when you join a group of bloggers dedicated to preparing every recipe in a specific book, you do not always have a say in what is made next. we put it to a vote but as votes go, the recipe with the most votes is the one chosen to be prepared next. some recipes are simple and quick, others are time consuming, stretching across several days from start to finish and the latter describes our previous challenge. after the hard work of making croissants from scratch, we were rewarded with a simple as well as easy batch of cookies. to see the full recipe, consider buying or borrowing (from a library) the book, baking with julia. and for those not so inclined, visit the website of this weeks host, peggy of galettista.
the cookies consist of an unlikely combination of chocolate pieces with coffee and dried apricots. my first reaction was not encouraging. i made the choice to use milk and white chocolate chips, instant espresso powder and half of the amount of chopped apricots called for in the recipe. as always, when i make cookies, i use a scoop to portion them out. this way, the cookies are almost identical in size which allows them to bake more evenly. the recipe called for chilling the dough first, then shaping them. with my experience in large scale baking on a daily basis, i felt they should be scooped first then chilled; that is so much easier on the scoop and my right hand!
since i planned to take these cookies to a meeting, i multiplied the recipe and made a batch and a half. with my handy purple scoop, i easily made more than 70 cookies which was plenty for everyone to sample as well as leave a few at home for my husband.
the comments some of the other bakers made was that the cookies were thinner than expected. my guess is that the oven temperature was off. my oven has the option of using convection. when using the fan, the general rule of thumb is for the temperature to be reduced by 25 degrees. with that in mind, i baked the cookies at 350 with the fan on. now wait a minute, the recipe instructions call for baking at 350-how is this a reduced temperature? the toll house cookie recipe, and these are almost identical to the toll house recipe, calls for baking the cookies at 375. with the reduced amount of flour in the recipe, the cookies spread thinner so the only way to stop that is with a higher temperature to force the dough to set and halt the spreading. another note, that time of 10-12 minutes was totally impossible for a temp of 350. as a matter of fact, i used a higher temp with convection and it took 12 minutes per pan minimum(and yes, i keep a thermometer in the oven). think about it, the dough was chilled for hours, it needed longer time in the oven to warm up, spread and set. if you used the temp of 350(regular oven) and cold dough for 10-12 minutes, your cookies most likely came out thin because of under baking which caused the structure to collapse when they were removed from the oven.
in the end, i came home from the meeting with an empty plate. a couple people hunted me down to ask me about them. having tasted them, i was surprised. never would i have thought that dried apricots would blend with espresso. would i make these again? maybe, but i would add a couple extra tablespoons of flour. be sure to visit tuesdays with dorie page to see what the other bakers came up with.