The nurse in me knows I should be promoting healthful eating -- some Paleo/Gluten-Free/Vegan/Fat-Free concoction that will add years to your life, revitalize your skin, and taste amazing all at the same time. But, the truth is, we all know that type of food is a fantasy...a unicorn...and in reality, if it DID exist, it would probably cause cancer and taste pretty much like cardboard.
However, that being said, the artist and muse in me are here today... to tempt you.
Yeah, I'm bad. But in a good way.
Today, I'm here to share with you something that is mana for the spirit..."soul food", as it were.
...the holy grail of chocolate chip cookies.
But, if it makes you feel better...we'll call them
"Free-Range Chocolatey Chip Cookies"
Yeah, that sounds...better.
For years, I've been searching for the best recipe for these little parcels of joy. I've found countless recipes that claim to be "the best"...but, in reality, fail miserably for one reason or another. I've even tried altering these recipes...a tweak here, a twist there...to no avail.
But then, when I quit searching, I found this elusive treasure. (Isn't that how it always seems to work? You ultimately find what you're looking for when you quit looking for it.)
This recipe produces (in my opinion) the very best chocolate chip cookies out there. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, buttery, gooey, yummy bits of heaven. They store well, and when warmed up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds...taste fresh out of the oven even days later. And, they turn out this great EVERY SINGLE TIME I make them.
There are a couple of hints I've learned along my cookie journey that I'll share with you in the course of explaining the recipe. These may be considered basic baking hints...but they are ESSENTIAL for successful baking.
- 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups flour (all-purpose)
- 1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp. HOT water
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1- 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 2 cups)
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
- In large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
- Add eggs (one at a time) to butter mixture. Stir until smooth after each egg.
- Add vanilla, blend well.
- Add dissolved baking soda solution, blend well.
- In separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together.
- Add flour mix, 1 cup at a time, to butter mixture. Blend thoroughly after each addition.
- Add chocolate chips, stir gently until evenly distributed throughout dough.
- Add nuts IF DESIRED.
- Place scoops of dough (~ 1 Tablespoon) onto ungreased cookie sheet (or on Sil-pat lined sheet) Space about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. About half-way through baking time (at about 4 minutes) remove pan from oven and turn pan around (front to back). Continue baking for remaining 4-5 minutes more until edges are golden brown but center is PALE and soft (but not shiny anymore).
- Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack until completely cool.
Cookie Baking Tips, Tricks, and Hints:
- ALWAYS mix wet ingredients together in one bowl, and WHISK dry ingredients together in another bowl (to make sure all dry ingredients are well blended)...then add the dry to the wet, 1/3 at a time, mixing THOROUGHLY after each addition.
- NEVER use melted butter. It will make your cookies greasy and flat. Yuck
- Use a small "ice cream" scoop (1 Tablespoon size)--15cc size for uniform cookies. For larger cookies use a 1 oz. sized (2 Tablespoon)-- 30cc size scoop. Scrape them off flat on the side of the bowl. Scoops are available at most cooking supply stores...or even at big box stores like Target or Walmart.
- Unless you have a convection oven, turn your baking pans half-way around at the mid point of their cooking time to ensure even cooking.
- Store cookies in air-tight plastic container for up to a week or so. (Yeah, like they'll last that long)
- REALLY IMPORTANT: Take your cookies out of the oven BEFORE they really look "done". You want to remove them when their centers are still PALE. As soon as their surface is NOT SHINY anymore...they come OUT. This was a hard thing for me to learn. But, trust me, if you leave them in until they're golden brown all over...you've just killed them.
- Microwave cookies for 10-15 seconds before eating to bring them back to their just-baked-out-of-the-oven, wonderful state.
- Remember, if you break a cookie...all the calories spill out. So, break your cookie in half before eating. You're welcome.
Somewhere inside me is a skinny girl screaming to get out...but I can usually shut her up with cookies.Bon appetit, y'all!