Thursday, 2 April 2009

the Original

Some of my first and fondest memories are of licking long-handled wooden spoons. Mom would stir together a batch of slightly altered Tollhouse cookies, judiciously using two spoons so that Laila and I would each have our fair share of dough.

The number of chocolate chips was very important, along with the amount of dough that coated those chocolate chips, as well as the coatage on the actual spoon. If our spoons weren't equal in chip count and dough factor, there were complaints, and there were invariably pleads for just one more chocolate chip, pleeeeease!

When I started cooking in elementary school, the chocolate chip cookie was the first recipe I tackled. I started with Mom's version of the Tollhouse, with a reduced amount of flour for a crispier and thinner cookie. They crumbled like pieces of lacy toffee, and disappeared quickly from the colorful metal tins we stored them in.

Eventually I progressed to my own recipe, with whole wheat flour instead of white, and additions of ground flax seed and wheat germ to make them "healthy." I used to make them in college, forcing them on my roommates who were endlessly on very boring diets. I touted their cancer-fighting abilities, and they disappeared rather quickly. I can be convincing, when I want to be.

Although the recipe makes a fabulous cookie, I have been on this "new" kick recently. With my parent's grocery money and a big yellow kitchen with every appliance and utensil I could want, how can I not want to discover as many new recipes as possible?

So yesterday I did the unthinkable, in the context of our family's almost three decade allegiance to the same base recipe - I made a different chocolate chip cookie.

This decision was not made lightly. In fact, since I've been home from Scotland, my mom has been begging to make my cookies. You know, the healthy ones, she keeps saying. But I wanted what this month's Cook's Illustrated promised me: a perfect balance between toffee-like crisp edges and a chewy gooey center; I wanted something different.

So I did it, I browned the butter, a first for my cookie repetoire, I whisked and let rest, whisked and let rest, and then as a final, personal touch, I dotted the top of each butter-rich chocolate-laden with a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Yum.

Although this new recipe won't necessarily replace our old one, it does offer a different richness with the browned butter, a different caramel-ness with the extra brown sugar, and that something special with the fleur de sel. Oh - and they are not healthy at all, which, in many ways, makes them much more fun.

Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 48 cookies

Note: because this is a kid-friendly recipe, it is very simple. The cookies may benefit from beating the sugar and the butter first, then adding the eggs and the vanilla, then adding the dry ingredients. I, however, like them just fine the unfussy way.

2 cups whole wheat or white flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
2 tbsp wheat germ (optional)
1 package or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients (preferably with a wooden spoon).

3) On two greased cookie sheets, form small balls of cookie dough, about 1 inch diameter, and place them three across, four down, so you have twelve cookies on each sheet. Bake approximately 12 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven. Let cool on wire racks.

The Other Chocolate Chip Cookies
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated
makes 16 large cookies

1 3/4 cups white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp butter (I used salted, CI recommends unsalted)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
fleur de sel (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two large cookie sheets. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda together and set aside.

2) In a large (10 inch or so) skillet, heat 10 tbsp butter. When it's fully melted, start to swirl the pan gently, cooking another few minutes until the butter is nicely browned. Pour into a large bowl, then stir in remaining 4 tbsp butter till totally melted.

3) Add white and brown sugars, salt, and vanilla and whisk together. Add egg and egg yolk and whisk about 30 seconds till smooth. Let mixture rest for a few minutes, whisk again for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times. Mixture should be thick and shiny, with no lumps.

4) Stir in flour mixture until just combined, then add chocolate chips.

5) Divide dough into 16 portions, 8 for each tray. The cookies, will be large, about 3 tbsps each. Take a pinch of fleur de sel and press it lightly into the top of each cookie.

6) Bake cookies one tray at a time, 10-14 minutes. Mine took 11. Let cool on a wire rack while second tray bakes.

No comments:

Post a Comment