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the best, according to me

When I think about fall, one thing comes in to my mind: cookies. Or, more specifically, cold afternoons spent huddled over my oven, trying not to eat the raw cookie dough. Yes, that’s probably a more accurate picture. My mom wasn’t the baking type, and she was rarely home when I got back from school, so I missed out on the whole “fresh warm cookies right after school!” part of childhood. But that doesn’t mean  totally missed out.

When I’d go to my friend’s house to do homework (aka play video games, run around the block, etc) we would be greeted with a plate full of cookies. I thought it was the best thing ever. Homemade Cookies? For a snack? WHHATTT??! You can just imagine my little almond eyes wideningin shock. Just one bite, and I was hooked. There was nothing greater than when that sweet and salty cookies, still warm, hit my tongue. If I should ever reproduce (not for decades, people) I know that my challenge will be to put a fresh plate of chocolate chip cookies out for my kids, especially when they are just going to run around and burn it off later.

About a year ago, the NY Times did a big article on the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Do you remember that? It involved using different flours, and chilling the dough for 24-36 hours. A bunch of bloggers tested out the recipe, and I’m sure they thought it was great and delicious. But I refrained. Mainly because the hype turned me off, and also because I think the perfect chocolate chip cookie is subjective. What exactly makes a cookie the best? Is it the perfect cookie crispy or soft? Do you have to use fancy chocolate or regular Nestle? Is this the best cookie recipe because the NYT said so? Naw, that’s not how I roll. While I appreciate the research and dedication, I know that one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve ever found lies in “Baking: From My Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan. I wrote about these cookies in December 2007, but the post didn’t do them justice. First of all, the pictures are horrendous and I would delete that post but it’s a nice way to show how far I’ve come… And I personally love to laugh at some of my older posts.

Anyways, this recipe is super simple. No different flours, no necessary-chilling time, just plain old chocolate chip goodness. The first time I made these cookies, I chilled the dough for about an hour and it produced a less crispy, flat cookie. But, I prefer crispy cookies with chocolate melting insides. Doesn’t that sound like heaven? It should, because it was.

In the name of chocolate chip cookies, I know the title of “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” is a hefty one. But I think this one deserves it. The cookies, flat yet soft, are sturdy enough to withstand road trips and lunchboxes. I brought these along with me on my road trip to Half Moon Bay and they were great after long walks on the beach with a cup of tea. You can add some nuts in, if you’d like. The original recipe called for walnuts, but I wanted to use a more subtle nut to give the cookie a mysterious bit. Enter Almond Meal. I bought pre-made almond meal from Trader Joes and I used 1 cup of it in this recipe and guess what? Even those who absolutely hate nuts couldn’t suspect it. In fact, the almond meal made the cookies ten times better. Note: if you are giving these out to strangers or at a party, make a note that it contain nuts. You don’t want anyone to have a deadly allergic attack over your cookies.

I also used these cookies in a rather naughty way… No, get your head out of the gutter. I put these bad boys to the ultimate test: ice cream sandwiches. There is nothing worse than making warm, chocolate chip cookies and having them disintigrate when ice cream is squeezed in between the cookies. Sometimes, when a cookie is too soft, it will crumble and fall apart, which isn’t a big disaster. I mean, it’s still a cookie that can be eaten. But when you have your heart set on ice cream sandwiches, you want to weep when that happens. But these cookies were perfect with ice cream. Devilishly delicious, I had two and decided to call that dinner. That’s the beauty of being a grown adult. You get to decide what makes up dinner. Cookies & ice cream? For dinner? Sure, why not.

