Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Tutor with Une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Ginger and Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Ginger and Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Each Tuesday I ask a friend to be my tutor for a day. I select one of their original recipes, I follow my friend's recipe instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I sample the results - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



I'm not sure how I first discovered Valerie's beautiful blog, but I clearly remember the very first recipe that captured my heart. And it was the very first of Valerie's recipes to also be featured in the Food Fetish Friday series: Cookie Dough Bars. If you haven't seen these bars, you need to check them out - aren't they amazing? And is it any surprise I fell in love with Valerie's creations? Now I'm an addict - both of her recipes and of her unique photography style.

Valerie has a way of taking complex flavors and techniques and transforming them into comforting relaxation. I feel warmth and coziness emanating from every recipe she posts - and her photos transport me to a remote cottage filled with all kinds of delicious aromas wafting from blissful baked treats. I don't think there's anything Valerie has shared that I haven't wanted to try!

So please give Valerie a big welcome - Welcome, Valerie! And I'm so grateful and honored to have you has my tutor!



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Valerie is the author and photographer of une gamine dans la cuisine. When she's not wandering aimlessly around her kitchen looking for misplaced measuring cups or tripping over one of her cats, she can be found curled up her dad's old leather arm chair, engrossed in a book. She loves Shakespeare, poetry and lemon zinger tea - has an irrational fear of clowns, elevators and flip-flops.



Featured Recipe: Ginger and Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies


More About Today's Tutor
  1. During the first years of blogging I was afraid to express myself through photos - I followed the wind and tried to keep in step with the bright, cheerful food photography from other blogs. I'm finally starting to find my niche - I'm kind of dark and a little bit moody. (Well, maybe not dark, dark...but I do prefer a lush rainfall to clear blue skies.) My breakthrough moment came when I finally embraced the cold ambient light from a lone northern window in my cosy, dimly-lit kitchen - it's provided some of the best photos to date.
     
  2. When snapping photos I need music. Always. My food photography playlist includes Nouvelle Vague, Cat Power, Mazzy Star, and Leonard Cohen - Leonard's voice morphs a seemingly boring brownie slice into something existential and silently talkative. ; )
     
  3. If I had to choose between baking with chocolate or citrus for the rest of my life, I would go with citrus. Happily.
     
  4. I've had a crush on Jamie Bamber since 2003.
     
  5. My favourite time to bake is late at night or early in the morning - whenever sleep eludes me. Conjuring up a fluffy cake at 5 am, while the surrounding world is silent and peaceful, feels almost ethereal.



How to Make: Ginger and Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
For a printable recipe and complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

Butter Added to Pan for Melting
Add 10 Tablespoons of softened unsalted butter to a saute pan. I used a white pan so I could clearly watch the color of the butter change as it melts and browns.

Vanilla Added to Browned Butter
Melt the butter over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally. Continue cooking until the butter solids begin to turn brown. The butter will first foam and then the fat solids will begin to darken. Remove the pan from the heat (the butter will continue to brown due to the hot pan, so watch it closely). Add 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract to the hot browned butter and gently stir to combine. Set the butter aside to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Peeled Ginger Root
Peel approximately 2 inches of fresh ginger root with a spoon.

Freshly Grated Ginger
Finely grate 2 teaspoons of the fresh ginger.

Grated Ginger Added to Granulated Sugar
Add the ginger to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

Grated Ginger Worked into Sugar
Rub the ginger into the sugar with your fingers until evenly distributed.

Flour and Leveners in Flour Sifter
Sift together 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder.

Brown Sugar and Salt Added to Flour
To the sifted flour, whisk in 1/2 cup + 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Flour Mixture Whisked into Ginger Sugar
Whisk the flour/brown sugar mixture into the ginger/granulated sugar. You may need to use your fingers to help fully combine these ingredients.

3.5 oz Dark Chocolate Bar
You will need 5 ounces of dark chocolate. I used 1 bar + 4 squares of Ghirardelli 72% cocoa content chocolate.

Unsweetened Chocolate
You will need 2 ounces of unsweetened dark chocolate (which was 1/2 of a standard Baker's chocolate bar).

Chopped Dark Chocolate
Chop the dark chocolate. I left mine fairly chunky, but you can really chop it to any desired size.

Browned Butter Added to Dry Ingredients
Add the cooled browned butter and 1 Tablespoon of softened unsalted butter to the dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.

Egg Added to Cookie Dough
On low speed, mix the brown butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add 1 large egg to the batter and beat on low speed until the dough begins to roughly clump together.

Chopped Chocolate Added to Cookie Dough
Add the chopped chocolate and briefly mix on low speed until combined.

Scooping Cookie Dough onto Lined Baking Sheet
Using a large ice cream scoop, portion out the cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet. Valerie recommends about 1/3 cup of cookie dough per cookie (which make enormous cookies).

Cookies Flattened
Gently flatten the cookies.

Cookies Ready for Chilling
Cover the cookies with plastic wrap and chill for 12 hours (for best flavor).

Fleur de Sel Salt for Finishing Crackers
Right before baking, sprinkle the cookies with fleur de sel finishing salt.

