I’m feeling downright Scroogey for not making a load of Christmas cookies, but my pants are already tight and I can’t handle the extra calories right now.
But, jeez, I’ve got to bake something.
Problem is, I can’t be left alone with the standard recipe yield of 24-48 cookies. I wind up eating fistfuls of cookies. Fistfuls.
Luckily, there is a good compromise: Frozen cookie dough. You can bake 2 cookies at a time instead of 24.
I’m not talking about that frozen commercial crap from the Home Shopping Network. That junk is full of margarine, oil, artificial flavors, and waxy, bad chocolate. (I know the description says “butter-based”, but check the ingredient tab on that link. Where’s the butter?) If I’m going to eat a sugar bomb, I want my sugar mixed with real butter and spectacular chocolate.
So I freeze homemade cookie dough.
Not all doughs freeze well. Trial and error seems the only way to tell, with some doughs turning oily and others working perfectly fine. (If anyone out there has a theory that will predict freezer success, please chime in!) The important thing is to freeze the dough into individual portions before you pack them away. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to scoop small amounts of rock-hard frozen dough without thawing the entire batch.
Your girlfriend/husband/whoever will adore you when you pull hot, homemade cookies out of the oven with on a cold winter night. Cookies for no particular reason! Ye shall get kisses.
Luckily, my all-time favorite dough, Ina Garten’s Chocolate, White Chocolate Chunk, freezes beautifully.
Alas, there is one tiny problem: Once the cookies cool completely after baking, the freezing does seem to affect the final “set” texture. They get a bit crispier than normal. Not bad, but not quite like the original.
Right out of the oven, they are perfectly moist, decadent, divine.
So you should eat them hot.
Chocolate White-Chocolate Chunk Cookies – the frozen version
This recipe by Ina Garten makes an incredible cookie. A grown-up, racy version of the standard chocolate chip. Use good cocoa and you’ll be rewarded with deep, dark flavor playing off the cocoa-butter richness of white chocolate.
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!
yields 36-40 cookies
for the dough:
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I recommend Valrhona)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1.5 lbs. white chocolate, cut into chunks (I often use chips instead)
small ice-cream scooper (I use a 1.75-inch diameter)
freezer-duty zip-top bags
a straw, optional
To make dough:
Use a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the cocoa powder and mix well, on low speed. (Low! Or cocoa goes everywhere.)
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. (Alternative: use a whisk to thoroughly mix/fluff the dry ingredients.)
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
Use a sturdy spoon or spatula to fold in the white chocolate.
Use the small scoop to portion dough into balls. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Place entire baking sheets in freezer and chill until dough is firm, 30-45 minutes. (If you can’t fit all the dough in your freezer at once, chill the big bowl of dough in the refrigerator and portion/freeze the dough balls in batches.)
Remove from freezer. Pack dough balls into zip-top bags. Lay bag flat and pack in a single layer. Seal tightly, removing as much air as possible.
(Sealing tip: Zip the bag closed but leave a corner open. Insert a straw. Suck the air out, pull the straw out while inhaling, and quickly close the zipper. It’s a makeshift vaccuum seal. Your dough balls will now stay in one neat layer.)
Heat oven to 350F. Place frozen dough balls 2-inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake 13-15 minutes or until cookies are starting to set. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes until the firm up a bit. Serve warm!