Playing it Safe: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been thinking about baking for, like, a billion weeks now.  Oh, there are so many exciting things to make: cupcakes that look like lions or porcupines or bumblebees, sugar cookies cut and colored into pastel hearts and stars and daisies, or a buttery and casual crostata filled with summer’s finest fruits.  (Updated: It’s a galette, not a crostata, and the linked recipe is to The Comfort of Cooking, another awesome Los Angeles cooking blog.) Obviously, I didn’t make anything this adorable, or interesting, or groundbreaking, or anything.  Instead, I made these:

Classic Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies. Because who said boring didn't taste awesome!

Yep, that’s right.  After a billion hours of painful deliberation, Ryan sent me a text message that requested one of three things: sugar cookies with m&m’s in them, chocolate chip cookies, or chocolate muffins.  I thought about the m&m cookies.  They sounded great.  Except I’ve rarely had an m&m cookie as humble and satisfying as a pack of m&m’s itself.  And I didn’t want to buy a huge bag of those wonderful candy-coated milk-chocolate bites, because I would eat all of them while the oven was still preheating.  Next, I considered the chocolate muffins.  Those sounded super and rich and dreamy and swell.  But I make a fantastic chocolate cake, and almost everything I try to make pales in comparison to that cake.  I can only imagine how icky I would feel if I baked a sub-par chocolate muffin.

Summer 2008: This is the chocolate cake to end all chocolate cakes. With cream cheese frosting, and chocolate chips, and peanut butter m&m's, for Ryan's 21st birthday, back when we lived with mice and hipsters and artificial sweeteners on Avenue A in Manhattan.

No, I actually can imagine how I would feel!  I’d imagine the whole situation would illicit a response something like this:  “This is NWTC*.  I should have made those crazy-amazing chocolate cupcakes with sweet and dense cream cheese frosting, because if I’m going to clog my arteries and encourage exponential thigh growth, I may as well do it with a perfect slice of moist, chocolate cake.”  (This hypothetical is making me wish I had made the darn cake!  I want it, now!)

"Packed" brown sugar should be "packed" like sand in a sand castle mold or something... it should retain its shape after being released, basically.

*NWTC:  An acronym for “Not Worth The Calories”, a popular term that my mother, my sister, and I use to describe an unhealthy food whose general yumminess is not remarkable enough to accommodate for said food’s poor nutritional profile.  Examples of foods that we consider NWTC include really stale bagels and sno-cones.

So, after all of my baking research, I ended up making the most boring thing ever: chocolate chip cookies.  And not only did I make something everyone else makes, I made it the way everyone else in America makes it: just like the back of the yellow bag of chocolate chips tells me to!  Except I used Ghiradelli chips and I halved the recipe, because Ryan likes to eat the dough raw, and I love him too much to let him near that much dough.  What does an active, smart, and healthy couple like us need sixty freakin’ chocolate chip cookies for!??  (If you guessed that we need all these cookies for our self-esteem, our sanity, or our ability to communicate properly and happily on weekday evenings, you’d be right.)

This is what dreams are made of...

Last night, I ate three of these little guys with a glass of milk and some tea.  When I was through with 2.376 of the cookies in my cookie trio, I said the following: “Ryan, when it comes right down to it, I think I just don’t like chocolate chip cookies that much.”  Then I finished my cookie, obviously, and cut myself up an apple, for good measure.  (Because fructose really stabilizes your blood sugar after three cookies… duh!)

But there’s a certain sweetness to these cookies that makes them just about perfect every time: they are Ryan’s favorite, and I’m no different from every other girlfriend out there in that I just want to see the person I love smile when he gets home from work on a cloudy Tuesday night in mid-June.  I’d make him a rustic tart of chocolate-covered-toffee-crunch-roasted-aspargus-with-gruyere-and-egg-goop, if that made his day a little sweeter.

So, this is the recipe for chocolate chip cookies, which apparently I don’t even like that much.  But chances are, somebody you love loves them, so here goes:

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe yields five dozen (that’s sixty!!!) little cookies, if you aren’t dating someone who eats the batter like a sly five-year-old when he thinks you aren’t watching him.

Irresistable, apparently. Even if you "hate" them.

Ingredients

Hello, fats! Hello, sugars! Hello, chocolate!!

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Doesn't everyone take dough outside for a photo shoot!?

