The other day (That is a tip of the hat to my husband because with him, everything happened "the other day."), I dropped off some of my renowned chocolate chip cookies to Ranae, my hairstylist, to show her my appreciation. She's a gem of a gal, and I owed her one.
The last time she cut my hair, I brought along my two boys--without asking first, mind you. Luckily, my guys sat quietly pouring over their books while she gave me a new 'do. (Yes, there is a God.)
Yesterday, the first time I saw Ranae after the cookie drop, she thanked me profusely, embarrassingly so, saying, "Those were the best chocolate chip cookies EVER!" She went on to tell me how much she and her family loved them, how her husband tried to hide them, and how she'd love to have my babies.
I get a lot of that.
Funny thing is just about everybody who eats my cookies says the exact same thing, "Those were the best chocolate chip cookies EVER!"
I try to be a modest individual. However, some things are too blatantly obvious to hide like my blazing intellect, my cunning wit, and my seething good looks. But you know, with the rest of the stuff, I try to keep it down so as not to overinflate my ego. Seems the prudent thing to do.
Even so, once you hear something enough, you tend to believe it. Henceforth, I give you:
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever...Except for Your Mom's, Of Course
2 c. butter or shortening *
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
5 c. flour
3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, preferably name-brand
* Before you make these cookies, consider why you are making them. Yes, I know you are making them to eat them, but the question is: when do you want to eat them? If you want to eat them the self-same day that they are baked, use butter. Butter-based cookies taste yummy, but they do not hold up well over time. If you want to eat the cookies over a period of a few days or so, be sure to use shortening. Cookies made with shortening are scrumptious and will last longer but tend to be a tad bit greasy. (You can use margarine instead of butter, but honestly, what is the point? Doing so doesn't somehow make it a healthy alternative. And if you do use margarine, don't even think about using diet margarine. That makes some nasty cookies. Bleah!)
Should you use butter, heat it until slightly melted; there is no need to heat shortening. Add the sugars. The world works better with racial harmony, and so do these cookies. Use equal amounts of brown and white sugar. (Do not discriminate or the cookies will rise up against you. OK, maybe not, but they may stage a sit-in.) Throw in the vanilla and the eggs but do it gently; remember the eggs were separated from their mother at a frighteningly young age. Mix well.
Next add flour, salt, and baking soda. Using a sturdy spoon, pulverize the dough until it is a uniform color. During this step the use of a hand-held commercial mixer is not recommended as it would undoubtedly sustain irreversible shock.
Add the chocolate chips. Distribute the chips evenly throughout the dough. There is nothing worse than a naked cookie.
You can alternately use M&Ms or--clutch the pearls--Peanut Butter M&Ms, but if you do, might I suggest making these shortening-based cookies? (Is it too late to say that?) It just works better.
If these are butter-based cookies, chill the dough for at least twenty minutes. Chilled dough is happy dough. If you plan to chill it overnight, cover unsparingly with plastic wrap. Short-term chillin' may happen in the freezer, but overnight chillin' must happen in the refrigerator. If you mistakenly chill the dough in the freezer overnight, say hello to your new bowling ball.
The dough will be adequately chilled when it can stand on its own. To see if the dough is ready, grasp the edges of the cookie bowl firmly on either side. Hold the bowl up on end. If the cookie dough barely moves, the dough has been properly chilled.
Shortening-based cookie dough does not need to chill, but it won't hurt anything if it does. Butter/margarine-based cookie dough has to be chilled if you want it to do right by you.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°. Plop twelve jawbreaker-sized bundles of chocolate onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Don't make really big balls o' dough. Just nice, smallish, chocolate confections. If you make the balls too large, they spread out and run together on the pan during baking. And that's just wrong.
The balls don't have to be uniform in shape either. A few terrain features in the finished product makes it all the more exciting when picking which cookie to eat next.
Roast them for eight minutes. Your cookies must bake in the oven, not age. The cookies should be domed-not-doughy on top and golden-not-brown on bottom. They will darken and wrinkle in the sunlight just like the rest of us.
If you get a doughy/brown combination, cut the heat back to 325°. The time can be stretched to ten minutes and beyond, but this is not typically a good practice unless you bake cookies at high altitudes. (In which case, you know better than I what to do. I typically bake cookies at an altitude of about 260 feet.)
If you peer into the oven and think that the cookies are not quite done, that's when they are done. Take them out immediately; let your stomach be your guide.
If you were overeager and overbaked the cookies, they will become hard and indestructible. Tell the children that the cookies are playthings. Have faith in the little tikes; these are the same kids who sit on the kitchen floor playing with oatmeal boxes.
Relax and enjoy the fruit of your labor. These cookies taste remarkably good when frozen, no really--you get the great taste of cookie batter without the salmonella. Cookies are good alone or with a friend.
p.s. If you want a PDF of this recipe, just rattle my cage.
link: cookie monster
Some Good News and Some Bad News
2 years ago