Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Chocolate Chip Cookies
May 15, 2012 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Now I agree that to some people using half a kilo of chocolate to make 12 biscuits may seem excessive. But I can tell you I don't put a price on alleviating human suffering. - Nigella Lawson

These fulfill all of my requirements for a perfect chocolate chip cookie: they are dense and chewy on the inside, with a crispy and sturdy outer shell; the flavor of the cookie itself is rich and complex and mysterious due to the brown butter; the balance of cookie to chocolate is right on and the sprinkle of salt on top is the perfect finish.
posted by Trurl (128 comments total) 126 users marked this as a favorite

 
Have you made both of these? How are they?
posted by Greg Nog at 5:40 PM on May 15, 2012


Instead of wasting time melting the chocolate on the stove, couldn't she just talk to it?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:41 PM on May 15, 2012 [69 favorites]


Indeed, someone. Please. Tell me if these cookies are actually tasty. I find her recipes hit or miss and am not willing to risk wasting 1/2 kilo of chocolate.

and I suspect that this should be done with nicer chocolate and not just toll house chips.
posted by bilabial at 5:41 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have you made both of these?

Neither. I'm fat enough as it is.
posted by Trurl at 5:42 PM on May 15, 2012


I was right behind her until she dumped 2 bags of cheap chocolate chips into the batter and took a perfectly decadent treat into "no thank you" territory.

Also, I realized I am an uncouth American because I expected tall glasses of cold milk but she set the table with tea instead. Bah.
posted by Vysharra at 5:42 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Instead of wasting time melting the chocolate on the stove, couldn't she just talk to it?

Indeed.
posted by Trurl at 5:45 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


YO DAWG, I HEARD YOU LIKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, SO I PUT CHOCOLATE CHIPS IN SOME CHOCOLATE SYRUP AND MIXED THEM UP IN COOKIE DOUGH, THEN ADDED VANILLA EXTRACT FOR SHOCK VALUE...
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:45 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Neither. I'm fat enough as it is.

I think you may want to catch up on modern nutrition science. Chocolate is actually so high in calories, it helps burn other calories.
posted by Nomyte at 5:47 PM on May 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I wish my oven was that clean.
posted by peeedro at 5:49 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


For a slightly more traditional British version of this recipe, just substitute "suet" whenever she says "chocolate".
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:51 PM on May 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


For a lot less work, you could also just eat half a kilo of chocolate and make a day of it.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:56 PM on May 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


Previously Sort of.
posted by fullerine at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2012


Question: Did Nigella use "a nice, cold egg" or "an ice-cold egg"?

I'm sure the difference must be what separates the perfect chocolate cookie from a turd.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:05 PM on May 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, are these especially large? That ice cream scoop looks pretty big to me.

These also seem like a perfect way to ingratiate myself to the office assistants.
posted by King Bee at 6:24 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have not made these as frankly I would probably need an entire kilo, so as to still arrive at the perfect ratio after baker-nibbling is factored in and having to watch butter brown makes me reconsider many life choices, but I will emphasize that a sprinkle of salt really does enhance virtually every single chocolate baked good. God. Maldon sea salt. Kosher salt. Weird pink shaker from Trader Joe's. Vanilla salt crumbles. Secret weapons, every one.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:25 PM on May 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Google doesn't help, and I must know what "vanilla salt crumbles" are. I, and my baked goods.
posted by endless_forms at 6:36 PM on May 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really can't express the emotion I experienced while watching that video. I'm going to return to work......
posted by Buckt at 6:43 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I adore her. I'm totally making those cookies the next time a proper situation arises. Like...Wednesday! Wednesdays totally call for chocolate cookies.
posted by Aquifer at 7:01 PM on May 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just read an excellent Atlantic article about asexuality but, I must say, it was a complete waste of time when followed by this video.
posted by Anitanola at 7:02 PM on May 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Nigella and a half-kilo of chocolate, you say?








I shall sleep happy tonight
posted by Thorzdad at 7:08 PM on May 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


A much better chocolate cookie recipe comes from the Washington Post. I'll never forget the "oahhh" exclamation of a coworker as she tried these for the first time. Use reasonable chocolate, folks. Not Hersheys.
posted by blob at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


blob: " Use reasonable chocolate, folks"

This...a thousand times, this.
posted by dejah420 at 7:18 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


While I get on with the dry ingredients
herm herm herm.
..

and yeah.. looked good until the packs of wax dumped in.
posted by edgeways at 7:18 PM on May 15, 2012


I'm with Thorrzdad. If Nigella and I were unattached, I would woo her. Vigorously. She makes my sausage roll...
posted by HarrysDad at 7:22 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Vanilla salt crumbles-- mysterious tin picked up from the olive oil/sea salt store next door to my apartment; I think it's just vanilla bean bits and sea salt, but it's somehow caramell-y and crunchy and they stick together a bit, so I just call it crumbles? Very technical term...

For all I know it's made by baby seal tears washed with the souls of orphaned unicorns buuuuuut turns out that's delicious!


(Also yes for the love of the Olmec/Mayan/Aztec gods, good chocolate. Rich, thick, proper high cocoa chocolate, the kind you actually want to lick off the spoon if it's being melted or shaved off the block onto everything: cream, leftover cake, your fingers...)
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:28 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


caramell-y and crunchy

Nigella on (and in!) salted caramel.
posted by Trurl at 7:36 PM on May 15, 2012


It blew my fucking mind when I found out Nigella was 52 years old.

I don't have time to watch the video, so I don't know what kind of chocolate she actually used, but if it was Hershey's, that's a shame (but they're still chocolate chip cookies), and if it was Nestlé Toll House, that's adequate, even if they are cheap. So many people seem to substitute money for skill these days, getting all obsessive about ingredient quality without actually being able to make good food.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:52 PM on May 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh my god if I wasn't pregnant I would be drinking six of these right now...
posted by Night_owl at 7:59 PM on May 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


In the summer of 2004, my two-year tenure in the wilds of rural Japan came to an end when I elected not to re-up my contract with the Japanese government for a third year. I'd been in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend (to whom I'd proposed midway through said tenure) and it had gone on long enough, I'd decided. So what I would do was I would move to Missoula, Montana, to be with her as she finished her final undergraduate year at the University of Montana.

It's amazing how reasonable some decisions can seem at the time.

So I spent a month or so at my family's home in a southwestern, reshuffled my personal belongings, and bought a car.

No, let me take that back. I bought a metallic blue 1991 Toyota Previa—which is to say, I bought a minivan. And not just any minivan. My Previa (which the girlfriend and I decided would be called "Van-chan") had a manual transmission, a feature which is now flat-out impossible to get in a van, for love or money.

