Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? If you don't you are probably not human. The smell of baking cookies is used at open houses to make possible buyers feel at home (words from a Real Estate agent relative). A big bite out of a cookie with a tall glass of milk to wash it down is the picture of comfort. Thoughts of chocolate chip cookies also bring up feelings of happiness from childhood; most children have fond memories of being served cookies at home. I know I do!
One of my fondest memories is my mother teaching me how to make chocolate chip cookies as soon as I was tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. Nothing more than a simple Tollhouse recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag was needed. My early presence in the family kitchen cultivated an intense love of food, especially baking and desserts.
As I got older I started to experiment with different cookie recipes, zeroing in on perfecting my chocolate chip cookie. I took samples to high school peers and now my family and co-workers test them out. I haven't gotten any complaints yet.
This is the finished product of my most recent chocolate chip cookie adventure. I always have fun with it. It is a rule that I lick the bowl when the cookies are baking in the oven. I used a recipe from The Ghiradelli Chocolate Cookbook which is one among many in my home's stack of cookbooks.
Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Stir the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the white and brown sugars using an electric mixer at medium speed until the mixture is creamy and lightened in color, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla, eggs one at a time, mixing on low until incorporated. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by the tablespoonful onto cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake 9-11 minutes.
These cookies came out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just how I like them. I like to throw in an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract and sometimes a cup of shredded sweetened coconut or even dried cherries. This time I added chopped pecans. I love how the nuts become toasted from the oven and meld in your mouth with the warm chocolate.
Another favorite recipe is here: http://www.marthastewart.com/313548/ultimate-chocolate-chip-cookies?xsc=eml_cod_2012_01_06&om_rid=Dk02mL&om_mid=_BPBvF$B8eBarkI. Similar to the Ghiradelli recipe, yet the different types of chocolate make for a delectable cookie.
I encourage beginning bakers to start with chocolate chip cookies. They are probably the easiest of the desserts to make. Even if they don't come out perfect, you can be happy that you got to eat cookie dough.
If you don't feel like baking, check out my Top 3 Chocolate Chip Cookie spots:
#1 Levain Bakery http://www.levainbakery.com/ in NYC. Their chocolate chip cookies are as heavy as my head. One of these will satisfy your cookie craving for a while.
#2 City Bakery, http://thecitybakery.com/index.html also in NYC, for a flatter but no less tasty treat
#3 Jacques Torres Chocolate in NYC and Brooklyn http://www.mrchocolate.com/. You've heard of the name. Enough said.
Where do you get your chocolate chip cookie fix?