Chilled Cookies Sprinkled with Salt Before Baking
Make sure each cookie gets some salt, but don't go crazy with the salt. Transfer half of the cookies onto a separate lined baking sheet - evenly space out the cookies allowing at least 1 inch between each cookie. These cookies will spread a lot during baking and you really don't want more than 5 cookies per half sheet pan.

Baked Cookies, Closeup
Bake the cookies at 400F for 8 to 11 minutes until cookies are set and the edges have just started to brown (my oven took 11 minutes to reach the perfect done-ness). Allow the cookies to cool for 8 minutes on the baking sheet.

Ginger and Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Ginger and Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies Closeup
I think these cookies taste best when cool but not cold. When they're still slighly warm and the chocolate is super melty. And I dare you to just eat one. It's impossible!


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • Perfect cookies. How often can you say that? But these are perfect. Enormous, soft, a little gooey, richly chocolatey, a wonderful zing from the fresh ginger, sweet (without being too sweet) and perfectly salted. Perfect. Cookies. Better than any cookie I've baked (including my own).
     
  • Valerie recommends baking these cookies for approximately 9 minutes. Mine took 11 minutes. But yours could take more or less depending on your oven and how flat you make the cookies. So check the cookies at 8 minutes and keep baking if they're not ready. Just don't over-bake or you'll wind up with tasty but slightly burned edges.
     
  • Grate your own fresh ginger. Yes, you could use ground ginger, but it won't have the same bright freshness or the same zing. And fresh ginger is so easy to find and grate, so why not? It makes such a difference in the flavor of these cookies.
     
  • I really want to attempt these cookies again - but next time skip the 12 hour chill time. I'm sure it makes a difference to the final flavor, but part of me is just too impatient to wait 12 hours. So, if you decide to bake these cookies AND you decide to skip the chill time, do me a favor and let me know how they turn out...

14 comments:

  1. I love this recipe! It really sounds like it'd be relaxing to make, the perfect kind for baking at weird times of day/night when everything is quiet. I don't do that often, but it really is great when I do.

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  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed, Jess - the cookies are wonderful and I highly recommend them, day or night ;) I don't do a whole lot of weird-time baking myself, but I would happily make this in the wee hours of the morning :)

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  3. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)August 13, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    *swoon* I'm head over heels for those gooorgeous cookies!!!

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  4. Aww, I'm so glad, Kayle. But all the credit goes to Valerie for this amazing recipe. I'm inlove with this recipe :)

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  5. Mark, your scrumptious cookies (and photos) are forcing me to take a drive down to the market and pick up some ginger - it's time for a revisit! (Is there anything in the world as intoxicating as brown butter?) I am elated that you enjoyed the recipe. : )

    Thank you so much for letting me take part in your Tuesday Tutor series! xo

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  6. Oh yes, I want the cookies now!!
    Great Tuesday tutor choice, Valerie has a unique touch to her work and her recipes are complicated but authentic as well. I was just thinking today that i should make a lemon tart with pate sablé. It's a sign!

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  7. Oh, I'm so glad, Valerie! These cookies definitely deserve a revisit :) The next time I have family or guests to visit, I'm baking a batch of these to share (and I'll refer them to you for the recipe). I'm so glad I had the chance to sample and thank YOU for being my tutor...

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  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed, Helene! Valerie was a wonderful tutor and I was honored to have to has a guest. And I can vouch for these cookies - amazing (and I'm sure just about everything else on her blog is just as tasty)!

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  9. If I had to choose between chocolate and lemon for the rest of my life, I'd take lemon too - with no regrets. But I'm glad I can have both! I mean, who can resist these cookies? Hmm, maybe I need to rethink that lemon-only thing. ;-) Super tutor - love Valerie's pictures. And this is a great recipe.

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  10. Nice to meet Valerie! I love the comment that she made about having to have music when she does photography. I need to try that. I have some Leonard Cohen so that sounds like a great start. As beautiful as her photography is, something is working for her. These cookies look absolutely delicious but very dangerous. Quite irresistible, I'm sure!

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  11. I'm just glad I don't have to choose between lemon and chocolate! I love both and I don't know that I could pick just one. Although maybe lemon because I see more savory applications possible with lemon... I'm so glad you enjoyed the tutorial and Valerie's cookies are amazing!

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  12. I often like to have some kind of entertainment when I'm cooking. Sometimes it's music, sometimes television. But maybe music would help my photos ;) Because if it's working for Valerie... I'm so glad you enjoyed, MJ, and the cookies really are dangerous!

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  13. Oh I'll definitely be trying them out! I also wanted to let you know that, because I loved the idea of the recipe so much, I've shared this post with my readers on this week's Weekend Wrap-Up. I've included the link below in case you're interested. Have a great weekend!

    http://floptimism.blogspot.com/2013/08/weekend-wrap-up-going-off-deep-end.html

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  14. Thank you so much for the feature, Jess! And I'm so glad you enjoyed these enough to share with your readers - that's the awesome part of blogging!

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