I loved that van.

Van-chan was packed full of my belongings and driven vertically across the continental United States, north from central New Mexico through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and finally to Montana. Which drive I should say right now takes you through some absurdly gorgeous country.

We got into Missoula and started looking for an apartment. An apartment for me, of course. She would live, as she had her entire undergraduate career, in the school dorms.

A one-bedroom basement apartment in the piney Lolo Valley offshoot of Missoula was soon located. I rented it for I want to say $475 a month. It was infested with giant spiders, and the house upstairs appeared to be rented by a cop and his suicidal wife/girlfriend. But that's a different story.

Courtesy the Japanese government, I had a pretty flush savings account, but I needed to achieve neutral cash flow as soon as I could. So I headed over to a temp agency and filled out their forms. I had a job at a bulk mailing place within a few days.

Bulk mailing is an interesting business. They use serious industrial infrastructure to automate as much of the process as they can, but sometimes certain batches can't easily be automated—an envelope needs a sticker applied just so, or an insert tucked in between certain pages in a way their sorting machine can't quite manage, or maybe an order isn't quite big enough to justify tooling up their big iron to run through.

And in those edge cases, they hire temps to mindlessly fold, glue, stick, and sort.

That was where I came in.

I was just about to say "it was pleasant enough work," but a moment of reflection reveals that as the absurd falsehood that it is. It was terrible, mindless, soul-crushing work. (Although, crucially, it was not the worst temp work I've ever performed.) The regular employees were a fairly jovial bunch, and I envied them their camaraderie. One of them wore a Sluggy Freelance t-shirt one day. Maybe we could've been friends. But mostly the regulars didn't have anything to say to the temps, and who could blame them, because we were going to be gone in a few weeks anyway.

My fellow temps were all ladies, one of whom was I want to guess in her mid-thirties. The others were a decade or two older. We all chatted with each other because who the fuck else was there to chat with.

Eventually the topic of cookies came up. I casually mentioned, between inserting a flier into a Missoula Voter's Guide, that I didn't want to brag but I made just about the best goddamn chocolate chip cookies it was possible for a human to make. (Let me put it this way: My strife specibus is "cookiekind.")

The thirtysomething lady asserted that, no, it was she whose chocolate chip cookie was superior. It used chopped-up bits of candy bars, after all.

Fine then, I said. Let us both bring our best efforts in tomorrow, and we will have the boss judge whose cookie is the greatest. She agreed.

I baked my glorious Cowboy Cookies, and she baked her unnecessary oversweet heresy nuggets. We brought the results in, and presented them to the boss, who in retrospect I'm sure was thinking Jesus Christ, goddamn temps don't have anything better to do with their time? Like sort my mail? (Lest I malign the boss: he was actually very nice.)

The boss proclaimed that they were both good, and insisted that he could not pick a winner. Our duel went publicly unresolved, though it was obvious to me whose effort was superior. My opponent conceded that they were "both very good cookies. It really just depends on what you're in the mood for."

This nice woman was offering me an olive branch.

Here I was, back from my exotic expat life in Japan, reduced to generating physical spam for for 7 bucks an hour, the girl I'd moved here to be with increasingly ambivalent about my presence, apartment bare-walled and infested with deadly hobo spiders, no friends, no life, no prospects.

She was a nice lady who was working the same shitty job I was, and just like I was, she was trying to make the best of it. But I was young and stupid and angry, and fuck her olive branch, was my admittedly uncharitable feeling.

"Oh, sure," I said. "It depends on whether you're in the mood for a good cookie... or a great one."

...

What I'm getting at is that I was a real shit in my early twenties, and it would fucking serve me right if Nigella's chocolate chip cookies destroyed my ancestral methods and upended my whole cookie universe, because my comeuppance has been a long time coming.

I'll give these a try.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:00 PM on May 15, 2012 [264 favorites]


Dear lord, the foley artists in that video must have enjoyed the hell out of themselves upping the visual decadence with even more aural decadence! Now I really am drooling. And jonesing.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:15 PM on May 15, 2012


Gross. Looks like a few bricks of low-quality bakers chocolate mixed with Nestle chocolate chips? Not even close, Nigella.

You wanna try that again with a nice 65-75% Peruvian / Ecuadorian chocolate and lightly roasted cacao nibs for the crunch and some astringency to cut the sweetness and prevent your palate from becoming a miasma of butter fats, we might be on to something.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:30 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also like how she calls cocoa powder cocoa. Guessing from the tin she's scooping from, not much of that is 'cacao'.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:31 PM on May 15, 2012


The taco truck in Vancouver serves a diablo cookie which is chocolate, chili and salt served in just the right proportions. It is deliciousness in cookie form.
posted by arcticseal at 8:41 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


chocolate, chili and salt

I've never been able to get into the chocolate + chili thing. I understand the reactions taking place (thanks, Good Eats!) but it always tastes weird-bad to me.
posted by curious nu at 8:43 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


It blew my fucking mind when I found out Nigella was 52 years old.

Angels are immortal, so it doesn't really matter.
posted by Foosnark at 8:45 PM on May 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


Where are the oats? (don't hurt me)
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Minor point regarding the ingdient quibbling - she won't be using the brands you use, and even when they are, unless it's an import shop, they tend to taste different. The chocolate she broke up certainly resembles the Whittaker's dark chocolate (Australian, my preferred cooking brand) and the chocolate chips look like chocolate chips. I'd hesitate to call brand given the different packaging. I know here in Oz cooking chocolate is labelled as cooking/compound chocolate and I've not seen any compound chocolate choc chips. And for all the purity around percentages, I'd rather cook something me and mine will enjoy than be righteous about percentages.

IOW I am a tyrranical defender of Nigella and her cooking choices. Even after the time I made the crooissant caramel pudding and nearly died from the sugar.

Also, I am sad that I don't have the requisite chocolate. Yet.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


During a spate of schooling a few years back I decided that chocolate chip cookies would be great way to relief stress. I started with the family recipe that originally came from Feed Me, I'm Yours. When I was a youth these cookies had garnered the nickname "choco chip cookies of DEATH." They were awful.

Repeated attempts with variations were uniformly poor, so I switched to the bible, Joy of Cooking. Which also turned out to be pretty bad, as they were far too greasy - even with halving the butter. Several other recipe books on hand were tested and the only one worth noting is Mark Bittman which I worked through several different varieties of chocolate. I learned to like favres here instead of lots of chopping. I hit up the blog curcuit as well: Smitten Kitchen here and here (chewy = a little greasy) were both major contenders. I also attempted another 6 recipes or so.

