My chocolate chip cookies

There are so many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, this one is mine. It's derivative, as I suspect many are, of the Tollhouse recipe. That recipe is a great place to start. Actually, if you have never adjusted a recipe before, I think this is the one I would start with. There are so many elements in the recipe which can be altered, which makes for fun (and often successful) experimentation. 

People love these cookies. I'm still seeking an elusive taste that I had once in a chocolate chip cookie in 1991 - seventh grade science class. I will never forget that mundane moment made forever memorable. That cookie had a rich molasses-y flavor to it that I haven't figured out yet - but I'm not finished trying. Here's where I'm at right now, a cookie that spreads a bit, is chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside edges.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The ingredients are all standard: butter, white and brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Plus, of course, chocolate chips. Buy these things. Get out your measuring cups and spoons, a large bowl, your hand mixer, a cookie sheet or two, and foil. 

Ingredients, in order of adding to the bowl: 

Two sticks butter (1 cup) - don't use margarine (does anyone these days?) or shortening. Yuck.
1 cup packed brown sugar (freshness matters! old brown sugar is dried out brown sugar is dried out cookie blech. Sometimes, I use a mix of light and brown and sometimes I don't. Do whatever you wish.)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 and a 1/2 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (real vanilla people.)
2 room temperature eggs. I don't know why room temperature, I just like them that way. I feel like they help my batter fluff up.
1 rounded teaspoon baking soda. Why rounded? Baking soda is what causes browning / crisping in your cookie, and I like a cookie that's brown with an edge crispness. Ever baked cookies that were floury blahness? You left out the soda. I've done it, I'll admit it. It isn't pretty. 
1/2 tsp salt - kosher salt, crushed a bit to make a finer flake. I think you can taste the salty delicious difference.
2 and 1/4 scant (every measure should be less than the full cup, or just partially fill the 1/4 cup) cups all-purpose flour. Fluff up that flour with a whisk before measuring. Really, or else you'll have a seriously floury, heavy, gross like your aunt who can't cook cookie. (For the record, I have no aunts who can't cook that I know of.)
A bag of your preferred chocolate chips. I tend to buy Tollhouse, but also like Trader Joe's and Ghiradelli. Those flavors all differ just slightly, but I think the melt is pretty much the same. Use what you like.

Preheat to 375.

Now that butter you just bought? You want it soft, even almost melty. Why? Because melted butter causes spread, and to me, spread in a cookie is a grand thing. I don't suggest liquefying the butter, which might give you too much spread, but here's what I would do: leave the butter out for the afternoon to soften completely on its own, or put one stick in the microwave in its wrapper for 15 short seconds. It will be very soft, but not liquid. 30 seconds to liquefied, just so you know.   The other stick you can soften just slightly, or also do the 15 second thing. The softer your butter, the more spread in your cookie. At least, that has been my experience.

Throw that soft butter in your bowl and beat it with your mixer for a bit on a medium high speed. Add in your brown sugar and beat the heck out of it. Then add your white sugar and beat it again. Use a spatula to get the unincorporated ingredients off the side of the bowl (do this with the mixer off). 

Beat for quite some time, with love, because that matters. It really does. Any time I feel rushed and could care less about my cookie, it tastes like crap. Caring about what you're baking is half the battle to deliciousness. So, now you have a fluffy butter sugar mixture. Add your vanilla, blend. Add your eggs, and beat the heck out of it once again. I think the more you can aerate the batter the better, just like with a cake. Some might disagree, but I like lots of lightness in my cookie. 

Some people might tell you to sift your dry ingredients together before adding them to the batter, but I say no! Why bother? That's a lot of work that seems not entirely necessary. It is in some baking recipes, of course, but not with these cookies. So, having said that, add your baking soda and beat, add your salt and beat. Then, add your flour, one cup at a time, and beat. So, one cup flour, beat. One cup flour, beat. 1/4 cup flour, and you got it, beat. Make sure all your flour is off the bottom of the bowl and in the batter, you might want to employ your spatula at this point.

 Notice the lovely subtle variations in these batter stages.

Put that mixer down at this point. Stir in your chocolate chips, then make sensible drops onto your cookie sheet. 

For the record, some people suggest refrigerating your batter overnight to allow the dough to achieve a richer flavor. I've done this and have not found it terribly different, but by all means, give it a shot and let me know how it goes! Bake those cookies at 375 for about 10 minutes 30 seconds (I find the first batch takes longer to bake than subsequent batches, but I reuse a hot baking sheet, so that's likely why) and when the cookies come out of the oven, promptly remove them with a thin spatula to foil, which you have laid out on your counter. I think this matters, I don't know why. I feel like I get a better bottom of my cookies by letting them cool on foil. Maybe there is science to this, but I am way too tired to look that up tonight. When they are cool, wrap in foil and distribute to friends and family. Hope you enjoy these, I always do. - T


Andrew said...

Perhaps my favorite thing in the world to eat. Looks tasty.

Well That's a Good Scottish Name... said...

Do you think it's the brown sugar that is the key to the molasses taste? I only use the darkest brown sugar for my chocolate chip cookies (per grandma's recipe....). Looks yummy!

Trish said...

Well I used to think that, but after changing up my recipe, and even subbing molasses and also making brown sugar with white sugar and molasses, I've been unable to find that elusive flavor. I think it must be the sugar with some other unidentified ingredient. I should do some research! And send me your grandma's recipe so I can see how yours differs :)

Iris E. said...

My most current favorite is the Cooks' Illustrated chocolate chip cookie with BROWNED butter! Oh. My. Deliciousness. The batter is so amazing to eat, with the nutty, butterscotchy browned buttery flavors, that I have to really work hard to not be piggy with my nibbles. Also this recipe works great because there is no need to bring that butter to room temp or cheat with the microwave!

These look scrumptious, Tricia.

Kim R. said...

Oh my, fluffing that flour makes a big difference. Thanks for the tip Tricia!