Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thanksgiving Countdown and The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe...Ever!

Sure, a roast turkey feast with all the trimmings happens only once or twice a year…but if you’ve got the same kind of sweet tooth I do, you know that pie on Thanksgiving is the real draw. With a couple weeks to go before sinking my teeth into pumpkin pie with a butter crust and local whipped cream, I was jonesing for some homemade cookies to keep me going until then. Naturally, I wanted the best cookies I could get, so I made some earlier this week.

A bit of background: ever since I was a kid just learning to bake, I swore by the Toll House cookie recipe on the package of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips. A classic recipe you could count on, tasty cookies, and everyone loves them! However, for me, the cookies weren't quite perfect: a little too salty, and they fell apart too easily. (I like my cookies really underdone. John likes his really overdone. It’s the secret to a happy marriage, because we’ll never steal each other’s cookies!)
Well, I said I liked big cookies!
Despite its limitations, I kept going with the classic Nestle cookies. Then a couple of years ago, I came upon a recipe on the back of a five-pound sack of Gold Medal flour…and life got better! And here is The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever recipe, with my embellishments:

Dry ingredients: Sift or stir together:
2 cups flour (I use about 1 1/3 white and 2/3 whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
¼ to ½ teaspoon cinnamon  

Cream together:
1 stick + 6 tablespoons softened butter (1 and ¾ sticks)
1 1/3 cups sugar or brown sugar (I use organic cane sugar with about a tablespoon of molasses)
1 large egg
2 generous teaspoons of vanilla
Mix in about ½ the flour mixture. Then comes the secret to this amazing richness of this cookie:
Chop or process 1 cup walnuts until they’re small crumbs, almost like walnut “flour.” I chop by hand with a chef’s knife for about 15 minutes to get the right “crumbliness.” Add the walnuts and mix in, as you also add the rest of the flour.

When you’ve got the butter mixture and the flour mixture pretty well combined, add your chocolate chips. I’ve never used 2 cups of chocolate chips per the Nestle recipe, and for this one, I suggest about 1 cup of chips. Along with the chocolate chips, add about 1/3 cup of rolled oats or barley flakes and mix until combined.

Drop your preferred amount of dough on a prepared sheet and bake at 350 degrees. I make big cookies, probably about 2 tablespoons of dough for each one. For nicely underdone cookies, I bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the cookie sheet and bake for 2 and a half minutes more. Cool the sheet on a rack to let the cookies set up before you remove them. Then prepare to be amazed!

If you'd like some pie inspiration, check out my post, "A Simpler, Greener Holiday" from 2010!