We all have our cookie preferences. My dad, an avid hobby baker, likes his cookies crunchy and is always perfecting his crumb. Me, I’m the exact opposite. Give me a chewy cookie, a little under-baked, with melty hunks of chocolate, the thinner the better.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been baking wildberry cookies. I like to add tangy backyard raspberries to an adapted recipe for what’s called “pan-bangin’” cookies. You can Google these. The cookies have chopped dark chocolate pieces of different sizes and a high fat content. They are made very large. The dough needs to be cold when it goes in the oven. Then, you pick up the pan and drop it a couple of times during the baking process and it flattens them, giving them a little crinkle around the edges and a gooey middle. They have to cool completely on the pan, so you need a couple of pans to make a full batch.
I make an adapted version for normal-sized cookies and depending on my supply and budget, sometimes I use chopped chocolate chips. They don’t get quite the same crinkle in Size Small, but they are excellent in the flat and chewy department. For this recipe, I gently stirred raspberries through the batter, trying my best to keep them close to intact. Then I baked them using the pan-bang method and sprinkled them with Alaska sea salt.
As with all cookies, the temperature of your butter at the beginning is key. It has to be soft to get the right texture (take it out the night before?). I also think a standing mixer makes the best cookies and that an oven-sized large baking pan is a great investment. I have started using finer baker’s sugar because it dissolves more completely, but granulated sugar will work fine, too. Bars are better than chips and no matter what, chop the chocolate irregularly so you get some melty pools. You can also use frozen berries (they don’t fall apart so easily and you’ll have to bake them for slightly longer) or freeze dried, in which case I’d use a little more than a cup and add 2 tablespoons of water to the batter. You can also make double-raspberry cookies by chopping a raspberry chocolate bar. Because they use fresh berries, these cookies are best eaten within 24 hours of the bake. If that’s overwhelming, I suggest bringing some to the neighbors.
Panbangin’ chocolate-raspberry cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup white sugar, preferably baker’s sugar but granulated works too
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 ounces (two 3 ounce bars) dark chocolate, roughly chopped or 8 ounces of dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped.
1 cup fresh raspberries
About 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large 13 by 18 cookie sheets or three to four medium cookie sheets with parchment. Whisk the flour with baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer on medium speed, beat butter until fluffy, at least a minute. Add sugars, beat for 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat, scraping edges, until incorporated. With the mixer on medium-low, shake in the dry ingredients and mix, stopping to scrape the edges, until the dough is cohesive. Add the chocolate and mix briefly on medium low to distribute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and dump the raspberries on top of the dough. With a wooden spoon, very gently pull the raspberries through the dough. They’ll come apart, but the idea is to break them up as little as possible, while distributing them. Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto the pan, leaving a generous amount of room between the cookies, baking roughly 10 to 12 at a time on a large sheet. Put the remaining batter in the fridge. Place the entire cookie pan into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, you can scoop the dough onto a plate and put it into the freezer and then place the balls on the pan). Slide the pan in the oven. After 8 minutes, pull the pan quickly from the oven and drop it on the stove top from a distance of about 4 inches, then return it to the oven. Continue the bang every 2 minutes for 4 to 6 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are brown but the centers just slightly undercooked. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool completely on the pan.