The only thing better, or at least more interesting, than a chocolate chip cookie is an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. The only thing better than that is the same cookie with a spectacular and intriguing finishing salt on top. Topping your cookies with a beautiful artisan salt brings out the cow in the butter, hills in the oats, and the jungle in the chocolate. Also, by topping your cookies with the salt rather than just mixing a small amount up inside the batter, you set the salt free to do it’s own thing, work its mojo with each of the ingredients as they combine in your mouth while you chew.
I used Bali Rama sea salt, which has really cool hollow pyramidal crystals and a great, snappy saltiness for the cookies pictured here. The advantage of using a flake salt is that it remains delicate even after baking. This salt is not yet on our website (it will be by the end of the week), but you could order it over the phone by calling The Meadow. It did a spectacular job bringing just barely enough drama to the cookies to make them sparkle, but keeping everything mellow enough to assure they remain the ultimate comfort food. The oven will dry out a fleur de sel, or sel gris, leaving you with a hard crunch and a slightly more ostentatious saltiness.
Note (Aug 31 ’09): Based on some feedback from readers here, and from my baker friend Allie, I have tweaked the recipe just a touch to insure more uniform success, adding 1/4t of salt to the dough, and shifting the oat/flour ratio.
In terms of chocolate chip cookie recipes, I’m not sure there’s anywhere to go–other than getting some oatmeal in there. My recipe is adapted from the classic toll house cookie recipe, with three notable exceptions.
1. Use just a pinch of salt in the dough; saving a place for good salt on top
2. Use unconventional chocolate. If you can get it, use 60% or darker chocolate chips and you will be amazed
3. Add oats, and as a consequence, remove some of the flour
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 1/2 cups regular or quick oats (not instant)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon bali salt, crunched up with your fingers
* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 eggs
* 1 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips (2 cups if using traditional semi-sweet chips)
* Finishing salt: Bali Rama, Cyprus Silver, Halen Mon Silver, or if no alternative, any good fleur de sel
Preheat Oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda and oats in small bowl. The rest is the classic Nestle’s Toll House cookie recipe: Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased baking sheets.
Sprinkle the artisan salt of choice salt atop each cookie, and then toss them in the oven. I like my salted chocolate chip cookies on the chewy side, so 8 to 9 minutes max is good. 10 minutes for crispy cookies.
These cookies stay fresh for nigh upon a week if stored in a cookie jar shaped like Winnie the Pooh.