The Quest to Bake a Chocolate Chip Cookie in Austria

As soon as the winter chill sets in my thoughts go straight to baking chocolate chip cookies.  Combine that with drinking a tall glass of cold milk in the aroma filled kitchen as soon as they come out of the oven and I’m in cookie land heaven!  To me, this is always a quick fix to overcome any homesickness that might be lingering too.

Achieving North American bliss in Austria however, is a different story.  What I considered “baking 101” has turned into a science of “WTF is going on?” – it’s ONLY chocolate chip cookies!  Why I ask… why?

So lets start with the ingredients.  Typical ingredients that you would find in a North American pantry like vanilla extract, brown sugar (the molasses kind) and chocolate chips do not exist in Austria. You won’t even find fondant or corn syrup either, unless you visit a specially store that imports & charges triple for everything.  Instead, you will have to settle for brown sugar cane, vanilla sugar and cut up chocolate chunks & hope for the best.  Trust me it doesn’t work.  I now allocate 5kg of luggage weight just to bring back these precious ingredients from my annual trips home to Canada.  I even bring back baking soda as the “Backpulver” here seems to loose its potency a couple of days after opening.   Now that I am fully stocked you’d think that it’s just a matter of whipping, mixing and baking right?  Nope.

Photos from “Freesytle Farm’s” blog was enough to entice me to give it one more go.

Freestylefarm.ca swears that their recipe will produce a perfect balance of crispy & chewy, which is exactly what I have been looking for. However, after seeing and tasting my results I think the more appropriate name for the recipe would be  “The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies unless you live outside North America”.

The difference must be the dairy & flour.  The happy chickens here produce a much richer coloured yellow yolk.  Could that affect the recipe?  I use “Universal” flour, which is considered an all-purpose flour here in Austria.  Are the gluten levels different?  Could the lower protein component influence the outcome?  And the butter, well the butter is my biggest suspect for deflating my cookies (ego too).  Butter whipped at room temperature separates when mixed with egg (at room temperature).  It even separates when whipped with sugar (I gave up on butter icing LONG ago).  It’s gotta be the butter.   Damn you Austrian cows!

….. 1 week later…. & after some research on European flour

Ta-Dah!

So without completely boring you with the details it turns out that the selection of European flour is HUGE. I had been using the wrong flour all along.  Here is a great blog that explains it all “A Vegetarian in Germany

Now I always like to add a twist to anything that I bake and I’ve tweaked the William Sonoma recipe to make it my own.  Since chocolate chips are almost non-existant here I used Milka as a substitute, and not just any plain ‘ol chocolate.  This is a chocolate with Daim pieces & conflakes treat!  Cut this into smaller chunks and add it in addition to your chocolate chunks and your cookie will turn out wicked good!

If you want to try something different I invite you to give my recipe a go.  I suggest to all my European readers to keep the measurements in grams, forget the “cups”.  Ingredients weigh different here than to North America.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Type 700 Glatt for Austria. Type 550 Glatt for Germany. 220g)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (125g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (125g)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (105g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts (125g)
  • 1/2 cup chopped up milk or dark chocolate (70g)
  • 1 bag of chopped up Milka Diam Snax (145g)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180C).
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the butter and the granulated and brown sugars until the mixture is light in texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until smooth and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. With a spoon, stir in the chopped chocolate and chopped hazelnuts, distributing them evenly throughout the dough. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.

Position racks in the center and upper third of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the chilled dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

Bake cookies on the middle rack until the cookies are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool slightly before serving. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

photo credit:  First two photos are from http://www.freestylefarms.ca
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About marthamel

I'm a fun loving Canadian that now calls Vienna, Austria home. After a lot of moving around I have experienced some amazing adventures, disaapointing pitfalls and unexpected surprises. Now that I am settled in Europe, I enjoy continuing to enrich my life with culture, sports, and of course eating fantastic food all in the company of great friends & family. Take a look at my blog! www.canadianlivingineurope.wordpess.com View all posts by marthamel

8 responses to “The Quest to Bake a Chocolate Chip Cookie in Austria

  • Jill Chen

    Wheeew! Glad it turned out! Who knew there was that much difference in flour?

  • Emma

    Hey, love the new blog format! Great post – the flour thing exists here too – it’s classified as 140, 160, 180…something. You could do a Paris travel blog entry and try making chocolate chip cookies while you’re here (he he)

  • littlecitybot

    i’m literally drooling all over myself staring at that top pic. i need those. all of them. even the deflated ones. gimme. yum yum yum! looks delicious!

  • Mary Frances

    I agree with littlecitybot, that photo! And interesting post!

  • Karen

    A very interesting post about the challenges using ingredients that are the same but not really the same.

  • Christine

    What type of brown sugar could one use in Austria that would work with chocolate chip cookies? The types of nrown sugar I have found seem too course and resemble jothing like the brown sugar in Norht America. ny suggestions are welcome:).

  • Hilary

    Thanks for the flour tip. Finally have cookies like home after 2 years of struggling!! My kids loved the addition of the Milka Snax, too. BTW, we found large containers of chocolate chips (and long vials of real vanilla extract!) at Metro, though I like using really good bitter chocolate too.
    @Christine, you can find Mascobado (Muscovado in English) at Denn’s biomarkt. From Wikipedia: “Muscovado sugar can be used in most recipes where brown sugar is called for, by slightly reducing the liquid content of the recipe.” That said, I just followed this recipe exactly using the Mascobado 1:1 and the cookies came out perfectly. We are now baking happily here in Vienna!

  • Helen Ploderer

    I have been living in Europe for over 50 years. Have found solutions to a few problems:
    Molasses = Gold sirop (at a Reform house or DM bio section)
    Vanilla extract. ( 6 to 8 beans split and put in jar with Madagascar Rum. Let sit for 3 months. Every month shake) Then use. 1/4 of a tspn is not going to make an alcoholic out of your child.
    Brown sugar – White sugar in a mixer and blend with “Gold sirop”.
    Cream of Tartar = Weinstein (at Reform houses).
    Baking powder I have not problem with but if it is an old cooking receipe try 2/3 tspn natron (baking soda) and 1/3 Weinstein (cream of tartar) [Used by my Swiss Grandmother in Canada]
    All purpose flour – The cheapest is the best (Billa Clever brand)
    CHOCOLATE CHIPS are DEFINITELY a problem. There are a few websites where you can buy them on-line.
    Bobby’s in Vienna might have them but as most imported goods one has to calcullate double the price. They are not cheap in Canada either but less than here, admittedly. But it works both ways European products are more expensive on the other side of the pond.

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