Chocolate Chip Cookies – the best you’ll ever havePosted: 21 December 2010 | |
Chocolate chip cookies are really the bread and butter of the cookie world, no? They’re delicious and fitting for pretty much all occasions ever. And, I hate to judge, but people who don’t like chocolate chip cookies are weird. End of story. This isn’t the first year that my family members have received gifts of cookies from me. In previous years people have been given giant freezer bags of chocolate chip cookies to enjoy. Although this year I’m incorporating other flavors, there’s still going to be a heavy concentration on chocolate chip.
I actually decided to skip the mint/chocolate checkerboard cookies for this holiday. Not that they weren’t delicious, but they are very labor intensive. Yes, they’d look nice in the box, but they’re so much work for one cookie style. The others that I’m rolling out and cutting out also come with frosting, so they’re worth a bit more work. I think anyway. Instead I’m making traditional chocolate chip and mint chocolate chip with green dough. I’ve already made them and they’re delicious. I’ve already made the traditional chocolate chip as well and they are the crowd-please I’d expect them to be. Sheer deliciousness.
Over the years I had to adapt my recipe. In the past I used a recipe that called for shortening. Shortening is nice because it ensures a soft, chewy cookie. It is not nice in that it’s a processed goop that animals would turn up their noses at. This is one of those things where even in cookies, I will try very hard to use something ‘real’ as opposed to something processed. When I found this recipe for cookies that used butter, I gave it a try and it worked wonderfully. I was sold and made the switch to butter. (For the record, I still use shortening in a variety of recipes in which it can NOT be substituted out, like cream cheese frosting that doesn’t stick and pie crusts that are half lard, half shortening.)
The recipe comes from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook and it’s delightful. It actually has a permanent spot on the side of our fridge. It does not come down. It stays up at all times so I have reference to it on a whim. I do actually have it memorized though. It’s very easy. I have of course, doctored my recipe a bit to make the cookies distinctive. I’ve given the recipe to friends but apparently it’s hard to make them exactly the same way each time. That’s part of their magic, I think.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, melted and cooled (it should be hard but not refrigerator hard)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbl. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbl. Malibu Coconut Rum (my own personal addition)
1 16 oz. bag of chocolate chips (recipe calls for 12 oz bag, but 16 oz bag is better)
3 1/3 cups flour
Beat the sugars and butter together until well incorporated. Add the salt, soda, eggs, vanilla and rum. Beat until smooth. I like to beat the batter until it’s light and fluffy and I always use my stand mixer for this. You can certainly use the wooden spoon technique though, or a hand mixer. Add the flour one cup at a time. I almost never use exactly 3 1/3 cups of flour for these. You want your dough to be just barely ‘not sticky.’ The denser and thicker the dough, the drier the cookie will be. I personally like a cookie that is a bit crisp on the edges, but is nicely gooey on the inside. Once your dough is the right consistency, add the chips and mix on slow.
Bake at 325º for 17-19 minutes.
I bake all cookies on standard stainless steel cookie sheets. I like the thick, heavy kind that are not insulated but are just a flat sheet of metal. These bake the most evenly. I actually really hate insulated cookie sheets with a passion. They make your cookies flatten weirdly and then puff up in the middle. I do not like them. Don’t use them. I have some and you know what I use them for? Nothing. I should probably donate them to Goodwill or something because I just curse at them every time I see them in my cupboard. Damn things are useless.
The coconut rum adds a fun, unique flavor that makes these cookies really distinctive. Everyone who tastes them seems to like it, so I’ve kept doing it. I started doing it when I was in college and had to use teacups as measuring cups and had no vanilla but did have coconut rum on hand. Typical college baking situation no? I’m not particularly fond of coconut but it’s a yummy flavor. Also, it sort of evens out all of the overly-vanilla-y flavor of most baked goods, but without the tooth-achingly sweet flavor of almond extract. Yes, I might be a genius.
If you want to make the mint variety, replace the rum with mint extract and add a bit of green food coloring to your dough. Delicious. Recently I also made a double batch of these cookies and used one bag of milk chocolate chips and one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. In general I prefer milk chocolate for cookies but the semi-sweet added together gives a tasty balance and provides extra chocolaty-ness.
And finally, if you’re not eating these treats immediately, store them in the freezer. My roommate from college was just visiting us from Scotland yesterday and when she went looking for a cookie I gave her one that wasn’t frozen. It was delicious, sure. But then she went scrounging for a second cookie and I found her rummaging in the freezer for a frozen delight. I have managed to train my friends to prefer the frozen cookie in all it’s chewy deliciousness. These things happen.