So, I broke the number one rule in blog start-ups: blog often, and blog consistently. Well, as soon as I released my blog to the big scary world (of my friends and family), I dropped off the face of the Earth. Why? Because I moved this week! I know, I know. I tease you with my whit and kitchen confidence, and just like that, take it away. Honestly, it hurt me much more than it hurt you! Being away from my Le Crueset dutch oven and various Kitchen Aid appliances, and unable to spew out so many random thoughts to a captive audience is just plain unhealthy for me. It was painful, but I am happy to say the finish line of settling in to the new place is in sight. I can’t wait to break in the new “kitchen” (you’ll get to hear all about why that is in quotation marks!), and fill your brain with my never-ending dribble about city life.
Anyway, for the grand relocation, I hired a few burly movers (best investment ever, btw), and the most talkative of the three noticed that the majority of my boxes were labeled for the kitchen. He commented on them excitedly, and told me that he recently completed culinary school, which of course made us instant pals. As we turned into dripping puddles of sweat from heaving around boxes and furniture, we discussed our favorite recipes and traded stories of great kitchen disasters. In this bonding moment, he confesses something that I never expected: “Jenni, you know what I can never get right? Cookies! I can make anything in the world, but my cookies? Nope. Always turn out flat and hard, like crackers.”
Out of everything edible, cookies were definitely not something I would have thought would be his kitchen kryptonite. Chocolate chip cookies were the very first thing I ever successfully made on my own… I must have been around 10 at the time. I’m not bragging here, nor am I judging this fella—I’ve had plenty of people complain that their cookies turn to bricks about 10 minutes post-oven. So, if a trained and certified chef can’t get nail the baked treats, then I think I need to address this. I suppose I’ve taken it for granted that my mother provided me with a fool-proof recipe and method that works every time.
Want a few tips on guaranteeing your chocolate chip cookies will turn out TDF every time? Of course you do.
- Bring all of your refrigerated ingredients to room temp before using.
- Melt your butter before using (microwave is fine, just don’t over-do the temp!).
- Your brown sugar to white sugar ratio should be 3:1 (see recipe below). Brown sugar helps keep your cookies softer for longer.
- After making your dough, stick it in the fridge for about a half hour. I know this step is difficult, especially if you’re in a hurry (or like to eat the dough like I do), but it makes all the difference in the world, between fluffy cookies and flat, crispy, sad-n-saggy ones.
- When it’s time to form the cookies, use heavy-duty aluminum foil only, not a cookie sheet. My mother swears by this to keep her cookies light, fluffy, and without any crispy edges. Just be careful when placing this in the oven, since it’s not rigid (and your cookie dough balls just love to roll off the foil if you’re not careful!).
- Take the cookies out about 2 minutes before they are completely cooked through. When you take anything out of the oven, it continues to cook for a few minutes. This will ensure you have soft, ooey-gooey cookies you’ve been craving since you started reading this. Take out your aluminum foil sheet and leave them alone (oh, so difficult!), for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to a cooling rack for another 5 minutes.
Follow these tips along with the recipe below, and you’ll have the most envious cookies in your office/knitting circle/Fantasy league/PTA group/studio apartment.
Note – Since I am in the process of unpacking, I could not take pics myself this week. Pictures courtesy of wonkywonderful.com , ingls.com, commons.wikipedia.org.
Fool-Proof Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Two mixing bowls (one small, one large would be perfect)
- A measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Mixer (hand or stand)
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Cooling rack
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1tsp salt
- 1 c (2 sticks) butter, just melted (NOTE: I have used Smart Balance® many times with success)
- ½ c white (granulated) sugar
- 1 c packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 package (12-oz) chocolate chips of choice (my fav is the Ghirardelli® dark chocolate chips; however, milk chocolate chips do work the best here, I hate to admit)
- In one (the smaller) of your mixing bowls, combine all of your dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In your (larger) mixing bowl, combine both sugars and butter. Beat with a mixer on medium until creamy and glossy, about 1 minute.
- Add vanilla extract and one egg, and beat on medium until mixed, then add the other egg and repeat.
- Add a third of your dry mixture to your wet mixture and beat on medium until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and repeat two more times, until all of your dry ingredients are mixed in with the wet ingredients. Your dough should be tough to mix with the mixer at this point. You will need to carefully scrape out the attachments (for a snack, right?)
- Add half of the chocolate chips and stir with your spatula. Then add the other half of the chocolate chips.
NOTE: If you want aesthetically pleasing cookies, save the other half of the chips to roll your dough balls in before you place on your sheet!
- Gently cover the bowl with wrap, and place in the fridge for about a half hour. Try really hard not quit the cookie process and go to town on the dough at this point. It only leads to regret. Been there, done that, not proud of it.
- Take out the bowl of dough (congrats on resisting temptation!). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut and lightly grease two heavy-duty sheets of aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Using a tablespoon (a real one, not one you eat with), scoop your dough and form balls. Place your dough balls on your aluminum foil, spread apart (remember, these will expand in the oven!).
- CAREFULLY place your aluminum foil with your dough balls directly into the oven (this is easiest with two people, just an fyi).
- These should be completely cooked through at 10-11 minutes, so set your timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, check the cookies. If they look mostly done, but still a tad doughy in the middle, take them out and allow them to keep doing their thing for 5 more minutes.
- After 5 minutes, check them. If they look like you want to house them, transfer them to a cooling rack and give them a few minutes so you don’t burn your mouth. If they look like they are still lumps of dough, you can place them back in the oven for a few. It’s a learning process, remember?