secret to making cookies
A co-worker and I were talking about baking today. He told me that his grandmother made chocolate chip cookies in an unusual way. She didn't follow a recipe (although she claimed the recipe was based on the one of the packet of chocolate chips she used), building the cookie by feel. When baked, the top of the cookie separated from the bottom creating a pocket that was filled with a skein of crystalized brown sugar. This sounds to wonderful to be believed. His grandmother passed away some time ago and no one ever got her method.
I know I'm going out on a limb here, but does anyone know of a recipe or a cooking method that would create such wonder?
It sounds like she could have been making a version of a Pate a Choux. That's a pastry that separates in the middle creating a pocket (it's what's used to make creme puffs). It involves a very particular method for combining the ingredients, but is essentially the same ingredients as cookies.
Here's a Pate a Choux recipe, maybe you could experiment with this.
1 cup water
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
1 teaspoon salt (for savory)
5 3/4 ounces flour
1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam.
re: Shane Greenwood
That sounds like a good idea. I really think is has something to do with the mixing rather than the ingredients. I was thinking that maybe she cut the butter into a flour and sugar mixture rather than creaming it with the just the sugar and then added the eggs to moisten and bind the dough.
I was also thinking this also sounds a little like snickerdoodles. They puff up and fall back on themselves creating that wrinkly top as Adrienne was suggesting.