- Test Kitchen Talks
- Season 1
- Episode 33
6 Pro Chefs Make Their Favorite Cookies
Get Chris's recipe for Zebra-Striped Shortbread Cookies: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/zebra-striped-shortbread-cookies
Released on 12/17/2022
Today we're in the test kitchen
making our favorite cookies. [jazz music]
[Chris] A great cookie is a beautiful thing.
[Shilpa] So you can have one or you can have 10,
and it's all good.
[Rachel] You could take it like the chocolatey way,
you can take it the tangy way.
[Shilpa] Crunchy, crumbly, tender, crispy, chewy,
the whole spectrum of emotions can be expressed.
During the Basically Guide to Better Baking,
this was an amazing package that Sarah Jampel created.
The very first recipe in that series
was her salted buckwheat chocolate chip cookie.
It was my go-to cookie that I would make almost weekly.
I love that sort of like crispy, caramelly base
with whatever I had in my pantry,
if it was nuts or seeds or dried fruit or whatever.
So first thing we're gonna do
is mix our dry ingredients together,
which is just AP flour and buckwheat flour,
again, really nutty and dark, and gives these cookies
like sort of a deeper, richer color.
Some baking powder, baking soda and salt.
You wanna make sure that your brown butter has cooled
before you use it, so you're not like scrambling your eggs.
But it has all this really awesome burnished bits
from during the browning period, and this is sort of like
a flavor bomb of like beautiful, toasty vanilla-y notes.
So we have a little bit of of brown sugar,
and a little bit of white sugar.
One full egg,
and we're gonna do this in slow addition,
so one at a time, adding one egg,
and then we're gonna add two yolks,
and a little bit of vanilla extract,
adding extra richness and fat,
without the added protein of the white.
We are going to fold in our dry,
sesame seeds, a mix of black and white, and some flax seeds.
I like them because they provide a little bit of texture,
and mostly like a really fun confetti-like look.
What I'm gonna do
is roll each individual ball in Rice Krispies cereal.
The reason that this happened is because early COVID,
again, I was wanting sweets desperately,
but wanting very easy and simple ways
to get those sweets into my home,
so I was making a lot of cookies
and I was making a lot of rice crispy treats.
And then we're just gonna finish them
with a little bit of flaky salt.
What we're gonna do is bake them,
and then right when they come out of the oven,
we're gonna bang the sheet pan on the counter.
And you can see that they kind of de-puffed
and have this nice little crinkle.
So we are basically like, it was rising,
and then we arrested the rise, make them nice and flat,
and now we're just gonna crisp them all the way through.
So our cookies are done, they look wonderful,
they're nice and toasty,
you can see the parts where the cereal gets
like a little gold and brown and toasty, which is awesome.
It's nice and salty.
Nice and crispy, and a mixture of textures, which I love.
So that cereal stays really crispy and light and puffy,
like what you love about Rice Krispies,
and then the inside is just nutty and rich and delightful.
I love it, to me this is a perfect snack cookie.
Like, this isn't necessarily dessert,
but if you put them on either side of an ice cream sandwich,
I would not be mad at that either.
[jazzy drum music]
I first baked these cookies
when my husband and I were running a micro bakery
out of our apartment during the pandemic.
My berry crisp cookie
is a take on a regular chocolate chip cookie,
it uses one of my favorite ingredients,
which is this raspberry chocolate,
and then I make a very simple oatmeal streusel
to put on top.
The first thing I'm going to do is make my streusel.
I have flour, sugar.
Next is light brown sugar, and salt as well.
A streusel is a crumbly topping,
you've probably seen it on top of like a pie or coffee cake.
Next I'm adding some cold cubed butter,
I'm looking to just make the mixture crumbly
and have the butter incorporated in chunks.
I'm adding oats for texture, and as it toasts in the oven,
it'll take on this slightly malty taste,
which compliments the cookie very well.
This is the finished streusel
that I'm going to press onto the top of my cookie.
So here is my cookie dough,
it's a standard like chocolate chip cookie dough.
I've added lemon zest to the dough as well,
just to, you know, reflect the flavor and the tartness
of the raspberry chocolate,
and really tie in that whole berry crisp nature of it.
My favorite part of this recipe is this chocolate,
I love it, it's from Valrhona,
which is really my favorite chocolate to use.
I've used it
in every professional kitchen that I've ever worked in.
Similar to white chocolate,
but where white chocolate would have milk powder,
this instead has freeze-dried raspberry powder,
which is what gives it that color
and that really intense raspberry flavor.
It's just unlike anything you've ever tasted before.
And then I have toasted pecans, which I've chopped.
The nuts have to be toasted, okay?
Don't come at me with some raw nuts
that are waxy and crumbly,
you gotta toast them first to really unlock their flavor.
