Dentists start perusing Porsche and Ferrari catalogues at the sight of this incredible monster. I, on the other hand, am giving it some serious thought. What terrifies me is how easy it looks – and how it’s described as having an inch of cream on top.
Between March and July of 2009, I lived in a fully-populated share house in Brisbane where I baked to my heart’s content. I’ll admit, I bake for the glory. I slave away in the kitchen to produce these tiny treats for my friends and in the back of my mind, I am reveling in every single “OMG these are amazing!” they emit. Here is the recipe I’ve been using all this time, adapted from the one I fished off Allrecipes.com some time ago.
Chocolate chip cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Original recipe from here.
The original recipe calls for melted butter, but I find that softened butter is more manageable. For starters, softened butter does not splash when you stir too roughly. Once, I ran out of butter and substituted it gram for gram with dairy spread and it turned out just fine, but butter would be needed for that lovely, complex aroma and flavour of this delicous cookie. To stir, I use a whisk to mash up the butter and beat in the sugars.
The extra egg yolk is essential for texture. Instead of dropping the egg white down the sink, I put it on my face and chill out while the dough is chilling in the fridge.
Chocolate chips are the generic crowd-pleasing embellishment, but I’ve substituted/added equal volumes of nuts successfully. It is important to fold them in instead of stirring round and round because those little chips turn out to be aerodynamic little projectiles (and not to overmix or else we end up with tough cookies). To fold, pour in the chocolate chips and make a downward cutting movement in the middle of the dough. Assuming you’re right-handed, bring the spoon/spatula round the left and stir around the side of the bowl in a clockwise motion until you’re at six o’clock. The basic movement is: cut down, bring round.
I find that chilling the dough for a while contributes to a chewier texture, which I like. It hardens dough (or rather, the fats in the dough) a little which prevents each cookie from spreading out too far during baking. Chilling was mentioned in the reviews section but it’s an optional step. If I have time, I prepare the dough, put it into the fridge and then preheat the oven, otherwise I preheat the oven and make the dough under the assumption that the time I take to make the dough is enough for the oven to heat up. I’ve churned out a batch of these cookies in 30 minutes before (15 mins prep + 15 mins baking).
The cookies are perfect when they come out of the oven with a tiny bit of brownness on the edges. They’re soft to the touch so it’s tempting to put them back into the oven for longer, but they will set as they cool. Before I bake, I usually ask people if they prefer chewy or crunchy. By default, these cookies come out slightly crunchy on the edges and delicately chewy in the center. For crunchier cookies, I use a little less butter (150g) and bake for longer (up to 20 minutes) and for softer cookies, er… I open the oven about an inch after the 12 minute mark.
1. Chocolate chip cookies. These had a little less butter than usual and didn’t spread much so they’re still dome-shaped. I was making a triple batch for some event.
2. Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.
3. Double chocolate chip cookies. I put a little too much cocoa powder by accident and used baking chocolate chips and they turned out like this – amazing.
4. Double chocolate chip walnut cookies. This time I practiced some self restraint with the cocoa powder and added some walnuts to the mix.
5. Craisin pecan cookies. The texture and shape of this batch would be the closest to how the cookies turn out most of the time when I don’t tamper with the ingredients. I remember baking a batch of white chocolate macadamia cookies last year that were yum but that was before I got my camera so no pics of that.
This post was prompted by the well-wishes on Facebook I received from several of my former housemates. Apparently they remember me not for my brilliant sense of humour and vibrant personality, but for the delicious smells I could generate in our grey little kitchen.