Friday, April 10, 2009
Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Baked
So far I have not been that impressed with my new book Baked. Granted, I have only made three recipes, and I have not yet attempted their signature recipes (the Baked Brownies which Oprah listed as one of her favorite things, and their Sweet and Salty Cake which Martha Stewart featured on her show) -- but none of the three recipes I have tried has been a standout.
The maple walnut scones were okay. The recipe was easy to follow and didn't call for a lot of strange ingredients or methods. The results were pretty good and had both the taste and texture of a decent scone -- but they weren't great scones. They were okay, but not great. And they had nothing, and I mean NOTHING on another recipe from Epicurious for maple pecan scones that I have made many times over the years.
My next attempt from the book was the rice crispy peanut butter layer bars. Once again, they were okay, but they didn't impress me all that much. The recipe was annoying to make with far too many steps. The bottom layer was far too crispy (probably because I forgot the butter though) and the dark chocolate layer tended to overwhelm the peanut butter layer. Good yes. Worth repeating? Not really.
Then last night I was kind of bored and decided I wanted to bake something quick and easy. I went back to this book because it's new and I wanted to give it another chance. I opted for the plain old chocolate chip cookies, and once again I was disappointed. Just looking at the recipe I knew it was probably not going to be all that great, but I decided to try. First off, it's very basic. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but with all my experience with chocolate chip cookies (try clicking the link under labels called "cookies chocolate chip") I knew at a glance that this recipe was likely going to produce flat and uninteresting cookies.
So why did I bother? Because I've been wrong before... just not this time. These taste and bake like the cookies from the back of the Toll House package -- flat and boring. Like the other recipes I have tried from this book, there's nothing really wrong with them -- they just aren't all that great. And I happen to hate it when my chocolate chip cookies come out flat.
If you want really good chocolate chips cookies -- just plain old chocolate chip cookies -- try the King Arthur Flour version from the cookies book (I prefer chewy) or my favorite recipe from Carole Walter's Great Cookie Book. Those are my go-to recipes. Or for super chocolatey, try the Good As Store Bought Cookies from KAF. Actually, try any version of chocolate chip from those two books and you will probably be happier than with these cookies. Unless of course you happen to like the flat and plain Toll House kind -- in which case you might as well just use the recipe from the back of the package.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup chocolate chips
In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mix to the butter/sugar/eggs and mix just until the flour disappears. Add the chocolate chips and combine well.
Put the dough in the refrigerator for at leat 6 hours (that's what the book says -- but you could probably just chill it for a couple of hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 (I always bake cookies at 350 -- just personal preference and my oven). Portion the dough evenly (I prefer a cookie scoop) and bake on baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper for 10-14 minutes. (Start at 10 and add time as needed until the eges are set and the middle is just starting to set.