And then there was David Leite quest in the NY Times, and this recipe is really the best. I get the favres from Whole Foods, but sometimes use Valhrona chocolate. I also use toll house chips purchased in bulk at Costco. No-one but me has noticed the difference. Seriously.
posted by zenon at 9:20 PM on May 15, 2012


when you have that much chocolate, who needs cookies.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:25 PM on May 15, 2012


I love that the chocolate malt cookie recipe linked by smart daleck is listed under "irish", "soul food", "canadian", AND "southern". Very nice.
posted by windykites at 9:43 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've made these cookies. They're crazy-full of chocolate. They're wonderful. Anyone who says this is too much chocolate...is probably right, but I don't care.

Eat them with an ice-cold glass of milk.
posted by xingcat at 9:44 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds great with a mug of PG Tips.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've only once baked something out of How To Be A Domestic Goddess (I bought it for the pictures), but I'll be damned if I don't enjoy reading it. It's an American translation of a British cookbook and consequently, too many of the recipes call for special ingredients I don't care to shell out big bucks for. Canned plums? Brandied cherries? But I'd like to take a moment to type up the introduction to a recipe for schnecken:
Schnecken means "snails," which is what these German-American coiled buns resemble. They are like the Norwegian cinnamon buns, only more so. By which I mean they are sticker, puffier, gooier and generally more over the top. God, I love them.
That is just a fantastic enticement for a recipe. It sounds like a recommendation from a friend. I'm a bit bothered she dropped the Oxford comma, though.
posted by maryr at 10:33 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is exactly how I pictured a Troi-heavy episode in a reimagining of Star Trek: The Next Generation would look. Right down to the crying.
posted by chemoboy at 10:39 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


if it was Nestlé Toll House, that's adequate

It wasn't anything as good as Nestle's Toll House because they don't sell them in the UK -- and trust me, I've looked.

My money is on Big Supermarket's shitty Generic Chocolate Chips. I wouldn't eat those cookies. Due to the complete lack of anything nearly as good as Toll House chips in the UK (for a sensible price anyway. No doubt some boutique chocolatier will sell you 50 grams of their shit for some outlandish price), I just buy decent chocolate, cut it into chip sized pieces and use those.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:41 PM on May 15, 2012


> You wanna try that again with a nice 65-75% Peruvian / Ecuadorian chocolate and lightly roasted cacao nibs for the crunch and some astringency to cut the sweetness and prevent your palate from becoming a miasma of butter fats, we might be on to something.

Okay, I'm a big giant foodie nerd, but seriously, you're talking about a very different thing than what she's making. Don't be one of those people.
posted by desuetude at 11:08 PM on May 15, 2012 [25 favorites]


The really important question I have here is where Nigella found Toll house chips in England. I know she writes for the NYT (or at least used to) but seriously Nigella. Seriously. This and your Oscar Mayer bacon.

That aside, I love you Nigella, you're beautiful.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:23 AM on May 16, 2012


This thread has made me wonder if I could make a living as a Nigella style voice actor. I could read your recipes and slash-fic to you in a sexy British voice at very reasonable prices indeed...
posted by ninazer0 at 1:08 AM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


It blew my fucking mind when I found out Nigella was 52 years old.

Silly boy.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:59 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The chocolate she broke up certainly resembles the Whittaker's dark chocolate (Australian, my preferred cooking brand)

Australia may claim everything else, but there is no way they are claiming my beloved Whittakers which is made just down the road from me in Porirua, New Zealand.
posted by netd at 4:46 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Nigella. Oh, how I love her.

But even more how I derive joy from veganizing her recipes when able. And this one I can probably do.
posted by Kitteh at 4:57 AM on May 16, 2012


This recipe is almost spoon-for-spoon the same as homemade US brownies, even down to the description of the finished goods and using a cold egg (stabilizes the dry ingredient suspension in the fat).

Nestle' is a Swiss company, you know, even if it's ubiquitous in the US, and widely available in the UK. They do a much better job in the semi-sweet department of wax/choc mass-production ratio than most, unless you're ready to step up to Droste pastilles at five times the price. Their chips are also much easier and forgiving to work with, especially in a simple recipe like this one.

Watching an entire pound of very expensive chocolate seize up over one drop of water makes me cry.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:02 AM on May 16, 2012


I'm a bit bothered she dropped the Oxford comma, though.

Well, she is British so it would be unusual were she to use one. It is possible that - queen of decadence and indulgence though she may be - even she recognises the Oxford comma to be nothing more than a frippery. But it's probably just that she was taught not to use it.
posted by MUD at 6:14 AM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have mixed feelings about Nigella; her recipes tend to be on the side of decadent I like to be on (I'm looking at you, croissant pudding) and she's shameless about that fact. On the other hand her occasional 'modern life as a woman with a family and a career is haaaard, and cooking on top of that is hard too' schtick feels a bit rich and over-the-top to me, given the very comfortable situation she's in.

That said, I feel baking in my near future. And I will be using Cadbury's, because you can pry my glass-and-a-half chocolate from my cold, dead hands.
posted by belissaith at 6:19 AM on May 16, 2012


Don't be one of those people.

You know what? I completely agree with you, but I would like to take advantage of the subject and the mention of Peruvian chocolate to brag about the fact that I have been to a cacao forest in Peru. It smelled delicious and the monkeys were all fat and sleepy. The cacao fruits hanged just low enough for anyone to pick. It was heaven.
posted by Tarumba at 6:21 AM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm a big giant foodie nerd, but seriously, you're talking about a very different thing than what she's making. Don't be one of those people.
posted by desuetude at 2:08 AM


I get how my comment came across as being pretentious. But no, I'm gonna stick to that. I work in the chocolate business, and I know what I'm talking about. There's a lot of good reasons to avoid shitty chocolate, and they don't all have to do with being a foodie.

For one, I don't like to eat palm oil, which is a major ingredient in low quality chocolate. Palm oil plantations are a major reason why places like Borneo are being completely clear-cut to make way for this "green" substitute.

Another is that low quality commodity cacao comes usually from the Ivory Coast, where workers are heavily exploited. No thanks.

Peruvian / Ecuadorian chocolate happen to be my two favorite regions of origin, because our business has personally gone there, met the farmers, sourced the cacao, and imported it while paying a more-than-fair-trade price. I like our people down there, and I want them to have a market that knows what it's eating and cares about quality.

