In my previous guest post, you had a little glimpse of what I do on a day-to-day basis. The nature of the day job often requires input from a cross-section of the organization. Thus, the “proper care and feeding” of various stakeholders is sometimes necessary. Some might call this bribery. I call it genius. I enjoy cooking and baking. Treats typically make people happy so in my opinion, it’s basically a win-win.
Today we had a 5-hour workshop composed of roughly 18-20 key personnel where lunch was served and I decided to bake some tasty cookies and bars, which also saved on cost. No biggie. I did the oatmeal-scotchy version of this recipe and chocolate-chip cookies with walnuts. The bars were well received, but people really went bananas over the cookies. In fact, 30 of them disappeared in approximately 23 minutes. I was facetiously reprimanded by one of our Care Managers for running out of cookies while she had stepped out of the workshop for a brief period. I informed her that I had a few cookie leftovers at home. I was asked, “How does one even have leftover cookies?” That was a very good question. Needless to say, I will be supplying the reserve cookie stash to her tomorrow. With swimsuit season on the horizon, I certainly don’t need to take them to my face.
When asked if I share my recipes, I laughed because I use the standard Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe found on the back of the chocolate chip bag. However, I started thinking about my treatment of the recipe and figured that perhaps I should share my tips so that others can be successful in the kitchen. Hey, if it helps some poor bastard bake a better batch, then I’ll consider that my contribution to society. That’s right, my peeps. I’m making the world a more palatable place: one small cookie for man, one giant cookie for mankind.
Lady Sensory’s Tainted Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (I always use butter over margarine in baked goods – it really does taste better)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use my vanilla sugar)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use slightly more and I make my own)
2 large eggs
Now here’s the fun part:
1 2/3 cups (1 bag or 10 oz) of bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks. If you want to be loyal to the brand, use the Dark Chocolate Nestlé chips (I used these today and they were actually very tasty). Truth be told, I prefer to chop up a Scharffen Berger 70% cacao bar or the Ghirardelli bittersweet chips. If you only have the traditional semi-sweet chips, that is fine, but I generally go as dark as I can without arriving in unsweetened baking chocolate territory. I truly believe the dark chocolate flavor makes a difference.
1 cup chopped walnuts (you can use any nut, but I find walnuts are the best for these, followed by pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit (bag says 375 degrees, but I don’t trust going higher than 350 degrees on cookies – it’s too risky). Make sure racks are positioned in the center of the oven and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sheets will be ungreased. Whisk dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) together in a bowl. In a separate bowl or with a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Follow with vanilla, then add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture, a little at a time. Finish by adding chocolate and nuts until just combined. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a rack or wax paper to cool completely. This makes about 3 dozen (less than what it says on the bag). To me, they aren’t that “aesthetically” pleasing since they are a little on the thin side as opposed to the more puffy cookies that you might find at a bakery. However, as far as taste and texture goes, they turn out slightly crispy on the underside and edges, and soft and chewy in the middle. People always go crazy for these. They’re yummy.
I think the key factor that sets these cookies apart is the use of quality ingredients: homemade vanilla sugar and extract, as well as the use of good, dark chocolate. Growing up in a household filled with nuts, albeit not in the baked goods, I can attest that the addition of walnuts really does make a difference. I also watch these like a hawk while they are in the oven to make sure they aren’t overcooked. I really have no other words of wisdom to add here about a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe. I can also consult on how to make an excellent grilled cheese at a later date if you are really interested in some culinary excitement.