Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies...EVER!

Cookies have to be one of the simplest things to bake at home.  They are often the star of a bake sale and the perfect marriage partner to cold milk in a chilled glass.  Yet it often seems that no matter how many recipes are out there for chocolate chip cookies, nothing seems to be quite perfect.  Either they are too crunchy, too thick, too gooey or just not flavourful enough.  Well my friends, the search for the perfect cookie ends here.

My very dear friend sent me a cookbook for my birthday this year called The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook and I have to say these are the recipes of our grandmothers, well, at least mine.  It is simple baking that looks like it should adorn a  Sunday picnic with women dressed like Ruth Jamison from Fried Green Tomatoes.  I am in love with this book so much in fact that I proposed to my friend that we drive to Savannah, Georgia, just to go and meet Mr. and Mrs. Day and camp out there for a few days.

What makes these cookies so amazing is the perfect balance of butter, sugar and salt.  Everything that will hit your "bliss point" bang on.  I know they look a little plain, but do not be fooled, what lies inside is a bit of simple heaven.  So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 lb butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 - 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
Maldon or Fleur de sel for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350℉, place the rack in the bottom third of the oven and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, vanilla and both sugars until very light and fluffy.  This will take about 4 minutes.  If you don't have a stand mixer, no problem, just use a large bowl and get out your electric hand beaters.

Once the sugar and butter and creamed and lovely, add the eggs and beat for no more than a minute.  It's ok if the egg isn't completely incorporated, you want this.  Turn the speed down and add the dry ingredients in thirds, making sure it is incorporated fully before adding more.  Finally add your chocolate.

With a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out the batter and place on the cookie sheets. Press on each cookie lightly with the palm of your hand and sprinkle a bit of the Maldon or Fleur de sel on top.  Yes, this is part of what makes them so good!  Make sure to leave lots of room in between as you can see they spread as they cook.  Cook one sheet at a time, turning halfway through cooking for a total of 16-18 minutes, depending on your oven.  They should be golden on the edges but still light in the middle.  Cool on the trays for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. These are SO good warm with cold milk, but will still taste good days later.  

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