Chocolate Chip Cookies
Its cookie season. So I’m going to start off with my favorite recipe of all time. Chocolate Chip cookies from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.
First reason I love this bookis because the first copy I owned was given to me by my beloved grandmother, an avid and exceptional baker– when she was eulogized years ago, her banana cream pie was mentioned– thats the kind of reputation she had. My grandmother taught me to make all kinds of things: jam, cookies, pies. We also used to cook way inadvance and she would totally let me indulge by sneaking a few cookies here and there out of the freezer. I bought a used copy on Amazon.com for under $3. Sure its stained and a little dog-earred, but it looks just like the one I lost and as the seller stated, its worn appearance is a testament to the recipes inside.
Second reason to love this book: all the fabulous cooky (spelled that way on purpose) recipes illustrated in super saturated 1970’s photography. This book came about before food stylists really existed I assume, nonetheless fullbleed super saturdated color photos still keep you inspired.
Third reason to love this book: in the back they dedicate recipes for cookies based on the years they were most popular. For example the Chocolate Chip was the Best Cooky of 1935-1940. Some historical highlights mentioned in these years: 1936 Edward VIII abdicates the throne to marry the woman he loves. 1938 Gone with the Wind premiers to become one of the most popular movies of all time. And truthfullly I don’t think we are all that different then we were all these years later. Prince William and his lady Kate will be married this year, and the last of the Harry Potter books has made it to the theatres breaking records again. I doubt the Chocolate Chip Cooky will ever go out of style.
Chocolate Chip Cookies: I typically double this recipe as listed below.
2/3 c shortening*
(I generally despise shortening, but certain cooky recipes it helps to keep the cookies puffy instead of melting all over the pan. You can change the ratio of shortening to butter if you feel inclined.)
2/3 c butter
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar ( I used 1/3 light brown and 1/3 dark brown, either or both work. The more the molasses–dark brown will add a more chewy the cooky’s texture)
2 tsp pure vanilla
3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped walnuts
2 c (12 oz) chocolate chips
Cream butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla. I suggest you cream the shortening, butter, and sugar first. The butter should be soft but still cool. Take out of the fridge 30 minutes before you use. After the fats and sugar are blended add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Combine dry ingredients. You can sift the flour, soda, and salt if you choose, honestly I’d rather not use the time.
Fold in the chips and walnuts. Nuts are of course optional, but I absolutely believe that walnuts are as apart of chocolate chip cookies, as the chips are. To each their own. I should also note that you should go lightly on the chips. 2 cups are only 12oz, so you shouldn’t use the whole of the 16oz bag,unless of course you are a choco-holic and in that case go for it!
I scoop the dough with a small ice cream scooper so that the cookies are uniform. Press the dough down in the center with your fingers. Make sure there is at least 2 inches between each as the dough rises and spreads.
Bake on parchment lined baking sheet. Do not use wax paper! Unless you want your cookies to taste like chocolate chip crayons. You can continue to reuse the same parchment sheet until its dark brown, then disguard and line with fresh sheet.
Cook for approximate 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out when the centers of the cookies are still pale, “lilly livered” as my grandmother used to say. The cookies continue to bake as they cool, so taking them out slightly underdone renders them perfect.
I’m hoping to do some other variations of the Chocolate Chip Cookie in the future, if you are looking for some GREAT insight I suggest you DVR Good Eats. Alton Brown does a number of recipes oc the cookie: Chewy, crispy, fluffy. Using bread flour, cake, flour, butter and/or shortening will give you a slightly different result. Missed it on TV? DVD sets of the show are now available and would make a great Christmas gift for your favorite foodie!