Friday, September 3, 2010
An Old French Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is my friend Jo. She was a room mate of mine my freshman year of college at BYU-Hawaii. We had way too much fun together. See those cookies? They aren't Jo's fault. They're mine.
Then I met a man. A man who changed my life.
Meet Alton. He taught me so many things. Among them, he taught me the secret to cookies. Not a specific recipe, but the secret behind any recipe.
Have I shared with you the second best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever? (The first best is a secret I will take to my grave because I promised I would; sorry.)
I HAVEN'T?? Well, let me rectify the situation.
I got this recipe from an old French friend by the name of Nestle' Tol'ous...and Pheobe Buffay, from Friends.
Fat. Necessary for so many good things in life. Is it the caveman in us?
One cup. You can use butter, but it has a higher water content and makes the cookies spread more, so they're thinner.
Creamed with sugar, brown and white, living in blissful harmony. Why can't we all just get along? Add about a quarter cup of each.
Remember my exhortation to cream your sugar and fat properly? This is most important in cookie making. Light and fluffy. Go do something productive for about five minutes. Chop walnuts or something.
Add an egg and incorporate it completely. Add another. Throw in a teaspoon of vanilla.
Sift together a cup of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda (I add a bit less here at 6K feet), and a teaspoon of salt. Add to the creamed sugar and beat for about two minutes. You need gluten to begin forming...protein threads...look for the dough to start clinging to itself...sad to be separated from itself...oh that we were all so content with ourselves...but I digress...
Stir up the flour in the bag or whatever container you have it in, and add another cup. Then fill up half a cup of flour and add enough that it looks like this:
Don't look at the chips...we haven't added those yet. Just look at the dough. It has started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The thing with flour, as mentioned before, is that how much you add depends on all sorts of things, like temperature, humidity, elevation, the phase of the moon and where it is in the zodiac, so what you add one week may not be what you add the next. Part of what we are to learn in this life is flexibility. I have faith that you can deal with it.
Now add as many chocolate chips as floats your boat...sometimes a cup, sometimes more. And walnuts. Damned walnuts and their siren song. I'm still soliciting a little chopper thingy (that is a technical term) for Christmas, if that is the relationship we have...don't get me one if we aren't on gift-giving terms though because I'll feel terrible that I didn't get you anything.
As a result of my abhorrence, I chop them very roughly, not that I'm mean to them...I just leave them in rather big pieces. Isn't the English language wonderful?
If you like, add a handful of oatmeal to the pot. It makes the cookies a little meatier and I love it, but in my opinion makes the dough less yummy, so sometimes I leave it out. I left it out this time. Flexibility, see? Beautiful.
Now, here's a trick: toss on a sheet of wax paper and throw the mixing bowl in the fridge while the oven preheats to 375. This will solidify the fat, making the cookies lighter and cakier...they won't spread out. Put it back in the fridge between batches.
Another trick: tin foil on the cookie sheet. I hate washing cookie sheets almost as much as I hate chopping walnuts.
About ten minutes...maybe twelve. Again, consult your star chart...but take them out right before you think they are done:
Put them on a piece of paper towel on a cake rack. The paper towel will absorb some of the excess fat, making them a bit crispier as well as making them diet cookies. It nullifies the effects of using an entire cup of Crisco.
Enjoy warm with cold milk. Tomorrow (because I assume you will make them tonight; I'm going to) nuke them for 15 seconds to trick yourself into thinking you just pulled them out of the oven. OR roll the extra dough (cha, right) into balls and layer them in Tupperware with wax paper and keep in the freezer (thanks Tamara, you're brilliant) for a rainy day.
Eat your heart out Pilsbury.