Chocolate Chip Cookies: A shocking confession
I just don’t like chocolate chip cookies.
I know, I know. One more way in which I am un-American (that makes, what, 72 and counting?). I hear that there are more chocolate chip cookies made in the U.S. than any other kind of cookie. But I’d rather have no cookie than chocolate chip.
I like molasses spice. I like snickerdoodles. I’ve spent years in search of the perfect sugar cookie. I’m a sucker for a little something called Bunty Creams, which involve corn flakes, golden syrup, and butter cream filling (wait till Christmas!). There’s this old New England cookie called a Joe Frogger, which has salt water and rum and molasses and ginger–fabulous. Mmm . . .
In high school I won a newspaper contest sponsored by the Lewiston Morning Tribune for a quotation praising chocolate chip cookies–if memory serves, I cribbed a bit out of Romeo and Juliet, which was much on my mind at the time (ah, youth!). But I didn’t really like them then, and I don’t like them now
Which is why I make so many of them . . . I’m never tempted by them. Little Sunshine and Tuxedo Boy love them, Joan and Papa will eat the dough by the spoonful, they’re always fast and easy, and I can walk right past them without a second glance. Unlike, well, pizza. Or dried pineapple. Or those raspberry habenero truffles from Cowgirl Chocolates, d**n their eyes!
So I tried a new chocolate chip recipe from The Best Recipe, by the Cooks Illustrated people, which I checked out from the library this weekend. I’m not a huge fan of Cooks Illustrated, largely because I find that one guy’s bow ties so irritating. No, really. I just don’t like him. Well, that and I don’t think their recipes are always the best. A lot of the time, The Baking Sheet, from King Arthur Flour, has better recipes for baked goods.
And that’s the case with the so-called best “Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The dough was, according to the kids, heavy and greasy, with a distinct and unwelcome hint of peanut butter. The cookies themselves, although chewy the night I made them, were hard this morning, and like concrete this afternoon. Like if Jimmy Hoffa were chocolate chips, these cookies would be Shea Stadium.
Photogenic, but not delicious. I hate that. I’m going back to my old reliable, a stalwart chocolate chip if ever there was one, adapted freely from The Baking Sheet. You won’t go wrong with this one.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies or so.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put Silpats or parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets.
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening (isn’t that repulsive? I hate even typing it.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda, dissolved in 1 T warm water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream shortening, butter, sugars, vanilla, egg, baking soda and water until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Mix in chips.
Drop golf-ball sized balls of dough on Silpatted cookie sheets. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are brown and the tops just set. Let them cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. To keep them soft and chewy, put them in an airtight tin with a slice of apple while they are still slightly warm.