My personal challenge this year is to conquer my fear of baking. The precise measurements, temperature settings, and timing always intimidated me so I avoided baking at all cause – until recently.
I took the plunge to not only bake, but to bake for others. As a part of our Christmas gift packages for our friends, I baked up batches upon batches of something simple and nostalgic. I knew nobody would turn down good chocolate chip cookies, let alone perfect ones.
I knew better than to develop a recipe from scratch so I adapted this cookie recipe from the New York Times. These particularly cookies have a good balance between chewiness and crunchiness. The edges taper thinner and become slightly cripsy while the center remains dense and pliable. The best part, the coarse salt crystals sprinkled on top, is such a no-brainer.
I’m pleased to report that these cookies were very well received from our friends and neighbours. Woohoo! Merry Christmas!
Some cookie baking tips that I learned along the way:
- I used a scale to weigh out 1 oz dough balls so that they all baked evenly and turned out the same size.
- Keep the dough cold – it’ll be easier to roll.
- Don’t crowd them or they will spread and fuse together. I fit 12 cookies on a baking sheet, max.
- Remember to sprinkle on salt in the end. The crunchy crystals make a world of difference. Try smoked salt if you have some.
- In a pinch, use the semi-sweet chocolate chips that you have in the pantry.
- I tried making these with the same amount of all-purpose flour and they still baked up beautifully.
- Mould the dough into a greased muffin tin to create cookie bowls.
- Pre-roll the balls and keep them in the fridge. Pop them into the oven when your guests arrive. Serve them warm with some ice cream for a satisfying treat.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
- Sea salt
- Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
- Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.
Source: New York Times
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