baking basics: chocolate chip cookies

choco chip cookies

You guys, I don’t even want to read anyone’s blog today because it’s April Fools Day and it gets confusing because some people are joking and some people are serious and how am I supposed to know?! For example…I totally thought this mango rice with mustard recipe was a big ol’ joke. Nope (and now I feel bad for thinking someone’s potentially delicious recipe was a joke). I also totally thought Joy had flipped out and was being serious for a minute. Oh, April Fools Day.  You suck.

I promise this is a real post and nothing is a joke!

I do have a favor to ask of you! On Friday, I’m going to be switching blog hosts, which means I don’t think those of you who have subscribed via email and/or WordPress will transfer over. If you wouldn’t mind — come back to http://www.melbakesthings.com on Friday, and re-subscribe…please? Pretty please? Thank you! In return, I promise to share a bunch of tasty recipes I’ve been stockpiling with you (including maple-bacon cinnamon rolls!). Cool? Now, on to those cookies.

choco chip cookies

Why chocolate chip cookies? You can never have too many solid recipes for chocolate chip cookies. Every recipe yields a slightly different result based on the format of your butter, the proportions of each kind of sugar you use, and how you incorporate various ingredients into the cookie dough. There’s a really, really awesome article about this from Serious Eats that you should check out if you, like me, are a-ok with geeking out over chocolate chip cookies.

This particular recipe is a chewy guy, slightly crisp around the edges. I like my cookies that way. You can change up the types of chips/chocolate you use in these cookies with no problem, though I find that a combo of bittersweet chocolate and either semi-sweet or milk chocolate does the trick pretty well. During Christmastime, I use a combo of dark chocolate and Andes mints instead. You could always throw a handful of peanut butter chips in if you’d like, but I find that those are better suited for oatmeal cookies. Which I should probably post about sometime soon.

Method: Here’s a sort-of step by step photo tutorial to give you a better sense of what the process looks like…the full recipe is listed at the end of the post.

Step 1: Get your mise en place in place (hah)! Remember, this helps make it so you won’t get halfway through the process and realize you’re missing some ingredient or another.

mis en place

Don’t forget the chocolate!

chocolate

Step 2: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream room temperature solid butter (NOT the browned butter) and granulated (white) sugar until light and fluffy.

cream butter

Step 3: Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 15-30 seconds after each addition to ensure each egg gets fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

add eggs

Step 4: Add vanilla, browned butter, and brown sugar. Mix for another minute. Again, scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.

add brown sugar

Step 5: Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, and two-thirds of the flour to your mixer bowl. Mix until just combined.

add flour mix

Step 6: Add the rest of the flour and your chocolate. Mix just for a few seconds, until flour is combined.

add chocolate

Step 7: Age your dough in the fridge. Sound crazy? Maybe. Basically, you have a choice here. Fridge your dough for a minimum of two hours. After that, it’s up to you. If you “age” your cookie dough in the fridge overnight, or even over two days, the flavors develop and deepen, which results in an even tastier cookie. I actually baked some of the dough the day I made it, some the next day, and the rest the day after and yes, you can taste a difference. If this is blowing your mind, read that article I referenced earlier in this post. Let your cookie dough sit out for about 20 minutes before scooping.

Step 8: When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375F and line your baking sheets with parchment.

Step 9: Scoop dough in rounded tablespoons (or in any other desired size — just remember, the size will impact your baking time).

cookie dough 1

Step 10: Bake for 8-12 minutes, keeping an eye on your first batch so you can get a handle on how the cookie size and oven temp work together.

choco chip cookies

 

Step 11: EAT! For the record, these bad boys would be great with some ice cream sandwiched in the middle. Just sayin’.

 

choco chip cookies

Baking Basics: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe!