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375º and have clean baking sheets/parchment-lined baking sheets ready.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a bowl (with or without an electric mixer, whatever) combine brown and white sugars, vanilla, and butter until nice and creamy.
  • Then, beat in one egg at a time, very well!
  • Beat in the flour mixture in several batches until combined.
  • Add chocolate chips, and nuts, if desired, until well-dispersed.
  • Drop dough with a tablespoon onto cookie sheets, and bake for 9-11 minutes.
  • Let the cookies rest on the sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

    KitchenAid Magic!! Combining flour and butter mixtures.

Notes

  • Dough can be refrigerated or frozen for a firmer, chewier cookie.  You may need to add a minute or so to the cooking time to accommodate for the coldness.  (I am a fan of this, and refrigerated my dough, but then I let it sit out on the baking sheets in the California afternoon warmth and it was moot.)
  • Nuts are super optional, and Ryan hates them.  I took about 1/5th of the batter and dumped a shy tablespoon of finely chopped and toasted pecans to the batter.  I don’t know how I feel about them.
  • I have a tummy ache.  Probably unrelated, but true.

Ryan likes them just like this, finger-burning/licking-good!

Anyway, happy Wednesday!  I’m off to the gym and the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, even though I am not buying anything, because we’re going to Miami to trash my mother’s amazing kitchen!!  Still, the market is a great place to go after a good workout, because there are always free samples of amazing and juicy fruit, it’s delightful!  Bye!



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Comments
18 Responses to “Playing it Safe: Chocolate Chip Cookies”
  1. Tina says:

    Lauren, you’re great and all, but there is NO chocolate chip cookie recipe comparable to the one published by the NY Times and based off of the recipe used at Jacques Torres 😉 I’m surprised no-one brought it up! Key tricks include cake flour, dusting the cookies with salt, and letting the dough sit overnight…

    • Lauren says:

      Ah! Hey Tina! Ryan adores the good old Toll House variety, but I’m inclined to believe you and the billion other people who swear by the recipe the Times shared. I will get on it ASAP, believe me!!

  2. Natalie says:

    Yummmm I WANT. And 60 cookies? Finally a recipe large enough to satisfy my sweet tooth!

  3. Nothing like homemade Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies! I could have one right now.

  4. I love those cookies! My mom and I always used to make those all the time. I remember shoveling half the batter into my mouth before she came into the kitchen hahah

  5. There is definitely something to be said for the comfort of the tried and true 🙂 These are my favorite! Your post makes me want to break from all my experimenting with new recipes and bake a batch right now!

  6. Boring?? Choc Chip Cookies are awesome! These look great, !

  7. Playing it safe?? It’s dangerously good that I would eat so many my pants would pop. That’s not safe. =)

  8. Well yours look just wonderful!

  9. sweetlife says:

    how sweet of you to make him such great cookies, you really can’t go wrong with these beauties…sixty cookies really? oh man I’m in trouble..

    sweetlife

  10. roxan says:

    Hey Lauren! Matcha is green tea powder. You can get it at any japanese market… I got mine from Nijiya near Olympic and Sawtelle. It’s in the same center as Yogurtland and Curry House. You’ll definitely recognize the flavor when you taste/ smell it.

  11. roxan says:

    A good ol’ fashioned chocolate chip cookie is ALWAYS welcome in my book!

  12. ida says:

    you can’t do much better than a classic. keep writing!

  13. bobbi says:

    mmmmm……….you make even me want to bake. I’m sitting here with Siena who is sick today. She loves cookies and would surely love yours. They look and smell delectable. Did I say smell? Well I almost thought I could smell them. Keep up the good work!

  14. Mom says:

    Well sweetie you could have made the whole batch and passed them around on the plane……in the old days you could snag an upgrade or at least a smile from the flight attendant by sharing a home made goodie! Do you remember when I left the macaroons on the Southwest plane in Islip NY and they returned them??? I enjoyed the chocolate chip entry. Surely the schools made enough money selling them to pay for my retirement. See you real soon………………….

  15. Monet says:

    Chocolate chip cookies are never boring, my sweet. They are one of the best inventions ever. I am sipping on a cup of coffee, and I wish I still had some of my pretzel chocolate chip cookies to dip into my brew. I hope you have a beautiful day!

  16. Oh, and I almost forgot – Thanks again for the shout-out! You’re linked in my favorite blogs 😉

  17. Awww, you’re such a good girlfriend for making these – They look so yummy! And yes, I am a fellow raw cookie dough eater – Is anyone NOT? Everyone needs a chocolate chip cookie recipe in their food blog, however basic, because it is the ultimate dessert/snack/breakfast and makes for an especially good cookie sandwich with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – and I know how you love sandwiches! Great post!

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