So no. Nigella gets no points. Low-grade chocolate is hurts the environment and the people that grow, harvest, ferment and process it.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:34 AM on May 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


Also, low-quality chocolate tastes awful once your palate has had the good stuff for long enough. As recently as 4 years ago, I would have knocked back some Nestle kisses without a second thought. That isn't chocolate. Chocolate tastes completely different from the crap ingredients she's using. It's a dessert, sure, but it ain't Theobroma Cacao.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:36 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nigella if you read this thread by some chance I still think you are dreamy and I'm sorry if I offended you.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:47 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't eat chocolate.
posted by parmanparman at 6:56 AM on May 16, 2012


Don't eat chocolate.

Flagged as offensive.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:15 AM on May 16, 2012 [24 favorites]


Apparently Nestle Semi-Sweet morsels pass Nigella's approval, since she used two entire bags of them. Good to know, since we go through bags of the things like they were crack.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:26 AM on May 16, 2012


I wouldn't eat those cookies.

I wouldn't eat those cookies.

I wouldn't eat those cookies.

I'm really trying to wrap my head around the mindset that if a beautiful woman bakes anything for you, arrives with a platter of it and sits on a couch next to you, you would have the temerity to turn your nose up because of the type of chocolate effing chips she chose to use.

Or really, the mindset that cookies are and thing which, in the real world outside of the internet, can be turned down.

Failing. I am failing to grasp these things. They're cookies. Take a damn cookie and enjoy it you crazy person.
posted by Maaik at 8:03 AM on May 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


I completely get the haterade on lazaruslong's part for cheap chocolate chips. I really do. I agree that most cacao beans are harvested under nasty conditions by bad companies. Heck, I have often to track down and buy very good chocolate to bake with because 90% of all commercial brands contain milk ingredients, a no-no in my line of work.

But the average person Nigella is selling herself to? They're not or won't drop a huge chunk of change on posh chocolate for freaking cookies. Mostly because they either can't afford to or, you know, it's just chocolate chip cookies. Not everyone has a beeline onto the good stuff at affordable prices. And even though she and her husband are filthy rich (and as much as I love her, I do find the "I'm just an everyday workworkwork mom just like YOU" schtick a bit hard to swallow at times) and she could handily afford that posh chocolate, she ain't gonna use it because those of us who buy her books, watch her shows, don't have access to it.

Also, I wouldn't use super delicous chocolate like that on cookies anyway. Something more simple and decadent to show off their flavor, sure, but not common old cookies.
posted by Kitteh at 8:03 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, to each his or her own. Good chocolate to me is more than a taste preference, it's a moral choice. If you're cool with it, it's no skin off my nose. For me personally, I'd rather not have a cookie than eat something that supports environmental destruction and human suffering. The more you know about where your food comes from, the more choices you are presented with. That's life.

Good chocolate doesn't have to be expensive. You just have to look harder.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:17 AM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


That sounded a lot more douchey than I meant it. This is my field, so I know a lot of stuff about it, and that colors my decisions and feelings. I'm sure there's things that I do in my life that are equally destructive as support shitty chocolate that I'm ignorant of. That's a big reason I've stuck around this place for 10 years, people smarter than me about stuff help me make better choices. I'm definitely invested in quality chocolate, but that's not for everyone. For goodness sakes, eat whatever cookies you want and feel good about it. =)
posted by lazaruslong at 8:29 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I wouldn't use super delicous chocolate like that on cookies anyway.

In the past few years I switched over entirely to good chocolate, even for cookies, and it makes a huge difference in the cookie flavour, to me. A chocolate chip cookie is all about the chocolate chips.
posted by jeather at 8:29 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this hand-wringing and snarking about ingredient quality reminds me of Ina Garten, of Barefoot Contessa. Most of her shows felt like an excuse for her to smugly remind you that she lives in a mansion in the "nice" part of New England, with the "right" kind of neighbors and a wealthy husband in finance. She would always admonish the viewer to use "good" ingredients: "always use good cream cheese" "10 lemons—good lemons" "good tomatoes and good mozzarella." The stress and intonation of her voice would always rise a bit when she said "good," as if the word were an inside joke or a euphemism for something specific.

But the thing was, she never told you what "good" meant, or what you might do if you couldn't afford "good" ingredients. Her delivery implied that the right kind of viewer would know what "good" was, and would have the means to get it. For me, at least, this wasn't even a dogwhistle of "understated privilege," it was a bullhorn.

So, big foodie as I am at times, I'm always a bit uncomfortable about the economic and cultural elitism that comes with food-nerdery—especially as other forms of conspicuous consumption are increasingly abandoned by well-to-do BoBos in favor of this sort of "splurging on the essentials of life."
posted by LMGM at 8:45 AM on May 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


If everyone can just learn one thing I will be happy: Single source or single origin chocolate is not better than blended. it's not like wine. It is the opposite of wine, great chocolate requires careful blending of various batches to create the best texture and flavor.

Thank you.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: Sorry, but no. That's just flat-out wrong.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:56 AM on May 16, 2012


Great chocolate showcases the flavors of it's region of origin. Blended chocolate allows for better consistency and makes the tempering process easier, but you lose the point of good cacao: tasting the region. Chocolate from the Sambirano Valley in Madagascar tastes like red fruit and raisin toast, for example. Blended chocolate is usually used to homogenize flavor and temper for mass production, and frequently is a way to get rid of excess commodity quality cacao by folding it in with a little bit of the good stuff.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:59 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blended chocolate CAN be good, but it takes a lot of care and effort to make it that way. The only one that springs to mind right now is Mast Brothers' Brooklyn Blend. And I eat a lot of friggin' chocolate.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:01 AM on May 16, 2012


But the thing was, she never told you what "good" meant, or what you might do if you couldn't afford "good" ingredients. Her delivery implied that the right kind of viewer would know what "good" was, and would have the means to get it.

"And make sure you only buy the 'good' tomatoes."

*slices opens tomato, revealing tied-off condom full of about 7 grams of cocaine*
posted by Greg Nog at 9:03 AM on May 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


So, big foodie as I am at times, I'm always a bit uncomfortable about the economic and cultural elitism that comes with food-nerdery—especially as other forms of conspicuous consumption are increasingly abandoned by well-to-do BoBos in favor of this sort of "splurging on the essentials of life."