And next thing I'm going to do
is just scoop it onto a sheet tray using an ice cream scoop,
then top with streusel
and chill the dough for like two hours,
and even up to overnight.
I'm going to pop these in the oven at 350
for eight to 12 minutes.
Here are my baked cookies, they look great.
You can see that the edges are pale golden brown,
the centers are slightly pale.
You really don't want to over bake your cookie, all right?
It needs to be a bit chewy in the center.
You can always under bake your cookies just a touch,
because when you take them out of the oven
they're going to continue to cook.
Here are my berry crisp cookies.
They're absolutely my favorite cookie to make
anytime of the year.
It's the tartness of the the chocolate that hits you first.
It's sweet, it's tart, it's crunchy, chewy,
it's just a little bit crispy.
There is a reason that it's sold out
every time we put it on the menu.
It was extremely unexpected flavor combination
that people absolutely love.
[jazzy drum music]
When I'm craving a cookie,
I want a little bit of everything,
I want them to be a little crispy, definitely chewy,
a little sweet, a little salty,
kind of touch upon all of those classic temples.
Today I'm making a salted toffee cookie.
The base of this cookie uses BA's best cookie dough recipe,
which we know is well-tested, it's well liked,
and really speaks to how,
when you do have a good foundation,
you can really use that
to kind of go in different directions.
I'm gonna start by making the salted toffee,
and it is one of the easiest things you'll ever make.
It's just a little bit of sugar and then butter and salt.
Don't walk away from the stove, because it will burn.
Toffee is essentially hard candy.
It's essential that you take this
up to a certain temperature.
I'm gonna take it up to around,
between 290 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit,
and it is really important
that you take it up to this specific temperature,
because if you don't,
then the candy will not harden
and it will be kind of like malleable,
and that's not what we're looking for.
Once this is ready, you have to work really fast
to pour it in the sheet pan and spread it
because if you don't,
it's going to start solidifying in the pot itself.
This has been cooling, and look, it's so hard.
[toffee cracks] [gasps]
See, it broke.
So that's what we want, we want the toffee to break
as soon as you hit it with something.
This is so fun if you need to get some aggression out.
[loud crunching] Mm.
Now, for the real fun part,
the goal is to break these toffee pieces
into bite size chunks
so that they can fold nicely into each cookie.
So this is a brown butter cookie dough,
and I have my wet ingredients already mixed,
and this is some butter and sugar
that's been creamed together.
And now I'm gonna slowly add the flour
and the dry ingredients, gently, just stir.
And we don't wanna overwork this cookie dough,
because otherwise the cookie won't be chewy,
like you're gonna overwork the gluten.
A dough like this is generally used
for a chocolate chip cookie,
you know, because there is enough like sugar and flour
to really kind of help hold,
like the chocolate chips together.
I'm adding toffee to this.
You want just enough
so that you get those little puddles of toffee.
I am going to let this dough rest for about 10, 15 minutes.
The flour is going to absorb more of the moisture,
and that way when we like scoop out
little cookie balls, they're gonna hold their shape.
These are going to go in the oven
for about eight to 10 minutes at 375.
Oh my god, these look perfect.
So you can see that the edges are crispy and golden,
and the toffee has kind of melted into the cookie.
These are my salted toffee cookies, crispy on the edges,
gooey in the center, so delicious.
You really get those toasty notes from the brown butter,
and the toffee is like spread evenly through the cookie,
and you can really see that from the back of this cookie,
like, the toffee has kind of melted everywhere,
so with each bite,
you're going to get a little piece of toffee.
Imagine just like sitting on your couch,
watching your favorite show,
and then you have a warm cookie like this,
like, I don't think it gets better than that, so...
[jazzy drum music]
This is a published recipe,
and this was honestly from maybe five or so years ago.
This recipe, I think is like very visually impactful,
but it's also very easy and forgiving to put together.
So we're starting here with a shortbread dough,
one that incorporates
a decent amount of Dutch-processed cocoa powder,
and then one that just is allowed to stay
a little bit plainer with vanilla.
So you're making an alternating stack of the doughs.
Two layers of vanilla, two layers of chocolate.
Unlike cookies that bend, have gooey centers,
shortbread is something that has a snap to it.
So then I wanna roll this dough together,
starting at one edge,
I'm just pulling it into shape into a log.
You can already see how compacting it into a log
kind of almost swirled and waived those two doughs together.
This will keep in the freezer for months like this.
Rest it two hours until it's firm
and it's really nicely sliceable, and you're good to go.
So this is the chilled dough.
What's fun about this is, you know,
you don't have to go all in on one sanding sugar,
in fact, you don't even need to use sanding sugar,
but it's a way to like take
this zebra-striped shortbread cookie
and elevate it still further.
Now, egg wash here is to help the standing sugar adhere.
