Yearly Archives: 2016

Cookies & Cream Dip

cookies-and-cream-dip-5My post-Christmas box of candy is overflowing. So why am I making a dip out of cookies?

Who knows. I’m just that sugar addicted, I guess.

The truth is, I like sweet dips, like this cake batter dip, and this cookie dough dip, and laaaawwd have mercy this brown butter dip. Mmmmm.  I don’t even need an excuse to make them. I’ll make them on a Wednesday afternoon for no reason whatsoever.

Which is what I did this week.

Of course, the tricky part about making a cookies and cream dip is keeping the cookies secret from the cookie-pilfering family members. I find if I keep them inside a grocery bag in an unusual spot in the kitchen, they are less likely to disappear before I can make dip out of them.

 

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All moms use these tricks, right?

I’m a big fan of bribery too. I bribed The Lizard with this dip to convince him to help me put my photography set up away.

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Worked like a charm.

Just like this dip worked to calm my Wednesday afternoon sugar cravings.

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Cookies & Cream Dip

A simple sweet dip made with Oreo cookies.

Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 small package instant vanilla or cookies & cream pudding mix (3.5 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs

Instructions

  1. Combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip until smooth.

  2. Add pudding mix, cream, and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth.

  3. Fold in cookie crumbs. Serve either chilled or at room temperature, with apples, crackers, or cookies.

Eggnog Desserts

eggnog dessertsThe Hippie Chick loves eggnog. Luuuuuuuuuvvvvvves it. She always looks forward to December, when she can just drink eggnog to her heart’s delight.

I put this collection together for the eggnog lovers out there. I want you to get your fill of eggnog during the season it’s available by making all the cake, cheesecake, ice cream, pudding, bread, dip, candy, and of course cookies, that you can!

I just know you’ll find something you love here!

 Eggnog-Cookies-3 Eggnog Cookies  eggnogicecream2_bakedbyrachel Eggnog Ice Cream
gingerbread-oatmeal-eggnog-pies-03 Gingerbread Eggnog Cream Pies eggnog dip Eggnog Dip
 eggnognycrumbcake1 Eggnog Crumb Cake  chocolate-espresso-eggnog-bars-mm-min Chocolate Espresso Eggnog Bars
 eggnog bars Eggnog Cheesecake Bars  eggnog-pudding-4 Eggnog Pudding
 eggnog-rice-pudding-7 Eggnog Rice Pudding  pumpkin-eggnog-1b Pumpkin Eggnog Cookies
 black cherry eggnog Black Cherry Eggnog  eggnog-fudge-8 Eggnog Fudge
 eggnog-mousse-roll-cake Eggnog Mousse Roll Cake  eggnog-cheesecake-cookie-cups-2 Eggnog Cheesecake Cookie Cups
 eggnog-no-bake-pie Eggnog No-Bake Pie  eggnog-truffles Eggnog Truffles

 

Perfect Hot Chocolate

perfect hot chocolateThere comes a time in every girl’s life when she needs to know how to craft an impressive cup of hot chocolate. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t need crazy ingredients, it just needs to be dang good.

I’ve struggled for years to find the hot chocolate I want. I think primarily because I’ve used dry cocoa powder, which was never quite what I was looking for.

Cocoa powder is made from the leavings after they squeeze all the fat out of the cocoa beans. I think that’s why I prefer using actual chocolate bars.

The cocoa butter. Yummmmmmm.

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I also prefer a cup of hot chocolate that is creamy. 2% milk is great, but it’s not quite creamy enough. And cream is way too creamy.

I bridge the difference by adding evaporated milk.

The mixture of evaporated and 2% milk is perfect. I like to put a can of evaporated milk in a 4-cup measure, and make up the difference with the 2%.

It’s important that you use a good bar of chocolate. I use this one, but there are plenty of good ones out there. You can make your hot chocolate interesting by trying flavored chocolate bars.

This makes a nice, creamy, rich and impressive cup of fantastic hot chocolate. If you must dress it up, I suggest a candy cane, a couple large marshmallows, or a dollop of whipped cream.

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Perfect Hot Chocolate

A simple creamy hot chocolate.

Servings 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4-6 ounces bittersweet chocolate to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour milks into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Do not allow it to come to a boil.

