Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm all about trying new and exotic recipes, especially when it comes to sweets. Sometimes, though, there's nothing more satisfying than the classic chocolate chip cookie. I've been baking one version or another -- most commonly the one found on the back of the Chipits bag -- for years, and they're the ultimate in instant gratification. Virtually no time to whip up, 12 minutes in the oven, another five and they're in your hand, the chocolate gooey and melting.

Tonight I did a few things differently, the main thing being my choice of recipe. I went with the one from Michael Smith's Chef At Home (the 2005 edition), as it seemed straightforward and didn't muck about with extra ingredients such as nuts, coconut, etc. Also, I realized as I was about to start that I only had about 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour left in the canister, so I decided to try cake and pastry flour instead. For all of you bakers wondering if there's a difference, there definitely is! The cookies baked up higher than a butter-based cookie usually does, and they definitely seemed more cake-like, less chewy. At least that was the consistency five minutes after they came out of the oven. Not sure what they'll be like when they cool down.

Smith recommends starting with cold butter, which is harder to cream with the sugar. I used a technique I learned when making pie pastry in cooking class last year, which is to grate the butter into your mixing bowl. That way it's easier to blend with the sugar.

I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to make this my 'ultimate' chocolate chip cookie, whether I'll go back to the Chipits recipe, or whether I need to try more iterations. I think I like the latter option, as it means more cookies for me! Mwah ha ha!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A heaping cupful of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick of cold salted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
Spoonful of corn syrup
1 egg
Splash of pure vanilla extract
Cupful of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together. Set aside.

Cream the cold butter and sugars together, beating them until they're smooth in a countertop mixer. If you don't have a countertop mixer, beat vigorously by hand in a large mixing bowl, or combine them in a food processor. Add the corn syrup, egg and vanilla, and continue beating until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon.

Using a spoon, scoop out a ball of the dough and drop it onto a lightly greased cookie tray. Flatten slightly. Repeat, leaving lots of room between the balls for the cookies to expand. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove and cool on a rack.

Makes about 18 cookies.

Source: Chef At Home, Michael Smith, Whitecap Books, 2005

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