31 Lessons: 3. Patience and the Perfect Cookie

I’ve been a cookie baker since I was young. Whether it’s the baking itself that feels therapeutic or the homey comfort of having a pretty plate of cookies on my counter to share with family and friends, the art of cookie making ranks pretty high on my list of domestic accomplishments.

(and now, typing that, I’m asking myself…do I have other domestic accomplishments? Somebody please teach this girl how to fold a fitted sheet. Can I get an amen on that?)

I have learned a lesson or two about baking over the years, however, and while I’m not hating on the store-bought mixes or the break-and-bake variety (but please, please, please, y’all–don’t eat the raw dough!), I want to let you know that if you have a hankering for a super good cookie and a few extra minutes, you can make your own at home–from scratch!–pretty easily.

And in the case of this particular recipe? The hardest thing will be waiting 24 hours to bake and eat them.

The recipe I’m listing below comes from I Am Baker, which I believe she adapted from this New York Times “best” chocolate chip cookie.


 

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour *I have used the King Arthur brand with success

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips *I don’t measure the chips by the pound, but I’m just going to bet that I put in at least this much, if not more. 

  1. Cream softened butter. Gradually add in sugars and beat until fluffy (a few minutes, depending on your type of mixer). Add in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla at low speed.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients and add gradually to the creamed mixture, mixing until just combined.
  3. Fold in your desired amount of chocolate chips.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours.
  5. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, depending on how you like your cookies and the calibration of your particular oven (*I definitely bake mine for 16 minutes+).

 

Whether it’s the mix of cake and bread flours (bread flour has more gluten while cake flour is much finer) or waiting for the batter to set up for 24-48 hours before baking that makes this particular cookie so special, I don’t know, but I do know this is the most heavenly chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever tasted.

A few things I’ve learned that really help to make this cookie rock, in my opinion:

  • Use a cookie scoop! The best $5 I’ve spent on a kitchen tool. It makes it so much easier than using a spoon and it keeps your fingers out of the dough, which makes germaphobes like me happy. That little guy is handy for muffins, too.
  • Before chilling, scoop your cookies out onto wax paper (a tip from Averie Cooks) and layer in casserole dishes to save room in the fridge. I love those pre-cut half sheets that you can buy at Sam’s Club. They pop out of the box like tissues, and I find that I use them for a lot of other purposes (they’re great for covering your cutting board when you’re chopping something messy or smelly, like tomatoes or onions, or to wrap up sandwiches, for example).
  • Though it’s tempting, your cookies really will taste better if you refrigerate the dough overnight. Also, the chilled dough will help your cookies not to spread too quickly. In other words, you maximize all that chewy chocolate goodness.
  • Allow your cookies to cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet, but then place them on a rack to cool completely. This not only helps them not to stick, it helps them not to get too crispy. Plus, you’ll look all baker-goddess with the sea of cookies overtaking your countertops.

Keep calm and nom nom!

(and now I really want cookies)…

-pp

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