Thursday, March 06, 2008

Full Up: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

The bucket, at last, is full again. For the past four days my sons have been pointing to a kitchen cabinet and saying, in a tone reminiscent of Oliver asking for more, “Mommy, the bucket’s empty.” Horrors.

The bucket, you see, is the large, deep rectangular storage container in which we keep the cookies. I love cookies, and I love having homemade ones on hand. They take so little time and effort, and they repay you a thousand times over. There are dozens of fantastic varieties detailed on the back of any ingredient packet you care to buy, so finding a good recipe is a cinch.

Usually I make either chocolate chip, or some variation on oatmeal (plain oatmeal, oatmeal raisin, or oatmeal chocolate chip). Any of these meets with cheers of approval from the Peanut Gallery. And for my part, I know they contain butter and not partially hydrogenated anything, sugar and not high fructose anything, flour and not soy byproduct anything.

This tendency to keep homemade cookies on hand may be genetic. My grandmother still does it, even though my grandfather, for whom she primarily made them, has been dead for over ten years. She’s told me that when he was alive, they’d run out of cookies and she’d say, “Well, I’ll need to make some more cookies; we’re out. What kind shall I make?” and he’d look up and say with genuine astonishment, “What’s wrong with chocolate chip?” I’m not sure if they owned stock in Nestle, but they must have been responsible for a good portion of the sale of chocolate chips over the last fifty years.

Two weeks ago I made two batches of chocolate chocolate chip cookies, one using regular cocoa, and one using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa. The ones made with regular cocoa were fine, but not distinguished. But of the ones made with the Special Dark cocoa, I can only say, Wowowow! This stuff is my new favorite ingredient in baked goods. I think my husband thinks I might want to marry it. These cookies were rich, complex, subtle. I adored them. Interestingly, Alex did not. His complaint was that he didn’t get the contrast between the light vanilla flavor of the cookie dough (in a traditional Toll House type of chocolate chip cookie) and the chips. But what does he know?

My children are far less discriminating. If it’s round, made with butter, sugar and flour, and in The Bucket, it’s awesome. Thank you, Mommy!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes approximately 5 dozen cookies

If you’re familiar with the recipe for traditional Nestle Toll House Cookies, this is going to look eerily familiar. And you’re right. Because let’s face it, there are only so many ways to make chocolate chips cookies. This is a damned good one, if I do say it myself.

2 sticks butter at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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