The Baker That Cried “Best Cookie”

DSC_1078I have a confession – I’ve been making an incredible chocolate chip cookie with a recipe that I stumbled upon a year ago and haven’t posted it on this blog.   I have been reluctant to post it because, like the “boy who cried wolf” in the classic children’s tale, I feel like it’s confusing (at best), but potentially annoying, and insincere to have the baker crying “best” or “perfect” about ANOTHER Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!

It feels hypocritical, since I have made claims before, that I have found “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe”.  I can’t name this new one my “go-to cookie”,  because I have already called cookies on this blog my “go-to cookies“.  I can’t call it the “sure thing cookie” because I have already said the same about this other great cookie.

In the meantime, I have just baked them and served them and eaten them and shared the recipe with those who have asked.

There are a few challenges with calling things BEST.  (For those of you who don’t have the time or patience for my philosophizing, and over-analyzing….scroll down to the cookie recipe and promptly make them, for the rest of you, dear souls, read on).

Four years ago, when I last posted a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe- I wrote about my concern calling a cookie “perfect”. I wrote:

What one person calls the perfect chocolate chip cookie is very different from what another person calls perfect.  I have long been searching for the “perfect chocolate chip cookie”.  I have made many recipes that claim to be the best, and what I have discovered is that what constitutes a person’s ideal cookie is very personal. Perfect cookies can be salty, or chewy or cakey, or crunchy.  Some like them really chocolatey, some less chocolatey,  some dark,  & some milk chocolate.  Some like cookies dense and some like them airy.  So, to claim these cookies as “the perfect chocolate chip cookies” is really a misnomer!

I stand by this.  The conundrum that I am now in, is that I think this recipe is similar in its definition of my preferred perfect cookie- but I like this recipe better.  It contains a technique that I believe holds a discovery that transcends just chocolate chip cookies, but rather is a technique that is a gift to ALL cookie-baking: the creaming of the butter and sugars for 3 minutes.  It gives the rise and texture I am always seeking! I find that refrigeration sometimes provides this, but I don’t always have the chilling time needed to achieve this! It is also chock full of chocolate, more than most, which not only makes them super chocolatey but also helps with the form and composition of the cookie.

DSC_1067 (1)There is danger with the title of “best” (I am realizing that I have had a life-long wrestling with this “best” concept). I have always subconciously longed to have a best friend. I remember this urge even in Kindergarten.  I think this is most likely universal, but I expect maybe for some of us, more so.  Movies and TV shows certainly reinforce this notion.

My mom’s response my entire life, in her typical fashion, has been to exhort me with a “you don’t really want a BEST friend- that’s so limiting!  You want LOTS of friends! That’s even better!”  And I say the same to my kids, when they feel lonely and without a person that is “their person”.  But it’s still a struggle at times.  In my rational/wise mind, I know that “best” is some kind of ranking that is not most beneficial in the long run, especially when it comes to people.  It can become exclusive and subsequently hurtful.  It can be narrowing- for I believe like C.S. Lewis that friends each add something special to our lives and that to divide love is not to take away.

C. S.. Lewis in The Four Loves  wrote, “In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets… Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, ‘Here comes one who will augment our loves.” For in this love “to divide is not to take away.’ ” 

In friendship, each friend gives such unique gifts and perspective in my life that there could never be a BEST! And furthermore, it is not a contest! It’s such a gift to have friends that I can call close friends, or dear friends, or keepers.  These are non-ranked titles that indicate the cherish that I feel for them!

And the same could be applied to cookie recipes.

Therefore, I am excited to share with you this scrumptious chocolate chip recipe and its great technique of whipping the butter and sugar for 3 minutes and including lots of chocolate.  She’s a Keeper.

DSC_0553 (1)DSC_1071Scrumptious Chocolate Chip Cookies borrowed from Two Peas and Their Pod

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or you can use white wheat flour)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips- the original recipe calls for 1/2 chips/ 1/2 chunks but I usually don’t have the chunks on hand)

1/3 cup grated chocolate – chocolate bar grated on a cheese grater (optional- when I’m in a hurry, I skip this step- sometimes I just throw an extra handful of chips in.)

extra coarse salt for sprinkling on top, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 ˚. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Using stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together for about 3 minutes. [this is the key]

Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, salt).  Stir in the chocolate.\

Form the cookie dough into balls.  Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt, if desired.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from oven. Let sit for 3 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

[The dough, of course, can also be refrigerated and scooped out several cookies at a time to have warm cookies on demand. We take a container of the dough on vacation to have fresh cookies throughout the trip without having to take baking ingredients with us. ]

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