December 20, 2008

Cookies to cure the common cold

Christmas is upon us, which historically means Santa brings John a head cold with his Christmas stocking. Sadly this year has not proved an exception to that rule.

So while he reaches for the Robitussen, some Kleenex and a warm blanket, I head to the kitchen not because he's requested chicken soup or oatmeal (MY comfort foods when my nose is running and my chest is tight) but chocolate chip cookies.

I briefly considered last summer's infamous New York Times recipe, but abandoned it quickly when I remembered it required an overnight nap in the refrigerator. So I turned to Dorie... and she delivered these:

(Dorie Greenspan's) Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (with my editorial comments in italics)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (1 1/4 teaspoon if you really like salt) - I added the extra 1/4 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans - I skipped these because John's a no-nut chocolate chip purist

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. I used one and just waited for it to cool between batches.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about one minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate chips (and nuts).

At this point the dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen. If you'd like, you can freeze rounded tablespoons of dough ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they're solid. There's no need to defrost the dough before baking -- just add another minute or two to the baking time. FAR superior to anything you find in your freezer case at the grocery store.

Spoon the dough by lightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet(s), leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls. I LOVE my cookie scoop -- makes this task so-ooo much easier. And some advice... leave the space between these guys. They spread like mad.

Bake the cookies -- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point -- for 10-12 minutes or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center. They may still be a little soft in the middle and that's fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for one minute, then carefully transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature. Warning. If your audience likes soft warm cookies as much as John does, shoo them away from the cookies until they cool a bit. Straight out of the oven they smell heavenly but they're molten and will burn your tongue.

Repeat with the remainder of te dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

And in the end? John likes chewy chocolate chip cookies. I prefer mine crisp. Most recipes end up disappointing one of us. Not this one. The best of both worlds.

Thanks Dorie. I think John will agree... MUCH more satisfying than Robitussen!

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From the archives...
In 2006 I engaged in one of my favorite non-baking obsessive compulsive behaviors...
Our Christmas dinner in 2007 combined the best of healthy and heart-warming.


Anonymous said...

I love chocolate chip cookies, and this recipe looks delicious. I'm excited to try this at home.

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