Saturday, February 06, 2010

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Espresso cup and saucer by Urban Soule.

The heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants chocolate chip cookies. Every. Day. I have to admit that as much as I love to bake, and as much I love trying new things, I keep coming back to chocolate chip cookies. 
Both of my parents worked full time, so I'm one of the rare food bloggers who doesn't have a lot of homey memories of hours spent in the kitchen at my mother's side. In fact, when my mom was growing up, she lived next door to her grandparents and her grandmother did most of the cooking for everyone, so neither my grandmother nor my mother ever really learned anything, as far as I can tell. And yes, I am aware that I just, to use the reality show parlance of our times, threw my own mother under the bus. 

But! The one really warm and cozy family cooking memory I do have involves - of course - chocolate chip cookies. Every now and then, my mom got the urge to bake -- I don't know why, maybe she felt guilty about putting me in that awful institutional daycare center where I ate nothing but dry cornbread every day. BUT I'M TOTALLY OVER THAT NOW. Ahem. So anyway, before she put the cookies in the oven to bake, my dad would insist that he and I "test" the batter to make sure that it was okay. Then we would each eat the equivalent of 5-10 cookies in raw dough. Miraculously, none of us ever once got salmonella poisoning. 

So that's my best guess as to why I love chocolate chip cookies so much, and they're still my barometer for bakery or cookbook. Last Christmas my mother-in-law gave me the behemoth Baking Illustrated, and I hadn't touched it until just recently, when I was craving a new Choco-Chip recipe. I was looking for something more like those big, buttery cookies you get at the bakery, you know, the kind they hand you in a piece of wax paper, and you're like, Oh, I'm not going to finish this, and then...yeah. That's what these are.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Baking Illustrated. Makes about 18 large (and I mean Mrs. Fields-esque large) or 30 medium-sized cookies.

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed light or brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. By hand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in the chips to taste. 
4. For big, bakery-style cookies: drop by 1/4 cup dollops onto the baking sheet, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart. (Baking Illustrated notes that leaving a jagged surface on top of the dollops leads to a more aesthetically pleasing cookie, but I couldn't really tell the difference.) For medium-sized cookies: drop by 2 tablespoon dollops onto the baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. 
5. Bake until cookies are light golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.  The outer edges should start to harden while the centers remain soft and puffy. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide spatula.


sarah said...


Kelly said...

I'm making a batch of chocolate chip cookies tonight. Might have to airlift some to Brooklyn.