Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies - Recipe of the Month

I wouldn't consider myself a kitchen braggart.
I'm a step-above-mediocre cook.
Meaning I like to browse a good cookbook and then throw some of the most basic recipes together.
I like easy meals with lots of flavor.
If it gets too French (ie: words I can't pronounce) or if silly gadgets are involved I'm out.
Although, I do like to Barefoot Contessa it up every once in awhile.
(So, so fun to use 'Barefoot Contessa' as a verb...you should try it...)

But, I despise a dinner from a box.
No fakey potatoes au gratin with powder "sauce" or cheesy broccoli rice with crusty bits of broccoli.
(That's not to say it never happens. I keep some of that junk on hand if I'm having a particularly desperate day.)

So, while I'm no Julia Child (I heard she disdained Italian cooking because it was too haphazard and not calculated enough! La di dah!) we do like to eat well at our house.

Anyway...where was I going with this?
Oh, yes.
I'm not a braggart in the kitchen.
I admit: I'm average.

But what is not average - what I have perfected throughout my (short) years in the kitchen - is my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
I know, right? Everyone knows how to make a chocolate chip cookie.
Even if you can't boil an egg, you can probably make a chocolate chip cookie.

Listen, if you try this recipe and think I'm completely out of line in saying these are the best Chocolate Chip Cookies you've ever made and that I'm a Genius Chocolate Chip Cookie maker, you can blame my dad.
Yep. Blame the Reverend.
He has been requesting and then proclaiming the perfection of my Chocolate Chip Cookies since I was 15.
He has inflated my head in a terrible way.
And, so, if they suck...it's all his fault.
(But they don't suck. I promise.)

This is a basic recipe.
No fancy, I-can't-believe-she-puts-that-in-there! ingredients.
Straightforward, Toll House style recipe, just tweaked and teased a bit to make it truly exceptional.

The magic is in the ingredients.
Do exactly what I tell you.
Because, as is true with all baking, the correct temperature, amounts and order of additions is vital when it comes to these cookies.
The texture will be all wrong if you don't do as I say.
(So what? I'm having a power trip. Let me.)

First up, a note about the chocolate, vanilla and butter:
Use good chocolate chips.
I prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips.
Please do not use milk chocolate chips. Gross.

Use good vanilla extract.
Do not use the crap that says 'imitation vanilla.'
Stay away from that.
It's phony. And nasty.
(And we are using more vanilla in this recipe than is traditionally called for, so make it the good stuff.)

Use salted butter.
S A L T E D.
I know, in baking you are supposed to use unsalted butter so you can monitor the amount of butter you are adding to your recipe.
Nonsense, here.
This, I feel, is the key to making your chocolate chip cookies a cut above the rest.
The extra salt in there...coupled with the sweet of the good chocolate.

Another note about butter:
It is supposed to be room temperature.
That means you must leave it sitting out for a few hours so it gets truly soft and room temp all the way through. If it isn't soft enough, it wont blend with the other ingredients.
If you forget to set your butter out (which I've done many times) and just decide to nuke it you will have a different texture in your cookies.
Truly room temp. butter produces light, soft, fluffy cookies. Like the ones in my picture at the bottom.
Butter that has been put in the microwave and has been softened to that oozing point, or beyond, produces flat, chewy, brown cookies.
I prefer the fluffy cookies. But if you like the more dense ones, microwave your butter until it starts to ooze.

See? This is intense; this whole 'perfect cookie' thing.
Maybe I missed my calling as a pastry chef.

And now, without further ado, the recipe.

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) good semi-sweet chocolate chips (like Ghirardelli)

Preheat your oven to 375.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Please do this step. The consistency is effected by whether you beat after each egg or not.)
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

Oh my heavens. The most perfect cookie.

If you're a nut-lover, you may put 1 cup of walnuts in your cookies when you add the chocolate chips. I love nuts but, for some reason, I like the purity of the cookie without nuts. Crunch distracts me from the goodness of the cookie.

And that's it!
Not the most impressive recipe in my folders, but probably the best.
If you make these, you have to tell me how they turned out.
If you loved them as much as my daddy does.
: )


Katie said...

I just made toll house a few days ago so I can see where your recipe is similar, but you added EXTRA of the BEST ingredients. I love it! Can't wait to make these...Thursday for sure! Thank you for sharing. And yes, SALTED butter...anyone who cooks with unsalted is silly! Salt and butter are like the secret peanut butter and jelly. You cannot separate them. :)

Ashley's Daddy said...

"TO DIE FOR" is an over used phrase but completely-totally appropriate for the Star-Crossed Blogger's chocolate chip cookies. It's true because I said so and I'm her dad. So there!

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

Your dad's comment is cute. :)

Yay for chocolate-chip cookie recipes! I have to say my mom's is the best, but these would be - I'm sure - a close second. ;)

p.s. Want to know a favorite way of eating them for our family? Well, warm from the oven is best, of course, but after that... Straight from the freezer, dunked in a cold glass of milk. HEAVEN. Yum.

Mrs. B. said...

Thanks, Dad. :)

Jamie Willow said...

I think you could seriously be a food photographer...you make things look appealing and then back them up with great taste :)

Alexandria said...

haha ... dad! i love that.

Maegan said...

Jack has requested for me to bake some cookies and I just so have every ingredient, even the ghiradelli chocolate chips, in my pantry right now. I think its a sign. I'll tell you how they turned out!

Kayla said...

HA! Dad's are funny....my recipe is close to yours...but my recipe is under lock and key ;-) My Dad has of course proclaimed the same about my cookies...drives my Mom bonkers! One weekend he had a bag of my cookies and my brother and sister-in-law were visiting and my she told my Mom "We can crack Kayla's recipe" and they set to work making 7 or 8 different recipes (hundreds of cookies) and tasting them against the bag of mine my Dad had....they still haven't cracked my secret recipe!

And I agree about eating them straight from the freezer with milk....AMAZING!!

Jessica said...

I love baking, but my cookies frustrate me- they are great (sometimes) and not so great other times... very inconsistent- argh! Many recipes say to beat one egg at a time, but... for how long? I never really "got" that part. And how long to beat the wet ingredients (until creamy). Approximates?? Maybe this is my problem...