Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chewy and Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies. I make them all the time. I've got it down to a science. I've been using the same recipe for nearly 3 years. I made some last night and realized that I'd made several changes to the recipe I use and never shared the changes with you!

So, here's the recipe I've been using with the changes in italics.

This post originally appeared on April 7, 2011.
One of my favorite responsibilities at work is providing hospitality to volunteers. I am in charge of making sure that volunteers who travel to Louisiana for a week-long mission experience feel at home. For me, this always means food. I started out buying a huge tub of cookie dough and making batches of cookies each week from the tub. Easy and cheap, no doubt. However, this wasn't putting nearly enough love into sharing hospitality as I'd like.

A few weeks ago we had huge groups of volunteers - about three times our normal volume - so I decided to kick it up a notch and made chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter and chocolate chip rice krispies treats and delicious chocolate caramel brownies. Of course they were a big hit. And naturally, I didn't get any pictures of the process.

I had a slow afternoon so I decided that it was time to make a few more batches for the volunteers coming to town next week and the following week. I know things are going to get very busy around here next week and I won't have time to bake, so I decided to double my normal recipe and make twice as many cookies.

I have tried Heather's recipe before but altered it and didn't pay much attention to the directions. This time I was committed to reading every line and following it exactly.

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies(Source: Baking Illustrated, courtesy of Heather Drive)

Makes approximately 18 large cookies I make smaller cookies. 18 cookies would be HUGE! I usually make 24-36 cookies, depending on how large they are. The recipe would make 24 large cookies and 36 smaller cookies. And probably 40+ small cookies. 

Ingredients:

- 2 cups + 2 tbsp. (10 5/8 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
- Occasionally I'll reduce the white flour and add wheat flour or oats instead. 
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm Rather than melt it, I just leave the butter on the counter for an hour or so before I'm ready to start baking. 
- 1 cup packed (7 oz.) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips I use half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet. The difference is delicious! 

Directions:

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray. I never line them and never ever grease the sheets. I use silpat and non-stick cookie sheets and have never had trouble with sticking. 

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

 


4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. This is where I ran into some trouble. I don't think I properly placed the halves back together. I never do this anymore. I use a spoon to roll out balls of about 2-3 tablespoons. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.


5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

 They didn't turn out quite turn out as pretty as I'd planned. I don't think I really had the knack of splitting the balls and then putting them back together. I'd do it differently next time. And maybe cook them at a little higher temperature and for a little less time. I ended up baking them on the really long side just to get them cooked all the way through.

Thank goodness everyone else in the office was out for the afternoon because when all was said and done, I was left with the kitchen looking like this:

 

Thankfully I had plenty of time to clean up after myself before folks came back from meetings. I don't think they would have minded much anyway - the whole office building smelled delicious! 
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