Thursday, October 02, 2008
Chocolate Chip Cookies
I love cookies. Big, fat, chewy cookies, choc-a-block full of chocolate and nuts. My favourite store bought ones are Mrs Fields, or Ben's Cookies in the UK - amazing. Apart from The Rock's favourite chocolate chip cookies, which are full of oatmeal for extra texture, I adore the classic chocolate chip cookie - just chewy dough, big chocolate chunks, and walnuts.
I don't quite buy into that whole "ultimate" choc chip cookie thing. After much research and recipe comparison, I've come to the conclusion that all classic choc chip cookie recipes are pretty much the same. And besides, "ultimate" is a relative term. It's really up to you to make them how you like them. Do you like milk chocolate or dark? In big old chunks or little chips? Walnuts, almonds, or no nuts at all? Thin and crispy? Thick and chewy?
When I'm in a super-cookie mood, I like to make up a batch of cookie dough, form them into appropriate cookie shapes, and keep them in an airtight container or freezer bag.
You can bake the cookie dough straight from the freezer...
... and that way, freshly baked chunky chocolate cookies are never more than 15 minutes away. Extremely convenient, and very impressive if you're having friends over for a girls' night in, or even a proper dinner party. As Colin Cowie says, "Frozen, ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough is a... fantastic option for a last-minute flourish!"
On a more serious note, keeping the cookie dough in the freezer instead of baking it all at once means you're more likely to limit yourself to one or two. So it's a (relatively) healthier. Unless, of course, you go the whole hog and sandwich a scoop of ice-cream between 2 cookies.
The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie
(adapted from The Ghiradelli Original Chocolate Cookbook)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup chocolate chips/pieces/chunks of choice (I like Lindt Milk)
1/2 c chopped nuts of choice (I like walnuts)
Cream butter with sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat in egg. Mix flour with salt and bicarb; mix into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls, and press flat into cookie shapes. Place cookies on a tray, and place tray into freezer. Once cookies are firm enough to keep their shape, place cookies in a freezer bag or airtight container, sealing well.
When it is cookie time, pre-heat oven to 180C (375F). Take desired number of cookies and place on a lined baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven, until cookies are golden brown and cooked to your liking. Lift cookies off tray with a spatula, and leave to cool on a wire rack for as long as you can bear to wait. Remember that cookies will continue to firm up as they cool.