenty of dough to experiment with, so find the size that's correct for you and nobody else. Just remember, the secret is to not flatten them.

You may notice that I never mentioned to add the chocolate chunks as per usual when mixing the dough. Personally, I find it much handier to add them as the final step before baking since this will allow you to decide exactly how they’re dispersed. Mixing them in can be a little hit and miss by comparison, unless you use excessive amounts of chocolate to compensate. So, simply take as many chunks as you like and gently press them into each individual cookie. My personal twist on this recipe is to keep the dark chocolate in the cocoa half of the cookie and mirror this with the white chocolate, but Rebecca does the opposite by placing the dark chocolate in the white dough. It really depends on preference, but I find that separating either set of chunks into their matching dough gives a more defined difference between either half. It’s all horses and courses at the end of the day, so do exactly as you wish!

Place the now chunked up cookies into the oven and bake for between eight to ten minutes. Remove once the white dough halves begin to brown slightly and place on a wire rack to cool for at least twenty minutes. Rinse and repeat until you have an entire batch. Use it to wow your friends, make new ones or just enjoy on your own with a big glass of milk!


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