Saturday, March 25, 2006
I don't mean to brag, but I've been told that I make a really wicked chocolate chip cookie.
I learned how to make a good cookie through the back of a Tollhouse Cookie bag, through working for a lovely woman at a cookie shop in Seattle, and through trial, error, and a little good luck over the years.
Several years ago, I started making cookies with my KitchenAid blender. I think that's what set off the complements I was getting on my cookies, and since then, I've been asked how I do it. As I started listing what I do different than what my mother did, I didn't realize it was such a long list. But I'm willing to share it, and I hope your cookies turn out right too.
So here it is:
Use the Tollhouse Cookie recipe on the back of Nestle's chocolate chip bag, without exception -- except instead of using one bag of chocolate chips, use at least a bag and a half.
Instead of baking at 350 for 9 minutes, bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes, depending on whether or not your cookie dough is chilled at all. Most ovens run hot, so turning it down to even 300 is not going to hurt the cookie, only take a little longer to cook, and that's good (it reduces the chance of burning).
Use insulated baking pans. They keep cookies from burning, and give you a nice crisp bottom while allowing the inside to stay soft and chewy.
Use a KitchenAid or other blender to make sure your wet ingredients are nicely mixed to a very smooth consistency.
Use an ice cream scoop to scoop your cookie dough. Spooning it doesn't pack the dough and chips together, and I think this makes a more uniform cookie as well.
Never overbake, when you see the edges getting the least bit brown, pull them out of the oven.
Finally, store your cookies in a Tupperware container, but don't seal it completely. In a dry climate, like here in Denver, I almost seal it just to keep the cookies from drying out. In Seattle, where there's a lot more moisture in the air, you have to seal things to keep them from going stale and taking on too much moisture out of the air.
A special thanks to Kay's Cookies in Seattle, where I worked while in college. She's the one who told me about baking longer at a lower temperature. I liked her the day she told me she thought Mrs. Fields was "a tart who didn't know a thing about fresh-baked cookies."