The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe? You Decide.


The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie?

In an earlier post, I wrote about my quest for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe on the planet. For the good of my fellow humans and in the name of Science I have unselfishly continued to tinker with the recipe — and consume the results. 

Recently, I decided to try using Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Mini Chips in the recipe instead of regular-sized chips. Eureka! The result was a cookie that has bits of melted chocolate throughout, balancing nicely with the crispy, lightly salted cookie base. Could this finally be the Holy Grail of chocolate chip cookie recipes? Only time, further testing–and your comments–will tell. Here’s the updated recipe: (more…)


Chocolate Pecan Torte – Favorite Cake for Three Generations


You have to pity my mother for the day she first served me a slice of her favorite Chocolate Pecan Torte. I was 7 or 8 at the time, and after one bite I declared that this was the cake I wanted for my birthday, always. But her glorious cake isn’t made from a box mix or even a basic from-scratch recipe. No, the famous cake batter is made from ground pecans instead of flour, and preparing the recipe is guaranteed to trash your kitchen and get a minimum of seven bowls, saucepans and baking dishes dirty.

Alas, generations are destined to repeat the mistakes of their elders. And so it was that as soon as my baby daughter had graduated from pablum I fed her a bite of my birthday cake and she declared that this was the cake she wanted for her birthday, too, from that year forward always and forever.

 The cake itself is tender and amazing; the ground pecans are held together with the tiniest bit of flour and the batter is flavored with fresh orange juice and lightened with whipped egg whites. Between the layers is a soft whipped cream flavored with grated orange peel. The topping is a dark chocolate ganache. The sum of the parts is just off-the-scale good.

Here’s the recipe, (more…)

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,

Making Truffles at Cook Street Cooking School

I recently attended a 10th anniversary celebration at Denver’s Cook Street School of Fine Cooking with my dear friend and fellow chocolate lover Gail Riley, owner of the lovely Highland Haven Creekside Inn. Among the many festivities — including a raucous cook-off of 15-minute recipes prepared by four very brave contestants — we enjoyed a truffle making demonstration by one of the school’s instructors, Chef Lexie Justice.  Along with being a genius at preparing all things sweet and chocolatey, Chef Lexie is absolutely adorable; her generous tips, deft movements and snappy comments had the crowd mesmerized. When she invited us to help ourselves from a huge platter of homemade cocoa-dusted truffles, we were putty (some might even say ganache) in her hands.

Chef Lexie Justice

Chef Lexie Justice

Lexie’s smooth, creamy truffles dusted with cocoa:demo

Lexie gave us a number of tips for truffle-making success, including chopping the chocolate as finely and evenly as possible and allowing the hot liquid to sit on the chopped chocolate for at least a minute before stirring, to allow it to completely melt. Here’s one of my favorite easy truffle recipes, (more…)

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Chunk Cookies


One of my life’s missions is to find the very best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I expect a lot from this cookie; it has to be soft and chewy in the middle, and yet somehow also be crispy around the edges. It has to have just the right proportion of chocolate to dough. And speaking of the dough, that has to be good in and of itself – buttery, sweet but not too sweet, with just the tiniest hint of saltiness to provide balance.

This recipe gets pretty darned close to my ideal. The dough includes a mixture of butter and shortening to provide both flavor and structure. I used Sharffen Berger 62% Cacao semisweet chocolate, which is one of my favorite chocolates for cooking and baking (I find the bittersweet a little too bitter, but that’s a matter of personal preference). Chopping some of the chocolate into large pieces and some into very fine pieces means that there are little flecks of melted chocolate running throughout the dough along with some big, melty chunks:


 This recipe (more…)

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,