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Monday, February 9, 2009

It Makes Perfect Sense to Bake when the Mercury Hits 60

My love of cooking starts with baking. I have been baking ever since I have been on my own. My most coveted gift from my wedding was my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I know most girls register for the mixer and it becomes a lovely fixture on their counter. I have given mine good use and consider it a vital part of my cooking tools. I did not cook or bake much as a kid. My mom also was a good cook and loved to be in the kitchen. As much as we were invited in the kitchen to watch her create, my sister and I were not active participants. My mom had her ways. She liked to do things her way and often our help was a hindrance to her.

What can I say. I love chocolate chip cookies. I’m pretty particular about them however. I won’t waste my time on store bought ones. They have to be homemade. Yesterday I had a craving for some. Oddly enough it was the warmest it has been in a while, so you would think I would not want to put my oven on, but I did and I enlisted my five-year old to be my assistant. I have experimented with several different recipes and sizes. The first one I went to was the old standby on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag. An excellent cookie and one I remember fondly from my youth. This is the one my mom made. She would make them smaller than the package recommended. There would be over 100 cookies in the batch. It took a while to bake all those cookies.

Over the holidays, I baked those that were reminiscent of my childhood. Even though I have a double oven, it was still an all day project..but I got a lot of cookies out of it. Some were gifts, and some went directly down the hatch. That’s the problem with little cookies. One or two is not the’s when you eat a dozen.

I recently saw an episode of Good Eats on Food Network. Alton Brown discussed how changing a few ingredients completely change the texture of the cookie. He did three variations of the classic chocolate chip cookie..a chewy cookie, a puffy cookie and a thin crisp one. Today I decided to go with the crisp one. Instead of tiny, little cookies I made huge bakery style ones..using an ice cream scooper to measure the dough. I was only able to fit 5 cookies to a tray and they took 15 minutes to cook each tray. I only got 18 cookies out of the batch, but oh perfection. They turned out bakery quality and you could taste the butter in each bite. So, I present you with the recipe for the thin…go make some cookies! As you can see, my youngest food critics approved.

The Thin Chocolate Chip Cookie (recipe courtesy of Alton Brown)

You will need:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
2 ounces of milk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Combine the egg, milk and vanilla and bring to room temperature.
Cream the butter and add the sugars, increasing the speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed and add in the egg mixture slowly. Increase the speed of the mixer until it is well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop with an ice cream scooper onto parchment or silpat lined sheet pans, 5 cookies to the sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the pans for even browning.
Remove the cookies from the pan immediately and put on a cooling rack. When cool, store in an airtight container. If they last for storing.


Abby said...

There are few things better in this world than a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

Alton is a genius. And you have the cutest taste testers ever!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Oh yes, those look great. I love chocolate chip cookies. I am so glad I clicked over to your blog, today. I found you on the Foodie Blogroll widget.