Chocolate Chip Cookies
I know what you’re thinking.
So the man’s away for a few days and all you do is spend your time watching America’s Next Top Model and eating nothing but salad and cookies?!
And: Damn you for making me want cookies! You should be ashamed of yourself!
And I am, I really am. I’m terribly ashamed. So ashamed that I’ve been holding off writing about these cookies for awhile now, even though they are (achem, mom? Skip this next part) a staple of my diet.
I would be lying if I said I averaged two a day. Because it’s more like three. Or four five. Every day. I make them so often I know the recipe by heart. This is probably the reason why receive monthly thank-you notes from the people who import chocolate chips to Australia. I am single-handedly keeping an industry afloat. I am the chocolate chip cookie lady in a chocolate chip cookie-free land.*
They are also an incredibly easy way to get your neighbors/coworkers to like you (or, in my case, apologize for the dog leaping out the bedroom window onto the shared corrugated tin roof and running around like a very loud bat out of hell for the third time this week). No, but seriously, these cookies inspire all sorts of crazy and all sorts of love. Case in point:
That, my friends, is from the dearly departed neighbor who is maybe regretting her move now that these cookies are no longer in her life?
This text just goes to show what I think I’ve already made abundantly clear: I make these cookies for purely selfless reasons. Instead of gluttony, what I’m doing should be called something more along the lines of – oh, I don’t know – charity, kindness, enlightenment, benevolence, maybe altruism. No, definitely altruism.
But there are other reasons why I haven’t shared them with you yet (besides the fact that you are most likely not my neighbor), and these are more complicated to explain.
They remind me of my glorious, mythical childhood (which is becoming more and more distant by the day: Oh, hello, mortgage!) Thinking on it, this is funny because my mom wouldn’t get near these things – let alone bake them – with a ten foot pole. I did say mythical, didn’t I?
They also remind me of the afternoon a few years back spent in the kitchen of my friend’s apartment in Montreal during which we tried out this recipe and, in so doing, found god. I did say enlightenment, didn’t I?
I’ve written about this friend before and another incredible recipe she gave to me, which you should be ashamed of yourself if you haven’t made by now. See? Shame goes both ways.
These cookies are also weird to write about because I’m weird with them. This is shameful, yes, but here it is: I freeze them. As in, I eat them straight out of the freezer. Not only does this make Francesco much less willing to finish off an entire batch in one sitting, it also makes the chocolate chips really hard which I like, OK!?
And, while I’m laying it all out, I also sprinkle them generously with salt.
That was easier than I thought.
In any event, America, childhood, friendship and personal weirdness all piled together is a bit much for one little cookie to handle. It’s already doing such a good job supporting me through my quotidian ups and downs, I just wasn’t sure if this cookie was ready for the big time.
But you know what? That text message I got this morning? After making me laugh out loud because bish please, if you think you can move away and still get cookies, it made me realize that I was wrong. She can still get cookies because she’s my friend and I want to share them with the people I care about. Like you.
So if you do live in the area, you’re more than welcome to come over and have a few. As long as you’re willing to eat them rock hard and salty. Or you could just make them yourself. More for me, and more for you. Altruism, I think it was.
*I’m exaggerating here, obviously, but I’m not when I tell you that a couple days ago when I handed over a few of these American beauties to my Australian neighbor she looked at them, then back at me, and asked very politely, “What are they?” She did not recognize a chocolate chip cookie. Sadly I’m not joking, as evidenced by this Australian recipe website that – you may want to cover the ears of small children if you’re reading this aloud – calls for COCONUT in chocolate chip cookies!!!!!! The horror! They’re not even called cookies in Australia. They’re biscuits, a word which I will always want to pronounce in French – “bee-squee” – because it’s so much better that way.
THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
This recipe originally came to me courtesy of the Great Brenna Baggs, but I think we were following a magazine article or print out. It doesn’t really matter, though. As I’ve just realized: cookies belong to everyone. And I’ve tweaked it beyond recognition.
If you’re North American, you probably want to know if these are crunchy or chewy and they’re both: crunchy if you bake them a few extra minutes, chewy if you don’t. So you decide. Personally, I like them chewy. But with my freezing and salt habit, I’m not really one to judge, am I?
Makes 30 to 40 perfect chocolate chip cookies
3/4 cup (170 grams) butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (250 grams) chocolate chips (I always use dark or a mixture of dark and white, and I always always always add extra dark chocolate chunks, and so should you)
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. In a large bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until uniform. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together, then gently mix into the other bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips and chunks until mixed in.
Side note: After much experience, I’ve learned it’s helpful to refrigerate your dough for a few minutes. It allows for much easier handling, but you can totally skip it. On the other hand, you can make the dough up until this point and refrigerate it overnight. Whatever floats your boat!
So take two baking trays and plop a heaping tablespoons of dough 1″ apart (I usually get about 8 per tray). Make them as big or small as you want. Don’t flatten them too much, they’ll flatten themselves. But if you want them really crispy, go ahead and flatten them with the bottom of a glass. You may need to bake two batches or so if you’re oven doesn’t fit 4 trays (or you don’t own 4 trays, both of which apply to me).
For chewy cookies: Bake for 9-12 minutes. For extra chewy, you really want to under bake them. They’re ready when you touch the side of a cookie with your finger and it’s just firm. Take them out even if they look totally under done; they firm up as they cool. Cool on the tray at least 5 minutes or they won’t come off easily with a spatula. Wait 5 minutes before eating (with milk, obviously) so as not to burn the roof of your mouth with melted chocolate.
For crunchy cookies: are you insane? Psha, fine. If you still want them crunchy, bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown on top.
For both: Cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container up to two weeks (or the freezer up til when I get there and steal them.) Wait 5 minutes before eating (with milk, obviously) so as not to burn the roof of your mouth with melted chocolate.