Visit the New Site!

Click here to visit my expanded site at mary-making.com!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good Old American Chocolate Chip Cookies!

There are a few dishes I consider to be distinctly American.   They are a hamburger, the traditional turkey dinner, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies.   I have not mastered the hamburger, which I have tried, or the turkey dinner, which I have not even dreamt of attempting...yet.

Desserts are more my thing.  Sadly, however, I have never made an apple pie on my own.  It's on my list of things to bake, but for some reason I have always been hesitant when it comes to pies.  Maybe it's the crust that intimidates me or the fact that there are so many  wonderful pie bakers in my family, my grandma being the best of them all.  Grandma made the best apple pies I ever tasted, and there was always a pie of some kind in her refrigerator.  She would bake a pie at the drop of hat, with the same easy confidence a normal person would bring to the task of making toast.  As a dutiful American and respectful granddaughter, I should eventually attempt the apple pie.  But that will be a post for another time. 
I can, however, bake a mean chocolate chip cookie.  It is one the things I do best.  Here is my latest attempt:
 


Don't they look scrumptious?  I would have taken a picture of the soft, chewy inside of a cookie broken in half, but it was gone too fast.  So let me try to make you acquainted with the experience:  The chocolate chips were slightly melty.  The cookie was a soft, tender melody of sugary, buttery, chocolatey heaven, and it all came together in chocolate chip cookie perfection.  Sounds tempting, right?

I have in my possession the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It is truly the tastiest concoction of sugar, flour, butter and chocolate known to man, or woman!  I have never been tempted to try any other.  Even with all the hype about the Alton Brown or the America's Tested Kitchen recipes, which I'm sure are great, I am still in perfect confidence that my recipe has them beat.  I have, however, been inspired by these other recipes to try an alternate method of preparation, by using melted butter instead of softened butter as originally instructed.  I had never used this method before and wasn't sure how the sugar and butter should look, but it came out great!! 

I can't honestly say if the melted butter method is any better than the softened butter method.  They are both delicious!  I believe repeated chocolate chip cookie taste tests are definitely in order!  Both methods taste amazing, but if you're interested in trying one, I would recommend trying the softened butter method first.  (It really is amazing!  Try it!)

The only problem with baking these amazing cookies is that it is all too easy to eat them!  Of course, I always taste the batter/dough/cookies at every stage just to make sure everything is going smoothly.  And I always leave out a small handful of chocolate chips (Hershey's Special Dark..yum!) for sticking into cookies that look a little light on chips and especially for snacking!  As soon as I was done baking and tasting these, I felt the guilty need to go for a 3 or 4 mile run and try to work off the calories and fat.  Why is life so cruel that way?  I mean, I can put away 1000 calories worth of dough and cookies in less than two minutes.  While on the other hand it will take me two hour-long, crazy hard workouts to work off those calories.  It's just not fair.  

This perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe came to me when I was working at a newspaper in Philadelphia.  Our food editor, a wonderful cook named Alexandra Stafford (check out her blog--you will not be disappointed), brought in some cookies to work, and I was so blown away I requested the recipe and have used it dozens of times since then! 

I will reproduce her recipe exactly as it was given to me in 2007 and then repost it as I baked them this time.  Both are wonderful!  You'll have to decide for yourself whether the melted butter or softened butter method is the better one.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Alexandra's Kitchen (this recipe is posted twice on her site, here and here)

1 1/3 cups unsalted butter      
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

  
Preheat oven to 375°.  Cream butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl, beat again on high for one minute.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended, about another minute on medium-high speed.  Whisk flour, salt and baking soda together in separate bowl.  Add to butter mixture and combine with a spatula or wooden spoon until just blended.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.  The dough will be stiff.  Place heaping tablespoons of the dough onto an ungreased jelly-roll pan.  Bake only six cookies at a time.   Bake 10-11 minutes. Keep a close watch. The cookies will still look uncooked when you remove them from the oven. (You will think you are removing them too early, but the cookies will continue cooking as they sit on the tray out of the oven - this will guarantee a moist and chewy cookie.) Let sit for 10 minutes on tray before removing to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.


Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Alexandra's Kitchen, adapted by Mary

1 1/3 cups unsalted butter  (make sure it's unsalted--it makes a difference)      
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour  (I use 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 1 3/4 cups white flour)
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (I use Hershey's Special Dark!)

  
Preheat oven to 375°.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter and let cool until slightly warm.  Combine flour, salt and baking soda together in separate bowl, and set aside.  

Beat melted butter and sugars together in a large bowl for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.  

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended, about another minute on medium-high speed.   

Add flour mixture to butter mixture  in three parts, using mixer to combine first part and a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the second and third parts until.  Mix until just blended.  The dough will be stiff.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.  I usually taste the dough at this point to make sure it's as heavenly as always.   

Place heaping tablespoons of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9-11 minutes, keeping a close watch. The cookies will still look uncooked when you remove them from the oven.  You will think you are removing them too early, but the cookies will continue cooking as they sit on the tray out of the oven - this will guarantee a moist and chewy cookie.  Let sit for 10 minutes on tray before removing to a cooling rack. Let cool completely and enjoy! 



This is Oink.  He needed to make an appearance on the blog!

5 comments:

  1. Mary you are so cute. So fun that you have started a blog! I will be checking up on you often. So good to know that you can make these cookies with melted butter! What a time saver. I hope all is well. XO

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now post the Chocolate Chipless recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mary, can you use salted butter but leave out the dry salt? I want to try this recipe because the batter was so good when you made it, but I only have salted butter!

    I'm going to give it a try and I'll let you know how it comes out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When using salted butter, it's hard to tell exactly how much salt is going into the recipe because each butter company uses varying amounts of salt. I would leave it out completely, when salted butter.

      Why not start buying unsalted butter for everything? I now buy unsalted butter almost exclusively. I have found that using unsalted butter in all your cooking is a good way to make sure you know how much salt is going into all your foods. You can always add more salt, but it's impossible to remove it.

      Delete