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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Iconic Cookie.

You will find this item on every baking blog, potentially even every food blog.  What is it?   The one and only Chocolate Chip Cookie.   I imagine this won't even be the only time you will see it on this blog.  The origins of the chocolate chip cookie seems to have several different variations. One of the most popular theories beings at the Tollhouse Inn where it was created by the Tollhouse owner, Ruth Wakefield,  who then sold it to Nestle in exchange for a life time supply of chocolate chips.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.  The Nestle Tollhouse recipe is now the most widely known recipe.
 I think a really good chocolate chip cookie might be my all time favorite dessert, in any possible combination.   One of the reasons the chocolate chip cookie is the Ultimate cookie is because you get the great cookie base with so many different and delicious choices.   You can use chocolate chips, dark  chips, white chocolate, Reese's pieces, nuts, oatmeal, chunks, candy bar pieces, the options are endless.     You can even turn cookies into bars and make bite size cookie squares.

Now who has the best chocolate chip cookie recipe and what constitutes the optimal chocolate chip cookie? Depending on the what style of cookie you like, soft, chewy, crispy or flat, your ingredients, mixing methods and cook times can change.   I am a fan of the soft, chewy and big cookie.  I bet most of you out there reading this blog think you have the best recipe, know someone who does or are on the continuous hunt for the best recipe.
Here is my two senses.  Currently my favourite base recipe for a chocolate chip cookie is from Cooks Illustrated.   I guess that makes sense doesn't it.  Cooks Illustrated prides it self on testing, testing and even more testing different recipes until they find what they deem to be the best recipe.  In most chocolate chip recipes I have tried over the years, the fews thing I always find that create the best flavour is more brown sugar over white sugar and generally more butter than shortening.   Cooks illustrated satisfies both of these requirements.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

INGREDIENTS :
  • 2 1/8 cups all purpose flour (about 10 1/2 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar (7 oz)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups of chips, nuts whatever
INSTRUCTIONS: 
1) Heat oven to 325F. Mix dry ingredients and set aside
2) Mix sugars and butter with electric mixer or by hand until throughly blended.   Mix in egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add chips/nuts etc.


3) Cooks illustrated has detailed diagrams on how to make these cookies look jagged, by rolling them into a ball, pulling it apart and then turning each section 90 degrees so that the pulled part is on top and then put these two pieces together.   Trust me these cookies will still taste good if you drop them.     Place them on parchment.

4) Bake the cookies, reversing the sheet half way through about 15 min or until edges become golden
Dough can be refrigerated 2 days or frozen for a month.   Cool cookies on cookie sheet and store in air tight container.  

MY VARIATION :  My major variation to this cookie recipe was instead of using chocolate chips I used chocolate almond bark and chopped up mini mars bar. (It's amazing how far Halloween candy can go).  I also forgot to melt the butter and did the typical creaming method, probably just force of habit in baking so many cookies.    These cookies did spread more than expected however they still came out soft, chewy and utterly wonderful.   I brought them into work the next day and once everyone tried the first one,  the second one wasn't too far behind.

I will continue to search for and create the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, frankly with so many recipes out there to try and tweak and perfect it's rather impossible not to.   

 MEG's RATING: D-EEEEE-LICIOUS!!




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