8.02.2009

(Blue Ribbon) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip CookiesNothing evokes memories of childhood like a good chocolate chip cookie. Especially when it's still warm from the oven. There's no greater thing in the world than the taste of a fresh chocolate chip cookie, with it's still melty chocolate insides, and a tall glass of milk to wash it all down. It's a simple comfort in a sometimes crazy world. It's where most bakers get their start, in the kitchen at an early age, helping to mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies on a rainy day. And no matter how you like your cookies, there's the perfect recipe out there somewhere. Soft and chewy? Thin and crispy? Somewhere in between? No problem. It's all about finding the right one for you.

It seems I'm not the only one with chocolate chip cookies on my mind. Catching up on some of my blog reading in the past week, I noticed that Bakerella and How to Eat a Cupcake both had chocolate chip cookie posts, and Joy the Baker had a chocolate chip cookie ice cream post! I guess we just can't get enough of it! And I can't believe it's taken me this long to even make chocolate chip cookies. I've been so focused on crazy cupcake flavors, that I'd completely forgotten about the most classic of all baked goods. But not anymore.

My mom always used to make chocolate chip cookies that were more cakey than anything else. They were good, but they weren't my favorite. I'm partial to soft and chewy. It took years and lots of trials, but I finally found my perfect cookie--Jacqeus Torres's Chocolate Chip Cookies. As a master chocolatier, Jacques Torres knows his chocolate, and knows how to use his chocolate well. These cookies are the absolute perfect texture. They're super soft, and totally chewy, and loaded with chocolate. 2 POUNDS of chocolate. It's an insane amount. But it's so good. I could eat an entire batch of these and not even blink. So when I convinced myself to enter my decorated cookies into the fair, I decided to make these chocolate chip cookies as well.

I made the dough a day ahead of time because I had read on several different blogs that chocolate chip cookies taste better when the dough is chilled overnight. Well, the next day I had my baking plan in place. I would finish up decorating my sugar cookies with their finishing touches, and then start baking the chocolate chips, let them cool while I got ready to go, and be out the door by 3 o'clock to turn in my fair entries. I should know by now that nothing ever goes according to plan, and I shouldn't even plan at all. I finished up my sugar cookies in good time, and pulled my dough out of the fridge. Silly me didn't put together the fact that chilled overnight = rock solid dough. It was so well chilled that I broke my cookie scoop trying to see if I could manage to get anything out of it. Well, I guess I'd take a shower while it thawed out a bit.

Out of the shower, I'm just scooping out my dough with a sturdier cookie scoop (luckily I have 3) when there's a knock at my door. It's my mom. If you've ever wondered where I got my long-windedness from, it's her. We're very chatty people. She sat at my kitchen table and talked while I scooped out and baked cookies and tried to get ready, all the while hinting that I really needed to finish these and needed to leave, for 2 hours. And because I sat there with her while the cookies were in the oven, I wasn't paying the closest attention to them while they baked. My first batch with the small cookie scoop came out tiny. They were little 2-inch cookies. Great for parties or snacking, but I was taking these to the fair to be judged. I wanted impressive, substantial cookies. Time to get out the ice cream scoop.

The 2nd batch made some impressive sized cookies alright, but they were under cooked. No matter how many times I threw them back in the oven, the centers would not firm up. I finally had to give up once the edges started to get too crispy. Maybe the 3rd and final batch would be better. Wrong. While I was talking (again) and not paying attention (again), my cookies overbaked. So now I had a combination of small, undercooked, and overcooked cookies, none of which was worthy of judging. And as my mom finally walked out the door, the clock hit 3:00. So much for my plan. I called Boyfriend in complete hysterics, sobbing that my cookies were ruined and I couldn't take them with me. He told me I had an hour until we had to leave to get them there in time, so if I was going to turn them in, I better get to work on making a new batch.

