Tag Archives: Guittard chocolate chips

TCP Cooks: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Read it & weep, ladies. My man bakes chocolate chip cookies.

That’s right, ladies. The Complete Package bakes cookies.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies with pecans.
They’re big, they’re warm and they’re wonderful.
(That’s what she said!) Here’s how he does it.

The players, although some of those chocolate chips didn't make it

Complete Package Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 bag (12 ounces) Guittard Extra Dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

This makes me question why I separate things into cute little bowls.

To begin, set your butter out on the counter to soften. Once you can squeeze it and it gives a little, it’s ready to go. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and sugars. Whisk to combine. Add the softened butter, eggs and vanilla and mix just until combined. (Note: TCP likes to mix the cookie dough with his hands so that he doesn’t over mix the cookie batter.) Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans just until they are evenly distributed.

Do what you want, but I'm not giving up my KitchenAid.

Using an ice cream scoop, TCP creates large balls of cookie dough that are slightly smaller than a baseball. He puts the dough balls into a mixing bowl and places the bowl in the freezer for 20 minutes. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, it may take a little longer for your cookie dough to firm up.

While the dough is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 375F. Once the dough balls feel firm to the touch but not frozen solid, they’re ready. For baking, The Complete Package insists that a thick heavy-duty baking sheet is the key to great cookies. It prevents the cookies from burning on the bottom.

One they’re ready to bake, TCP takes the dough balls out of the freezer one at a time, twists them in half, and places the “torn” side up in order to get better lift.

Grab one big dough ball at a time & twist it in half.

Place them torn side up for better lift while baking.

He bakes them six cookies at a time to give them some room to spread out. You’ll want to keep the dough balls in the refrigerator while each pan is baking so they don’t get soft. Here is TCP’s theory – soft cookie dough spreads out when baked and makes for thin cookies. Cold cookie dough that’s piled high will form taller, fluffier cookies. He must know what he’s talking about, because his cookies turn out consistently fabulous every single time.

Bake each tray for 15 minutes on the middle rack of your oven until they start to turn a light golden brown around the edges. Keep in mind that everyone’s oven is different. You may want to start watching yours at 12 minutes in case your oven runs hotter, or bake them longer if you have the opposite problem. Once they’re done, remove them from the oven, allow them to cool for a few minutes on the pan, then move them to cooling racks.

Your house is going to smell SO good when these are baking!

Once they’re cooled, grab a gallon of cold milk and get ready for a stampede. This recipe makes approximately 2 dozen cookies, and they won’t last long.

One last tip: if you can find them, try the Guittard Extra-Dark chocolate chips. They are our favorites, and they are worth seeking out. They will rock your world. Guaranteed. Or my name isn’t NanaBread. Well, actually my name is Jeanne, but let’s not get tangled up in technicalities here. Just try them!

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December 2010 – Let’s just call it the month of chocolate-dipped everything

Dig in or run away? It's the classic holiday diet dilemma.

This year, I’ve made more holiday goodies than ever. Maybe it’s because I’m filled with holiday cheer, or maybe it’s because I’ve fallen in love with barks. I mean, take just about anything you like and smother it in chocolate. How awesome is that? Easy + quick + chocolate = PERFECT in my book. But it’s not ALL about barks. I also made sausage balls, orange slice cookies (see the recipe in a previous post), toffee, jam thumbprint cookies & snickerdoodle bars this week, but mostly it’s been about the chocolate. First up, white chocolate gingersnap truffles that I whipped up based on a recipe for Oreo truffles.

Gingersnap Truffles - Oh, baby...these are fabulous!

In a food processor, I ground up a one-pound bag of gingersnaps with one cup of toasted pecans. I ground them into dust, or actually the texture of sand. Then I dumped in a large tub of store-bought cream cheese frosting and stirred until it was all perfectly combined. Using my cookie scoop, I scooped the gingersnap mixture onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, which I promptly put in the freezer for 20 minutes. While the gingersnap balls were freezing (okay, stop giggling), I melted a pound of white chocolate over a double-boiler. Using a skewer, I stabbed each one and drowned it in the melted chocolate, making sure to coat it heavily. It helps to spin it around a little so the excess can drip off. Then I placed each truffle back onto the waxed paper, making sure to fill the skewer hole with a little more chocolate. Once they were all dipped, I went back and sprinkled a little gingersnap dust on the top. Then they all went back into the freezer for another 20 minutes to set before they went into an air-tight container. These turned out great. They have so much flavor, and the subtle spice of the gingersnaps is a perfect complement to the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate. HELPFUL TIP – use a good quality gingersnap for the best flavor.

Next, I made two white chocolate barks. The first was planned. It’s the pistachio and dried cranberry bark from The Brown Eyed Baker. When I saw her photo, I knew I had to make it. When I thought about tart dried cranberries combined with white chocolate, I knew I had to make it. When I saw that it only had 3 ingredients, I knew I had to make it. It couldn’t have been easier. You melt a pound of white chocolate, stir in a cup of shelled pistachios and a cup of dried cranberries (I love Ocean Spray’s Craisin brand) and pour it into a foil-lined pan.

White Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Bark

Pop it in the fridge for half an hour to set up, then cut it into squares and store it in an air-tight container. Done! Of course, Michelle used a 1/2 cup of pistachios and a 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, but I’m all about excess at the holidays. So sue me. The second bark was accidental, but awesome. I had leftover white chocolate from my first bark and the gingersnap truffles, so I dumped 2 cups of trail mix that had mixed nuts, raisins and M&M candies into a bowl with some leftover roasted cashews I found in my pantry and poured the extra white chocolate over the top. Once it was mixed well, I poured it into a 9″ x 9″ baking pan lined with foil, and pressed some dark chocolate M&M’s onto the top. Again, you just pop it into the fridge to set up, then cut it into squares and store it in an air-tight container. I like this one for several reasons – the raisins make it a little chewy, the nuts make it a little salty, and the dark chocolate M&M’s add a nice contrast to the sweetness of the white chocolate. Both barks were easy to make.

Trail Mix Bark - chewy, salty, nutty & crunchy

The last bark I made was a fabulous contradiction. For taste, it was a solid 10+ but for appearance, it’s a pathetic 2 at best. It’s my version of dark chocolate peppermint bark. I used two different bags of my favorite chocolate chips – Guittard. The first bag was my beloved Extra Dark Chocolate (so good I eat them straight out of the bag) and the second was a new one I hadn’t tried yet – Akoma Extra Semi-Sweet baking chips. I’m telling you, there is something magical about Guittard chocolate chips. They are just on a different level than other brands. I think they’re made by angels or something. But back to the peppermint bark. I melted these two bags of chocolate together over a double boiler, then spread the melted chocolate onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Then I opened a bag of Andes red & white Peppermint Crunch baking chips and sprinkled them all over the top. My thought process was this – I don’t like hard peppermint candy bits getting stuck in my teeth, so why not use the softer Andes baking chips with the texture of a chocolate chip? I mean, it should be smooth, pepperminty and wonderful, right? Truth is, it WAS smooth, pepperminty and wonderful. The combination of the powerful dark chocolate with the super minty Andes chips is spot on. World class. Life changing. The problem? It’s just not pretty. In fact, it’s so ugly, I call it Bacon Bark. Ugh! See for yourself:

Bacon Bark - Okay, it's not bacon, but it sure looks like it!

I swear it looks like someone put raw bacon on top of melted chocolate. This is definitely one of those times when you have to suck it up or just close your eyes so you can enjoy it, because honestly it tastes amazing. It’s my new favorite chocolate candy concoction. If these make it to December 25th, it will be a Christmas miracle. It’s that good, and that addictive. Pray for me, please. Pray that I don’t kill The Complete Package for eating it all before I get a chance.

Last up was the Rolo Pretzel Bites from the Glorious Treats blog. This was another one that spoke to me when I saw it. Actually, I thought my son-in-law Bama Boy would love these. He’s a fan of turtles and toffee, so these should be right up his alley. They’re also easy to make, and only have 3 ingredients. It’s turning out to be my holiday theme – quick & easy with only 3 ingredients. I can’t thank my fellow bloggers enough for sharing their favorites. I’m really enjoying the fact that someone else is doing all the thinking for me. Thanks!

The 3 stages of Rolo Pretzel Bites construction

For this one, you’ll need a bag of the square-shaped pretzels, two bags of Rolo caramel-filled chocolate candies, and toasted pecan halves. What!?!…again with the 3 ingredients! I know, it’s awesome! First, pre-heat your oven to 250F. Then line a baking sheet with waxed paper. This is important…if you don’t use the waxed paper or foil, these will stick to the pan. Next, spread out the pretzel squares, then spend 30 minutes unwrapping the individually wrapped Rolos (it would help if you had little munchkins in your house to help with this step). Place a Rolo candy on top of each pretzel and top with a pecan half. Carefully slide the baking sheet into the oven, turn off the heat, and let them sit in there for about 4-5 minutes. The Rolos should soften, but not melt. To test one, press on the pecan half. If you’re able to press it down into the candy, they’re ready. Remove the pan from the oven, and working quickly, press each pecan half down into the candy, which will in turn press the candy down into the pretzel. (For a peek at the finished product, click on the link to the Glorious Treats website at the top of the paragraph.) Once they’re all pressed into place, slide the baking sheet into the freezer for 20 minutes to allow them to set up. Once firm, remove from the freezer and store in an air-tight container. If you love salty pretzels, milk chocolate, caramel and pecans, you’re going to love these. Think turtle candies with a pretzel base. Thank you, Glory @ Glorious Treats.

Okay, I’m done for now. My teeth are starting to hurt just talking about all this candy. Did I tell you my dentist bought a yacht for Christmas? Just kidding. Although, if I eat all of this I could probably make it happen. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Forget it, Burt. I’m generous, but not that generous. Happy holidays everyone, and happy baking/making/sharing. I’m off to make a salad.

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