I don't know, I kind of understand where you're coming from, but at the same time it's sort of a matter of priorities to me. I'm a grad student, so it's not like I have a ton of disposable cash lying around, but good food has always seemed like a good thing to spend money on. And by good, I mean, minimally processed food that really tastes good! I'd rather have a couple of really good tomatoes than ten that are mealy or hard. I don't know, I can really taste the difference between good ingredients and poor ones, so if that makes me a food elitist, so be it, I suppose.
posted by peacheater at 9:05 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


this is what I get for hanging out with Mast Brothers' Brooklyn Blend workers. (No seriously, this is a bizarre coincidence.)
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like that she describes her ingredients simply as "good". If you like single source free trade chocolate, then to you it is good, and you will use it. If your good is Cadbury, then you will use the chocolate you like best. It works out just fine.
posted by Jilder at 9:17 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like.

Or, rather, I like the concept. I suspect the result would be too chocolaty for me. I like some cookie with my chocolate chip cookies you know?

Still, I might try it. Though that much fair trade chocolate is a bit pricey for me.
posted by sotonohito at 9:19 AM on May 16, 2012


That's hilarious, The Whelk. The Mast Bros are rad. I've hung out with them a couple times when I get up to NYC. They can do no wrong in my opinion (with the possible exception of their Black Truffle bar, which tastes like feet to me but that's just me). They are seriously talented, and it says something that their blend is actually good. And they SAILED A SHIP TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC to get their cacao because hey, wind power. Gah. Love them.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:19 AM on May 16, 2012


Also they have amazing beards. Their beards are so amazing they have to wear beard-nets at work called snoods. I have a little crush.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:23 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've just been watching their film on their website. I really wish I could grow a beard like that. I'd want it in that colour as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:30 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Too much Chocolate? That is the very definition of an oxymoron!
posted by TDavis at 10:17 AM on May 16, 2012


I have mixed feelings about Nigella; her recipes tend to be on the side of decadent I like to be on (I'm looking at you, croissant pudding) and she's shameless about that fact. On the other hand her occasional 'modern life as a woman with a family and a career is haaaard, and cooking on top of that is hard too' schtick feels a bit rich and over-the-top to me, given the very comfortable situation she's in.

posted by belissaith at 6:19 AM on May 16 [+] [!]


Nigella attracted some backlash criticism along these lines when her media celebrity career in Britain as "decadent sexy luxury kitchen goddess" was first really taking off.. during the same period, her husband was dying (he died in 2001 at age 47) of cancer and writing it about it weekly in a column for a major UK newspaper - this also led to him creating a book, a play, and a BBC TV documentary about his experience (but I don't think that this ever became part of Nigella's media celebrity identity) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Diamond_(journalist)
posted by Bwithh at 10:49 AM on May 16, 2012


If I ate these cookies it would trigger the second Lawson Boom with a subsequent Dinosauresque increase in global warming.
posted by srboisvert at 11:07 AM on May 16, 2012


Listen to lazaruslong. The man knows his cacao. When I want chocolate chip cookies, I buy the disks at the place he works. Seriously, cheap chocolate is not worth slave labor. When I was a kid, you couldn't get good chocolate through most of the USA. Milk chocolate is crap, and the stuff Hershey's calls chocolate is not even worth calling chocolate flavored. I had to go to the USSR to taste my first high-quality chocolate. I saved a couple of bars in the fridge for a year or more, slowly parceling it out. Now it's not so hard to come by 65%-90% dark chocolate. Stuff that tastes like chocolate. But the sourcing is still important. Reading the Hunger Games with my young son made me realize that conditions like District 11 are not fantasy, they are very real many places in the world, and we are the Capital.

Also, the best chocolate I've ever had was when I donated some money for a girl's school trip to Venezuela. They went to a farm and brought back the most complex, tastiest cocoa I've ever had. Wow.
posted by rikschell at 11:57 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just made the cookies listed in the second link -- here -- and they are indeed pretty tasty. Fairly standard Chocolate Chip Cookies, but with browned butter. The butter adds a very subtle dark note, and does a Thing to the sugars because you add it to the sugars while still hot, so they have a somewhat caramelized texture. Which is awesome.

And now I have the "Eating While Chips Are Still Molten-Level Hot" tongue burn. Every time.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 12:40 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


From what I can remember of Nigella's books, she generally recommends good quality chocolate, not cheap. The recipe for these cookies here recommends 70% cocoa solids minimum.
posted by Summer at 3:14 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


John Diamond was an excellent journalist, his columns on dealing with cancer and the effect on his family are well worth reading.
posted by arcticseal at 3:54 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not to pick nits, but that recipe doesn't really have anything to do with quality re: chocolate. 70% minimum cocoa solids isn't an indicator of quality, at all. That just means the ratio of chocolate vs 'other' is 70% 'cocoa solids'.

'Cocoa solids' can be any number of things. Cocoa solids in the most generic, Nestle-esque terms probably means a blend of a bunch of different commodity cacaos, with all sorts of fines and shell mixed in, and then dumped into big ass blocks. IF you are lucky. Cocoa solids can just as easily be legally construed to mean powder, which is made of who-knows-what ratio of actual bean in the big factories.

The other 30% is intended to be just plain old sugar. That's why the higher up the percentage you go, the more bitter chocolate becomes. The sugar ratio is decreasing. With commodity chocolate products that ratio can be filled with palm oil (i know I keep harping on that one, but it's with good freakin' reason. Read this article for more, but don't watch the graphic dead orangutan video. Really.), soy lecithin (an emulsifier that is not always bad in really fickle origins, but in commodity chocolate means 'this shit is so far from cacao we need chemistry help to make it blend'), and enough fake vanilla extract to drown a goose.

If you're average home cook reads that recipe, they will see that marketing message pushed on the bags of Nestle / Hersheys / Etc (minor props to Cadbury for removing palm oil from its milk chocolates) and think Nigella is endorsing the product, which she is. And that's fine, cause there's no way she's gonna link the most sustainable / ethical ingredients with specificity in every recipe, cause I guess that's too much to hope for. But hey, it's MetaFilter, what are we here for except beanplating stuff to death?
posted by lazaruslong at 6:25 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


please to mentally edit all mistakes w/r/t your / you're and possibly its / it's. it was a long day eating chocolate.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:26 PM on May 16, 2012


I don't know enough about chocolate to have an opinion about it, but what's the deal with the porny feel of the video? I'm not a Brit, but I'm gathering from the thread that the "sexy domestic goddess" thing is her shtick? I just thought the video was strange, the way everything was shot super close up and the camera kept focusing on her almost lovingly. To each his or her own, but I didn't care for the style of it.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 6:35 PM on May 16, 2012


I get how my comment came across as being pretentious. But no, I'm gonna stick to that. I work in the chocolate business, and I know what I'm talking about. There's a lot of good reasons to avoid shitty chocolate, and they don't all have to do with being a foodie.