Chocolate Chip CookiesWith 15 minutes left, I pulled the first of my new batch out of the oven. They were absolutely perfect. Great color, cooked all the way through, and the perfect size. Now to let them cool and get them on my plate to judge! And snap a couple pictures along the way. Or 50ish. Boyfriend showed up at my door at 4 o'clock, right as I was wrapping up my plate to take with me. Perfect timing! We got to the fair and registered with plenty of time to spare. I officially had cookies in the fair! Yay! Now to wait and see how they did.

Meanwhile, I took the extras to work with me, so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the rest on my own. Let me tell you, these people descend on baked goods like a pack of wolves on a baby bunny. Swarms of coworkers suddenly flocked to the break room as I set them out. Before I even walked away, 5 people were happily munching on cookies. A quarter of the way into my shift and they were almost completely gone. And we're talking roughly to 4 dozen cookies between my sugar cookies and the chocolate chips! Everyone said they liked them, so that was a good sign!

Chocolate Chip CookiesI finally made it to the fair on Thursday and was so excited to see that my sugar cookies won 2nd place that I didn't even notice my chocolate chips won 1st!! Boyfriend had to point it out to me! Yay!!! There was only a bit of squealing and jumping up and down involved. Nothing too over the top. And we didn't attract any attention at all. (Lies. Complete and total lies.) I'm so excited!! The only thing I'm slightly sad about is that I can't enter that recipe again next year. So unless I find a new recipe that I like equally as much, I probably won't be entering the chocolate chip category next year. Oh well. There's plenty more categories to try my hand at! And there will be plenty more chances to bake my chocolate chip cookies in the meantime. I've already had a request to bake for Boyfriend's coworkers this week! And I think I'm going to make them for a party this weekend. Guess I should stock up on chocolate chips!

Check out my previous post to hear all about my fair experience! Oh, and my plan for total fair domination.



Chocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Chip Cookies
From Martha Stewart
Makes 3 dozen 4-inch cookies, or 8 dozen 1-inch cookies
(Note: If I'm making smaller cookies, I usually halve the recipe. Go for the full if you're making big ones.)



1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt*
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds chopped chocolate (I used 3 kinds of chocolate chips: chunks, regular chips, and mini chips)

*I personally think this is too much salt. You can taste the salt in the dough and the finished cookie, so I made it with 2 teaspoons instead, and it came out fine.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing until just combined. Stir in chocolate until well combined.
3. Using an ice cream scoop for large cookies, or a cookie scoop for smaller, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned but still soft, about 18-20 minutes for larger cookies, and 13-15 minutes for smaller cookies. Cool slightly on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
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6 comments:

bigchief said...

Yay! Yummy cookies!

Sweetie said...

best. post. ever.

thanks for sharing the recipe. from the nice folds and chewy looks, i was guessing it was going to be torres. however when i was searching for a cookie recipe to make last week, i made a batch of ccc's and came across these gorgeous martha ones.

which scoop worked best? interesting, the cookies i made were using 1/2 the suggest scoop size and it completely flattened the cookie into pancake.

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Sweetie: I'm totally with you on the pancake cookies with the smaller scoop. I usually make them with my (now broken) small cookie scoop (about an inch across), and they always come out kind of flat and look nothing like the picture that is on the Martha site with the recipe. It wasn't until I tried out the big ice cream scoop size that I got anything that even closely resembled them. But using that size, when I left them just as the scoops on the cookie sheet, the centers didn't firm up. So the 2nd time around, I scooped them out onto the cookie sheet and then flattened the dome part a bit with my hand so they were an even thickness. That seemed to be the trick to getting them thick and chewy, but also cooked all the way through. Hope that helps!

Ingrid said...

Send me cookies! Lets see how those bad boys travel! Whadaya say? :) Congrats again on pulling it off and earning a blue ribbon!
~ingrid

chocolatecup said...

Oh woweee, congratulations:) i m on a quest to bake lotsa choc chip cookies using all the different recipes and this just seems right up my alley:)

Amanda said...

My mom loves basic flavors and when I mentioned making chocolate chip cookies that I found on a blog, she said, "Oh... they're going to be weird, aren't they?" I assured her that there was nothing weird about these cookies! [I'll let you know how they turn out.] :)

Congratulations again on the win!

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