Sunday, March 7, 2010

COOKIES!!!!!

I'm a snob.  I not only admit it openly, but I embrace it.  Not with many things but with cookies...I AM a snob.  Not only that, but I am HYPER critical of my own abilities if I err.  40 lashes with a wet noodle it not uncommon penance for a cookie mishap of my own making.

I usually try and bake something sweet at least once a week.  If I'm in a rush, I fall back to my standard brownies (Bakers, one bowl...completely from scratch).  They take at most 10 min to throw together and 30 to bake (and I don't have to stand over them).  But even chocolate chip cookies are a fairly frequent visitor to our house (maybe twice/month?).  Today is YOUR lucky day!  I made them this afternoon and am going to share the recipe with you.  You do  need to know that this recipe is not your standard recipe.  I've tweaked it over the years and finally hit on "the one".  These cookies are soft but chewy.  They puff when they emerge from the oven but as they cool they flatten SLIGHTLY.  Imagine Mrs. Fields...only better.

First, let me give you a few small tips.  Sam's Club carries a heavy duty aluminum baking pans...I think they're 10"x15" (jelly roll size) and come 2/pkg for around $11.  I LOVE THESE PANS.  They do not warp.  The clean up very nicely.  I also use them to cook bacon on in the oven (no splattering, perfectly cooked bacon, no turning).  But with baking cookies, the color of the pan DOES make a difference.  A darker  pan (so, a teflon coated pan) will absorb heat and cause the bottom of the cookies to be darker.  Not necessarily burn, but be darker (than I want).  The light color of the aluminum reflects heat and the cookies are perfectly browned, even on the bottom.

Second, cookie dough often takes on different texture in different months and you need to learn what your dough should be and adjust accordingly.  I like the dough to be stiff...but still hold together easily.  I've learned over the years that in the winter, I need to usually add more flour to make this happen.  I usually start with  the measured amount of flour and by tablespoons add more flour IF NEEDED until I get the texture I'm sure will work.  If there is not enough flour, the cookie will be flat.  If too much flour they will be like pellets.

Third, most ovens are unique and you really need to watch your cookies to determine doneness.  Also the size of the cookie will also be a factor so make sure you adjust accordingly.  I'll try and be as specific as I can in my recipe.  IF you know your oven runs hot, set the timer for a minute UNDER the recommended time and watch for when they hit YOUR level of doneness.

Fourth, I have found that using a mixer is NOT a good idea.  It tends to put too much air into the cookies.  Work your arm and shoulder muscles by doing these by hand.  The only exception I would say is that you CAN use a mixer ONLY to cream the butter and sugar. So, are you ready for some COOKIES?????

Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from LHJ) preheat oven 375
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I have used bread flour as well and use a titch more when using bread flour)
1/2 cup oats (I've used both quick cooking and regular and both work)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
(occasionally, I'll throw in 1/2 tsp of cinnamon...it is very subtle but yummy)

Combine these 4 in a small bowl with a whisk and set aside

Cream:
1 cup butter (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE...I will NOT be responsible for the outcome when substituting)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Add to butter/sugar:
2 large eggs (I sometimes use extra large which may require a tad more flour)
2 tsp vanilla


Mix well.
Then add..are you ready for this? 1/2-1 tsp fresh lemon juice (yes...lemon juice..DO NOT...NOT use).


Mix well.  
Gradually add flour mixture.  When dough is well mixed, add 1(12 oz) bag chips, 1-2 cups chopped nuts (OK...side bar...I KNOW I KNOW...not everyone likes nuts.  I'm of the opinion that nuts are NECESSARY*.  Choice of nuts (and chips) is at your discretion.  My favorite is milk chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.  But I also like semi sweet with walnuts.  There are LOTS of combinations, use the one YOU like best.  Today, I used a half bag of milk chocolate chips (that's all I had), 1/2 bag of heath pieces and 2 cups of macadamia nuts.  Mix the chips and nuts into the dough well.  I use the medium Pampered Chef scoop (I think it's 1 Tablespoon) and on the UNGREASED alumimum sheets I place them 5 across and 3 down (well, depending on how you're looking at the pan)

I bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 11-12 minutes (again...set timer for 10 minutes and watch for the edges of the cookie to SLIGHTLY turn brown then remove from oven.  Initially the cookies will look like this, puffy in the middle:

Cookies will continue to cook while on the cookie sheet.  When they cool slightly they will "fall" and look like this:
 
Then you move them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Or maybe, they won't get that far...
 

Made on Saturday, the 45 cookies produces MIGHT last until Monday.  But that's MY house.



*Necessary...means different things to different people.  Necessary in this case means that NOT using them WILL change the overall character of the cookie.  Because I always use them I would suggest that if you don't use them you need to substitute the unused nuts for more chocolate chips.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for posting my birhtday mom.. :(

    ReplyDelete