Friday, April 10, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Goodness


Chocolate Chip Cookies
Those three little words everyone wants to hear...chocolate chip cookies.  Just writing the words make my mouth water.  The smell of tiny morsels of love baking in the oven brings back happy childhood memories of being in the kitchen with my mom.  They are one of the first things I learned to bake.  I consider myself to be a pretty competent baker.  I have made some fancy and impressive desserts in my life but when I am in need of something comforting, delicious, and an unquestionable crowd pleaser I make Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

Simplicity is best.  Use good butter, good vanilla, good chocolate, and fresh eggs, and whatever you are making will be delicious.  I have modified my recipe over the years; sometimes I add cinnamon to the chips, sometimes I use chunks of chocolate, sometimes nuts, and most recently I have been adding coarse sea salt before they go in the oven.  Joy the Baker does a great recipe with dark chocolate, pistachios, and smoked sea salt that makes my heart sing.  It is 10:30 in the morning right now and if I went into the Tovolo kitchen and whipped up a batch of cookies they would be gone before noon.  GONE! 

Chocolate Chip Cookies are invaluable for bargaining.  (I wonder if that's how the phrase Bargaining Chip was stared? Hum?). Never underestimate the power of warm chocolate chip cookies to influence people into doing what you want or to throw in a little something extra for you every once in a while.  Benevolent Cookie Power.

People remember people who bring cookies.

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp good vanilla like Neilsen Massey

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (if you are adding salt to the top, if not use 1 tsp of salt in the dough)

12 oz. (more or less) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Let's talk chocolate - You can change the whole look and taste of your cookies based on the chocolate you choose to use. Chips are great and easy - semi- sweet is traditional, milk chocolate chips make the cookies sweeter, 60+ % cacao will make them taste richer.  If you choose to use chopped chocolate, rough chop it otherwise you could end up with chocolate cookies. One of my favorite variations on this classic is using Theo Chocolate Dark Chocolate Salted Almond bars - less chocolate makes it into the actual dough but I am a happier baker.  😄. Nuts in cookies can be polarizing so know your audience.  I almost always prefer to toast the nuts a little before using them. It adds a warm, roasty flavor to the dough and the heat helps pull out the natural nut oils. 

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy, add eggs until fluffier. Add vanilla.  Measure flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl and add it to the butter mixture until incorporated.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough (I used a scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 mins or until desired doneness.  If it were up to me they would never be baked but if you have to bake them make sure they are a little underdone in the center for gooeyness. 


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