Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mission: Tasty Snack Time

Autumn and winter definitely bring out my latent baker. I get weirdly gung-ho about making things like pumpkin muffins, apple pie, and Speculaas cookies. Something about the colder weather triggers a deep-seated psychological need to make fatty, sugary treats in large quantities. So it should come as no surprise that, for whatever reason, yesterday I was seized by the overwhelming urge to have some chocolate chip cookies. It was an urgent and desperate need. Even when I wasn't actually hungry, I kept thinking about the euphoria of biting into a warm, gooey, slightly crunchy, chocolate chip cookie. When I took E to the library yesterday, I even stopped into Sainsbury's to snag a stick of butter just so I knew I had all the ingredients I would need.

Mostly, my cookie-making crusade was fueled by my own greedy need for a baked treat. I usually have a lunch-box-sized KitKat for a mid-afternoon snack, but yesterday at KitKat hust wasn't going to hit the spot. Thankfully, the Husband had helped spur me on days earlier when he warned me that unless I baked something with them soon, he would systematically eat all the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips that his mother had brought us from the States. That was reason enough to get on with the whole cookie-baking palaver.

via, Design Mom
This tutorial from Design Mom was a brilliant help. It gives little tips for tweeking whatever recipe you prefer to use to get your idea of the perfect cookie. Two of the tips I was sure to follow were:
1) Make sure the butter is at (cool) room temperature
2) Adjust the ratio of brown to white sugar depending on how chewy/crunchy (respectively) you want your cookies.
So with that in mind, here's my (very slightly) adjusted take on the Nestle chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the bag:

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (for my UK friends, that's about 200-220g)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
up to 2 cups of chocolate chips (you can obviously fiddle with this quantity however you want)

First, you cream the butter slightly (I like using the electric hand mixer), then continue to cream, adding the vanilla, and the granulated and brown sugars.
Then, crack in each egg, one at a time, mixing well in between.
The flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt should be mixed together in a separate bowl and added by halves or thirds into your creamed butter-sugar mixture. Again, mix well.
Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir well.

They should be baked at 350*F/180*C for about 10 minutes

I confess, my favourite part of this whole process is still eating some of the cookie dough off the mixers, or swiping a finger's worth straight from the bowl. Sure, some times I have the culinary tastes of a five-year-old, but I don't apologise for it.

Another thing I'll note: I use semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe. Personally, I think the cookie dough is sweet enough on its own; it doesn't need any help. But for some reason, pretty much all of the ready-baked - and even home-baked! - cookies I see over here use milk chocolate chips. WHY? Someone please explain this to me. Personally, I find the taste of semi-sweet chocolate chips much better in cookies. It just adds some dimension to the overall taste: you notice the taste of the chocolate more if it doesn't just get lost in the sweetness of the cookie dough.

So that's been my adventure for today. To atone for the number of cookies I may eat this afternoon, we'll be going on one of our family runs again this evening and I'll take E for a walk to the park in just a little bit. He's getting a bit restless anyway, so I ought to force him out into the fresh air for a bit.

1 comment:

  1. I just recently learned that brown sugar and white sugar make a difference besides color! Ha! I love chewy cookies so I'm certainly adjusting for next time. Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? :)