The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Photo via bettycrocker.com

Photo via bettycrocker.com

Every single time I make chocolate chip cookies, I am kinda disappointed. They taste pretty good, but the consistency is NEVER RIGHT. You know how mad I get when the cookie part spreads out really thin and crispy, and then you hit a burst of chocolate chip a couple times? I hate that. Or when they’re thick, but too hard? It’s so difficult to get it the way I like it!

So I’ve been experimenting for a while, combining different recipes and tips, and I’ve finally found it. The PERFECT (to me) chocolate chip cookie. The primary keys to this recipe are fiddling with the baking temperature, butter consistency, amount of chips, and size of the dough balls.

As I mentioned, I’m totally picky about my cookies. And Robbie doesn’t like sweets enough to eat something unless it’s awesome. But he gobbled these up. I really made them for us to munch on during our recent road trip up to North Carolina, and on the way back, Spencer (our little dog) was trying so hard to co-pilot from the middle console that he stood right on top of the cooler and crushed them into small pieces. Robbie’s response was, “Dammit, Spence! Is this the last bag?”

Unfortunately, it was, because I had left the rest at my parents’ house for them to enjoy. My mom is kind of a health food nut, so my dad is always pretty excited if anyone leaves him something to eat that is not a gluten-free rice cracker. So now we have one small ziplock bag of mostly broken cookies in the refrigerator that everyone is trying to avoid. So sad. Must make more immediately!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 whole package chocolate chips
I also threw in about 1/4 bag of Heath bits just because I found it in the pantry.

Mix everything together with a spoon (not electric mixer! *hand smack*). Place ping-pong-ball-sized balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Or golf ball sized, or whatever your sport of choice for non-athletic people is. I don’t think the order of adding ingredients really matters, but I basically mixed all the dry stuff together and then added the wet ones, with the chips coming in last.

Here’s the important part: preheat the oven to 425, but as soon as you put in the pans, turn it down to 375. Bake 11-12 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before removing. If you have to bake in more than one batch like I do because I don’t have enough pans, turn the oven back up to 425 each time before inserting the pans, then turn it back down to 375 while baking.

I think this temperature tweaking is the secret to the crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside miracle! I didn’t invent it, though. Like I said, I have been reading and trying different things, and this temperature fiddling was suggested on another blog. And it totally worked magic!

Tasty Tuesday: Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies

I am not typically a big Valentine’s Day person. I tend to fall into the camp that’s always saying, “Oh, it’s just a Hallmark holiday for the purpose of selling crap. You should treat people lovingly every day, not just once a year!” That’s all true. But this year, I decided that instead of being bitter about not having a real valentine (I do have a complicated one), I would take the high road to positivity and just make sweets for all the friends in my life that I love and appreciate. I mean, why not use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to tell your friends how much you love them? Friends need love too, not just lovers.

I found this recipe on Bakerella. Her pictures are always lovely, but I’m using some poor ones I took in my kitchen. This is why you should always take TWO photos. The first one is always crap.

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Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies

1 Box red velvet cake mix*
1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature (mine was pretty much melted)
2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients until combined. Drop spoonfuls of cookie batter onto baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Cream Cheese Filling

1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature (again, mine was pretty much meltedĀ — my microwave is superior alien technology that I cannot control)
1 8 oz. Package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1lb. Box of confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

In a mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Gradually add sugar and mix until smooth. Makes about 24 cookies or 12 cookie sandwiches

* Any cake mix should work.

I also made some using a lemon cake mix, and these came out much with a much softer consistency, for some reason. I do not pretend to understand the chemical processes that make cooking happen. I wrote a paper about a science-related movie for my AP Biology final exam. Yes, I am an english nerd. I don’t do science. Anyway, the lemon ones were almost too sweet. I much preferred the red velvet.

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Tasty Tuesday: Christmas Cookies

Xmas Cookies

This Christmas season I have been all about baking and candy-making. I have made PB dog treats, white chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter balls, and most recently, iced sugar cookies. My friend Quest and I had a Christmas Girls’ Night. We baked cookies, watched Love Actually (best Christmas chick flick ever), decorated cookies, and drank fizzy red wine.

When I was a kid, my mom made the best sugar cookies, but only on very special occasions. When I was in first or second grade, she made them heart-shaped with pink icing, for my class at Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, we both came down with the flu the same day I took the cookies to school. We lay miserably on couches on opposite sides of the living room. That’s the only time I can remember my mom and I being sick at the same time, and how my dad got through that week I will never know.

I forgot to get the old recipe from my mom for the Christmas Girls’ Night with Quest, but I found a pretty close stand-in recipe at The Pioneer Woman. The lemon peel is the key ingredient. I love all her recipes, and her step-by-step photos make everything so easy. Instead of her egg yolk glaze, we just made royal icing using the recipe on the sugar bag.