One of my earliest memories of actively participating in the kitchen is of baking cookies. I suspect I’m not alone. Do you remember learning how to carefully scoop flour into a measuring cup before using a dinner knife to level it? Or maybe you can recall scattering sprinkles over a tray of sugar cookies. Surely you can hark back to sneaking bites of the raw dough behind your mother’s back or that first bite of cookie, still warm from the oven.
Since most of us have made cookies at some point in our lives it’s easy to classify them as simple. I certainly did until I received a copy of CookWise by Shirley Corriher. If you’ve never read anything by Shirley Corriher, you are missing out. Her cookbooks on the hows and whys of cooking, the pages dog-eared and splattered from use, are staples on my shelves. She explains everything from why a touch of vinegar helps poached eggs keep their shape to how too much baking powder or soda can cause your cake to fall in the middle.
Corriher explains complicated science-stuff in a clear and accessible voice that has long made her books the resource I turn to when I’m troubleshooting something in the kitchen. Corriher also got me to appreciate the art of baking cookies.
Did you know that using all butter in a recipe will give you more spread as will a low protein flour? Want a cook with more puff? Cut sugar by a few tablespoons. Corn syrup and baking soda will give you better browning, while honey and brown sugar will yield cookies that actually soften while standing. The list goes on and on and you start to think that your cookie recipe, with sugar, eggs, butter, and flour, is missing some instructions.
While it may seem overwhelming at first, armed with the knowledge of the role of each ingredient means you actually have a lot more control over your cookies. It becomes possible to transform that crispy cookie with the flavor you love into one with a chewier texture. And instead of crossing fingers, sacrifices to the gods, and voodoo spells, you can tweak your recipe to make fabulous cookies every time. And, we can all agree, that fabulous cookies every time is exactly what we want to be creating when we pull out the mixer.
With Corriher’s tips, I’ve tweaked my recipe for chocolate chip cookies to what I consider cookie perfection. I initially developed this recipe to be prepared by children and I had the goal of making a cookie that was not only delicious but also about the size of the child’s head. Why? Very large and delicious cookies make
me kids happy. This cookie also attempts to appease both crisp and chewy cookie lovers. The outside edge is crispy and golden brown while the inside of the cookie remains tender and chewy. I think they are good. Actually, I think they are really good. I hope you agree. Happy baking!
Chocolate Chip Cookies – Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes about 15 giant cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) bag of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Beat the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer for two minutes. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until just combined. Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to low and slowly add in the flour mixture. Mix just until combined then add in the chocolate chips.
Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the dough. Drop the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Serve warm or allow the cookies to finish cooling on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.