Dec 052007
 
Authors: Liz Sunshine

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what my final column would be about.

I’m graduating in a week – after, ahem, about 2,860 weeks in college – and this is my farewell/goodnight to Cooking With No Dough.

I considered penning an adieu that would make homage to my Jewish faith, yet again.

Considering today is the second day of Hanukkah – and you know how much I talk about my loveable, crazy family – it seemed a given.

Instead, a space crunch last week forced me to run this piece on homemade cookies. The more I thought about it, though, the more a column about one of the great holiday baking traditions made sense. That, and what better way to end this so-named column than to cook with dough?

Before I reveal more borrowed secrets from one of my favorite cooks, let me say that keeping this diary each week has given me a chance to do many things: learn journalistic column writing, try new foods (remember the buffalo carpaccio at Jay’s Bistro?) and document a bit of family tradition.

I hope for the readers it’s been a pleasant distraction at the minimum, and in some weeks, a successful adventure in the kitchen.

One reader e-mailed me a few weeks ago and said my apple crisp recipe was a hit. That made my day.

So farewell faithful foodies and remember, everything in moderation this holiday season – except for cookies, of course.

Eight dozen

and change

Food Network star Alton Brown knows his stuff. On the rare occasion I have access to the station (I got rid of cable in my house this semester), I tune in to Good Eats.

When the idea of baking cookies hit my radar, I immediately checked the network’s Web page for Mr. Brown’s cookie recipes.

Let’s face it, the guy bakes with precision and a science mind.

When I couldn’t decide on just one or two recipes, I went mad and selected three that he made in a single episode. I wound up making more than eight dozen cookies and writing multiple essays while hanging in the kitchen.

Before you think I have completely lost my mind, each recipe produces about two-and-a-half-dozen cookies. In the end, some recipes produced more than promised, resulting in a pile of cookies that fed the newsroom for more than the usual five minutes.

The episode called “Three Chips for Sister Marsha” is the one in which he makes the three different kinds of chocolate chip cookies. There is “The Thin,” which is a thin (shocking, I know), crispy cookie. The show also includes “The Puffy,” a cakey creation, and “The Chewy,” which is just as aptly named as “The Thin.” All recipes are courtesy of foodnetwork.com, old Alton and tested, yet again, in my kitchen.

Entertainment Editor Liz Sunshine can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

“The Thin” by Alton Brown:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

2 ounces milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl.

Combine the egg, milk and vanilla and bring to room temperature in another bowl.

Cream the butter in the mixer’s work bowl, starting on low speed to soften the butter.

Add the sugars. Increase the speed and cream the mixture until light and fluffy.

Reduce the speed and add the egg mixture slowly.

Increase the speed and mix until well combined.

Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, six cookies per sheet.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, checking the cookies after five minutes.

Rotate the baking sheet for more even browning.

Remove the cookies from the pans immediately.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

“The Puffy” by Alton Brown:

1 cup butter-flavored shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the shortening, sugar and brown sugar in the mixer’s work bowl and cream until light and fluffy.

In the meantime, sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.

Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture.

Then add vanilla. Increase the speed until thoroughly incorporated.

With the mixer set to low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the shortening and combine well.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough.

Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, six per sheet.

Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, checking the cookies after five minutes.

Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

Cool and store in an airtight-container.

“The Chewy” by Alton Brown:

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl.

Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed.

Add the egg, yolk, two tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, six cookies per sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after five minutes.

Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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