Well, it happened. I’m a senior, wading through my final year of university, and joys of syllabus week are, alas, but wee specks in the my rearview mirror. Homework, late nights, and crunchy leaves pretty much mean that I should be putting “ma main à la pâte” in a figurative sense…however all I seem to do is literally put my hand to the dough and whip up the fall classic – chocolate chip cookies.
I think I learned how to cook making these cookies. My mom would let me measure the chocolate chips. Well, I don’t know if she let me, or if I just did it…because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to sample those delicious morsels of cacao bean delight ? Also, a five-year-old can’t really mess up that part of the cookie making…unless she eats too many chips…whoops.
Once I’d mastered that, I could pack down the brown sugar…add the white sugar…even (eventually) measuring out enough flour (“Liz, fill it to the top of the P” – we had Pyrex 2-cup measuring cups, and I suppose the top of the P was approximately 2 1/4 cups of flour…) for the recipe. We had (and still have) this rickety metal stepladder on which I’d place the ingredients I’d measured…and then I’d (of course) climb on it to watch all the ingredients go swirling, whirling, twirling around in the MixMaster (Kitchenaid, for those those versed in proper kitchen vocab). The best part came when I could sample the dough.
I don’t think anything tops cookie dough batter. I always wanted to just nibble it raw…but mom would chide, “No Liz ! There are raw eggs in there ! You could get sick !”
She is probably right, but when I make it all on my lonesome, I’m not going to lie, I take a hearty nibble-nom-nom out of whatever “pâte” I’ve put my “main” in.
This recipe is a little bit different than your back-of-the-chocolate-chip-bag variation BUT I think it’s the secret to the perfectly balanced SUPERCOOKIE : add molasses. It sounds surprising, however the molasses renders the cookie soft and “nuanced,” to borrow some wine-bottle diction. Just trust me, expert choco-chip cookie master since the age of 5. Get out of class, whip these up, and forget about your application woes while munching on this old-school afternoon snack. 🙂
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (only add if using unsalted butter)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened
1 cup brown sugar; packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1 bag (12 oz approx.) chocolate chips (you can feel this one out – if you want less, just add bit by bit)
Start by creaming the butter in a large mixing bowl. If you have an electric mixer, go ahead and fire it up. If not, get ready to whisk like it’s your job. You want to make sure the butter is nice and uniform so that the sugar will mix in evenly. Also, the softening of the butter allows more sugar/ingredients to “dissolve” into the fat, making for a smoother, creamier batter. (“Liz, soften the butter” “Mom, how ?” “In the microwave.” “Mom, what if I melted some of it…”)
Fun fact courtesy of the padre: if your butter didn’t get soft enough, wrap a warm towel around the mixing bowl. This will help the butter to soften – it’s particularly effective with a metal mixing vessel.
When the butter is light and the whisk/beaters make pretty swirly shapes in the mixture, begin to add the brown sugar. Beat until the mixture lightens in color. Add the white sugar and the molasses, beating again until lightened in color. It should look like very grainy buttercream frosting. Scrape down the side with a spatula, and mix once again. (“Mom, can I taste it?” “Liz, it’s just sugar and butter ! You already know what that tastes like !”)
Add the vanilla to the eggs, dropping them in one by one (“Liz, I never add the eggs one by one, it takes too long. I just throw them in there with the vanilla”) beating after each addition. You can skip this step, as my mom always does, but I like to beat them in one by one – I get to personally make sure each one gets whipped into shape.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon – stirring well to incorporate evenly. Carefully add this to the butter mixture (“Liz, don’t add it so fast ! You’re going to make a mess !”), reducing the mixer speed or using a spatula to combine. If you go too quickly, the flour will explode in your face and probably make you sneeze. It’s not worth it. Take your time AND as an added bonus, play this game : How little flour/mess can you make in the kitchen ? It’a really fun game – and worthwhile, too ! Why ? Because it’s less to clean up later, silly ! Oh, I am brilliant at times. 🙂
Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
“Mommmmm, can I taste it now ??”
Yes, yes yes yes. Take a nice good sample of your cookie dough, for this is, arguably, the best part.
On a large cookie sheet, drop the batter by tablespoons full (“I never bother with spoons, I just sort of eyeball it and use my fingers”) and shape into balls. I use a big spoon and my fingers and just try to make sure each cookies is approximately the same size. I really wouldn’t fuss over the size of your balls (“…”) and just have fun plopping misshapen cookie blobs on the baking sheet. Make sure they are spaced about 2 inches apart from each other, as these cookies like to spread out.
Cook for about 12 minutes per sheet, or until a nice golden brown. “Light and gooey and yummy and chewy,” as my sibling and I would chant. We take cookies seriously in this household….and this apt.
Remove and let cool on a rack (if you can wait that long) or place directly on a plate and devour immediately !
Happy munching, and bon appétit ! 🙂