Friday, May 29, 2015

California Cookies

California Cookies

When I was in high school, I worked in a French pastry shop.  It was in a small seaside town in New Hampshire and they made everything from scratch.  The town had a great influx of tourists during the summer and the little café developed an exceptional reputation.  Eventually, the café expanded and they had not only had an outstanding patisserie but they also were known for coffee, breakfast pastries (cheese danishes that would make you cry), and cookies.

I have been thinking a lot about the café recently and wishing that I had saved some of the recipes or at least had access to them.  One cookie in particular got a lot of attention: the California Cookie.

The California Cookies were huge!  They had giant chunks of white chocolate, dark chocolate, pecans, and almonds in a brown sugary cookie dough.  The chunks were all cut by hand from big blocks of Callebaut chocolate.  Ok, this was in the 80’s before quality chocolate became a thing and they were using Callebaut for cookies!  (They also had the best hot chocolate on the planet because they scaled milk in a copper bowl, added sugar and real vanilla, and then whisked in chunks of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate – I have still never had better.)  but I digress.

So today I am recreating Café Brioche California Cookies from my memory.  I know the main ingredients because over the course of several years of working there I said the phrase “White chocolate, dark chocolate, pecans, and almonds” so many times that once I started thinking about the cookies the loop just kept repeating in my head.

Here goes:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, then add:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Continue to beat on medium even more fluffy, then add:
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Mix until incorporated, then either on low or by hand add:
1/2  cup large chunks of semi-sweet chocolate (Callebaut)
1/2 cup large chunks of white chocolate (Callebaut or El Rey)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Drop large tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown.  Let cool before biting into the molten lava pile of chocolate chunks.  (I mention this because I made that mistake and now the roof of my mouth is very unhappy with me.)

all good things start this way

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