So why are they the best? Well, my definition of “best” means this: super simple, equally delicious, not overly sweet, enough salt to combat the chocolate, sturdy, crispy with a soft center. Don’t believe me? Follow the recipe, and try NOT to fall in love with this cookies. Go ahead. I’m waiting…

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie
Printable Recipe
Origin: “Baking: From My Home To Yours” by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: about 45 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
● 2 cups all purpose flour
● 1 tsp. salt
● 3/4 tsp. baking soda
● 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
● 1 cup sugar
● 2/3 cup light brown sugar
● 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
● 2 large eggs
● 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips)
● 1 cup chopped walnuts (I used one cup of almond meal)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together.

3. Beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth (you can use a stand mixer, but I don’t have one so I used a hand mixer). Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. By hand with a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate and nuts. The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. (Normally, I put it in the fridge for just a half an hour just to firm it up but this time I couldn’t wait. )

4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10 or 12 minutes, or until they brown at the edges and are golden in the center. Pull sheet from oven and allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool to room temperature.

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September 13, 2009 - 7:24 pm

Antonietta - Wow! These look incredible. Love the ice cream sandwich too. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks!!

September 13, 2009 - 9:46 pm

tracy - i can’t wait to try them! i love this post!

September 13, 2009 - 9:46 pm

tracy - also love the new site design btw. so slick!

September 14, 2009 - 12:17 am

juju73 - YUM! These look delicious!

September 14, 2009 - 4:57 am

sarah the baker yoon - i haven’t baked cookies in a long time and these are just the cookies to break that! i think every baker has their personal life-long search for “the perfect cookie”, and you’re lucky to have found yours! :D

thanks for the recipe, amanda!

September 14, 2009 - 5:05 am

itsandbits - these looks phenomenal! yum!

September 14, 2009 - 9:12 am

Tracy - oh man, you just gave me the most intense craving for cookies!

September 14, 2009 - 1:58 pm

zainab - Yum…These indeed the best :)

September 14, 2009 - 6:53 pm

Lele - I remember that epic New York Times chocolate chip cookie article! People take chocolate chip cookies sooooo seriously!

September 16, 2009 - 2:51 am

s - they look to-die -for…they sound like the BEST

September 16, 2009 - 4:50 am

emmalee13 - These look delicious but my favorite part is your nail polish in the photo of you holding the ice cream sandwich. It is so end of summer to have chipping nail polish and you are talking about going back to school, it all brings back so many memories.

September 17, 2009 - 9:27 am

mayapamela - Your cookies look delicious, but the NYTimes recipe is outstanding. The fussiness actually serves them well, though I only use all purpose flour

September 20, 2009 - 1:31 pm

Rachel - I just made these cookies, and they are truly awesome. I’m usually a Tollhouse recipe kind of girl. I’m thinking of doing my own cookie comparison, using this recipe and the Tollhouse recipe. And maybe the NY Times recipe…

September 24, 2009 - 11:28 am

Malin - They look heavenly. Could this be it? The perfect ccc?
I realize I have to purchase “Baking, from my home to yours”, I’ve come across so many great recipes from that book.

April 11, 2010 - 9:34 am

The Common Cookie « Slow Like Honey - [...] What my mother and I like the most about these cookies is their level of sweetness. While I have a raging sweet tooth, I don’t particularly enjoy cookies that leave me in a diabetic coma. The original recipe called for two tablespoons of corn syrup but I let those out. The white chocolate chips give the cookies their sweetness, while the oatmeal makes the cookies more hearty and filling. They almost remind me of a smaller, moister scone. Nothing wrong with that! They go down really well with a strong cup of coffee as the coffee flavor balances out the sweet white chocolate. For an oatmeal-lover, these cookies were a nice break from the standard chocolate chip cookie. [...]

May 26, 2010 - 3:59 pm

Audrey in Oregon - Hi,

Just found your blog. Your photography has greatly improved from one choc. cookie post to the next.

Did you get a new camera or what?

January 11, 2011 - 9:36 am

Chocolate Chip Cookies, yet again « Slow Like Honey - [...] Wait that didn’t make sense. Anyways, it was from Dorie Greenspan and it sill hails as the best cookie recipe around. But I had to try just one [...]

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