Most of us have a favourite chocolate chip cookie. Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, flat, doughy, bigger than the palm of your hand, something medium and dense, with or without nuts, white, dark, milk chocolate...at the end of the day, it boils down to personal preference.
Whilst I like the soft, chewy kind of cookies, I wanted to try something different, as I was craving for the taste of smoked caramel with dark chocolate and nuts... specific much? :-D Brown sugar was a good bet to work on the taste I was conjuring in my flavour memory. If I mixed this with coco sap sugar and butter, it would produce a smoked nutty note, not to mention, give the cookies a nice browned buttery hue.
I tried adding in rolled oats based on the famed Doubletree chocolate chip cookie recipe's secret ingredient, but to be honest, am not much of an oats fan. The initial batch of dough produced cookies that had cute speckles of cut oats, but other that that, they were a bland accompaniment to the richness of the dark chocolate chips, the earthy crunch of walnuts and the roasted taste of burnt sugar. Oats belong to oatmeal raisin cookies, full stop.
Because of the roasted texture and flavour of the ingredients, it's good to keep the dough refrigerated for more than 30 minutes, to let all the flavours meet and get comfortable with one another. The longer you put the dough in the chiller, the more complex the flavours will turn out. I kept mine in a sealed mixing bowl for a little more than an hour, and detected a toffee note later on, which was incredible.
You can use your hands when rolling the sticky dough into little balls. And try not to lick the spatula while you're at it...although if you do, you'll enjoy the taste of brown butter and caramel crunch before you start baking.
The heat in the oven can be adjusted between 10 to 12 minutes. 10 minutes make for softer cookies, 12 will give you a nice roast and cracks and crevices that give the cookies more depth in texture. These toffee chocolate cookies are great to pair with a brewed dark to medium roast, or lemongrass tea (unusual pairing, but elegant and pleasant!), or even some nice Port wine.
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yields: 18 medium cookies or 27 small cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coco sap sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or all-spice
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup rolled oats (optional)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, salt and butter until smooth paste forms.
Let butter melt naturally and mix with the sugar and salt
The first step results to brown butter. Tip: If you decide not to use up all the dough for cookies, you can set this aside and mix with a stick of salted butter, to produce a brown butter spread for bread. Yummy!
2. Whisk egg and vanilla into mixture, beating until light ribbons fall off the whisk and remain on the surface briefly before falling back into mixture.
3. Add pre-sifted flour and baking soda, folding into mixture using a spatula.
4. Fold in chocolate chips, chopped walnuts and rolled oats. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or more. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
If you skip the oats and/or nuts, just continue with Step 4. Fold, and do not beat.
Dough right before refrigeration (with oats)
Dough after refrigeration for an hour (without oats)
5. Line sheet pan with baking paper. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball using your hands. You can do coin-shaped dough or the size of an ice cream scoop; it's entirely up to you. :) Leave at least 3 inches space between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. You can bake the cookies by batches.
It's ok if the ball of dough looks a bit lumpy. You can add more dough or less, depending on the size you want. A 1 to 1.5 inches diameter would be a good start.
When lining the cookies on the baking sheet, leave about 2 to 3 inches space between them. Also, this arrangement looks very Dali-esque. ;-) If you've been to the Dali Museum in Girona, Spain, you'll know what I mean.
6. After baking, remove from oven and cool cookies on wire rack or solid surface.
First batch: with oats, and using a rounder dome shape versus the second batch (top photo), with no oats, and a flatter shape with more cracks
First batch of baked cookies yielded 18 medium-sized cookies, that measured about 3.5 in.
Both produced dense, textured bites that had a burnt sugar and toffee taste, that had hidden crevices of walnuts and dark chocolate chips. :)