  2. Break up chocolate into small pieces. Add chocolate pieces to warm milk. Stir until chocolate is melted. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

You can vary the amount of chocolate to your taste. I like to use about 5 ounces, personally, but if you find it too rich, you can reduce it to 4 ounces.

Lace Cookies

lace-cookies-4cOne of my mom’s best recipes is her peach cobbler. It’s more of a crisp, really. Peaches, sugar, crust, what’s not to love?

As much as I love peaches, I always preferred the crust topping. It’s made with oats, butter, brown sugar, sometimes crushed nuts, and it’s freaking fantastic. Try it for yourself with this recipe or this one.

It’s why I really love this cookie. It’s basically that crumb topping, in cookie form. Freaking fantastic.

I’ve been looking for new Christmas Cookies, and let me tell you, it gets harder every year to find something new and amazing. I don’t know why I’ve never tried these before. They’re kind of a no-brainer.

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But the issue here is that they are SO fragile. They are a little tough to store and serve. But more on that in a minute.

Some tips for ya. First, make ’em small. My first panful had very large cookies, so I made them half the size after that. I already use a small cookie scoop (this one which is just 1 tablespoon), and I had to split that in half. In other words, scoop your cookies the size of 1/2 tablespoon for best results.

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Second tip, leave plenty of space for them to spread. Because they do spread. A LOT.

Third tip, watch them bake. I found the baking time to vary just a bit, depending on your oven and the size of the cookies. It could take anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes. The edges will be pretty brown, and the cookies will be very very flat when they are done.

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Last tip, let them sit on the pan for 3 minutes or so before attempting to move them to a cooling rack. They need to cool in place in order to keep their shape. Scoop them too soon, and they turn into a pile of goo.

Very tasty goo.

I actually had a brilliant idea to dip these in chocolate, which turned into one of my more epic baking failures. I don’t recommend it. The chocolate is too heavy and the cookies are too fragile.

Be really gentle with these if you want to serve them in one piece. But if they do break, take comfort knowing the broken pieces are SO GOOD on ice cream or yogurt, or peach pie filling.

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5 from 1 vote
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Lace Cookies

A very thin and fragile oat and brown sugar cookie.

Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 3 dozen
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 2 T.)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

  2. Place butter in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat to melt. Add brown sugar and stir. Butter and brown sugar may not combine completely, and that is okay. Remove from heat.

  3. Add flour and salt, and mix in. Add oats and mix until combined.

  4. Drop 1/2 teaspoon sized balls of dough on a baking sheet, leaving plenty of space for spreading. Bake at 375F for 6-9 minutes. Watch cookies, and remove when edges are quite brown and centers are flat.

  5. Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Cookies will be thin and fragile.

Recipe Notes

It is imperative you use parchment paper or a silicone liner on your baking sheet if you want these to remove easily.

Store very gently in an airtight container.

Coconut Cream Pie

coconut-cream-pie-4Strange as it sounds, coconut cream pie has always been one of those recipes I have struggled with. Robb loves coconut cream pie, and will frequently order it at restaurants. Which makes me feel like I just need to get this one right.

I have tried several recipes over the years, and none of them have quite met my standards, except one glorious recipe which promptly disappeared from the internet, never to be seen again. Here are my parameters for success:

  • Not too runny. Most of those I tried required a bowl and looked like a pile of goo.
  • Has enough coconut. I was shocked at how many were thin on coconut content. They were more like vanilla pudding with a little coconut mixed in.
  • Uses both sweetened and unsweetened coconut. The unsweetened, fine shredded stuff is great for flavor and texture, but many don’t use it.
  • Maybe this goes without saying, but it has to taste good. I’m shooting for a nice, heavy, rich coconut flavor.

I ended up creating my own version, which takes the pieces I like from all the recipes I tried.

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I felt like I really perfected this recipe some time ago, but for whatever reason, I was unable to photograph it, and therefore unable to blog it. But I didn’t want to forget it, so I wrote it on a white board calendar in my hallway, where it has remained for many months.

You might think I have a more organized way to keep my recipes. But I don’t.

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This pie uses 5 egg yolks. Yes, FIVE. I know it’s indulgent, but this is, after all, my husband’s favorite dessert. If you’re wondering what to do with the leftover whites, you could try these fun meringue cookies. They’re actually pretty easy to make.