This is all kind of like extra credit,
but it takes something that's already beautiful
and makes it just slightly over the top.
You know, these are gonna go into the oven at 350.
This is about the right amount to put on a baking sheet,
'cause they will spread a little bit, although not crazily.
So these have been baking for, you know,
close to 14 minutes here.
You're not gonna see a big color change,
what you will feel is a slightly firming around the edge
and a little bit of like golden color underneath.
These are my zebra-striped shortbread cookie.
Oh, that smells good.
That cocoa just coming through, they're like super buttery,
and they just kind of melt in your mouth.
I really love these cookies.
[jazzy drum music]
So my favorite cookie
is Ina Garten's jam thumbprint cookie.
It is one I've been making
for years and years and years, well before I got into food.
So we've made our shortbread dough, it's chilled.
This is about how much you're looking to break off,
this is one ounce exactly.
It's just a little golf ball size, right?
We're just going to roll them in egg,
and try to keep one hand for the egg,
one hand for the coconut,
almost like you're making a breaded cutlet.
This is the shorter dried coconut that's unsweetened.
Actually this is where I detract from Quinn,
and I don't tell her, she uses the longer, you know,
standard soft sweetened coconut, and those are delicious,
but I kind of just, I like this coconut,
and it looks super cute with its short hair, so...
But now we're going to add the little indentation,
what I normally do is kind of pat all of them down
so that instead of a ball shape,
they're more of like a rounded disc cookie shape,
if you will.
Just make enough of an indentation for some jam to go in.
Smooth out or massage
any cracks that you create along the way.
I mean, if you wanna measure it out,
it will be like a quarter or a half teaspoon each,
you don't have to be that precise.
I love the Bonne Maman jam, the raspberry preserves.
You do want the seeds,
so go for preserves rather than like a jelly.
And then apricot also is a classic,
so we'll use that as well.
We're just gonna bake them off in a 350 oven
for about 20, 25 minutes,
you want the coconut to be nice and golden,
they'll tell you when they're ready.
These are out of the oven, they are so gorgeous,
they're like beautiful little jewels.
Here we are, my take on Ina's jam thumbprint cookies,
they are a classic in our household for a reason.
Buttery, tender, perfect amount of sweetness from the jam.
The coconut is really ringing both the nutty aroma,
but also nice fun texture.
This shorter unsweetened coconut toasted up so well.
It's just really rich, buttery, crumbly.
It's a nice old fashioned cookie,
but a classic for a reason.
[jazzy drum music]
Today I'm making a biscotti
which is super nostalgic for me.
I used to eat biscotti when I lived at home with my parents,
pretty much every night with them.
So biscotti dough is usually made
with like flour, eggs, sugar, butter, some extracts.
This one has almonds in it too.
Really simple, it's shortbread adjacent, I would say.
There's a decent amount of butter,
and it sets up to be pretty firm,
so we can shape it into logs.
We're going for like two inches across 12 inches long,
that should be perfect.
And then we're gonna just bake it in the oven
for 30 minutes at like 350.
And when it comes out we'll have
like a loaf of biscotti dough
that we're gonna slice into like one-inch biscotti,
so I'm looking for like 10 to 12 pieces per loaf.
Then I'm just gonna arrange them
on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side down,
and then we're gonna put them into the oven again
for that second bake, to really draw out all the moisture.
The biscotti are out of the oven, I know that they're done
because they're golden brown across the top and the sides
and they're very firm at this point.
And now I'm gonna dip them in some chocolate,
because biscotti gets 10 times better, in my opinion,
the minute they have chocolate on them.
I'm using dark chocolate, 'cause I really love
the combo of dark chocolate with almonds,
and then transfer it onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
You wanna use chocolate that you've like melted
over a double boiler.
Biscottis are a little bit of a labor of love,
but you know,
the fact that you can eat them for like the next month,
and leave them in your pantry in a airtight container
and they'll like, they'll be good for a while,
makes it worth it.
Grab one anytime you're looking
for a little midday pick-me-up.
Rachel saw biscotti, and she wanted to eat one,
so she's here with me tasting them.
As a teenager, I was obsessed with biscottis.
It's so good, it's buttery, you get a little bit of crunch
from the almonds in there too.
The dark chocolate,
it's like what really makes it nostalgic for me.
It's perfect. Mm.
It's buttery, it's crumbly.
And I love the nuts in this biscotti,
I know a lot of people don't like nuts and things.
Oh no, with biscotti you need it.
Biscotti is definitely a little bit steppy,
for me, it's worth it,
because it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy,
it reminds me
of when I was younger eating these with my parents,
so it's wholesome dish for me.
Hey Chris, take this like really wet, buttery dough
and wrap it in plastic.
Sure, why not?
Let's do that.
Oh, this is not the,
[laughs] that's got the slidey edge.
Hey, how you doing?
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