Recipe :: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Those of you who know my husband well have probably discovered the most mystifying thing about his character — he does not eat dessert. Like, ever. He has no sweet tooth to speak of. Doesn’t like candy, or pie, or cake, or crème brulée, or jello, or sweet dessert drinks, or any of the other after-dinner treats that most normal folk indulge in. Something is not right there.
You might be wondering how I came to be acquainted with, much less married to, such a person. Such a match is certainly unexpected, due to the fact that I am hard-wired to seek sucrose in all of its forms, at all times of the day. I will say that I tried very hard to interest Miles in desserts when we were first dating; a few months in he refused to eat a particularly fancy treat I’d made, and confessed that he’d once dated a pastry chef and not eaten any of what she made, either. That’s when I gave up. I long ago resigned myself to the fact that when dessert is brought to the table with two spoons, both of them are for me. This has actually planted a pernicious little opinion in my head that no men like dessert; the other day I saw a male friend post on facebook that he was going to buy cake, and my reaction was “Why? You’re not going to eat it.” Of course I know that this isn’t actually the way things are, but the damage of Miles’s anti-dessert orientation has been done.
But there is one exception. The chocolate chip cookie.
Chocolate chip cookies are the only sweet thing I have known Miles to show an interest in or directly ask for. This is okay with me; I love any food that demands the drinking of more milk (I could drink milk all day, every day, with everything). I also have fond memories of spending time with my grandmother in her teal-tiled kitchen, standing on a stool at the counter, making chocolate chip cookies from scratch. So I was pretty stoked when I found out that Pillsbury started making these Pillsbury Simply Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookies, which taste amazing and contain no trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. I started buying them pretty much every other time I went to the grocery store, because it’s nice to have them on hand, I can bake two or three at a time, and they always turn out perfectly.
But then I thought: Shouldn’t I be able to make these? I mean, I’ve prepared way more complicated stuff, and I’m always advocating staying away from processed food (though, as processed foods go, those Pillsbury cookies are about as enlightened as you can get).
I started working on a recipe for this blog, and let me tell you — it’s a tricky business to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It’s really easy to make okay ones (witness those chalky, crunchy things we all carried around in our lunchboxes through the 90s), but to make something that tastes like it came from my grandma’s kitchen proved substantially harder. The first batch I made was too… puffy. Cakey. The second and third batches tasted like sugar cookies with chocolate chips tossed in, which is a subtle but clear failure. Complicating the issue is the fact that the batter always tastes perfect. It’s not until the cookies are baked and cooled that you realize you’ve struck out again. Of all the things I’ve tried to master for purposes of this blog, the humble chocolate chip cookie turned out to be the hardest.
So I took the the interwebs, polled my Facebook friends for suggestions, and trolled my favorite baking blogs. The result was a Frankenstein-ian effort truly worthy of my mad scientist kitchen persona. Also, the result is delicious (there is sea salt!). The dessert gods have smiled on me and my finicky husband, and the result is below. A big THANK YOU to all who offered their help.
Note: I’ve started using parchment paper when baking pretty much everything, instead of greasing my cookie sheet. I’ve found it preserves the sheet (no baked-on grease), ensures that nothing sticks, and cuts back on downtime between batches. You don’t need a new sheet of parchment paper for every batch of cookies, either; I’ll often bake 3 or 4 batches on the same sheet.
Also note: this is a small recipe. I deliberately cut the ingredients in half from the source recipes because I don’t want to have 4 dozen cookies on my hands every time we get a hankerin’. Accordingly, this recipe makes closer to 24 regular-sized cookies. And if you think that 24 cookies is still too much for two people… shut up.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1.75 cups white flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (1.25 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (should retain shape of the measuring cup when you dump it out)
- 1 egg
- 1 heaping tsp real vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease and flour it.
- Whisk together in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until lightened, 3-5 minutes.
- Add egg to butter and sugar and mix well.
- Add vanilla and mix well.
- Add flour mixture gradually, blending on low until just combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
- Optional: wrap mixing bowl in plastic and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Scoop slightly less than one tbsp of batter into your hand and make a cookie shape (a slightly flattened circle). Place each dough circle on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.