I suspect we all have people in our lives who hold the classic chocolate chip cookie as the perfect baked good. My dad is one of those people; whenever I tell him about the next recipe that I'm working on he suggests that maybe I make chocolate chip cookies instead. Not chocolate chip cookies with a twist, just the classic, basic, crispy-on-the-edges-soft-in-the-middle chocolate chip cookie. Why mess around with perfection?
The bars on the left caught my eye.. just look at them! Gorgeous. But from all of the pages and pages of stunning looking desserts I kept going back to the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It just made sense to test out a basic recipe to see how it stood up to my expectations of how the 'perfect' chocolate chip cookie should be. Plus I could hear my dad's voice in my head saying "why don't you just make the chocolate chip cookies??" You win dad.
Whenever I try out a new recipe I try to follow it as closely as possible so that if something goes wrong I know it's not because I was fiddling around with the baking ratios. So I set out to make these exactly as written.. but it turned out that although I had boxes and boxes of semi-sweet baking chocolate, there were no semi sweet chocolate chips.
I debated going to the store, but if I'm going to be honest it would have required me to at least brush my hair and put on real pants.. and that was just not happening. I justified this minor substitution on the merit that it didn't alter the actual cookie batter. Plus chocolate chunks are delicious.
The recipe is made up of a foundation recipe for brown sugar cookie dough and then the addition of chocolate chips and the baking instructions are under the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I love that the book has a number of these basic recipes that you can play around with and try different variations. It really encourages trying out your own variations once you've got the base recipe down.
Nerdy confession: I didn't want to worry about the cookies needing to bake for shorter or longer times depending on if I'd scooped the cookies bigger or smaller, so I weighed each one before putting it on the cookie sheet which ensured that each batch took exactly 10 minutes to bake. Ohh consistent results.
The results were..cookie perfection. These honestly were some of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. I'm not a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur like some people, but the edges were crispy, the middles were soft, and the dough had a perfect balance of vanilla, brown sugar, and chocolate flavors.
Definitely a winner. So if you are looking to expand your cook book collection (or even if it doesn't need expanding but you keep expanding anyways) I'd really recommend checking out this book. Huge selection of recipes, beautiful photos and clear instructions. I especially love the foundation recipes because it gives you the freedom to play around with different add-ins and flavors.
These two recipes are excerpted from Back to Baking (Whitecap Books) by Anna Olson with permission from the publisher
Basic Brown Sugar Cookie Dough
• Makes enough dough for 2 to 3 dozen cookies •
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (125 mL) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1¼ cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
Cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until fluffy.
Beat in the egg and then the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, stir the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir until evenly blended.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 recipe Basic Brown Sugar Cookie Dough
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°f (175°c), and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper, or
Prepare the cookie dough recipe as on page 17 and then stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking trays, leaving 1½ inches (4
cm) between cookies.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Let the cookies cool
on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. The
cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.