Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is There Anything Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies?

I had the day off yesterday and wanted to bake something. I've been experimenting with so many different recipes the past couple of years (cakes, muffins, cupcakes, breads, bars, etc.), but today I wanted to go back to the basics. Chocolate chip cookies. Oh, how I love chocolate chip cookies. It was a beautiful day, so I opened up the windows, let the cool breeze blow in and baked. I was in bliss.

After trying various recipes for chocolate chip cookies over the years, I've learned what makes a great soft cookie. I found this recipe for Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies on allrecipes.com and knew this was going to be a winner. First, it has the right proportion of brown sugar and white sugar. Brown sugar makes a cookie chewier and this recipe had lots of brown sugar. A mixture of real unsalted butter and shortening results in the perfect texture. The shortening helps the cookie from spreading too much and gives the cookie a delicately crisp texture on the outside. The butter, of course, adds great flavor. I have made cookies with all butter (spread out too much), all shortening (lacking that butter flavor), all butter-flavor shortening (too much "fake" butter taste). I have come to the conclusion that a mixture of unsalted butter and plain shortening is ideal. I did increase the salt in the recipe. I found out that I love salt in chocolate chip cookies, which probably isn't a good thing because it does give them an "addictive quality" (cringe).

I was right about these cookies! Any chocolate chip cookie is absolutely fabulous right out of the oven, but the true sign of a great cookie is how they are after they have cooled. How the texture and flavor is the next day. These were still soft the next day and totally delicious. This may be my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Here are some of my other tips for great chocolate chip cookies:
1. Chilling the dough before baking. This helps the cookie from spreading out and becoming thin.
2. Rolling the dough into balls or scooping them into high mounds. Again, this helps them from spreading too much.
3. Using an insulated cookie sheet. This helps the bottom of the cookies from not getting to brown.
4. Using parchment paper. This makes clean-up a breeze. Cookies don't stick and sheets don't get too dirty.
5. Setting some of the chocolate chips aside to press into the tops of the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. This makes the cookies gorgeous.
6. Letting the cookies cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes. This assures the cookie won't fall apart when transferring to the cooling rack.

Here is my version of soft chocolate chip cookies:

Dianne's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine softened butter with shortening, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (setting aside 1/2 cup to press onto tops of cookies). Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour.         
3.  To form cookies, use a 1 1/2 Tbsp.-size cookie scoop or roll into 1 1/2 Tbsp.-size balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet (or cookie sheet lined with parchment) for 8-10 min. Bottoms of cookies should just barely be starting to turn golden. As soon as cookies are removed from oven, press 4 - 5 chocolate chips onto the top each cookie. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, Dianne! I just realized that I had your old site on my blog roll! I wondered why you hadn't posted in forever...You had!!! Now I have to catch up!!:) Have a GREAT week:)

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  2. I got a chance last week to make these cookies. Not only were they delicious but they were of perfect shape and texture. I've had trouble in the past with my cookies being flat. I followed your recipe to a T and they were great. I especially liked the tip about reserving some chocolate chips to place on top after they come out of the oven! Thanks again.

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