Monday, January 18, 2010

Silpat: Where Cookies Come From


File under "kids say the darndest things." When Thor was three, he told me that Silpat, the brand of silicone pan liners that I use, are where cookies come from.

Late last week, I read that cookie dough may be in short supply after Nestle found E coli in two samples during a routine testing. Nestle announced that it would start using heat treated flour in all of its refrigerated doughs "to enhance the safety of that product."

Nestle's move is admirable, I guess, but I submit that a better way to prevent illness from eating chocolate chip cookies is to make them yourself. And so this disturbing and screwed up news (how have we gotten to a point in our food system that a beloved childhood treat could become a source of dangerous pathogens?), inspired me to break out my chocolate chip recipe and make a plateful of cookies.

Now, just like most other cookies, this recipe with its high fat and sugar content cannot be considered a healthy snack, instead a treat. Nowadays, even Cookie Monster admits that cookies are a sometime food. However, you can feel a little better about these cookies with the addition of whole wheat flour. Add in sustainably produced eggs and butter, and you can feel downright virtuous.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar or coconut palm sugar (I use palm sugar from Zingerman's)
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon honey
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Stir in honey. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl before the addition of each. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour, mix on low until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Increase the speed to medium until well-mixed approximately 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips and stir the batter with a rubber spatula. Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets and bake for 15-18 minutes, reversing the placement of the pans about a halfway through.

Postscript: I just asked the little locavore whether he remembered his silpat quip. His response? "Well, don't they? Isn't that what makes them taste so awesome?"

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