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Welcome and the FaT (Food as Thereapy) Chocolate Chip Cookie

January 2, 2012

First, Happy 2012!  It seems only appropriate for a new adventure like this blog to start at the beginning of a new year.  Many blessings to everyone who takes that time to read this.  (Hopefully, this blog will make you smile as opposed to making you feel like this is another something you must endure in the year!)

What an auspicious moment, my first post!  I have to admit to mixed feelings here.  I’m both excited and a little nervous.  I’m excited about putting something out there for everyone to see, and I’m a little nervous about putting something out there that everyone can see.  It goes without saying that the excited part of me outweighs the nervous part of me, so here goes.

It feels  only appropriate that my first post takes me back to the beginning of my baking adventures and the one food I go back to over and over again, namely chocolate chip cookies.  (This could also be because I’m an admitted chocoholic, which probably has to do with all the endorphins eating chocolate releases in the brain, but I digress.)  The reason I enjoy making these cookies so much is that nothing reminds me of home more than the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking.  You can keep your apple pies and fresh bread.  Chocolate chip cookies just do it for me.  I can even remember my mother asking my siblings and I when we were little on particularly lazy Sunday mornings how many fresh baked chocolate chip cookies we would each like for breakfast.  (Yes, my mom rocked!)

What you will find here is my version of a great chocolate chip cookie, or as close to “mine” as anyone like me can claim.  I have taken inspiration from many people and places like Jacques Pepin to Joanne Chang and King Arthur Flour to Cooks Illustrated.  I have made it my calling to search out and try as many chocolate chip cookie recipes as I can and create the best one.

What I discovered was that there is a basic formula most everyone more or less follows, and it looks shocking like the original 1937 Toll House Inn recipe  that is considered the very first Chocolate Chip Cookie (CCC).  You’ve got butter and 2 types of sugar creamed together.  You throw in eggs and vanilla.  Then you add the flour, baking soda and salt until combined before you add the key ingredient, chocolate chips.  Pretty basic and in this case, frankly, it turns out a really good cookie, especially if you get to eat it fresh from the oven.  The people and places I mentioned before play around with the basics to come to something different – special chocolate, aging the batter, etc.  I took the best parts of what I found and came up with a really strong CCC contender.  I’m sure at some point I’ll revisit things, but this is definitely one that doesn’t suck!  While everyone claims that theirs is “the best Chocolate Chip Cookie ever”, I claim that this takes that best of all those “bests” and makes something truly special.  Well worth your time – if only for the raw dough!

Food as Therapy (FaT) Chocolate Chip Cookie     (print FaT CCC recipe)

125 g All Purpose Flour

85 g Bread Flour

1 tsp Kosher Salt

½  tsp Baking Soda

¾ tsp Baking Powder

½  cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter (cool but not cold, cut into ½ inch pieces)

½ cup Crisco shortening

150g Granulated Sugar

185g Light Brown Sugar

1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

½  Herseys Milk Chocolate Bar (frozen)

2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

 

Begin by weighing out your flours and adding to them the salt and baking soda.  Set this aside.  (You’ll notice that I didn’t ask you to preheat the oven.  That was done on purpose.  For those that need to know why, we’re going to “age” our dough for a few hours, so no need to keep the oven on all that time.)

Then, into a bowl, crack your eggs, add the vanilla to them and lightly scramble with a fork.  Set this aside.

Finally, take out that frozen Hersey’s bar and finely chop it.  (If you have to find a use for the other half, you’re thinking too hard.  Just eat it!)  You’ll be glad you froze it when you do this because trying to chop it at room temperature creates a huge mess.  (Trust me on this.  This is the voice of reason talking.)  The other option is to use the small holes in a box grater.  This works great, but I prefer to keep my clean up to a minimum.  Set the grated/chopped chocolate aside.

 

Now, you’re ready to rock and roll.  Throw the butter, shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar into a mixer with the paddle attachment.  Begin to cream them together, slowly bringing it up to a medium-high speed and let the thing run for at least 4 minutes.  It will start to lighten and increase in volume slightly.

This will become this…

Stop the paddle, scrap down the bowl and start it up at the lowest setting.  Add the egg/vanilla mixture and continue to beat, increasing the speed to where it was before for about a minute.  Stop, scrape down and give things another 10-15 seconds of mixing.

Now, add the flour/soda/salt mix in one shot.  Be sure to mix this slowly or your will decorate your clothing and/or your kitchen in a winter wonderland of flour.  It looks better in pictures to see than it is to have happen in practice.  (And you’ll forgive me for not recreating that scene for you!)  Mix until just combined.  What does that mean, you ask?  Excellent question!  For me, that means that 95%+ of the flour is combined but you can still see a little white here and there.  Resist that urge to mix everything until not a speck of white is visible.  All will be well.  (If you can’t trust yourself with the awesome power of the mixer, you can incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet with a spatula.)  Get that mixing bowl out of your mixer and prepare to finish things with your trusty spatula.

Now, add that chopped chocolate and, using said spatula, combine it.  You’ll know your done when those chocolate bits are all covered by batter.  Finally, add your chocolate chips and use your spatula one last time.

This bowl then goes into your refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and up to overnight).  I do this to let the flavors all meld together, as well as chill everything down to limit the cookie spread when baked.

At this stage, one of two things will happen.  First, either you and/or your family will have eaten most of the raw cookie dough making preheating the oven a moot point.  Or, second, enough chilled batter is actually left to continue.  If you find yourself in the second situation, preheat your oven to 325˚F.

Using a parchment lined baking sheet, arrange your dough balls leaving about 2 inches between each.  (I used both a teaspoon ice cream scoop and a tablespoon ice cream scoop.)

Pop them in the oven for anywhere from 10 -15 minutes.  You’ll know they’re ready when the edges have started to brown.  Cool them on a wire rack – or consume them right away.

Now, a quick word about parchment vs. silicone baking mats.  I have tried both.  I find that parchment typically outperforms the silicon.  As the pictures show, the results with the same oven temps, the same pan underneath, the same batter and the same times produce different results.  (Notice the inconsistent color for the cookies on the silicon sheet below.)  That may be just the result of some quirk of my oven, but as you can see from the results, I’m a parchment fan.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Maida permalink
    January 3, 2012 4:55 pm

    chocolate chip cookies are my favorite too. I’ll try baking them this way and see (taste) if they are as good as they look. Thanks, Ceci

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