Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cookie Me Christmas

To kick off the holiday baking season, I decided to start with a fool-proof stand-by recipe: the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie. This recipe makes a bunch of cookies (as in 40 or so) and is easy to make and bake. It's not diet, or gluten free or even dairy free but it is an old stand-by and I'm sure many of you out there are going to be looking for a great cookie recipe this season.

What you'll need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I did sub half of the white flour with whole wheat and it worked out fine)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
34 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips + 1 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F

Like many cookie recipes, you make this one in two stages: wet and dry. First combine the flour, baking soda and salt together in one bowl and stir with a whisk to get any lumps out. Second, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat together the soft butter, sugars and vanilla. Combining butter and sugar is called "creaming" and you'll know it's done combing when the mixture is lump-free and fluffy. Then you add one egg at a time, combining after each addition, to the wet mixture. Finally, combine the dry into the wet (in batches and slowly so you don't end up with a snow-storm of flour in your kitchen). Stir in the chocolate and nuts by hand with a spatula.

You then drop the cookie batter onto non-greased cookie sheets with a spoon. I use two spoons, one to drop and the other to pry off the dough hanging on to the original spoon. It's a technique that's good if you don't want to get your hands in a mess

Bake each cookie sheet 9-11 minutes until the cookies are just set in the middle and brown on the edges. You may have to rotate and/or turn your sheet in the oven depending on how hot your oven is, if it's convection, if it's old, etc. I recommend not putting more cookie dough on a hot, out-of-the-oven, sheet because it causes the dough to melt a little and screws up the baking time.

Let baked cookies cool on the sheets on top of the stove for a few minutes before transferring them to wire racks to complete cooling. Pour up a glass of milk and enjoy! Merry (early) Christmas!

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