Of the fifty or so recipes on this blog there is not a single cookie recipe. It’s about time that changed.
I’ve never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like. I’m generally preferential to the gooey, soft varieties. The”Chips Ahoy!”-esqe varieties that are super crunchy: I’m less a fan of those, but I wouldn’t turn it down. When I make chocolate chip cookies myself, I have very specific requirements. I (of course) want the best of both worlds. They must be crisp on the outside, but have a dense, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth interior. They need to have the highest possible ratio of butter and chocolate to flour and sugar. They must not be too flat and also must not be too large. These cookies win. Win. Win. Win.
I need to warn you about how tricky these cookies are. They are masquerading as a regular chocolate chip cookie but you bite in and your mouth will be like WHOA. You won’t be able to figure out what just happened because the chocolate is there but sitting right behind it, waving its hands so you can’t ignore it, is a bright citrus note. Yep that’s right. I went and messed with a perfectly good cookie recipe. If you are a purist then this chocolate chip cookie recipe is not for you. But here, in the darkness of the midwest winter, I need that bright citrus. I really need it (and the chocolate too).
We start the cookies by browning butter. Nutty browned butter is our friend but it’s very easy to burn. Keep a close eye on it and don’t get distracted.
We get all that citrus flavor from the zest of two blood oranges. I love blood oranges this time of year because they are so bright and colorful that they help me throw off the winter gloom. We use the zest but not the juice. We can’t have that juice diluting our cookie. However, you are strongly encouraged to follow the example of two very wise people and turn that juice into a Campari-Tequila-Blood Orange cocktail.
The zest gets rubbed into a mixture of white and brown sugar. That gets creamed together with nutty browned butter and sugar. Then we mix in the dry ingredients and finally the chocolate. I use a whole chocolate bar because the quality of chocolate is better and then we get all sorts of sizes. Big chunks and small slivers. Makes the cookies extra chocolate-y and melty.
We absolutely must eat two cookies warm from the oven. It’s a rule.
California, Illinois thanks you for sending us tangerines and blood oranges and mandarins. It’s tough here in January and you make it just a little more tolerable.
Blood Orange and Chocolate Chunk Cookies
modified from My Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) (127 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (81 grams) tightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from appproximately 2 blood oranges)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped (170 grams/6 ounces) bittersweet or dark chocolate (up to 65% cacao)
course sea salt for sprinkling
Special Equipment Needed:Stand Mixer
At least 20 minutes prior to baking the cookies preheat oven to 375 deg F. I recommend allowing the dough to rest at least one hour after it is made so this may be done while the dough is resting in the fridge.
In a small saucepan over low heat melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter, uncovered, monitoring closely until the milk solids turn a dark brown color. You may have to use a spoon to push some of the foam aside and check progress. Immediately remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl (the bowl of your stand mixer). You can strain the milk solids out (this will make the cookies lactose free) but I prefer to throw them in the batter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate small bowl mix together the brown and white sugar. Add the zest and using your fingers incorporate the zest into the sugar.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, and with the your stand mixer on it’s lowest setting mix to moisten the flour. Increase the speed to low and beat for 30 seconds. Add the chocolate and mix until just incorporated.
Divide the dough in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and refrigerate. The cookies will be best if the dough is allowed to rest for at least an hour and up to twenty four hours. Remove the dough 10 minutes before rolling to ensure it is malleable.
Roll each half of the dough into 10-12 balls (each one a heaping tablespoon). Using two fingers press down on the top of each ball until it is only 1 inch high. Sprinkle course sea salt on top if using.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to turn a light brown color. I prefer mine towards the 10 minutes side. The longer they are in the oven, the crisper they will become. Let firm up for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack with a spatula.