Why is it so hard to come across the perfect chocolate chip cookie? It seems that cafeterias and grocery stores are plagued with the curse of the plastic-like or hard cookie. Well guess what, starting now you will never have a failed experience again. With these few alterations to this classic recipe, your cookies should come out gooey and deep with flavor:
1 cup melted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chip cookies
Cream the butter and sugar, and add the eggs and vanilla extract. Sift and combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then stir into the wet mixture. Add the chocolate chips. Chill dough for up to 36 hours to deepen the flavors. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets (make sure these are cool in between batches!), and bake for 9-11 minutes at 350 F, or until golden brown around the edges.
Although it’s impossible to tire of these morsels, the dough is amazingly versatile. Here are some ideas to explore your newly reformed cookie.
Sandwich it: Take two freshly baked cookies and fill with any combination of ice cream, Nutella, bananas, peanut butter, frosting, marshmallow cream, or whatever you can think of. The combination of peanut butter, bananas, and Nutella zapped in the microwave for a few seconds to ooze it all together is enough to convert anyone to this method.
Embellish it: Just because it’s called a chocolate chip cookie doesn’t restrict your dough to just chocolate chips. Mix and match with whatever you can find: shredded coconut, butterscotch chips, toffee bits, white chocolate chips, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cut up candies. My personal favorite is the subtle addition of hazelnuts and chopped up heath bars, adding a nutty crunch without overwhelming the flavor. Believe me, the baking aisle is waiting to be explored.
Healthitize it: Finally my two favorite concepts can live together in harmony: healthy and cookie. Switch half or all of the flour for whole-wheat flour, half or all of the butter for applesauce, and add some oats. While lowering the fat content and adding an element of heartiness, these alterations don’t sacrifice flavor for nutrition. While you’re taking the au naturale route, consider adding a dash of cinnamon, dried cranberries or raisins, and some nuts.
Chocolatize it: Chocolate lovers rejoice. You can make this a delicious chocolately whirlpool by adding ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder and white chocolate chips. Brave? Two teaspoons of espresso powder will wake these up.
Dechocolatize it: Believe it or not there are those that simply prefer their cookies sans the chips. Still, it’s not the end of the day. Experiment with almond extract or add some cinnamon. This will add a little pizzazz to the cookies and make you forget you had to surrender your beloved chocolate.
Peanutize it: Recess pieces and a cup of peanut butter. What more needs to be said (other than use unsalted butter)…
Freeze it: Trying to cool down? In a pie or baking pan layer cookies, ice-cream and any of your favorite additions as suggested earlier in the sandwich section. Mix and match with fruit, candies, and sauces. Stick it in the freezer to keep it cold before serving.
Brownitize it: How many times have you been faced with the ever-so-difficult decision between a brownie and a cookie? Well now, conveniently, you can have both, in one bite. Follow the recipe for brownies and take them out of the oven with about 20 minutes left. Top with a layer of cookie dough, put them back into the oven, and bake until brownies are done and cookies are golden brown.
Supersize it: It’s your friend’s birthday, and she doesn’t like cake, but oh does she enjoy her cookies. What to do? Simply spread the batter in a 14-inch pizza pan (or heart shaped pans) and bake it for 20-25 or until golden brown. You can top it and personalize it with any combination of icing, whipped cream, crumbled oreos, sprinkles, various candies, or whatever you can think of. Voila and happy birthday!
Not only will you never suffer from a hard chocolate chip cookie again, but also you will never run out of ways to excite your taste buds. Think you’ve seen it all? As demonstrated above, combining can make these twists even better . . . now just imagine a brownitized-chocolatized cookie. . . .
Tuesday, April 14, 2009