Tag Archives: chocolate chunk

Holiday Baking Day 2: Chocolate Chunk Caramel Cookies

When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, people are very particular. Some like them thin and crispy; others love them thick and chewy. There are those who love them all warm and gooey from the oven.   Then there are those who prefer them once they have totally cooled, and the chocolate has a snap when you bite into them.  Finally, there are those who love them best straight from the freezer once they have cured for a few days.  Granted, that camp is quite small (by the way, I am firmly in this camp) but they have their followers. Here is a tale about one chocolate chip cookie that is far superior to any other I have ever tried.

A few months ago, while surfing various food blogs I came across the following sentence, “I have found the last chocolate chip cookie recipe I will ever need.” Wow, I thought, that is a very bold statement and one not to be uttered lightly. However, being a food blogger myself, I know how we, as a group, are prone to exaggeration. These cookies were originally created buy Ashley at notwithoutsalt.com.

As I read through her recipe I became intrigued. All of the chocolate chip cookie recipes I have made over the years use both white and brown sugar. The white sugar makes the cookies crisp and the brown sugar, because of its hygroscopic (i.e.: it absorbs moisture from the air) properties, makes the cookies chewy. This is the first recipe I have ever seen that uses a third sugar – Turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar is a golden coloured natural brown sugar is produced by extracting the juice from sugar cane, heating it to evaporate water and crystallize the sugar, then spinning in a centrifuge to remove some impurities and further dry the sugar. It can commonly be found at bulk food stores.

I must say a few words about the chocolate you choose for these cookies. Ashley says you must use the best quality chocolate you can afford. I made them with Valrhona Manjari 64% Chocolate from Madagascar. I know, I sound like such a chocolate snob, but I really believe that this chocolate took my cookies from good to outstanding. The Manjari chocolate is often sold in what they call “Les Feves” or “pistoles”. Essentially these are discs of chocolate that are reminiscent of chocolate chips on steroids. But they have none of the chalky, waxy quality of chocolate chips. I cannot emphasize too strongly, do not use chocolate chips for these cookies. Chocolate chips contain an emulsifier in them to help them hold their shape during baking. You want the chocolate to completely melt in baking and then harden once again after cooling. There is some kind of physical change that takes place during the melting and cooling, that gives chocolate chunk cookies a special snap or bite to them that you just do not get with chocolate chips. Buy a few bars of good quality chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa content). If you can’t find Valrhona Manjari 64% Chocolate, try some chopped Callebaut or even Lindt dark chocolate.

With a small sprinkling of fleur de sel, just before baking, these cookies are pretty close to perfection. But, not one to leave well enough alone, I added chopped caramel candies to mine. These are a hefty cookie, crammed full of large shards of chocolate and little tunnels of caramel.

This recipe makes about 32 cookies, or less if you are they type to nibble on raw cookie dough. You know who you are, so adjust your yield expectations accordingly!

I used a 2 inch ice cream scoop and put 9 cookies on a 18 x 31 inch cookie sheet.

Warm from the oven or cold from the freezer, these cookies are pretty fantastic.

Click here to print the recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chunk and Caramel Cookie.

Giant Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Ever since I watched Emma Feigenbaum make Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies on  the “Best Burgers” episode of Everyday Food, I have been unable to think of anything else.  I know that lots of people bash Martha Stewart, but I happen to love this show.  There are no bells and whistles, no audiences applauding when the host mentions cheese, garlic or wine. (Sorry, Rachael Ray, I love you, but I just can’t stand that phony applause)  There are no “fake friends” coming around for dinner parties (Ina and Giada).  It’s just a simply produced show with a gorgeous set and appealing recipes that make you want to cook.  I find all the cast members credible and really enjoy Emma, the newest cast member.  She has the sweetest smile. I think we could be friends.

I managed to resist baking them for about a week, but then suddenly, all 3 of my children were under my roof for an entire 48 hours.  I had to bake!  As I was taking the butter out of the fridge to soften, my stack of Lindt fleur de sel chocolate bars caught my eye.  I always have at least 8 bars on hand in the fridge.  You never know when the craving will hit.  I decided to chop them up and use them in the cookies instead of regular chocolate chips.

Over the years I have had favourite chocolate chip cookie recipes.  We were hooked on Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies for a while, but they were just too much trouble.  Apparently what makes them so special is the Valrhona feves (giant oval shaped chocolate discs), but seriously, I live in Ottawa, and sourcing them was a pain!  They also required 24-72 hours of chilling time for the dough before baking.  When you have a craving for chocolate chip cookies you don’t want to wait 3 days!

Before Jacques Torres’, we were into Marcy Goldman’s Better Baking.com Chocolate Chip Cookies (she nicknamed them “Big League” Chocolate Chip Cookies). But they required you to melt half the butter and then cool it and she also recommended chilling the dough for 24 hours.  Problem was, everyone ended up sneaking little bits of cookie dough from the fridge and by the time we got around to baking them, there was hardly any dough left.  Also, for some reason, I always got inconsistent results with this recipe.

Lately we have been  worshipping at the alter of Michael Smith’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  But I just could not stop thinking of these Giant Cookies Emma made.  I was not disappointed.  They were crisp around the edges and chewy in the center.  The addition of the fleur de sel chocolate chunks took these cookies to a whole new level.

When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, people are in one of 3 camps.  There are those who love them all warm and gooey from the oven. Then there are those who prefer them once they have totally cooled, and the chocolate has a snap when you bite into them.  Finally, there are those who love them best straight from the freezer once they have cured for a few days.  Granted, that camp is quite small (BTW, I am firmly in this camp) but they have their followers.

Chop the chocolate, cream butter and both sugars together, add the vanilla and egg.

Using the mixer is ok for incorporating dry ingredients, but mix in chocolate chunks gently with a spatula.

Form cookies using a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  Don’t overcrowd. 4-5 cookies per sheet is the maximum.  Bake for 14-15 minutes.

Giant Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chunk Cookies

To print recipe, click here.

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 100 gram bars of Lindt Fleur de Sel Chocolate. coarsely chopped
Fleur de Sel for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined; mix in vanilla.
  3. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just incorporated. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chunks.
  4. Drop 1/4-cup mounds of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, at least 4 inches apart and away from edges of pan. (You will fit about 4 cookies to a sheet; bake in two batches, using two baking sheets per batch.) Bake until golden, 14-15 minutes, rotating sheets front to back and from top to bottom of oven halfway through.
  5. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of fleur de sel. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.