Saturday

My Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe...because I love ya (it is a gift my friend, hold it close)


 In the grand scheme of dessert and all things bad for you,
this is my down fall. Of all the cakes and frostings and custards and pie (pie is my least favorite), I'd rather have a chocolate chip cookie
...a really tasty chocolate chip cookie. 

I found the base for this recipe a few years ago and have spent some time adjusting and tweaking things here and there. I love it because out of this one recipe, with a few changes here and there, I can make about 8 different cookies.

There are tricks and tips to having a successful cookie; I didn't realize the impact things like butter and egg temperature had on such success until I went through my Martha Stewart phase. Remember when she had a daytime T.V show? The set alone was amazing- and that kitchen! Oh how I miss it! The things I learned! I'm convinced Martha wants me to work for her and she just doesn't even know it
...I digress...

When making chocolate chip cookies, here are the things I do to make sure they come out right:

Find a recipe that has all the things you love:
for me, the brown sugar ratio needs to be higher than the white sugar
thats how I like it. 

Butter. Nothing. But. Butter
Shortening leaves a film at the top of your mouth (it's called trans fats...I like my silky smooth saturated fat instead). It may add a chewy texture, and make your cookies last longer in a fresh/not fresh kind of way, but it's not butter. Plain and Simple. It's the more natural choice. 

Butter isn't a place to save your pennies either- want to know why?
You can taste it. You can see it in how your cookies turn out. 
My favorite, most economical choice for butter is from Costco. I hoard it. I never buy less than 2 packages (8 boxes) at a time. Salted Butter. Pull a few out for your fridge, one for your counter (room temperature butter is your best friend) and the rest go happily into the freezer for later. 

Measure. Measure. Measure.
This isn't a time for throwing things in as you please. This is science, my friend. Chemistry at it's very finest- exact measurements are a must (except for extract and chocolate chips, I always eyeball those).

Room Temperature
This is key for your butter. Don't you dare microwave it either. Set out your butter the night before if you need to- but make sure it's perfectly room temp. Eggs too. I don't always remember with my eggs, but it can only be of benefit. 

Salt
Salt makes everything come alive. I like to omit it from my recipe and sprinkle it on top of each dough ball before it goes into the oven. My favorite: flaked sea salt. Don't go crazy with it- the point is to enhance the sweet, not take over completely. If you don't have flaked on hand, course sea salt will do just fine. It's gives your cookie the same salty, sweet goodness as a delicious chocolate covered pretzel.

Incorporate, don't mix
When you add your dry ingredients, you incorporate them: mix them until barely mixed in. Don't beat the stars out of your dough. Doing so releases gluten from your flour causing a more dense, tougher cookie. Nobody likes that. Be gentle with the dough. When you add your chips also take much care. 

Cookie Scoop
My Williams Sonoma Cookie scoops are my favorite invention. Enough said. Go for quality in this arena too. I tried to like cheaper cookie scoops but they lasted maybe two batches and broke. 

Chocolate chips
Quality control here too. There is a difference. Whatever you like: milk, dark, semi. Doesn't matter. Quality does. My very favorite thing to do is buy a really nice bar (or two) of chocolate and chop it up. Chocolate chunk cookies are divine. 

Under vs. Over-baking
I'm an avid under-baker to a fault. I like to get my cookies out when they just start to brown, I then press the tops of the cookies down slightly with a spatula, let them sit for a minute, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Cooling Rack
I love my cooling racks. Use them every. single. time.

Vanilla
Never use imitation extract. Not all extracts are the same. The one you choose to use, needs to be one you enjoy the flavor of. In this recipe it will surely shine through- make sure you like the flavor. Some extracts are stronger than others, so adjust for that. Use less if you need to.

Last tip:
The more you do it, the better you are at it. I have had plenty a cookie fail. But now, I can do it in my sleep. Making dough, or cookies for my kids and friends is as fast and convenient as opening a package of store bought cookies (and way better). No recipe needed. There is nothing that screams "home" or  "childhood" (or adulthood in my case) like the smell of cookies baking in the oven. Your family will love you for it! 


Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 350

2 cups (4 sticks) of butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon baking soda
6 cups of flour
2-3 cups of chocolate chips 

Flaked or Course Sea Salt for sprinkling 

In your stand mixer, generously mix your butter and sugars, 
scraping down the sides of your bowl. 
Add eggs one at a time, make sure they are thoroughly mixed, then add vanilla. 
Once these ingredients are mixed well, add your dry ingredients. You could put them in a large bowl and sift, or at least use a whisk for the same effect. For the sake of less dishes and complexity, I add the baking soda first and then quickly add each cup of flour only incorporating the ingredients and then I turn my mixer off. Next I add the chips and pulse my mixer, incorporating them in. Scoop dough onto cookie sheets, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 8-10 minutes. 

Because it's just the way I do things, this will make a giant batch of about 5 dozen cookies. Both the cookies and dough freeze beautifully, but we never really have enough to do so. They are popular around here. 

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