Friday, November 16, 2012

eggless chewy chocolate cookies

I have a confession to make to all of you: I am terrible at baking cookies. I consider myself a very good cook and a good baker. For some reason, when it comes to making cookies, something goes wrong. My cookie disasters have ranges from rock-hard-can't-scrape-them-off-the-pan to so-soft-they-can't-be-picked-up-without-falling-apart. Failure comes in many varieties.


This recipe redeemed me. These cookies turned out amazing--rich and chewy with the tiniest hint of crunch at the edges. Like a brownie in cookie form. Without eggs! And I even went out on a limb and modified the original recipe! I must say I am pr-e-tty chuffed.

Eggless Chewy Chocolate Cookies (recipe modified from here)
makes about 26-28 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda  (if using dutch process cocoa, DO NOT add the baking soda!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/3 cup skim milk

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa (and baking soda if using natural cocoa) with a whisk. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the white & brown sugar to the butter and beat until creamy. Mix in the maple syrup. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add milk and beat until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes (or, in my case, for the length of one episode of Parks & Rec).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spritz with a little cooking spray. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto the pan. Bake for 16 minutes, then remove pan from oven and allow cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, you can transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

With chocolate cookies, it is difficult to see when the are "browning" and done. I removed mine at 16 minutes and, like I said, the cookies turned out fudgy and chewy. If you are looking for a crisper cookie, I'd suggest keeping them in the oven for 17 minutes and then watching them like a hawk until they are close to your desired crispness (the cookies will continue to cook slightly as they cool on the pan). Don't burn these because you will regret it.

While making these, I learned some interesting things about cocoa powders. The original recipe called for dutch process cocoa, but I only had natural cocoa powder (Hershey's) on hand. After some googling, I found out that you can not directly substitute one for the other. Dutch process cocoa involves washing the beans in a solution which reduces acidity. Therefore, when substituting, you must convert like so:

Dutch Process to Natural Cocoa Conversion
3 Tbsp dutch process cocoa= 3 Tbsp natural cocoa + 1/8 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp natural cocoa= 3 Tbsp dutch process cocoa - 1/8 tsp baking soda

Recipes with natural cocoa should include baking soda to neutralize its acidity.

Happy (chocolate) baking!

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