Hey, I agree with you, I don't use the lowest-end stuff anymore either, I was just trying to say that there's plenty of middle ground. No hard feelings. Delicious chocolate for everyone.
posted by desuetude at 6:51 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Totes magotes, Joben. =)
posted by lazaruslong at 7:25 PM on May 16, 2012


So, for the sake of the argument, if someone in say.. Australia.. wanted to source some of this good-chocolate-at-reasonable-prices, where on these here Internets could he (hypothetically) visit to acquire same?

Cos I'm hooked up with (what I think is pretty decent) cocoa. But chocolate? That's another story...
posted by coriolisdave at 7:51 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


How to be a Domestic Godess by Nigella Lawson
posted by Bwithh at 10:38 PM on May 16, 2012


My sister-in-law made these to take camping last Easter.
They are big cookies if you follow the recipe, like the kind you get at some places trying to show off (hotels/cafes). 4or 5 inches across? They were ok, but rich and too big a portion for me, and I'm no lightweight.
The expert sweet tooths in the group gave them a high score, however.
posted by bystander at 12:46 AM on May 17, 2012


Coriolis: If there's an Oxfam shop near you they often have good single origin fair trade stuff. And Black and Gold is pretty common in supermarkets now (not the home brand black and gold, different brand altogether.)
posted by Jilder at 2:53 AM on May 17, 2012


But black and gold is about $4 per 100g, which is not what I call reasonable prices. And Oxfam bars are more like $6 per 100g. (My solution is to not really eat chocolate anymore, because I'm too conflicted. And if I'm going to spend $40 a kilo on something, it's going to be smoked salmon.)
posted by lollusc at 3:52 AM on May 17, 2012


Wait, actually I thought you said "Green and Black". I haven't heard of "Black and Gold" (except the homebrand one).
posted by lollusc at 3:53 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could give the above mentioned Whittaker's a try. Some of the range is fair trade, none of it contains palm oil. Cocoa beans are all from Ghana, with one bar being made from Madagascan beans. I have no idea what it will set you back in Aussie, but in NZ it generally costs roughly the same as Cadbury (~$NZ3.50 for a 250g block).
posted by netd at 5:42 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a Nigella Lawson cookbook.

It's 60 or 70 ways to cook Recombinant Glorp*. I was not impressed.

*see Reamde
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 6:43 AM on May 17, 2012


My favorite CCC is still Orangette's adaptation of Kim Boyce's, which uses white whole wheat flour. Do not be put off by that! They are nothing like hippie or health food; the whole wheatiness simply lends a nutty, digestive-biscuit quality to the crumb that gets better a day after they're made, at room temperature. So good.

The infamous NYT 36-hour ones are quite good too, thanks to the sea salt.

Agreed about how readable yet British-enough-to-avoid-actually-using How to Be a Domestic Goddess is. It's a really good example of introing recipes in a way that makes you feel almost as satisfied as if you'd actually made the food and eaten it. Also agree that it is hit (her rum-soaked sultana banana bread, her chocolate-glazed banana bread...girl knows her way around bananas!) or miss (I haven't tried it but heard horror stories about the otherwise-chic-sounding gin and tonic jello mold), mostly because of infamous errata issues in conversions etc. for the American version, and sometimes just mysterious (I remember Amateur Gourmet trying to make browned butter cupcakes or something once from her and not being able to figure out why the frosting or something never solidified, stuff like that). Not all of her stuff is complicated or involves hard-to-find-outside-of-the-UK pantry items though. IIRC she's got a recipe for chocolate cookies in there that is nothing but flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter--about as simple as peanut butter cookies really.
posted by ifjuly at 10:47 AM on May 17, 2012


I love using oat flour in my chocolate chip cookies. Not oatmeal, that lends a texture that I think isn't right for them. But oat flour just gives it a bit of a hearty, nuttyish, really deep flavor. I usually use about half oat flour and about half regular AP flour. To make the oat flour, I just whiz some oats in my blender til they're powdery.
posted by Night_owl at 11:54 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK guys, I just made these, and unless you're making them the size of your face, you're going to get way more than 12 cookies out of this recipe.

Also, for US folks, I went with 340 degrees for about 15 minutes (what with that metric time they've got going on over there) because mine were smaller. I got about 18 of them.

They are insanely chocolatey and rich. Must have milk on hand if you plan to eat them.
posted by King Bee at 1:53 PM on May 17, 2012


P.s., thanks to everyone who is making these (either of these, I guess) and reporting their experiences...I really want to make these now.
posted by subversiveasset at 3:19 PM on May 17, 2012


Australia may claim everything else, but there is no way they are claiming my beloved Whittakers which is made just down the road from me in Porirua, New Zealand.

Ack! I meant that I am Australian, not that Whittakers is. And yes, another vote for Whittakers. Much like any number of other food issues, palm oil isn't a standard chocolate ingredient here in Oz. when Cadburys tried to switch to it there was a little bit of an outrage and they backpedalled. So, much like the corn syrup/weird shit in milk, it isn't actually relevant outside the US. Much like divining brand from packaging in a different country. That's just chocolate though - the stuff with add ins still often contains palm oil.

But yes, if I'm cooking I get Whittakers whever I can (it's usually at the supermarket). If you're super keen, hit up Haigh's or something, but don't be a prat about it. i avoid Nestle anything like the plague though. Check out this for a small run down.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2012


Whittakers is available at Cadbury's prices (the little coconut bars are awesome).
Haigh's is nice chocolate, but costly. The boss bought some cranberry and pistachio white chocolate clusters last week. Nice, but $120 a kg!
We've been off Nestle for about a decade. Need to skip Uncle Toby's and Maggi (subsidiary brands) too.
I miss Kit Kat's and Milo (once in a while I succumb).
posted by bystander at 12:41 AM on May 18, 2012


If you are buying Nestle Tollhouse Chips (in the US, the UK or anywhere else in the world), you are by definition not concerned about the origins or impact of your chocolate. Which, frankly, I find less objectionable than being told at length how the chocolate I or anyone else enjoys fails to meet someone's personal ethical and epicurean standards. I think Three Buck Chck is swill and I wouldn't even use it to cook with, but I wouldn't dream of telling other people that they've never tasted wine if that's what they prefer to drink.

