Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookies

Due to popular demand, I am now revealing my new Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Actually, I only had one vote on the matter in my last post, and it was from a fellow cookie-lover, Jenn from Cinnamon Quill. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you just love chocolate, please go straight to her vegan World Peace Cookie Recipe which looks amazing. If you're really into pancetta, stick around for this post or see my recipe for Pasta Carbonara or Pancetta-wrapped Scallops.

As you can probably guess, I'm on a bit of a pancetta kick. While the rest of Portland is devouring bacon by the pound, I'm getting into the more subtle flavor that pancetta lends to a recipe. For something more intense, check out Pete's Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. He candies the bacon before using. I went a different route with this recipe. I left the pancetta uncooked. Half of it I whipped into the butter to infuse the pancetta flavor throughout the batter. The other half of the pancetta goes in with the chocolate chips at the end. The result is a soft, subtle, and almost savory cookie.

A note about softness and texture: it took me a while to develop the right technique for making cookies come out really soft and stay that way after cooling. There are three tricks to employ if softness is your goal. Firstly, when softening your butter let it get so warm that a little bit of it starts to melt. This is a good temperature to whip it at, and will help the sugar integrate into the butter. Second, whip the butter until it's extremely fluffy. This can take quite a while; be patient and persistent. Keep checking the texture until it's just right. The sugar shouldn't have a granulated texture anymore, but should melt into the butter a bit. Thirdly, don't cook them too long. The cookies should just be browned around the edges but with a soft center.

Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookies

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Blend together in a small bowl:

1 Cup + 2 TBSP Gluten-free Deluxe Pastry Flour (1 1/4 Cup for cakey-er cookies)
1/2 tsp baking soda
(add: 1/8 tsp xanthan gum if your gluten-free flour mix doesn't have it already)

In a large bowl, beat until very fluffy, about 7 minutes:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup bakers sugar, or up to a 50:50 ratio of brown and granulated sugar
4 thin slices pancetta, cut into pieces (about 1.5 oz)

When optimal fluffiness is achieved, add in:

1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat until smooth. Add in your flour mixture and stir until well-combined. Stir in:

4 more thin slices of pancetta, cut into pieces (about 1.5 oz)
1/2 cup high-quality dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet in rounded lumps. I use about 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie. Space them two inches apart. Cook one sheet at a time for 8 minutes, or until they are done on the outer edge and still doughy in the center. Serve warm when possible.

10 comments:

l'actrice said...

Thanks for the great tip. These details make all the difference. I'll have to try it out.

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

Ohh! Thanks for the shout-out :) I am so glad to see these, they sound super exotic! Your soft cookie tips are much appreciated, and it looks they work for making great-looking cookies as well. You should definitely enter these into some kind of cookie contest! He.

Kara said...

looks delicious! I am glad we met in blog land because i am new to the GF thing and need some recipes!!

Amy said...

Ahhh, looks amazing. I always say that I love bacon/pancetta with anything. Now I need to make these cookies, just to be certain...

Heather @CeliacFamily said...

What an interesting idea. Bacon sure has gotten more attention this year. I haven't yet tried it with sweet treats. This may be just the way to start. I appreciate your attention to details when sharing recipes.

Gluten FREE foods ROCK said...

They look YUMMY

Linda said...

Pancetta or bacon in a cookie? That's a new one to me. I can't even imagine what one of those cookies would taste like, so I'll just have to try it for myself! Thanks for linking up!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Very interesting, Gina! I'd like to try some of these. The pancetta in the raw cookie dough makes these sort of look like M&M cookies. ;-)

Thanks,
Shirley

Anne Seebaldt said...

Where do you find gluten-free, high-quality pastry flour? I have yet to find any gf pastry flour in stores. I would prefer to buy something at a store to try some out, rather than ordering large quantities online. Any suggestions of brands to look for?

Gina said...

Anne - You're right, it's much easier to buy flours in the store. However, I don't know of any GF pastry flours that are widely available in stores. Hopefully I will be able to distribute my own flours in stores soon!