CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES – In Search of Perfection

Chewy or crispy, we all love chocolate chip cookies!

Pick a side here, folks. When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, it seems we have the “thick and crunchy” faction and the poor misguided souls who vote for “soft and chewy.” I guess you can tell which side of the fence I’m on!

I experimented with five batches, using three different brands of chocolate chips. The recipes on the packages were nearly identical, with just minor changes (probably so they don’t waste their profits suing each other over recipe rights) like a little less salt or a little more vanilla, but essentially the same.

My first batch was made by following the Hershey recipe exactly, and the cookies came out the way I like them – which is thick, soft inside, and a little crusty outside. This was a total surprise, because every time I’ve actually followed the recipe on the package I’ve gotten cookies that are flat, flat, flat.

A few of them, however, had sunken centers, and some resembled cow pies (sort of a dark, rippled meltdown on the edges), but they still couldn’t be considered flat.

First batch with craters and “cow pie syndrome”.

Out of curiosity, I chilled some of the dough from the first batch for an hour and tried again. What a difference! There was very little spreading, and no sunken centers.

For batch number two I used half shortening, half butter, with an extra 1/2 cup of flour, an additional teaspoon of vanilla, and a teaspoon of baking powder. These tasted the same, but looked nicer than the first batch. No cow pies, no sinking. There is the “ick” factor of using shortening, but I sometimes ignore that for the sake of the final product.

Second batch – much better!

Batch number three was intended for those of you who prefer flat and chewy. I used softened butter, but otherwise followed the basic recipe. It was a little flatter, but not much. What the… Do you mean I can’t even make flat cookies on purpose? I’m beginning to think it’s because of my fresh eggs. Could it be that my girls lay such superior eggs that the dough refuses succumb? We’ll see about that.

With the fourth batch I used very, very soft butter – almost to the melting point – and added 2 tablespoons of milk. Ta DA: flat and chewy.

Some like them flat and chewy.

If you’re wondering why the chips don’t stand out of the cookie, it’s because I ran out of regular chocolate chips and had to use the mini chips. But trust me, they’re flat. There, I hope you’re happy!

For my final batch I used my favorite recipe…one I’ve tweaked and adjusted for years. It’s never failed me, and produced cookies that are nice and moist but with a little crunch – the best of both worlds. Yes, it uses shortening, but you can make it using only butter as long as you use a good quality butter and keep it COLD!

cookies from my favorite recipe (shared below)

Here is what I’ve learned from all this:

      • If you want flat and chewy cookies, follow the recipe on the package, but use very soft butter and half the baking soda. If your first pan of cookies isn’t flat enough (make sure to give them a little time…they tend to deflate while cooling), add a little milk to the remaining dough and try again.
      • If you want puffy cookies, make sure to use cold butter, cut into small chunks to make mixing easier. Use a cookie scoop and cold dough. I used frozen nuts, too. If you’re using the recipe on the package, add a few tablespoons of flour. Don’t grease the cookie sheet!

Chocolate chip cookies…thick, with crispy outsides and tender insides.

      • USE A SCOOP! If you just spoon the dough onto the cookie sheet, the edges will be brown. Here’s a picture to illustrate. This was the same dough, baked at the same time. The cookies on the left were dropped from a spoon. The cookies on the right were scooped.

        The cookies on the left were “dropped”. The cookies on the right were “scooped”. Scoop wins!

      • This is just my opinion, but I think the recipe on the package calls for too many chocolate chips! I love chocolate, but I want to taste the cookie, too.

Here is my Grade-ANumberOneAllTimeBestestMostBeloved Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe:

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Author:
Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup good quality butter
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped nuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shortening, butter, sugars, milk, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add eggs and beat until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to creamed and mix until just blended.
  5. Add chips and nuts.
  6. Place rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes for soft cookies, or 10-12 minutes for crispy cookies. Cool for a minute before moving from the pan to a rack.

So…what to do with all of these cookies? I rarely make a single batch of anything, because I love the feeling of having a freezer full of options – especially when unexpected company comes. Living here in the country I’ve had to adjust to the fact that people just “drop by”! When the cookies are scooped onto a pan, frozen, then placed in freezer zipper bags and hidden in your freezer, they’re easy to grab and plop on a cookie sheet. I can turn the oven on when I see a car come through our gate, and have warm cookies ready to serve in 20 minutes flat.

Cookie dough in the freezer is like money in the bank!

Right about now, chocolate chip cookies don’t sound very tasty. to me. It’s hard to imagine that we will ever be friends again! But when the snow’s falling, cabin fever is setting in,  and I need an emotional boost, those bags of dough will be looking mighty good.

Frozen cookie dough makes great gifts, too. I used to make six different types of dough for my father every Christmas. He loved this, because he could bake just a few at a time when he got an urge for sweets. Cookie dough is also perfect for housewarming or hostess gifts…much more personal than a bottle of wine.

Ooooh, did I say wine? I think I should be rewarded for all of this effort, don’t you?

I can never remember…do you serve red or white wine with chocolate chip cookies?

3 thoughts on “CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES – In Search of Perfection

  1. They sound fabulous, and what an awesome tutorial for making them in different ways. I prefer, and more importantly, my husband prefers YOUR way of making them. I printed the recipe and will be making cookies this very weekend! They will be the hit of the household! THANKS Lorinda! Your awesome. Someday I will be one of those DROPPING by, but you will know ahead of time! Hugs.

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