I grew up in the US and was a fan of Hersheys all my life until moving to Europe in 1997. I now eat 85% cocoa by preference, though I don't much care if it is Green & Blacks, Lindt, Godiva, Divine, Scharffen Berger or the stuff hand made by actual nuns at the market here in town. But when I go back to the US, I head for the nearest Hershey bar and revel in the gritty texture and fatty milk solids. Chocolate preferences are cultural, with vastly different standards in the US vs the UK vs the continent, but to all of those eaters, each of those is exactly what chocolate is supposed to taste like.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:12 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


....you are by definition not concerned about the origins or impact of your chocolate. Which, frankly, I find less objectionable than being told at length how the chocolate I or anyone else enjoys fails to meet someone's personal ethical and epicurean standards.

Hey, you're welcome to be completely ignorant and uncaring of the environmental and human-suffering impact of you decisions. Good for you. You're welcome to ignore any information or evidence that your choices have real-world implications. Don't know why you want to be kind of an asshole about your choice to remain ignorant but hey, there ya go.

Your Three Buck Chuck analogy isn't really appropriate, unless Three Buck Chuck growers are slaves and the grapes destroy ancient rainforest. Are they / do they?
posted by lazaruslong at 6:35 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


lazaruslong, I relate to a painful degree (our household has been slavery-chocolate-free for something like 6 years now, and yes, it has been a pain in the ass sometimes because chocolate is so universal), but you aren't going to win anyone over with that combative "you're being an asshole if you don't care" approach. Maybe you don't care, but just sayin'. My husband, when he politely and vaguely refuses chocolate out and about where he can't source it, gets attacked all the time (both sides of our families do this) much like a vegan might still. And this is without any "by the way, this is why I won't, and you shouldn't either" (the "and you shouldn't either" is the part that crosses a line to me personally). Food choices are crazy personal and communal, they get people defensive and raise hackles. The best thing is to feel ok about your own food choices, but not attack others or make it a thing. People will just roll their eyes and lump you in with PETA extremists, right or wrong. Food is just that personal.
posted by ifjuly at 6:41 AM on May 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, I hear you. I think I've qualified my position many times upthread, for example

I'm definitely invested in quality chocolate, but that's not for everyone. For goodness sakes, eat whatever cookies you want and feel good about it. =)
posted by lazaruslong


I guess what got my goat about DarlingBri's comment was the pride in ignorance thing, and the anger at the SUGGESTION of more information about food choices. As it is, I am way over-commenting in this thread and should back out already anyways, so hey, good opportunity. =)
posted by lazaruslong at 6:46 AM on May 18, 2012


Frick, I did mean Green and Black. Just give your food a name, not a colour code, for fuck's sake, producers.
posted by Jilder at 10:12 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other difference I'd draw between candy-aisle quasichocolate and three buck chuck is that the latter is really wine. Not great wine, maybe not even good, but it is wine. The other stuff isn't chocolate, it's badly handled bulk cocoa dust that's had to have flavoring added or it wouldn't taste like anything anymore, with things like palm or cottonseed oil substituting for some or all of the cocoa butter.

Perhaps you can legally call it chocolate but that's telling you more about FTC lobbying than what's actually in it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:10 AM on May 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess what got my goat about DarlingBri's comment was the pride in ignorance thing, and the anger at the SUGGESTION of more information about food choices.

lazaruslong, you are reading things into that post I didn't write and then kicking me for it. I have no idea where you're getting "pride in ignorance" or "anger at the suggestion" but it isn't from me. I certainly am not angry, and when I said I don't much care, I meant I can discern no real difference in taste, not that I am unconcerned about the origin.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:14 PM on May 18, 2012


Mmm, I don't think I am.

I meant I can discern no real difference in taste, not that I am unconcerned about the origin.


versus

If you are buying Nestle Tollhouse Chips (in the US, the UK or anywhere else in the world), you are by definition not concerned about the origins or impact of your chocolate. Which, frankly, I find less objectionable than being told at length how the chocolate I or anyone else enjoys fails to meet someone's personal ethical and epicurean standards.

+


I head for the nearest Hershey bar

Seems pretty clear that you a) don't care and are happy to eat slavery chocoalte and b) find it objectionable to be informed. Not sure how you think I am misreading you there, it seems pretty clear. I wouldn't care that much, except, you know, 7 year old slaves.

Either way, it's whatever. This thread is old, and I've made my points. Take it or leave it, no skin off my nose (cause I'm not a 7 year old cacao slave in africa).
posted by lazaruslong at 2:45 PM on May 18, 2012


Please take a walk.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:05 PM on May 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Night_owl: "Oh my god if I wasn't pregnant I would be drinking six of these right now..."

I just pinned that recipe. When I make it - and oh, yes, I will be making it - I will let you know if it is as tasty as it looks.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 5:09 PM on May 18, 2012


LMGM: "But the thing was, she never told you what "good" meant, or what you might do if you couldn't afford "good" ingredients. Her delivery implied that the right kind of viewer would know what "good" was, and would have the means to get it. For me, at least, this wasn't even a dogwhistle of "understated privilege," it was a bullhorn."

At my co-op, when produce is just a day away from being chucked in the compost, it goes in a bin where it's all marked down to 35c/lb. I keep wanting to make a YouTube cooking show where I wrangle up some kind of dish using mostly those ingredients. I think it'd be fun, but more importantly it would highlight how to make good food out of anything, even bad food.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:45 PM on May 18, 2012


I'm in the process of making the cookies from the second link, but without the salt at the end. I'll see how it goes. Thanks again for posting this.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 3:23 AM on May 19, 2012



Seems pretty clear that you a) don't care and are happy to eat slavery chocoalte and b) find it objectionable to be informed. Not sure how you think I am misreading you there, it seems pretty clear. I wouldn't care that much, except, you know, 7 year old slaves.

Either way, it's whatever. This thread is old, and I've made my points. Take it or leave it, no skin off my nose (cause I'm not a 7 year old cacao slave in africa).
posted by lazaruslong at 7:45 AM on May 19 [+] [!]


I find your preaching on this topic to be sanctimonious from the get go and in its own way, naive.

How about we find the one (of many) element of your life where less then perfect ethical standards are at play? Can you account for the good providence of every thing you buy and use? Of course not. We

It is patently obvious that the passion you have about chocolate is, by its very nature, cannot be maintained across every other element of your life.

Hey, you're welcome to be completely ignorant and uncaring of the environmental and human-suffering impact of you decisions. Good for you. You're welcome to ignore any information or evidence that your choices have real-world implications. Don't know why you want to be kind of an asshole about your choice to remain ignorant but hey, there ya go.


