Friday, November 26, 2010

Adventures in Cookie Dough Balls

It's the day after Thanksgiving, which means most of us are lolling around, trying to shake off yesterday's food coma while simultaneously justifying today's breakfast of pumpkin pie + whipped cream (vegetables and dairy!). So I really have no business posting about more desserts, especially desserts that are completely unrelated to pumpkins, apples, pilgrims, or Indians.


I have recently been inducted into the mysterious world of cookie dough balls, and I really can't keep it to myself.

Cookie. Dough. Balls?

Oh yes. These are balls of cookie dough baked until barely set in the middle, so that they can be handled like a cookie but retain most of the taste and texture of cookie dough. Think they sound awesome? You're totally right.

I tried two very different recipes, one for chocolate chip, and one for peanut butter chocolate chip. I don't feel like either is my perfect recipe, so I'll probably keep tweaking them, but let's face it, I'm not going to kick these cookie dough balls out of bed, so I figured I'd share the love while I labor in the Cake or Death kitchen perfecting them.

First up: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls. These were basically a modified chocolate chip cookie dough, with less butter and more flour, baked cold so that they spread a bit less. While the end result was pretty tasty, I thought the dough needed more sugar, and the cookies were closer to actual cookies than dough balls, even though I baked them less than the time recommended.

The thing is, even imperfect cookie dough balls are still REALLY good. We polished these puppies off posthaste.

Next: peanut butter chip cookies. These were modified from a vegan recipe (hello, buttah) but they could easily be made vegan, since they don't have any eggs and you can re-substitute vegan margarine for the butter. The big difference in these cookies is that they use powdered sugar instead of granulated, which made a huge difference in the texture and produced a much stiffer dough without adding more flour.

The dough was actually too dry and crumbly for me, but after I added a little invert sugar, it held together well and produced this sexy beast:

Soft, melting, but with a slightly crisp exterior...these were seriously good. So if you haven't died of a sugar overdose yet, the recipes are below with my notes and suggested changes. And you'd better believe I'm going to keep fiddling with these until I find the perfect recipe...stay tuned.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
original recipe from The Chic Life, my changes in red brackets

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick butter, softened/room-temp
1 tbsp sugar [I would bump this way up, at least 1/3 cup. Next time I'm going to try powdered sugar instead of granulated, too]
1 egg (or flaxseed-egg)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips [I used 1 cup and had no regrets]

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.

In a medium bowl, mix sugars and butter till creamy. [I used a stand mixer, but DON'T beat these until light and fluffy. You don't want to add extra air, which will cause them to spread.] Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.

Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. Careful to not overmix.

Gently fold chocolate chips into the dough, without overmixing.

Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes before using a small sorbet scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Roll each mound into a ball and spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball. Preheat oven to 350 and spread parchment on baking sheets.

Bake balls for 10-14 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. [I baked for 9 and thought I could have gone a little less]. Let your dough balls rest on the baking sheet to cool at least 5-10 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls
original recipe from Peas and Thank You, my changes in red brackets

1/2 c. non-dairy margarine [I used sweet, sweet butter]
3/4 c. natural peanut butter [I used 1 cup]
1/2 c. organic brown sugar
3/4 c. organic powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour [I used 1.5 cups AP]
1/2 c. unbleached organic flour [see above]
1/2 c. natural peanut butter chips
1/2 c. non-dairy chocolate chips
[I added 2 tbsp invert sugar]**

Using a stand mixer, beat margarine, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and flours.

Add dry mixture to the mixer bowl a little at a time. Mix until a dough forms, add chips, c
combine and chill dough for 30 minutes.

preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough with a mini ice cream scoop (or your fingers) and place balls on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. [I baked for 10 minutes, they were perfect.] They’ll still be soft and look much like they did going in, but don’t overbake. Let the dough balls rest on the pan for a minute before transferring to a cooling rack.

**Invert sugar is a liquid with a consistency similar to corn syrup, composed of glucose and fructose. A good scientific overview can be found here. It's great to add to cookies if you want them to stay moist and gooey, and it's also great in candies to prevent crystallization and to keep ganache fudgy and soft.

Final Thoughts
I loved the addition of invert sugar--it made the cookies stay really soft and moist and doughy. However since it's not as readily available in grocery stores, I'd like to try to get to a recipe that produces the same effect with common sugars. I think the key is finding the right mix of brown, granulated, and powdered sugars to give them structure without drying them out. More experimenting to come!


  1. Greatest. Invention. Ever. Thank you!

  2. I am SO all over these! Must. play. along.
    I really think sometimes I'd rather eat cookie dough.
    You are brilliant! ;)

  3. Why haven't I heard of this before. This sounds like the best creation ever!! Waiting for you to perfect and post your recipes so that I can try them :)

  4. so have you made these cookies again using powdered sugar??? also i was going to ask you.... with powdered sugar its a 2:1 ratio for sweetness compared to regular sugar. example: 2 cups powdered sugar = 1 cup regular sugar. so because of that, are you going to use 2/3 cup powdered sugar? or are u just going to use 1/3 cup powdered. And, will u let us no the results regardless of what you end up doing? Thanks!