Let’s talk about where to spend your time on this pie. I chose not to use a boxed pudding mix, but to make this one from scratch, so if you’re looking for some time savers, I can suggest two.

  1. Frozen pie crust
  2. Cool whip

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You can do the homemade crust if you want, and if you have patience. I have a recipe for a good one here. You only need a bottom crust for this one, and whether you use frozen or fresh crust, you do have to blind bake it. I recommend baking at 400F for 11-14 minutes, until it’s just starting to turn brown.

You can do real cream too, if you’re going all out. I’m a fan of real cream, but I’m also a fan of not spending my entire freaking day baking pie. Which is why I chose the frozen whipped topping for this recipe.

Of course, if you use real cream you can add a little coconut extract to it for flavor. Or you could use coconut milk to make the cream, if you’re really ambitious.

I can’t wait to share of piece of this with Robb!

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Coconut Cream Pie

A creamy coconut pie in a baked shell, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

Servings 1 pie

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut finely shredded
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, + 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 pie crust
  • whipped cream, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Blind bake pie crust at 400F for 11-14 minutes.  (For detailed instructions, read here:  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-blind-bake-a-pie-crust-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-197553 )

  2. Place yolks in saucepan. Mix lightly. Add sugar, cornstarch, gelatin and half and half. Whisk ingredients together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a boil.

  3. Let boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and add butter and extract.

  4. Stir in unsweetened and sweetened coconut. Mix to incorporate. Pour completed filling into baked pie crust, and let cool.

  5. Place 1/4 cup coconut on a piece of foil or a small baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes, checking frequently, until it reaches a brown color.

  6. Top cooled pie with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Serves 6.

 

Molasses Crinkles

molasses-crinklesTo be completely honest, I was short on time. I had intended to make a pie over the weekend, but just couldn’t swing it. So I baked a quick batch of cookies instead.

Just as tasty, but much quicker.

Of course, all this time I saved by making cookies instead of pie was wasted when I lost the charger for my camera battery. I spent a good hour looking for it, and another hour pouting about it, before I finally discovered it in the car, of all places.

(Pretty sure I put it there when we went on family vacation, and then I forgot the actual camera.)

I guess I could have just made cookies and not photographed them, but where’s the fun in that?

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In my head, I was picturing the classic Chocolate Crinkles, a cookie I seriously adore, and hoping I could make something with the same texture, and a different flavor profile. I wasn’t really sure it was feasible.

In the end, I came pretty close.

Well, except that I burned the first pan-full. But let’s not talk about that.

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For this recipe, I went a little heavy on the molasses, partly for the texture it gives the cookies, but mostly for the flavor.

This cookie is a little on the chewy side. If you want something crispier, just bake them an extra minute or two! The extra time you spend will be worth it.

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Molasses Crinkles

A chewy, spiced molasses cookie, rolled in powdered sugar.

Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • about 1/2 cup powdered sugar for rolling

Instructions

  1. Combine butter, oil, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and molasses and mix well.

  2. Add salt, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon, and mix to incorporate. Add flour and mix just until incorporated.

  3. Place powdered sugar in a shallow dish. Roll dough into balls, and roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet.

  4. Bake at 350F for 11-13 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool.

 

Old Fashioned Donuts

old-fashioned-donuts-12The Lizard is home from college this weekend, and with the other kids being typical teenagers and leaving the house every possible minute they can, it was pretty quiet around here.

Robb put The Lizard to work, demolishing our master bathroom in preparation for a much-needed upgrade. It’s a smelly, dirty, annoying job. And let’s be honest, I’m just happy I’m not the one doing it. I’m more than willing to provide freshly made snacks and hearty lunches.

My parents never made donuts, so they were never really part of my baking repertoire. But Robb’s family has this basic donut recipe, and he has some really good memories of eating the donuts with his cousins and grandparents. They often made large batches and froze them, and they would eat them slowly right out of the freezer with cups of cocoa.

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But trust me when I tell you, these are best eaten as quickly as possible after cooking. I mean seriously. They’re like sugar cookies, but fried.

Let me share some tips for success with you.

Like most baked goods, you don’t want to overwork the dough. Just mix until all the flour is incorporated, and leave it alone.

