22 February 2012

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Some evenings, all I want is a nice big chocolate chip walnut cookie.  Warm from the oven, perfectly crunchy at the edges, chewy and slightly soft at the center.  Chunks of walnut that can be nibbled out of the cookie whole, and melted nuggets of chocolate.  Oh and I'll take a nice ice-cold glass of milk alongside.

Whenever I need the perfect cookie, I always pull out this delicious recipe that purportedly comes from the cafe of the Neiman Marcus department store.  Urban legend watchdog Snopes confirms that the story behind this recipe is just that--a story--but in any case, I'm just thankful that the email meme containing this recipe came my way at a time when I actually *would* read all those crazy email forwards people sometimes spam you with. 

But back to these cookies, I have to say I love the nutty flavor (thanks to oat flour and chunks of walnut) and hints of caramel (that'd be from the brown sugar).  And to intensify and deepen these flavors, you really want to let the dough age for at least 36 hours before baking.  Don't take any shortcuts here!  Research shows that a clear flavor difference is noticed not at 12 or 24 hours but only after 36 hours, as the flours, butter, and egg finally have a chance to truly meld together.

The great thing about aging cookie dough is that you go through the work of making a big batch of dough on one day, and then days (or even weeks) later can effortlessly enjoy freshly-baked, homemade cookies.  Just store the dough in an air-tight container at the back of your fridge, then any time you want a fresh-baked cookie, the aged dough is right on hand, ready to go.  Just grab an ice cream scooper and scoop out a cookie (or two) and bake it up in your toaster oven!  Mmm...fresh-baked cookie goodness!

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One quick note: using a stand mixer definitely makes this a whole lot easier.  The dough gets to be rather stiff once the dry ingredients are added!

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies 
Adapted from the "Neiman-Marcus $250" meme
Makes ~ 4 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup each white sugar & brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oats, blended to fine powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each baking powder and soda
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely-chopped walnuts (or other nuts of your choice)

Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Add to creamed mixture and stir until well incorporated.  Transfer cookie dough to an air-tight container and refrigerate 36 hours or more.

Scoop by rounded tablespoons and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes or until cookies reach desired doneness.  Remove cookies from oven and let sit on pans one minute, then enjoy them nice and warm!  Before storing any leftover cookies, make sure they have cooled completely (a cooling rack is helpful here) before placing in an air-tight container.


the Junkie book said...

you've tempted me nuts with your description recipe and clicks! tell me something...do you have to use rolled oats...and instead of choc chips does using dark choc slab make a difference?

erica said...

i generally do use rolled oats/quick-cooking oats, because the blend so easily to a fine flour. it'd be interesting to try this recipe, though with oats that still have the bran attached, such as steel-cut oats!

if you don't have chocolate chips on hand, i think chopping up a slab of chocolate (semi-sweet, dark, or another favorite flavor) would be just fine.

MyFudo™ said...

I bet this will be an all time favorite for my family too...Can't wait to start baking!

beyondkimchee said...

Oooh! Neiman Marcus cookies..!
I used to make these often many years ago. Yes, grinding oat meals was the key thing in this recipe. With all the walnuts, I've forgot about how good they are. Thanks for sharing this, Erica.
BTW I love the text on the second photo. So cute!

erica said...

Hi Holly, oh it's fun to find another fan of these cookies--yay for the oat flour, right? thanks for the feedback on the text! i've been experimenting and wondering if i should include a little text now and then on my pictures in the future...what do you think?

beyondkimchee said...

I think adding a big text on the photo make it look like a cookbook cover.
It can add a little character but also it can be distracting at the same time if the text is too eye catching.
I used to add text on my photo but I am not including these days. Sometimes I like it with, the other times I like it without.
I love the text you chose though. It just goes so well with those cookies. It looks like a little cookie book cover. Love it.

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