Category: Basics

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’.

baking basics: cream scones

cream and blueberry lemon scones

Surprise: it’s Valentine’s week and I’m NOT sharing a red velvet cake/cookie/cupcake/doughnut/whatever recipe with you. Because I don’t like red velvet. And I’m tired of seeing red velvet recipes.

Instead, let’s talk basics again. SCONES! Continue reading

baking basics: brownies

plain brownies-

I’ve decided to incorporate a little something new into this whole blog thang (yes, thang.) As a long-time reader of quite a few blogs out there, it has become more and more apparent by reading comments and such that sometimes, people don’t want super difficult, overly-fancy recipes. Sometimes, y’all just want some basics. Maybe you don’t cook or bake on the regular and are just trying to learn some easy stuff to impress yourself / your friends / your family / your partner / that person you think is cute, or maybe you just want a good solid base recipe for something, or you want to learn the method for something…and you should be able to find/do those things! It’s totally okay to be new to this whole baking/cooking thing. It’s okay to just want a plain old ____ recipe once in a while. It’s okay to not really know how to brown butter or make frosting or work with yeast. So, I’m going to start a series of basics, geared toward helping anyone who falls into those categories above.

Now, you should know: I am no authority. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve been taught by family/friends or have learned on my own with practice and experimentation. I don’t have a culinary school education backing me up, but I don’t think you need one to be good at any of this anyway. I read a lot of cookbooks and blogs and magazines, and I cook or bake several times a week. Really, the recipes and methods I share with you throughout this series are simply things that have worked with consistent results for me in the past. Recipes or methods I turn to regularly, and think you might find useful. Cool? Cool.

So, let’s start with brownies. Continue reading