KEEN Holiday Helper Tip: Enjoy a Cookie!
Here at KEEN, there is one universally loved and devoured job perk: Our KEEN Kanteen Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
They are gifted to us on birthdays and included in work-from-home care packages, and they were the perfect treat to get through the afternoon slump when we were working at KEEN headquarters pre-COVID.
There's nothing like the holiday warmth of fresh-baked cookies, and we're excited to share that warmth by handing out our famous KEEN Kanteen cookies at the KEEN Garage retail stores in Portland and Palo Alto during Black Friday weekend. (If you're local, stop by Friday thru Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., for socially distanced shopping). We're extra, extra excited that we can all now make these fave cookies at home, too, as KEEN Chef David Gabel is sharing his secret recipe (see the recipe below and download the printable PDF here!).
We sat down with David to get the backstory on this iconic KEEN treat, and get some cooking tips, too, so we can get those gooey chocolate vibes just right.
When was the KEEN Kanteen Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie born?
David: "It's been with the KEEN Kanteen since day one. As the Kanteen has evolved over the years so has the recipe and process. In 2016, our team tested and changed the original recipe to what it is today."
How long did it take to perfect the recipe?
"We worked on the recipe for a solid month when I took over as chef. So many subtle nuances can change the outcome of the product. It's not just about the ingredients (we use premium chocolate that is hand chopped into chunks). The procedure also plays a large role in the outcome. For example, in a busy daily service at the Kanteen, we have found that switching from portioned 2 oz. dough balls (which take forever to prep) to 24 oz. logs that can be frozen, pulled to thaw in the morning, and then sliced into 2 oz. discs and baked worked great for us."
I’ve heard you mention before that there is a perfect time to pull the cookies out of the oven so they are extra melty. What's the secret?
"When baking the cookies, they bake for 5 minutes then rotate for 5 additional minutes. Sometimes they may look a little underdone in the middle but do not be fooled! Adding an extra 30 seconds to the bake time will result in a crunchy overdone cookie. If anything a little underbaked results in a chewy, gooey center."
Have you ever tried any deviations from the recipe that just fell flat?
"Several times that happened to us, literally! How long to cream the butter and sugar, too little time at too low a speed and they lack volume. Baking soda versus baking powder? Some recipes have both and we settled on using only baking soda."
Do you love these cookies as much as the rest of your fellow KEENers?!
"Absolutely! If I can stop myself from eating too much cookie dough sometimes I can save some room for the finished product!"
KEEN Kanteen Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Prep time: 30 min
Total time: 40 min
Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies
- 1 lb. unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 tsp. warm water
- 6 cups of all-purpose flour
- 8 oz. Callebaut dark semi-sweet chocolate bar – hand chopped
- Large flake sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies (We like Maldon!)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper in preparation.
2. In a standing style mixer combine both sugars with room temperature butter, affix the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 5 minutes, stopping several times to scrape the mixture back into the bowl.
3. Creaming the butter and sugars is the most important step, pay close attention to this process. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for 5 minutes, scraping the bowl several times. The product should double in volume, becoming fluffy and light in color.
4. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time allowing to incorporate between each.
5. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to mixing bowl along with salt and vanilla, mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
6. With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add the flour into the mixture. Do this one cup at a time while scraping the bowl in between each. Do not over mix.
7. Add the chopped chocolate and mix on low speed until incorporated and evenly mixed.
8. Remove dough from mixing bowl and roll into 2-ounce balls (ping pong size). Refrigerate dough for 4 hours or overnight prior to baking. Dough can also be frozen and thawed in fridge 2 hours prior to baking.
9. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.
10. Flatten each disk with your palm or the bottom of a drinking glass to approximately a half inch thick.
11. Sprinkle a small pinch of large flake sea salt on top of each cookie.
12. Bake for 5 minutes on middle rack of oven.
13. Rotate baking sheet 180°, return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
14. Remove from oven, allow to cool and enjoy!