Roll out the dough pretty thick. Mine is about 1/2″. You can re-roll the dough once, but I wouldn’t do it more than that. Each time you roll it out, it makes the dough tougher and less pleasant to eat.

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If you don’t have a donut cutter, don’t despair. I used two circle cookie cutters, but I personally don’t see why donuts always have to be circles. I used the large and small cutters from this set to make a few star-shaped donuts, just for laughs.

And because Robb likes things funky that way.

Don’t overcrowd your pan. The pan will be working overtime anyway, keeping the oil at the right temperature, and not too hot or too cool. Give it a break and just do a few at a time.

When the donuts come out of the pan, put them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag to soak up the excess oil.

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And by the way? The leftover dough can be cooked just as-is. This is seriously the best, because I love how all the little corners get all crispy in the oil.

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The glaze is the final step.

Robb’s family just rolls the donuts in sugar (It takes two coats, if you want to do it this way.), but I wanted a more traditional glaze to finish them off.  This glaze is just powdered sugar and milk, and you can add more or less milk to get the consistency you want.

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My preferred method of glazing involves a fork, and a cooling rack inside a sheet pan lined with wax paper. This makes it easy for excess glaze to drip off, and for the glaze to set and harden just a little.

The wax paper is because I’m lazy and don’t enjoy washing dishes.

These will keep for a day or two in a lidded container at room temperature, but the quality decreases pretty quickly. If you’re not going to finish them within a day, I recommend freezing them, in a lidded container between layers of wax paper.

Or do what I do, and use them as bribes to get the incredible disappearing teenagers to do a little housework before they leave again.

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Old Fashioned Donuts

A basic cake-like fried donut with glaze.

Servings 18 donuts & holes
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • dash nutmeg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour all-purpose
  • + more flour for rolling
  • vegetable oil for frying

GLAZE:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 5-8 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, add sugar and mix. Add butter, milk, and vanilla, mix.

  2. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Stir just until combined.

  3. Roll dough on well-floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Use circle cutters to cut donuts and holes from centers. Re-roll once only.

  4. Heat oil to 350F. Add dough, a few pieces at a time. Cook until golden brown, turn, and cook other side until golden brown.

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  5. Place cooked donuts on a baking sheet lined with brown paper or paper towels to soak up excess oil.

For Glaze:

  1. To make glaze, put powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of milk, and stir. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, stirring between each, until glaze reaches desired consistency. (6-8 tablespoons of milk.)

  2. Dip donuts in glaze to coat, using a fork or chopstick to remove. Let excess glaze drip back into bowl.

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  3. Place glazed donuts on a cooling rack with a baking sheet or wax paper beneath to catch excess glaze. Let glaze dry and harden, 5-10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Store donuts in a lidded container between layers of wax paper. They will keep 1-2 days on the counter, or 2-3 months in the freezer.

If you don't want to glaze, these can also be rolled in sugar. Place sugar in a bowl, dip donut in sugar to coat. Set donut aside and let sit a few minutes, then coat a second time.

 

Plain Chocolate Chip Cookies

plain-chocolate-chip-cookiesI have all manner of chocolate chip cookies on this site. The brown sugar one, the egg free one, the one made with condensed milk.

The oatmeal one, the crunchy one, the one on a stick.

The one with walnuts.
The chocolate chip dip.
The chocolate chip scones.
The chocolate chip cake.

In fact, I have a collection of over 100 chocolate chip cookie inspired recipes.

But what I do not have on this site is a plain chocolate chip cookie. Why? The truth? I’m intimidated by it. The way a medical researcher is daunted by the idea of curing the common cold. It’s simple, it’s basic, and it’s HUGE.

My daughter called me out on this the other day, after I called her out for making the totally wrong chocolate chip cookie recipe. She claimed she was forced to make that recipe because there is no Plain Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on my site. I guess I was just hoping she would choose one of the others, and modify it to suit her needs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it wasn’t my smartest move.

But after my kids made two batches of chocolate chip cookies in the same week using a really sub-par recipe, I decided that I wouldn’t try to give you the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I would just give you the plain old recipe we usually make, the basic one that everyone knows and loves. A pretty good chocolate chip cookie recipe.

And then explain to my children why we use this one, and how to make it.

