Jun 9, 2009

chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of my favorite desserts of all time. They are simple, but a well done cookie is hard to beat in my book. For this I blame my mother. Growing up my mom could whip up a batch of cookies as fast as other moms would hand out fruit roll-ups. She knew the recipes by heart and with a blink of an eye another batch would be in the oven, spoons going around to "taste-test" the dough.

To this day I usually read the recipes for chocolate chip cookies first when checking out a new book on baking. Is it any different than the one I'm using now, will that ration of soda to flour work better than another one...these are the questions I ponder. Strange - I know. My husband has long gotten used to coming home from work as I stand in the kitchen trying out a slight variation on these cookies. Thankfully for me he doesn't mind eating all the experiments coming out of the oven.

This batch was modified from the new cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, which is based on their bakery in Brooklyn, NY. I first learned of these guys last fall on an interview they did with Design*Sponge and subsequently tried their amazing peanut butter cookies. Chewy, peanut butter goodness that melts in your mouth.

However, chocolate chip cookies are a different beast in my book. So, somewhat skeptical I tried the recipe at home. With a few tweaks on my part, based on my own tastes, I must say I love these cookies. If you have any of your own favorite cookie recipes please pass them along, I will always try a new one.

Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chopped dark chocolate*

Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and somewhat thick. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. Add the vanilla and beat again briefly.

In two or three batches add a bit a the flour mixture and then combine and repeat until all of the flour mixture is added and just combined. Be careful not to over beat the cookie dough. Add the chocolate and mix with a wooden spoon until mixed-in.

Cover the dough with plastic pushed down into the bowl and refrigerate**. When you are ready to bake the cookies pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out large spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet and push the chocolate chunks into the dough so they aren't sticking out. Bake the cookies for approximately 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just turning brown and the middle is a bit mushy for an excellent chewy cookie (for crunchy cookies bake longer).

Let the baked cookies rest on the cookie sheet for just a minute or two and then cool on wire racks. Enjoy warm immediately or at room temperature with a glass of milk or a warm mug of coffee.

Alison's Notes:
*I learned this trick a couple years ago and now use freshly chopped chocolate for all my chocolate chip cookies. I'm particular to dark chocolate and have heard to use chocolate with over 60% cacao to get a better and truer chocolate taste.
**Usually when you're making cookies you want to eat them right away and many recipes don't call for refrigeration. However, even 15-30 minutes seems to let the flavors meld together a bit more. But if you can last at least 24 hours then the cookies come out even chewier and don't tend to flatten out as much as those baked right away.

(photography: alison clayshulte)


Michael said...

Very interesting that you elect not to use any "White" sugar. Ellen and I argue all of the time about Chewy vs. Cakey. What I really like to do: add about 2tbls Dutch Process Cocoa to the flour mix for a Chocolate - Chocolate Chip recipe!
Looking forward to more, Alison!

Alison Clayshulte said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try the recipe with cocoa next time for a truly chocolate cookie. Sounds yum!

Gretchen said...

Hi - it's your neighbor Gretchen. I, too, am obsessed with tweaking chocolate chip cookies. Have you ever tried melting the butter? My favorite tweaks have been, a touch of extra flour, refrigerating the dough, and an extra dose of vanilla like in this recipe.

Alison said...

Gretchen - I've never tried melting the butter or the extra flour. Maybe we can be each other's taste testers...

Gretchen said...

Hi again Alison!

I'm thinking about baking some chocolate chip cookies for a friend, so I've been searching the internet for ideas. I found this recipe with two adjustments I haven't seen before - same amt. of sugar, but mostly brown and bread flour instead of all purpose. Thought you might be interested. He also melts the butter, uses more vanilla than tollhouse and chills the dough.



Alison said...

Gretchen - I just checked out Alton's recipe. I've never seen a choco chip cookie recipe with anything but all-purpose flour. I wonder if the milk helps them not get to tough. If you try them let me know what you think...or maybe bring one over to share : )

Gretchen said...

Oh, I didn't notice the milk...interesting! If I get my act together and make them, I'll definitely bring some over!