Monday, February 21, 2011

Can We Make Cookies?

As a young baker I memorized the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the back of the Nestle's Chocolate Chip package.  Whenever I made them, though, they usually turned out MUCH to flat, sometimes even running together on the pan!  

During my lifelong  J  search for the "perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe",  I've found a couple recipes that turn out crispy, soft, buttery and delicious.

The recipe below is from a pretty food blog called Vanilla Sugar  (I modified it just a tiny bit).  

The original recipe uses cold European butter that you grate, then put back in the fridge, then take out and combine with the sugars and eggs when ready. 

Those additional steps make for a great-stand-up-cakey cookie, but there were too many additional steps for me (and my lack of ability to attend to the task!).  My modifications are REALLY slight, but, I think, helpful to those of us who want our cookies delicious and have:
a) no patience 
b) famished children
c) low blood sugar
d) other reasons we don't want to discuss, OK?!

Here it is (Ta-Da!):

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks salted butter, room temp/softened 

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 

2 large eggs 

1-teaspoon vanilla extract 

3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon sea salt 

1 and ¼ teaspoon baking powder 

1/2-teaspoon baking soda 

12 ounces (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate 

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and both sugars just until just combined. 

Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. 

In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.   

When thoroughly mixed, add to batter and stir just until blended.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Using small cookie scoop, mold into tablespoon sized balls.

Keep them as balls on the cookie sheets. (Don’t flatten.)

Chill dough balls for 20 minutes BEFORE baking. 

Bake at 365 degrees for 8-12 minutes (or until done).

Makes about 12 cookies

My favorite vanilla from Penzey's Spices

Here are some "tips":
(In other words, ignore me completely and/or use what works for you!)
  • When working with my kids:  I like to measure the dry ingredients out first, then give the bowl and a fork to one child to stir.   The other helps with the sugar/butter mixture.  Then, they each get to crack an egg! (Good thing I've got just two helpers!) :)

    • I’ve found that room temperature butter (soft, not melted in any way), mixing by hand, and chilling the dough, makes a crispy yet soft on the inside cookie.
    • (In a pinch, I have used butter that I softened (with a portion melted) in the microwave and the cookies did not “stand up” – they flattened right out – even after the cool/freeze step.)

    • I use the bits of butter on the butter wrappers to grease the pan/s.
    Mini Chips are my favorite!

    • If you love nuts - go ahead and add 1 cup!
    • When you add the flour mixture, the dough will be quite dry/stiff – don’t be alarmed (and try not to “overwork” the dough when forming into the cookies).
    • I’m much to impatient to form every single cookie into a ball- and I tend to end up with a “tough” cookie when the “form into a ball” step takes place.  So, I fill my small cookie scoop (1-1/2 in.) to just the top, or use two teaspoons (the spoons you use on the table) to shape the cookies.
    Ready to chill, then bake.

    • More impatience - I “chill” the cookies in the freezer –until they firm up – then bake.

    • Possibly my favorite tip is from Vanilla Sugar:  Bake at 365 degrees (about 8 minutes for frozen or chilled cookie dough has worked for me).  Love this temp with this recipe!

    • When making to bake another time, I freeze the cookie dough balls very close together.  (I save this "disposable" pan just for this purpose- it's lightweight- goes right into the freezer, and I won't have to be without my favorite pan/s while they are freezing.)  
    • When frozen, I toss ‘em in a labeled Ziploc bag- (with time and temp directions).   The frozen lumps of dough make a great gift! (And a not-so-great snack for a sneaky 6-year old!)
    • Baking Zen:  I try not to bake if I'm distracted or angry...much less frustrating and things DO turn out better! 

    Enjoy with someone you love!


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