Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like cookies. A lot. I've never met a cookie I didn't like. My husband and son play by a different set of rules.

Husband and Son Cookie Rules:
#1 All cookies must contain chocolate. 
#2 White chocolate is not chocolate.

In Christmases past, I would pour over cooking web sites and cookie magazines for new and interesting combinations. I would create elaborate plans involving lists, charts, graphs and spreadsheets (OK, maybe just lists and spreadsheets) so I would be prepared for a two-day long baking extravaganza the weekend before Christmas.

This year I didn't. This year I made a few batches of tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and stored the dough in the refrigerator making cookies a dozen at a time so we could eat them fresh from the oven.

Find the original recipe here.

To make you need:

Parchment Paper (NOT waxed paper)
Heavy Aluminum Rimmed Baking Sheet (Dark or coated sheets over-brown cookies, though a parchment paper lining can help with this)

2 1/4 cups flour  (If you can find white whole wheat flour, it gives the right taste and texture along with the added health bonus of fiber. White all-purpose flour is, of course, delicious. Regular whole wheat flour tastes fine right out of the oven but becomes gritty once cooled.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

2 Sticks REAL Salted* Butter (no margarine, no light butter, no weird engineered butter-like product) at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (I like dark brown sugar but light brown is fine)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
A lot of semi-sweet chocolate chips** (12 oz or more)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. A hot oven is important to preventing your cookies from spreading.
  2. Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. I don't bother sifting. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter, both sugars and vanilla with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. This will take longer than you think. Don't skimp on this step, as it is critical to cookie texture.
  4. Add eggs and again mix with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. The batter should look like cake frosting.
  5. Add flour mixture in thirds and mix well in between additions
  6. Add chocolate chips (nuts, dried cherries, sunflower seeds if you must.)
  7. Make critical decisions about whether you have the patience to let the dough rest or if you must have a cookie right now.
    • If you must have a cookie right now, dish ping pong ball sized globs onto a parchment lined pan and accept that this first batch is going to spread into pancakes as they cook. Stash the rest of the batch in the fridge while the first dozen is baking so all of your cookies don't end up as pancakes.
    • If you have the patience of a saint (I do not), refrigerate dough for 15-20 minutes. This allows the flour granules to fully hydrate giving you the ideal chewy in the middle crisp on the edges texture. It also prevents the cookies from spreading.
  8. Baking time will be about 12-15 min depending on your oven. Usually I set the timer for 7 min initially then rotate the tray and bake an additional 5-7 min until golden brown on the edges and lighter but still browed in the center. 
  9. I think that cookies turn out better when you bake them one sheet at a time. For me, making multiple sheets at a time has led to inconsistent texture and color.
*One year, I used the fancy european sweet cream butter in place of salted butter. Instead of being better, the cookies tasted flat. Salt makes sweet taste better.

**I know there are tons of high quality chocolate options out there but basic semi-sweet chips taste best. Milk chocolate chips will not taste the same.

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