I work in a field of law helping people recover from accidents. For me, the word accident is not a good word at all. But recently, I came across an accident that has pleased many people all over the world. It’s the good kind of accident. I am talking about how chocolate chip cookies came to be. According to my brief research on the history of chocolate chip cookies (thank you Google. you can really Google anything), a lady by the name of Ruth Wakefield invented these delightful little morsels by accident. One story says that she didn’t have enough nuts for her cookies so she substituted them using a bar of baking chocolate chopped up into small pieces and another story says that she wanted to make a chocolate butter cookie so she broke up a bar of semi-sweet chocolate into the dough thinking it would melt and make chocolate cookies. Whatever the real story is, thanks to her accident, we now have the much beloved chocolate chip cookies! Chocolate chip cookies are apparently the most popular in the US and it’s not hard to imagine. Really, what’s not to like? Even Oscar the grouch and Debbie Downer would turn their frowns upside down once they take a bite of a simple chocolate chip cookie.
I personally prefer chewy chocolate pecan cookies, but once in a while, I do crave a simple chocolate chip cookie. And so I trusted my dear friend google and it led me to this recipe from alexandracooks.com. This is not your average, throw the ingredients together, mix and bake recipe. It requires a little bit more planning and work and so it might be a good idea for you to make these cookies when you have some time to enjoy the entire process of baking. Although it takes time to make these cookies, they are definitely worth the time and effort! These cookies are so chewy and soft and chocolaty and they are definitely a crowd pleaser (I know because at least 20 people I’ve made them for told me so)! And another thing about these cookies that’s great is that you can keep the dough balls in an airtight container in your fridge for a couple of weeks so you can have freshly baked cookies every day for a couple of weeks should you crave for a cookie! So here’s the recipe for you to try:
- 10¾ oz unsalted butter (1⅓ cups)
- 10¼ oz light brown sugar (1½ cups packed)
- 7¾ oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 T. pure vanilla extract
- 17 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (3¾ cups)
- 1.5 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (see notes above)
- nice sea salt for sprinkling, optional
- Cream butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.
- Scrape the bowl, beat again on high for one minute.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended, about another minute on medium-high speed.
- Whisk flour, salt and baking soda together in separate bowl.
- Add to butter mixture and combine with a spatula or wooden spoon (or very briefly with paddle attachment) until just blended.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir till combined. The dough will be stiff.
- Portion into 1¾ oz (48 g) sized balls. This is a tedious task, but it makes for beautiful and uniform cookies that bake evenly. If you have a digital scale, this is easy; if you have no scale, use a small ice cream scoop or some other uniform measuring device.
- Chill the portioned balls for at least one hour, or keep in the fridge for weeks or freeze for months.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Place portioned balls nicely spaced on an ungreased or parchment-lined jelly roll pan.
- Sprinkle with sea salt if using.
- Bake for 11 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through cooking.
- Keep a close watch.
- You want to remove the cookies from the oven when they still look slightly raw—you will think you are removing them too early.
- The cookies will continue cooking as they sit on the tray out of the oven.
- Let cookies cool completely on tray before removing.
A few thoughts/notes for perfect soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies every time:
1. A scale is best for accurate measuring. Butter should be at room temperature.
2. Chocolate: Over the years I have made these cookies with crappy chocolate chips, crappy chocolate chunks, high-quality chocolate bars roughly chopped, and chocolate pistoles. The cookies have never failed to please no matter the chocolate morsel, but, in my old age, I do have two preferences:
• Most recently I discovered chocolate pistoles (Guayaquil Pistoles Ecuadorian Cacao, 64% cacao, photo above) at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany. The flavor of the chocolate is great, and I love having big chunks of chocolate in my cookies that are distinct from the soft and chewy dough.
• Before I discovered these pistoles, however, I was chopping up bars of Scharffen Berger 62% cacao, which creates the effect of chocolate melting throughout the cookie along with some nice chunks. Both chocolates/methods are delicious, it’s just a matter of preference.
3. For this recipe, portion the dough into 1.75 oz (48 g) balls, also using your scale. So anal, I know, but the cookies bake evenly every time.
4. Chill the dough balls. The cookies taste even better when baked from dough balls that have been chilled. Keep unbaked balls in an airtight container in the fridge — they’ll last for weeks there. Bake off as you need.
5. Bake cookies of this size for exactly 11 minutes at 375ºF. Remove tray from oven and let cookies cook completely on cookie sheet. They will not look done when you pull them out of the oven. Have faith. Again, do not remove cookies from sheetpans until they are completely cool. I think these cookies taste best once they are completely cool.
I could not resist and managed to add some pecans to several cookies!