I mean, really? Let's not pretend here. You consciously maintain ignorance and detachment from the thousand thousand Bad Things in life. Don't pretend you cry for each cut blade of grass in Fenway Park, or the workers in nameless third world countries that assemble your electronics, or the homeless people you pass on your way to eat your Very Pure Chocolate.
posted by oxford blue at 7:51 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


lazaruslong, I actually agree with you about the chocolate and happily spend more money to get the good stuff (I just put in a big order for Askinosie chocolate a couple days ago) but you're really not winning any friends here and as oxford blue says being quite naive about your stance. Do you honestly think that the rest of the goods you buy are not dependent in a large degree on slave labor or inhuman working conditions?

Have you ever bought a laptop?
Used a cellphone?
Bought tshirts or athletic shoes?

Congratulations, you've used products that resulted from slave labor, as has everyone else writing on Metafilter. Everyone has to make choices about the things they care about or don't care about, just so that we don't break down weeping every day and get on with our lives. I didn't get the sense that DarlingBri doesn't care about chocolate slave labor -- just that your rants are not the way to go about changing minds.
posted by peacheater at 10:26 AM on May 19, 2012


I wouldn't care that much, except, you know, 7 year old slaves.

This is what gets me about the original, racist version of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: It was actually kinda accurate.

Still pretty racist, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 AM on May 19, 2012


Well, to defend lazaruslong, I think what some people find galling about the chocolate thing is a) how explicitly we know children are stolen/taken under false pretenses from their families and used as slaves to harvest the stuff b) that there are many sources now of slavery-free chocolate, and the number's growing, and most of it's, while not as super available as nestle or hershey or whatever, not too hard to find c) child slavery-free chocolate happens to also taste awesome along the same principle as kosher/halal/vegan food often being super delicious in that people who give a fuck about one aspect of the food are going to give a fuck about all the others too, making for carefully made, tasty stuff d) it's arguable it's easy to live without slavery-free chocolate in a way that is less practical when it comes to laptops, cellphones, etc. Throwing your hands up in the air like "I can't live my modern life without some cruel labor stuff, so I'm just going to stick my fingers in me ears and go 'la la la!'" seems sort of silly to me. Almost everybody can do their job, communicate with family long distance, commute to work, etc. without slavery chocolate, even if that can't be said for laptops, plastic, clothing, whatever. That's all. This is a derail, but I just wanted to address the point that somehow ll is being silly or picking and choosing to some non-understandable level. I would disagree and say it's perfectly understandable.

and yeah, I still agree being combative and in your face about food choices, even in severe matters where the cruelty-to-frivolity ratio is as whack as this, doesn't win any friends or understanding, and this thread is a good example.
posted by ifjuly at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2012


I looked at the recipe in this post and thought that the cookie part in it is more of a vehicle for chocolate. I really like more cookie in my cookies. That doesn't mean I won't try to make it, though.

But also - is this is the part when people start jumping in a thread that's getting contentious with recipes? Because my chocolate cinnamon coconut cookie recipe is up on Bean Plates right now! Yay, and thanks, Bean Plates!
posted by peagood at 3:49 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


it smells sooo good in this thread
posted by not_on_display at 10:52 PM on May 19, 2012


I'm going to step around the discussion about slave-chocolate (pls don't hurt me), but I made the cookies as described in the second recipe...I'm guessing I made a bad turn somewhere, because the cookie dough was a bit on the crumbly side...but the cookies still came out pretty well. I have the rest of the dough in the fridge to continue to chill for the remainder of the 36 hours...so, I'm hoping the next batch, will have that flavor complexity that comes out from letting the dough chill for longer.
posted by subversiveasset at 11:20 PM on May 19, 2012


Coriolis: I think Woolworth's home brand cocoa is the nicest one for cooking with, surprisingly enough, and much of the chocolate from Aldi is amazingly good. And Whittaker's, of course, bless them.

I find Nigella almost unwatchable. All that moaning and licking her fingers stuff is just...yikes, stop it already. I love her in print though! Or whoever her ghost writer is - does she write it herself? because Domestic Goddess is one of my favourite books, and everything I cook out of it is always delicious.
posted by thylacinthine at 6:20 AM on May 24, 2012


I'm guessing I made a bad turn somewhere, because the cookie dough was a bit on the crumbly side...but the cookies still came out pretty well.

I am making these right now, and even after having the dough in the fridge for 24 hours, the dough was pretty crumbly. In fact, I'm going to say it got worse since leaving it in the fridge, like it dried out completely. Maybe I didn't wrap it tightly enough in the plastic wrap.

I'm wondering if the 5 oz of brown butter might have been 5 oz after browning, since you're going to lose some butter mass when you burn away those fats or whatever happens when you brown butter.

I have them in the oven currently. I will take them out in 10 minutes.

*20 minutes have elapsed*

They were pretty crumbly taking them off the baking sheets right away, but after they cooled, they solidified quite nicely. I ate one, and burned my tongue, but they tasted pretty good. My suggestion for anyone making them might be to up the ante to 6 oz of butter to start, you should have dough that's less dry in the end. I may not go for the refrigeration of the dough either, it just seemed to dry mine out.
posted by King Bee at 11:28 AM on May 28, 2012


As a bit of an addendum, I tried making the cookies again last weekend, but with a modification.

As I wrote before, I thought the dough was pretty crumbly...and then, I realized what it was about the recipe that made me feel something was off...see, the blog says that it's supposed to be a combination of the NY Times recipe and the Cook's Illustrated CC cookie recipe, but I remember making Cook's Illustrated CC cookies before...Notwithstanding the name of this blog, this describes CC cookies as per Cook's illustrated that are decidedly NOT crumbly.

What's the major difference?

It uses 14 tablespoons of butter, rather than 10. That would be around 7 ounces.

The trick is that yes, 10 tablespoons are melted and browned...but then, there are 4 tablespoons that are creamed with the sugar in solid state.

Adding the extra 4 tablespoons of butter really made a difference to the dough's consistency -- even with refrigeration.
posted by subversiveasset at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


From what I can remember of Nigella's books, she generally recommends good quality chocolate, not cheap. The recipe for these cookies here recommends 70% cocoa solids minimum.

70% bars are about £1 in Sainsbury's (the own brand stuff) and probably the same across the Big Four supermarkets here. The Lidl stuff, which I get if I'm making tiffin, is something like 79p per 100g. I'm surprised how expensive dark chocolate is in the US. Lindt and Green and Blacks are a little expensive, but you can use something of the same quality easily.

Though not Lindt Wasabi dark chocolate. That stuff tastes weiiird.
posted by mippy at 8:24 AM on June 13, 2012


« Older Small, Far Away - The World of Father Ted: Graham ...  |  A woman opens an old steamer t... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments