Friday, February 22, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom is a great baker and has become quite well known for it among friends and family. She's particularly adept at concocting squares and bars, but among my favourite of her treats are her chocolate pie and rum cake.

However, the two things that she cannot bake, or at least not well, are brownies and cookies. But I can. And it's certainly not because I'm a better baker. It's because I'm impatient.

Brownies and cookies always taste best when they're removed from heat just on the cusp of being fully cooked. Overbaking brownies and cookies results in baked goods that are dry, tough and hard. Cookies in particular don't take long to bake, so you have to be ready to pull them out as soon as they're done. But because I'm so impatient to get the baking process over with, and eager to get the eating process started, I always pull them out just as they're browning on the bottom.

The result: Chewy, chocolately, buttery cookies.

This leads me to some basic rules and tips one should follow when making chocolate chip cookies:
1. Always, always use butter. Don't try to substitute margarine - you'll regret it.
2. To protect your baking sheets and minimize clean-up, cover the sheets with parchment paper.
3. Use an ice-cream scoop to keep your cookies the same size, thus ensuring even baking and cutesy cookies.
4. After lining scooped dough on the sheets, place the cookie sheets in the freezer for a few minutes to help them keep their shape while baking, and prevent them from spreading.
5. To create "magazine-quality" cookies, press a few chocolate chips onto the top of the balled dough just before baking.

The ingredients:

Baking sheets lined with parchment paper:

Cookies before chocolate chips are added to the top:


Cookies with added chocolatey goodness:


This recipe makes about 48 teaspoon-sized cookies, or 30 large cookies, as shown here:

Piled up on a plate:

Paired with a tall glass of milk. Here's to you, Mumsie!


Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks, with extra chips for pressing into the balled dough

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.
3. Add sugars and baking soda, and beat until well mixed.
4. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
5. Gradually beat in flour, 1/2 a cup at a time.
6. Stir in chocolate chips.
7. Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Press a few chocolate chips on top of each of the cookies and then place the baking sheet in the freezer for a few minutes.
8. Remove baking sheet from freezer and bake for 8 - 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are slightly browned. Cooking time will vary from oven to oven.
9. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

2 comments:

Tiffany Teske said...

MMMMMM! These look delicious.... my 2 1/2 year old and I are off to make some. I have been making cookies forever but I love your list of helpful tips! Cheers :)

Tiffany Teske said...

Hi! Just wanted to let you know, I used a different recipe but all of your tips, and the cookies were better than they have ever been. I blogged about it and your blog here if you want to check it out: http://tiffanyteske.blogspot.com/2008/12/old-dog-me-learn-new-tricks.html