Sunday, December 16

Versatile Chocolate Chip Cookies, Baking Tips and Ideas

Last night Mr.P and I were ALONE! It was sheer heaven. What did we do? We baked cookies by candle and twinkle lights. With our favorite Christmas tunes playing on the stereo and just the right lighting we had an absolutely wonderful time in the kitchen. I would highly recommend this to anyone in need of a little Christmastime romance with your sweetie.

I keep this cookie dough in the freezer, most of the time.
Meet my trusty 'cookie' scoop. 
It makes perfectly-sized cookies, consistent every time!

It's fantastic to be able to pull pre-measured frozen cookie dough from the freezer and pop it into the oven without any prep work. I love being spontaneous and I love this recipe. I have found it to be THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe. Not only is it delicious and easy to prepare, but extremely versatile as well. Changing a few ingredients here, adding a few there create completely different cookies. You can easily transform this basic cookie dough into a variety of cookies. And during the holidays don't we all want to bake things that our family and friends will love as well as save ourselves time and effort. I'm all for that! Bake your favorite version and see if you don't agree...let me know what you think.

Versatile Chocolate Chip Cookies
The only Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe you will ever need! 
MAKES 7 to 8 DOZEN
Print Friendly and PDF
INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 
  • large eggs 
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 (12-oz.) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Parchment paper

WHAT TO DO
  • Preheat oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 Tbsp. vanilla, beating until blended.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat in morsels just until combined. 
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 to 14 minutes.
  • Remove to wire racks, and cool completely, about 15 minutes.

A VARIETY OF FLAVOR CRAVINGS

Chocolate chip cookies are the new kitchen sink cookie. You can pretty much take any chocolate chip cookie recipe and toss in a number of additional ingredients you have on hand. I can't vouch for the results each time, but it's a lot of fun to experiment, and a great way to get rid of leftover candy bits and pieces. Besides, if your husband is like Mr.P, he'll eat ANYTHING! Here are a few ideas for creative delicious cookies.
  • Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, add 2 cups coarsely crushed pretzel sticks with morsels. I love that salty flavor.
  • Cranberry/Cherry-White Chocolate Cookies: Substitute 1 (12-oz.) package white chocolate morsels, 1 (6-oz.) package sweetened dried cranberries or cherries, and 1 cup pistachios for chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed.
  • White Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, add 1 (7-oz.) bag white chocolate-covered mini pretzel twists, coarsely crushed, along with chocolate morsels.
  • Turtle Cookies: Substitute 1 (7-oz.) package milk chocolate-caramel-pecan clusters, coarsely chopped, and 1 (12-oz.) package dark chocolate morsels for semisweet chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed. Note: I like to use NestlĂ© Turtles.
  • Nutty Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Decrease salt to 1/2 tsp. Decrease morsels to 1 (12-oz.) package. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter with butter and sugars, and add 1 cup lightly salted peanuts with morsels. Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. Proceed as directed. (Dough will look a little moist.)
  • Candy Bar Cookies: Chop up any left over candy bars, my two favorites are Snickers and Butterfinger....although NOT in the same cookie! DELISH!
  • Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies: Wrap an Oreo cookie inside of Chocolate Chip Cookie dough and bake! Sounds yum-delicious! We have not tried this version yet but Jared will before the week is out. He found this unique idea on facebook. I'll keep you posted!

    A FEW GOOD IDEAS TO REMEMBER
    • Bake 10 minutes for a soft and chewy cookie or up to 14 minutes for a crisp cookie.
    • Sifting the flour allows the final dough to have an even distribution of ingredients without over-mixing.
    • Beating the butter and sugar gives the dough a better rise in the oven, making the cookies lighter.
    • Adding the chocolate chips before adding the flour evenly distributes them without over-mixing the final dough.  
    • Just incorporated is the point when you no longer see white spots of flour.  Do not over mix! Over-mixing can ruin your cookies. They will bake flatter and look greasy. 
    • To freeze cookie dough, place the pre-measured dough on a  baking sheet side by side and freeze.  You can then bag them and they won't be stuck together when you take them out.
    • It takes most ovens much longer to preheat than when the oven tells you it's ready. It will ruin your cookies to bake them at the incorrect temperature.  I have an oven thermometer which is very helpful. They are inexpensive and easy to find.
    • Determining when they are done: Underdone- they will be tall and shiny in the middle, pale in color and tend to fall apart when transferred from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack. Perfect- domed, puffy, show a few signs of browning, still look a bit underdone in the middle but are not shiny on the top and holds together during transfer. Overdone- flat, brown, may break when transferring, hard and crispy when cooled.
    • If they cook faster than 8 minutes the oven is too hot or the cookies are too small.  If they take longer than 10 minutes the oven is too cool or the cookies are too big.
    • It is important to wait 2 minutes before lifting cookies off of the cookie sheet. Cookies continue to bake from the heat of the sheet without being over-baked in the oven.  Also, they will hold together better and be less likely to fall in the middle if you wait.

    If chocolate chip cookies are your favorites, 
    whip up a batch of these babies....
    ....you'll be glad ya did!

    They're the best of the best!

    REALLY


    ENJOY!
    ~THE DOMESTIC CURATOR~
    RONDA

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