Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Decent, Honest Cookie

chocolate chip cookies


Even though I consider myself more of an optimist than a pessimist, I am also a realist. And the reality is there are some people out there who do some bad things. So when you lose your wallet you would expect that it's lost for good and that your identity might be compromised (i.e. stolen). Just when you think that the world can be a pretty messed up place someone does something to remind you that people are good. Like when you get a postcard in the mail saying that the sender found your wallet and had no way to contact you except by using the address on your driver's license. And if you are indeed the rightful owner of said wallet please call them to describe the wallet and its contents and then come to their house to claim the wallet. It's comforting to know that there are still truly decent, honest people in the world!

What is more decent and honest than a chocolate chip cookie? Not to say that other cookies are any less decent. In fact, I would say that all cookies are decent. Maybe I should call chocolate chip cookies comforting.

A few weeks ago someone asked me if I had a chocolate chip cookie recipe on my blog and it was at that moment that I realized I have never posted one. When I first started making chocolate chip cookies, like many American home bakers, I used the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe found on the back of the bag. In high school and college, any homemade chocolate chip cookie was delicious so Toll House cookies sufficed. And I continued to use the Toll House recipe for many years after that, but it always bothered me that I would get inconsistent results with that recipe. I'm sure the Toll House recipe is a good one, but it was just incompatible with me. Even to this day I have no idea what I was doing wrong in the kitchen. So after many more unhappy batches, I finally abandoned the Toll House recipe and searched for a new one.

It was around that time when former Chez Panisse pastry cook David Lebovitz's "Room for Dessert" came out. I was a big fan of SF Bay Area pastry chefs at the time (and still am a big fan) and I bought every cookbook written by my local "pastry heroes". From the very first time I tried David Lebovitz's recipe many years ago to this very day, I always get great consistent results.

Chocolate cookie recipes are a matter of personal taste. There are a million recipes out there for chocolate cookies and everybody has their favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Some might even claim that their recipe is the best. I would never call this recipe perfect or the best, but it's the one that really works for me, so it's the best one for me.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes 4 or 5 dozen cookies depending on the method*)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 ounces (2 sticks/16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup chopped nuts

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Or place them in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside your dry ingredients.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with both sugars until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined. Mix in vanilla extract.

Mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

*Method

-- Method 1 (makes about 5 dozen cookies): Preheat oven to 350F. Scoop out tablespoons of dough (I use a mini ice cream scoop) and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes^ or until the edges are just barely golden and the centers are lightly colored. (Cookies in photo are baked using method 1.)

-- Method 2 (makes 4 dozen cookies): Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into four roughly equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerated until firm, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice each log into 3/4-inch-thick slices and place the slices about 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. If the dough falls apart, push them back together trying to maintain the round shape as much as possible. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes^ or until the edges are just barely golden and the centers are lightly colored.

^ I like my chocolate chip cookies just barely baked. You can adjust the baking time to suit your preferred doneness.

9 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look really good!

Cheers,

Rosa

caitlyn said...

Wow, what a great story about your wallet!
I hope all is well with you, Mary!

evolvingtastes said...

Mary, do you prefer any particular brand for the chips? It does makes a difference, I think, so I am always checking with expert bakers on their thoughts. Thanks!

Ilva said...

It is good to hear that there are still honest people around! and those cookies... I think I will try them soon!

Mary said...

evolvingtastes - For chocolate chunks that I chop myself I've been using blocks of Valrhona or Callebaut. For bags of chocolate chips I like Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips and Dagoba organic chocodrops 73% cacao.

vickys said...

I agree with the wallet thing, you really just hope that the person needed it more than you.

Lucky I baked cookies today or else I'd be drooling all over the table. :)

Shannon (The Daily Balance) said...

thanks for sharing!! ;)

~new to the blog and lovin it!

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