Thursday, June 10, 2010

June's Cookie of the Month: Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

This month's cookie was actually made in collaboration with all of this blog's authors as Gnomicon West traveled to Gnomicon East for, among other things, a baking fest. I asked Rebecca whether she had any preferences for which cookie recipe to bring, as flying with two cook books seemed excessive. Her only parameter: that it contain chocolate. That poses no challenge for The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book. I looked for a recipe that was simple, so we overwhelmed new parents could swing all this baking between feedings and diaper changes. More on how that worked out below the jump.

The preamble to the recipe very helpfully suggested buying a strong-flavored honey like wildflower, pine tree, oak tree, acacia, chestnut, or star thistle. Rebecca tracked down thistle honey at her local organic grocery store. It was light colored and very sweet. You could certainly smell the honey as these cookies baked.

Now, I thought I'd picked a very new-parent-friendly recipe, but I failed to note the instruction to allow the dough to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. At exactly the thirty minute mark both babies woke up and our intrepid new-mom bakers had to snap into action. So our dough rested for more like two hours. Must be nice to be that well-rested.

Like the Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies the original recipe instructs the baker to do some fussy stuff during the baking, which is more of a hassle for new moms than dough rest times. I'm not convinced the extra steps in either recipe make a significant difference, or at least a difference sufficient to outweigh the hassle. To test this theory, Rebecca followed the instruction to flatten the cookies with the back of a flatware spoon three quarters of the way through baking for one batch and then did not for the next batch. The only difference seemed to be that the flattened cookies looked messier as the chocolate chips got squished. In the pictures are two of each and I can hardly tell which are which. The instruction does say, "especially if they've begun to puff up." We noticed no puffing or spreading of any kind. Maybe due to the awesomeness of Rebecca's convection oven? Hard to say.

These cookies were closest in texture to the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. Significantly, they both lack eggs. Also, the honey flavor of the Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies was as subtle as that of the banana flavor of the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies and the butterscotch of the Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies. All three were made with Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chips, which are awesome, but may overwhelm the more subtle background flavors. With that in mind, Rebecca modified the recipe by using only 1 1/2 cups of the Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chips rather than the 3 cups of the original. I think you would not have tasted the honey at all if you used 3 cups.

We had a hard time trying to figure out why one would choose this recipe over the others. Despite its lack of eggs it's not vegan due to the butter and, well, more crucially, the honey. I suppose if you were one of those people who thought refined sugar was the devil's work, then honey is a nice substitute. Or if you just happen to find yourself jonesing for cookies but your pantry lacks eggs and sugar, this recipe could be your next fix. If you're looking for a recipe to make with kids or pregnant women with no danger of salmonella poisoning from raw eggs in the dough this recipe or the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies would do. Children under 1 year old aren't supposed to eat honey due to the risk of botulism, so that weighs in favor of the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. In the end we settled on the unsatisfying conclusion that Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough included this recipe because they had to fill a whole book with recipes for chocolate cookies and that's a lot of recipes. The verdict of the four taste testers who had all had the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies previously was in favor of the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies over the Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies. The verdict of the wise sage/taste tester who had not had the Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies previously was, "Better than no cookies at all."

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book: From Chocolate Melties to Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Biscotti to Black and Whites, with Dozens of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hundreds More by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough


  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chips


1. Whisk the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform.

2. Soften the butter in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, about 1 minute. Add the honey and vanilla; continue beating until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the prepared flour mixture and beat at low speed just until a wet, soft dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees (300 if you've got a rockin' convection oven).

4. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto two large, baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and back to front. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and somewhat firm to the touch. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Cool the baking sheets for 5 minutes before baking further batches.

Previous Cookies of the Month:
January's Cookie of the Month: Soft Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
February's Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cookies
March's Cookie of the Month: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
April's Cookie of the Month: Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
May's Cookie of the Month: Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Mark Scarbrough said...

Well, actually, it wasn't to fill out a book. It was because I LOVE honey. I want the taste in everything. (Don't even get me started on maple syrup.) So I wanted a chocolate chip cookie that paired chocolate with honey. Sorry they weren't to your taste. Ah, well. But I'm glad you like that little chocolate cookie book. It never got the play it deserved, I think.