If you already know how to make chocolate chip cookies, feel free to skip the following.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MY CHILDREN

DEAR CHILDREN:

I love when you make chocolate chip cookies. I really do. But it’s time we learned to do it right. So next time you are making cookies, please use the following recipe and follow these rules.

1. For the love of all that is holy, there is no need to use 2 cups of butter to make one batch of cookies! Even a large double match will require only 1 cup. The recipe below uses only 1/2 cup, which is just one stick of butter. This is plenty. We don’t actually need a double batch every time we make cookies, because as much as we might enjoy them, it’s really not a good idea for us to eat cookies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2nd breakfast, 2nd lunch, 2nd dinner, elevensies, afternoon tea, and midnight snack. A regular batch is plenty.  I actually got 39 cookies from this batch. Which would have been 42 if you guys had kept your moochy little fingers out of my dough.

Also, softened butter is not the same as cold butter or melted butter. Baking is basically chemistry, and butter in its different forms reacts differently, just like water differs from ice and vapor. This recipe uses softened butter. That means it’s at room temperature. If no room temperature butter is available, you can put a stick in the microwave, but do it on a low power level for a very short time, because if it starts melting, it changes.

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2. After you put the butter in the mixer, do the sugar next. Guess what? If you understand the big picture, you can make your own choices about the sugar. I like a butter to sugar ratio of about 1:3. That means, for the 1/2 cup of butter you used, you can use 1 1/2 cups sugar TOTAL. You can kind of mix and match the white and brown sugar amounts here.

More brown sugar makes a chewier, softer cookie. More white sugar makes it a bit crispier. If you’re planning on dunking it in milk you want it to hold up to the dunking, so use more white sugar. For the basic recipe, I use 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. This cookie tends to be a bit soft anyway, so it doesn’t really need the extra brown sugar.

Mix the butter and the two sugars together. This step is important. We want some (but not all) of the sugar to dissolve into the butter. It gives the cookies their very best texture. So, give it a good minute to mix, but it doesn’t need more than that.

This should give you plenty of time to put the sugar away. Just sayin’.

3. Eggs and vanilla are next. There’s not much to say about these, except please don’t get eggshell in the cookie dough, and if you spill any egg on the counter, please clean it up before it turns to glue. And why do I keep seeing all the ingredients put away except the vanilla? (Not that I’m pointing any fingers. Ahem, Hippie Chick.)

4. Next is salt and baking soda. I use only 1/2 teaspoon of salt because I buy salted butter. Why do I buy salted butter? Because it tastes better. And I’m not into buying different butter for baking with, so I just use less salt in the baking. If you ever find yourself baking with unsalted butter, you can make this a full teaspoon. Don’t skip the salt, thought, because a little salt really does make the cookies taste better.

Baking soda is super important. I know it’s only a teaspoon, but it’s a very important little teaspoon. The baking soda is the leavening, and the cookies will be flat as a pancake (flatter, actually) without it. One teaspoon is the perfect amount. Once you do this, you’re done with the teaspoon measure, so consider just putting it straight into the dishwasher.

You can do it. I believe in you.

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5. Flour amount is something we need to discuss. Let me be clear here. Following a recipe is a good thing. But you know what’s even better? Using your brain. If your brain understands why the recipe used that amount of flour, and your eyes can see whether the texture is what it should be, you can confidently make adjustments if you need to.

If you use two cups of butter to begin with, you might end up with a very sticky dough. Sticky dough means there is too much water and not enough flour. (Butter has water in it. And eggs and vanilla are both liquid elements in your dough.) Sticky dough turns into very fragile, flat cookies that have spread too much.

When I look at a chocolate chip cookie recipe, I look at three items… the fat (butter, shortening, or oil), the eggs, and the flour. The ratio in this recipe is 1/2 cup butter – 2 eggs – not quite 2 cups flour. The recipe you’ve been using? It has 2 cups butter – 4 eggs – 4 cups flour. Which is way way too much butter.

I used 1 3/4 cups flour in this recipe. Actually, what I did was start with 1 1/2 cups, and then look at the dough. It was still a little sticky, and didn’t have that heavy dough texture that I like. So I added just 1/4 cup more and looked at it again. This time it looked good, so I didn’t add any more.

Now here is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. Perhaps the most important. Once the flour is added to the dough, Do. Not. Overmix. It. 

