Chocolate Chip Cookie Perfection

 

Every now and then I feel the need to return to the simpler desserts in life. No I’m not talking about giving up cream puffs and 7 layer torts and the chocolate/cinnamon coffee cakes that I can eat at one sitting forever. I’m talking about satisfying that craving for the perfect chocolate chip cookie who’s first bite takes me back to the time when every problem could be solved at the kitchen table with my mom, the cookies and a glass of milk.

The recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag of morsels makes a pretty good chocolate chip cookie. Follow the recipe precisely and even if you mess up and it’s a disaster the crumbs are still delicious. However, based upon my own experience if you try a few minor modifications and refinements you can make the recipe fit your own personal requirements (more chocolate, more nuts, bigger cookies). First, unless you want to make the cookies non dairy use real butter. Don’t let anyone convince you that butter vs. margarine doesn’t make any difference. It does. Second, TRIPLE the amount of vanilla extract recommended. This means to use a tablespoon where a teaspoon is specified. Also, always use real vanilla extract, not the fake stuff, this can make a big difference in the taste. Finally, let the butter sit out at room temperature to become soft before you start making the dough.

You can also experiment with untraditional mixes of white and brown sugar until you achieve the version you like best. Note that Toll House dough, without chips but with a fair amount of cinnamon, is a nice variation on a great American cookie called the “snickerdoodle.

In my experience Nestle morsels melt the best during baking process but they are not pareve. Ghirardelli morsels are also very good. I also like the Hershey mini-morsels. The standard-size Hershey Morsels, however, do not seem to melt as well as the others, and I usually don’t use them in cookies (although they are terrific in brownies, which is an entirely different column). The morsels MUST, however, be semisweet (i.e. dark) chocolate. Milk chocolate morsels, which are sold in similar bags, are way too sweet to put into these cookies.

 The following recipes run the gamut from crunchy to chewy and the basic to the exotic. Make sure you pay attention to the types of flour and butter the recipe asks for, they are important to the end quality of the cookie.


MOIST AND CHEWY CHIPPERS

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375.  Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool and store in an airtight container. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies

Submitted by Jill Janson Chicago IL

PUFFY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Combine the shortening, sugar, and brown sugar in the mixer’s work bowl, and cream until light and fluffy. In the meantime, sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the creamed mixture. Then add vanilla. Increase the speed until thoroughly incorporated. With the mixer set to low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the shortening and combine well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 per sheet. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, checking the cookies after 5
minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool and store in an airtight-container. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies

THIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch baking soda
1 egg
2 ounces milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups semisweet  or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and set is aside.. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the sugars and mix to combine then mix until light and fluffy. Reduce. Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for more even browning. Remove the cookies from the pans immediately. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Modified from cooking.com

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 box chocolate cake mix (2 layer size)
1 cup sour cream
1 box instant chocolate pudding (4 serving size)
1 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
2 large eggs

Preheat oven on to 350. Grease the cookie sheet. Combine all five ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until moistened and no big lumps remain. Drop by rounded spoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, on to the cookie sheet. Bake on the center rack in the oven for 16 – 18 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

Modified from Pillsbury.com

KITCHEN SINK COOKIES
 
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee pieces
1/2 cup butterscotch chips or peanut butter pieces

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, sugar, brown sugars, vanilla and eggs (adding the eggs one at a time and beating well between each one.) Gradually beat in the flour mixture into the large bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients; nuts, both kinds of chocolate chips, toffee pieces and butterscotch chips. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased pan cookie sheet, but not too close as these cookies will spread. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes, and remove to cooling rack. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

A LITTLE BIT LOWER FAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray two nonstick baking sheets with non stick spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula to force the mixture into the blades, beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, about 1 1/2 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the egg, oil, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pour into the butter/sugar mixture and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Using a spoon, stir just until a stiff dough forms. Using a heaping teaspoon for each, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (The cookies will spread during baking.) One sheet at a time, bake until the cookies are lightly browned 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies will seem soft, but they will crisp as they cool. Cool in the pan for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a wire cake rack to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen

Modified from about.com

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup (2-3) ripe bananas, well mashed

 3/4 cups oatmeal
12 oz package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the egg, sugar and shortening and vanilla . Add the bananas and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon and flour. Mix slightly. Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix to combine. Drop by spoonful onto lightly greased (or parchment sheeted) cookie sheet. These can be either small teaspoon size, or large serving spoon size. ( I like them super sized) Normal baking time is 10 minutes depending on the size. They should be moist and chewy. Makes 2 doz. Depending on the size.

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