Every autumn, my heart lifts a bit higher. I don’t like being cold or rained on, the days turning darker are depressing and rounding up gifts for the holidays is a stressor. However, this is the season for baking.
Below is my personal chocolate chip cookie recipe, one which produces persistently positive results. Follow this exactly and you’ll no doubt receive praise from peers.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Two mixing bowls, one large enough to mix all the dough.
One hand mixer or countertop mixer (see note)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (see note)
½ cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (see note)
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in the smaller of the two mixing bowls and set aside.
In the larger mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugars using a mixer for about a minute, or until fluffy. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl for an even mixture.
Mix in the egg and vanilla, combining until smooth.
While still mixing, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. I add about a quarter cup at a time. The dough will get fairly tough.
Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon, not the mixer. Over-mixing the dough results in flat cookies; the egg and baking soda promote rising and excessively agitating them will negate this effect.
Using a large spoon, scoop out about a ping pong ball-sized serving of dough and place on the baking sheet. Repeat this until the sheet is full, allowing space for expansion.
Slightly flatten the tops of the dough balls, then rotate them on the baking sheet a quarter turn to prevent them from sticking.
This part is crucial: Add a half pinch (technically a smidgen) of salt to the flattened tops. This might seem odd, but the slight saltiness counters the overwhelming sweetness perfectly (see note).
Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on the oven and elevation. Remember, they’ll keep cooking when they come out — I’d say they’re done when the edges are the shade of golden-brown you’re looking for. Realistically, this recipe will facilitate more than one batch. You’ll dial it in.
Let the cookies set for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a plate or some other cool surface.
Okay, Hercules: You can mix this with a sturdy spoon by hand if you want. However, hand-mixing is time consuming and labor intensive. I highly recommend an electric mixer for this purpose.
Sweet proportions: You’ll notice that both the brown and white sugars total 1 ½ cups. I like more brown sugar personally, but feel free to adjust this ratio per your particular taste. I would not recommend, however, only using brown or white; there should be a balance between the two.
Chip choice: 2 cups of chocolate chips is just right for my preference, but you do you. By lessening the chocolate chips, you can make up the difference with walnuts or candy-coated chocolate pieces (which rhyme with blemmin-emm).
Tip-topping: Salt is a must when I make these cookies, but you can also sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg to autumnally spice them up.
Ian Hilton can be reached at [email protected]