You know how bread is kneaded? It is mixed and mixed and kneaded and worked with so that the gluten in the flour makes these very long lovely strands that gives the bread it’s wonderful chewy texture. But no one wants their cookies to be like bread. When we make chocolate chip cookies, we try to avoid making long gluten strands, and we do that by only mixing as much as absolutely necessary, and then not one bit more.

6. Time for the best part – the chocolate chips! Now, dear children, I better never again hear you say the words “All we have is the weird bittersweet chips.” Those bittersweet chips are seriously the best chocolate chips ever. They are my hands down favorite chips. They are big and flavorful and amazing. They are the chips this family uses. I repeat… we use bittersweet chocolate chips in this family. Get used to it.

Are there other options? Sure. Since you guys used all my chocolate chips with your terrible recipe earlier this week, I chopped up 2 oz. of a bittersweet chocolate bar, and added a half a bag of white chocolate chips. You can really use any chip combo you want. I have never met a combo I didn’t like, to be honest, though chocolate and peanut butter chips is my favorite combo. You can also throw in some walnuts or coconut if you want.

The cool thing about chopping up a bar of chocolate is that you end up with different sized pieces. Some of them melt in, and other stay in big chocolatey chunks. But the problem with chopping up a chocolate bar is that if you’re not careful the crumbs will get everywhere. And if the dog eats the crumbs from the floor, he will get sick, and you will be on dog diarrhea duty. Be forewarned.

7. Prepare the pan and oven. Remember when I told you that my new oven cooks cool? 350 isn’t really 350 in this oven, unfortunately, so I like to compensate by setting the oven to 365F. (If you’re worried about the accuracy of your oven, try one of these fancy tools. It’s just good info to have.)

I use this big half sheet pan for my cookies, and one big reason for that is that you can get a whopping 20 cookies in the oven at once. Put down the silicone liner, use the cookie scoop to make them all a uniform size, and place them 4-across and 5-down on the baking sheet for 20 total. If you make them big, they’ll bake into one another, but if you use my favorite cookie scoop, which makes the cookies just a touch on the small side, they will fit just fine.

If you don’t want to use the silicone mat, use the parchment paper.

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8. Time to bake. Remember what I said earlier about following a recipe and using your brain? With a little practice, you can get really good at knowing when to remove the cookies from the oven. Almost all cookies should be a little underdone when they come out of the oven, otherwise they turn crunchy. But too underdone is not good either. I know this recipe says 8-10 minutes, and you should check them after 8 minutes, but don’t take them out until the centers don’t look gooey anymore and the edges look dry, like they’re just about to turn brown.

If you ever run into this situation where the edges are brown and the centers are still gooey, your oven is too hot. It has over cooked the edges before it got a chance to get to the middle.

Here’s a very important point to remember. Once you set the timer, stay in the room and pay attention! (I’m looking at you, Fruitarian.) If you leave the room, you’ll forget the cookies, and they’ll turn black and make the house smell bad, and then your sister’s friend will think they are chocolate cookies, and take a big bite of what is basically ash, and cough and gag and probably never come to our house again. If you leave them long enough, they could fill the whole house with smoke and make the neighbors wonder if they should call the fire department, like that time you decided to make syrup for your pancakes, and then walked away and left it cooking on the stove.

9. When the cookies are out of the oven, just wait a minute. Take a deep breath or two, and wait. If you’re watching, you can kind of see the cookies deflate and settle into their final shape. If you want them to not fall apart, and I hope you do, let them sit 1-2 minutes on the pan, and then move them to a cooling rack. I know I have several pancake turners to choose from, but the small-ish, wood handled one is truly the best for taking cookies off a pan.

10. Clean up your mess. For real. Actually put the dishes in the dishwasher, actually hand wash the pan and silicone mat, put the cooled cookies in a container with a lid, and wipe the counter. It’s not rocket science. And it will keep your mother from hearing concerned comments from well meaning friends who are worried about how often she threatens to murder her children.

11. Last but not least… Mom tax. Remember that your dad and I get one while they’re still warm.

Thanks kids. You got this. Now, go forth and bake cookies!

Love, Mom.

 

 

Plain Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A basic, pretty good, chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 40 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt and baking soda and mix well.
  3. Add flour and mix just until combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Place spoonfuls of dough on a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let cool 1-2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.