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In no more than a few weeks, I´ve gained fame baking chocolate chip cookies from the NY Times recipe back from July ´08. It first caught my eye after reading about it on Chez Pim´s. Before I was able to actually sell the cookies, I had to make the recipe several times over and make the proper adjustments for altitude. My first cookies came out flat as pancakes. The second batch too. They were crispy all the way through and not bad, but not what I was looking for. I like them crispy and brown on the edges and chewy as you work your way towards, the middle, don’t you?

I tried extra an extra egg yolk for texture, that didn’t work. The brown sugar here is different than what you can get in the states-there is no “light” or “dark” brown sugar, just plain brown sugar. Tried varying the rations of brown to white, made little or no difference. I let a Venezuelan friend of mine, who owns a restaurant, try them and they didn’t like the “panela” flavor. Panela is the term for what is raw, unprocessed brown sugar, which usually comes in a solid block and has to be broken up before it can be used. But to me, the absence of brown sugar…well, you couldn’t call it a chocolate chip cookie, really, if it didn’t have brown sugar.

You can’t find bread flour here in Ecuador either, so I use all AP flour in the recipe. Worked fine for me here.

I found the key to getting cookies that did not spread too much was to use chilled dough. 50g portions were just right. A hot oven is also key. Success came using our convection oven preheated to 375F.

Finally, I realized the less I changed the original recipe, the better. Because of the altitude, I find that most muffin and cookie recipes can use up to 80% less leavening than at sea level. So, let me leave you with the recipe adjusted for high-altitude baking, 9,000 feet to be more or less exact. (BTW, if you have any tips, I’m still having trouble with high altitude pound cake). Adapted from

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

475 g AP Flour
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
280g unsalted butter
560g light brown sugar
225 g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
500g bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves (I use 55% bars broken up in chunks)
Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 50g balls of chilled dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

Yield: Approx 3 dozen cookies.

  • tracey brown

    I tried making chocolate chip cookies a few times when I was in Quito, and found it to be a challenging endeavor. I had the same problem with the brown sugar (but I eventually found some in that expensive foreign food store at CC El Espiral – I don’t know if it is still there after all these years). The cookies were okay, but totally not my Tollhouse recipe like I’d make here at home in CT. All my friends that tried them loved them, but they had nothing to compare them to :-)

  • bob

    This is an old post. They do have brown sugar in Megamaxi. Sometimes they even have Nestles CCs for toll house cookies…just like in eeuu. I bought some in Conocoto in 2011 and I have not had a problem finding brown sugar here that is fine with THCC.

    I have had no problems making cookies in EEUU at Leadville, Colorado and Buena Vista Colorado. My home in Colorado was north of Buena Vista 12 miles and up in the mountains to 9,400 msl.

    I made the cookies just like the bag says. And 375f.

    Warm the the brown sugar a little in the pan with the white. Just until it starts to melt. Then removed let cool just a second because you have to add the other stuff and you don’t want the eggs to cook.

    Then put the dough into the refrigerator for 45 mins. Remove and mix together the chips and put back into the fridge. Keep in the fridge until it hardens a little but not too much for the melon scoop. And I say melon scoop for a reason. Keep the cookies small enough for 2 nice bites.

    As for your bread, use Santa Lucia (red and white package). If you are still having bread problems you are doing something wrong. I use “masa madre”. Sometimes I use yeast as an additive to the sour dough for taste only or when I need a quick rise. But usually the masa madre starter works perfect for rolls and loafs and french/Italian.

  • bob

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>


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