Suzi's Blog

Still and Forever: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Good Cookie

How many times have you made chocolate chip cookies?  Honestly?  Yes, you have to start counting from childhood, when you tugged on Mom’s apron and got one big serious lick of cookie dough.  That’s when our common addiction started.  Long after Mom is gone, that craving for dough, for the smell of baking cookies and, of course, that taste of a warm cookie out of the oven will awaken memories deep inside.

Suzen is having a private party this weekend at Cooking by the Book. Her client has requested a supply of the best chocolate chip cookies possible. We knew immediately where to turn for the recipe. This post, originally form 2010, is timeless. You can never have enough chocolate chip cookies, and you certainly can never have enough of the very best ones. Once you have made this recipe, you will always, always return for more.

To be honest, that recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips is good.  It really is.  As time has gone by, whole books have been created about chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve blogged about one of those books [http://www.cookingbythebook.com/blog/cookbook-reviews/essential-chocolate-chip-cookbook-elinor-klivans/].

So, truly sans ego, I am going to claim that I am chocolate chip cookie expert.  And that is why I can say with great confidence that I have found the world’s very, very best chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It’s from Tish Boyle in her book The Good Cookie.  The recipe is below and I will tell you her key secret: use melted butter.  Oh, and you make them big.

Suzen and I have made these a dozen times now, tested them on friends and family.  The first response is always something like, “Oh, my God, ..”  Quickly followed by, “Can I have the recipe?  Is it a big family secret.”

I am happy to share Tish’s extraordinary recipe here.

Funny thing, I found this recipe by accident.  The book was published in 2002 and I have been using it for years.  There is a colorful forest of Post-it notes sticking out all over the place — and I will blog in the future on more of those recipes.

But I just found the chocolate chip recipe.  I am embarrassed to say, it is the very first recipe in the book.  I usually just pick up a book and start flipping pages somewhere.  I rarely start at the beginning, with that first recipe.  If I had with The Good Cookie, then for eight years I could have been savoring this masterpiece recipe.

Please, don’t wait eight years.  Give this one a try and let me know how you love it.

 

Soft-Baked Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 18 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½                  Cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2                   Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8                   Teaspoon salt
  • 3/4                   Cup melted butter [1 ½ sticks]
  • 1                      Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½                     Cup granulated sugar
  • 2                      Large eggs
  • 2                      Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10                    Ounces chocolate cut into ¼-inch pieces [The chocolate can be bittersweet, semi, or milk]
  • ¾                     Cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking, soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking until well blended.  Whisk in the vanilla.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients until combined.  Stir in the chocolate and nuts.  [The dough can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 4 days or frozen for up to a month].

Using a ¼ cup measure or ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.  Bake, two sheets at a time for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are just brown around the edges; switch the position of the sheets halfway through the baking.  The centers of the cookies should be soft and slightly puffy.  Let look completely the on the backing sheets or wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days [which would be a miracle].

 Source: The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle

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Kris Kringle’s Christmas Chocolate Crinkles

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Try to say this post title five times, swiftly. Heck, just one swiftly. But Santa is packing up the sleigh and deservedly should be given treats on his journey. These cookies would be your best contribution to his busy night.

In 1978 I bought a copy of Chocolate Cookery by Mable Hoffman, published by HPBooks. It was, is, a big oversized cookbook. I was so naïve I did not know that “Cookery” meant this was a British spin the world’s favorite food.

I still have my copy. I don’t know where it is. But I do know the key recipe: Chocolate Crinkles. To find the recipe for this season, I googled and found many recipes. The one below, from King Arthur Flour, is very close to the original. It uses butter, not oil [God only knows why people bake with oil]. And, very importantly, this calls for refrigerating the cookie dough for hours, if not overnight.

These little buds of flavor are soft, tender, succulent and a necessity for life.

I, of course, was prepared to make them end-to-end but when it came to scooping out the dough, rolling in powdered sugar, and getting a perfect shape, Suzen had a comment: “I’ll do it.”

It seems that she thinks that I am sloppy in the kitchen. It’s almost Christmas. I let her have her way. I let her get her hands sticky with dough. Let her lick her fingers. Let her lick the powdered sugar that clung to the dough on those fingers. Let her do it all.

It’s better to give than receive. Although, at this jealous moment, I do have some other considerations. This is a perfect cookie to make with your kids. It teaches them patience: you have to refrigerate that dough. It teaches them dexterity: they have to roll the balls of dough [or shake them] in powdered sugar. It teaches them sanitary skills: they have to lick their fingers.

As a former teacher, Suzen agrees.

Mostly.

 

Kris Kringles Christmas Chocolate Crinkles 

Yield: about 4-5+ dozen depending on big you make them [smaller is better]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • confectioners’ sugar* (for coating)

Preparation:

For the dough, place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, and heat or microwave till the butter melts. Remove it from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and espresso powder. Stir in the chocolate mixture, baking powder and salt, then the flour. Chill the dough for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight; it’ll firm up considerably.

To shape the cookies, put about a cup of confectioners’ sugar into a shallow bowl. Using a teaspoon-sized cookie scoop, a spoon, or your fingers, scoop out heaping “teaspoon-sized” portions of the dough; they should be roughly 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Drop the dough balls into the confectioners’ sugar as you go. Once about five or six are in the bowl, shake and toss the bowl to coat the balls with the sugar. (If you try to do this with too many balls at a time, they’ll just stick together.)

To bake the cookies, place the coated dough balls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake the cookies in a preheated 325°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, switching the position of the pans (top to bottom, and front to back) midway through the baking time. As the cookies bake, they’ll flatten out and acquire their distinctive “streaked” appearance. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 60mm Macro lens, F/2.6 at 1/20th second and ISO 2000Source: King Arthur Flour and Mable Hoffman