Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel pretty sure that these just may be the best ever chocolate chip cookies ever in the whole wide world.  They have completely allowed me to get my Chocolate Chip Cookie Confidence back, which had been deeply damaged for years.  Since I have only slightly adapted this from a Cooks Illustrated recipe in the May/June 2009 issue, I can say this without any ego involved.  You will have to try them to confirm, but I look forward to the feedback.  They are absolutely full of all things gluten, dairy, sugar, egg and you-name-it, and should never be stripped of their very necessity in creating this harmony of sweet success. 

The need for me to find this recipe had been deep and long-lasting.  Many lifetimes ago, I actually used to be a good baker- even baked for a few different restaurants - but I went a desperately long decade+ with rock-bottom Chocolate Chip Cookie Confidence.  Year after year of crispy, hard, nasty attempts had left me but a puddle of pathetic memories and almost pure fear-avoidance behaviours when the thought of trying again came along.  If I hadn't been able to make Oatmeal or Snickerdoodles, I may not have made it at all. 

The relevance of this is very profound, since I married a man who loves cookies as much as baseball or family.  He is powerless against even the most modestly tasty cookie- so one can only imagine how I must have felt when four years ago, after a fresh batch of nasties came out of the oven, he replied "no thank  you" without even looking me in the eyes.  NO THANK YOU? .....NO THANK YOU???? Naturally, I was furious.  I proceeded to chip the rest of the cookies off of the cookie sheet and let them shatter into the compost bin.  Then I waited..... and then these appeared.  They are perfect- chewy, but with a bit of a crispness to the edge and they stay soft until the very last cookie is gone.  They are rich and toffee-like, but not so much that you can't eat the whole batch if you are so inclined.

The Cookies (makes 22-24 cookies: serves 1)

  • 1-3/4C unbleached all-purpose flour*
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 14T (1-3/4sticks) unsalted butter**
  • 1/2C granulated sugar
  • 3/4C packed dark brown sugar
  • 1t table salt
  • 2t vanilla
  • 1 large egg (umbilical cords removed, obviously)
  • 1 large egg  yolk (remove these, too)
  • 1 to1-1/4C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts (totally optional- These don't fly in our household)
1.  Preheat oven to 375 and adjust oven rack to middle position.
2.  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3.  Whisk flour(s) and baking soda together in small/medium bowl and set aside.
4.  Heat 10T of the butter in a small/medium skilled over medium heat until melted, about 2 minutes.  Then continue cooking with heat on med-high swirling pan continuously until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma- 1-3 minutes longer.  Remove the skillet front the heat and, using large heatproof spatula, transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl.  Stir the remaining 4T butter into the hot butter until completely melted.
5.  Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until incorporated.  Add the egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps left, about 30 sec.  Let the mix stand and rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 sec.  Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times- it will become thick, shiny and smooth. 
6.  Using spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in chips (and nuts) until just completely combined.
7.  Scoop in 2T heaps (I use a cookie/ice cream scooper) onto prepared sheets, leaving ample space for the cookie to spread out.  I put ~8 per sheet.
8.  Bake cookies one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set, but centers are still soft- about 9-12 minutes.  If you are quite particular, you can rotate the pan half way through for complete perfection.  Transfer to wire rack to cool if you think they will last that long.

*I often mix white and whole wheat with no flavor or texture sacrifice- that makes them healthy, right?
**If you don't have unsalted butter in your pantry, reduce the salt in the recipe by maybe 1/2 or so

NOTE:  Important final note here.... Do not be put off by the apparent extra steps of melting the butter and such.  First of all, they are so flipping good, you will never go back once you have tried them.  Second of all, it is actually quite a time saving measure given that you no longer need to go through the arm aching steps of creaming the butter and sugars together.  Plus, while you are letting it all rest for 3 minutes, you can get all of the cleaning done and it is all a wrap when the cookies are out of the oven.  For me, it is much easier than typical recipes.  Try it!

Bubblin' butter in the pan- keep swirling...

Get all those browned bits!

We all need some space


Valenintes greetings to all!