Wednesday, June 16, 2010

STuFF - Sara's Totally Fantastic Finds, Episode 16: Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Throughout the last year I've been bitten by the cooking bug. I have finally come to enjoy trying new recipes and spending time in the kitchen. And there is no doubt that this cooking bug is genetic. My mom is an amazing chef & baker, and my grandmother was sensational. My brother realized his cooking genes long before me. And my dad, even my dad, the guy who used to work so late that by the time he arrived home from work, dinner was miraculously already made and on the table waiting for him. Even my dad has been cooking for years now.

As I find good recipes, I'm trying to get into the habit of sharing them. It's just so frustrating to spend so much time buying ingredients and making food to only find out that the dish isn't any good. If you're going to make the effort, it should definitely be delicious.

I posted a delicious vegetarian recipe I made on my Facebook page a while back. Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Rigatoni. I can't say that I am a full vegetarian. I'm more of an omnivore with a focus on low-fat (sometimes low-gluten, sometimes low-dairy) dishes. Oh, and I am for sure a chocoholic. So, on Sunday, I looked around our kitchen for food and instead of making some delicious eggplant Parmesan, grilling some chicken and veggies on the grill or any other well-rounded meal that we could enjoy as leftovers throughout the rest of the week, I opted for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Great idea, right!?

I've made quite a few chocolate chip cookies and I have to admit that oatmeal chocolate chip are my favorite, but this one created the most beautiful cookies I've ever made. They're thick and they are the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy. I will definitely make these again. (FYI, these are neither low-fat nor low-gluten.)

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies

2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 oz.'s)
1/2t table salt
1/2t baking soda
12T unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks, melted and cooled slightly)
1 cup brown sugar (7 oz.'s)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 oz.'s)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2t vanilla extract
1-2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi- or bittersweet)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. (This part is all about making the cookies look rough and uneven. I found it unnecessary but you could do it and let me know how it turns out.) Form scant 1/4 cup dough into balls. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough's uneven surface. Place formed dough into one of two parchment paper-lined 20x14 lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to a month - shaped or not.

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets' positions halfway through the baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy. 15-18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.)

Tips: You can substitute white, milk chocolate or peanut butter chips for the semi- or bittersweet chips. In addition to the chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts, raisins or shredded coconut.

Definitely let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment below. I'd love to hear the yummy results.