2 cups (8.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, browned and cooled (throw an ice cube in to help it cool)
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 to 12 oz chocolate of your choosing (I prefer a mix of chopped and chips, to give variation in texture and chocolate distribution)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream room temperature solid butter (NOT the browned butter) and granulated (white) sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 15-30 seconds after each addition to ensure each egg gets fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. Add vanilla, brown sugar, and browned butter and mix for another minute. Again, scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  4. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, and about two-thirds of the flour to your mixer bowl. Mix until combined.
  5. Add the rest of the flour and your chocolate. Mix just for a few seconds, until flour is combined.
  6. Age your dough in the fridge. Sound crazy? Maybe. Basically, you have a choice here. Fridge your dough for a minimum of two hours. After that, it’s up to you. If you “age” your cookie dough in the fridge overnight, or even over two days, the flavors develop and deepen, which results in an even tastier cookie. I actually baked some of the dough the day I made it, some the next day, and the rest the day after and yes, you can taste a difference.
  7. When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375F and line your baking sheets with parchment.
  8. Scoop dough in rounded tablespoons (or in any other desired size — just remember, the size will impact your baking time).
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes (keep an eye on your first batch to get a sense of how it goes – your time will vary based on your oven!)
  10. Cool, then EAT! For the record, these bad boys would be great with some ice cream sandwiched in the middle. Just sayin’.

buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

I’ve been a total slacker for the last few weeks –I have a few posts backed up and ready to go, but between learning more about photo editing and considering changing up the overall blog look and web-hosting situation around here, I’ve only managed to post once a week for the past few weeks. I’ll do better in the coming weeks! I promise.

Do you ever just crave pancakes? Every so often, usually at some weird time of day (hello, 9pm pancake craving!), I just want a warm stack of pancakes. It just happens. I can’t explain it. Sometimes, a girl just needs some freakin’ pancakes. Continue reading

pi (pie) day appoaches: mini apple pies

mini apple pies

The weather was magical yesterday. It was almost 50 degrees. A lot of the residual snow/ice melted. Seriously, it was glorious.

And now winter storm “Vulcan” is a-coming. Mr. Vulcan is bringing 6-10 inches of snow in his suitcase. Obviously, he’s over packed. It’s just an overnight stay, after all.

Clearly, Mr. Vulcan is quite rude. So rude, in fact, that even the cat feels the need to throw some (sleepy) shade toward Mr. Vulcan.

elton the cat

But enough weather talk…let’s talk about better things. Like pie.

Let’s talk about pie! Continue reading

hamantaschen

hamantaschen

Did you watch the Oscars? I like watching the Oscars and Emmys (but generally hate the Grammys). I know the awards shows are always unfortunately long, and pretty boring during some parts, and there are always lots of screw ups because…live television, but it’s kinda fun to see what everyone is wearing, what outlandish and/or political stuff people talk about in their speeches, and see people actually having some personality other than the last character they played. I actually thought this was one of the better Oscars in recent memory. The whole “let’s have an offensive comedian host” thing was getting old, and I think Ellen fit the bill pretty well.

And call me a jerk, but I still cannot stop laughing about the whole Travolta mispronunciation situation and subsequent reactions. It’s hilarious.

Anyway…for the past few years, I’ve noticed a slew of recipes/photos of these little triangle cookies floating around the interwebs during March. Considering I hadn’t the slightest clue what they were, I figured I’d do a little research and test them out. Enter: hamantaschen. Hamantaschen, or Haman’s pockets, are apparently a staple of the Jewish holiday Purim. There’s obviously a lot of meaning and history behind Purim, but from what I gather, there is also much feasting involved.  I like feasting. Since I’m no expert on Purim, you should do your own research to learn more. Start here.

Hamantaschen remind me of rugelach in a lot of ways, but the dough is heartier and the cookies are obviously larger. The dough is delicious (uh, hello…butter and cream cheese?) and not too sweet, while also taking enough of a back seat to let whatever filling you choose be the star of the show. And they pack up nicely, which is good because you probably shouldn’t eat them all yourself. But you totally can if you want to. I won’t judge you. It’s Fat Tuesday, so you have the perfect excuse. Continue reading

make your own girl scout cookies: thin mints edition

homemade thin mints

I’m just gonna come right out and say it…these DIY thin mints are seriously the best things to come out of my kitchen in a while.

Thin Mints are not even my favorite of the Girl Scout cookie varieties. That gold medal goes to Samoas, which, although I’ve never tried, I am pretty convinced I could never accurately recreate because I love them so much. Why are there only 14 Samoas in a box?! Rude.

thin mints

This homemade version is surprisingly accurate (can you call a cookie accurate?) but also better than the original. Partially because you’re eating cookies wherein you can pronounce all of the ingredients, but even more so because the chocolate flavor is a bit darker and more intense without becoming too rich or overwhelming. There’s also the teensiest bit of saltiness to balance the chocolate, too. Continue reading