Friday, February 5, 2010

Surprisingly Delicious Light Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, you heard me right, a delicious light chocolate chip cookie recipe!! Sounds too good to be true, huh? But the good thing is that it is true! I talked about these cookies in my chocolate cake post, and I've just now gotten around to blogging about them, so sorry about that! Anyways, I first came across this recipe on How To Eat a Cupcake, and I was intrigued. The recipe uses dates in it! You reconstitute the dates in water until all the liquid has absorbed and then put it through a strainer to make puree. I had actually never had a date before this recipe, so before attempting it, I made a quick search online to see what they tasted like, and pretty much just got the answer "sweet." And that's really the truth...I can't really discern a flavor except for sweet, so it was perfect for this recipe!

This cookie is wonderfully chewy inside thanks to the dates, and has a nice crispy outside. I have to admit, this was the second time around I made the recipe and I actually attempted to make it even healthier by upping the amount of dates, reducing the sugar slightly, and adding only an egg white instead of a whole egg. All in all, it didn't really change the stats of the cookies too much, and I don't think I liked the flavor as well as the recipe made to a T. So I definitely suggest making the recipe as it's written first, and then if you want to play around with it a second time, you can. The recipe when made as written produces a very crumbly dough that can be slightly hard to work with, but it is worth it! This second time around, my dough actually came together since I messed around with the recipe, so I don't have pictures of the crumbly dough. To see pictures on that, you can visit Cassie's post on How To Eat a Cupcake. Now on to the recipe!

Light Chocolate Chip Cookies (Originally from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
Makes about 18 cookies

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried dates
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Bring the water and dates to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Simmer until the dates are tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, work the dates through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. You should have about a 1/4 of a cup of puree. Then cook the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until nutty brown, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat the melted butter, brown sugar, and date puree with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined, about 3o seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the chocolate chips, then mix in the remaining chips until incorporated (as I said, the batter will be really stiff and crumbly, so you can use your hands to bring it together).
  5. (I strongly suggest refrigerating the dough for a couple hours or overnight before baking). Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls, tear the balls in half, then press back together with the torn side up (I'm really not sure what the purpose of this is. All it did for me was make it so my cookies turned out ugly, so I just rolled them into balls and baked them just like that...the cookies, or at least my cookies, hold their shape in the oven). Lay the cookies jagged side up on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Press the remaining two tablespoons of chocolate chips evenly over the cookies.
  6. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. (I strongly suggest that if there's leftover cookies, to store them in an airtight container with a piece of bread. The cookies when left to sit out get really hard on the outside [though the insides do stay chewy], so putting them in an airtight container with a piece of bread will keep them soft.)

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