I made a batch yesterday to share with friends, and in that process both determined that they are superior in every way to my prior favorite recipe, and that this fabulous recipe can be adapted to make it a bit simpler to prepare.
The adaptations are just two: first, the recipe calls for cake flour (7-8% protein) and bread flour (14-16% protein) used in equal amounts. The average protein content is thus about 10 - 12%...exactly the same as the all-purpose flour that you probably have in your cupboards and canisters...so use that instead. I have not yet done the side-by-side comparison, but I can assure you that just using regular flour tastes great.
The second adaptation concerns shaping the cookies. Let me be clear: making golf-ball sized scoops out of rock-hard dough was not fun. So for subsequent batches, I scooped the freshly made dough, chilled it and then quickly popped my flat-golf-ball-sized cookie dough balls onto the sheet for baking. Bonus: you can store them in your freezer and quickly whip up a batch for a last-minute treat.
One note about the chocolate. I would love to make these cookies with 1-1/4# (20 oz. or about 3-1/3 cups) of artisinal chocolate disks, but frankly I'm just too lazy to order them on-line or make a pilgrimage to a store that carries them. You can now buy high quality dark chocolate chips by Guittard and other manufacturers at your local Marketbasket or other grocery store; even Nestle's Special Dark chips work well. Of course if you would like to buy several bars of high-end chocolate and chop them for this recipe, you should!
The recipe's measures are shown by both weight and volume, and for this recipe and many others, consider is purchasing a scale. The Escali scale that I use costs just $23.50, and weighs everything from a gram of beads to 5 pounds of bread dough (it may weigh more than 5#, but I've never tried it). One reason to use a scale is that it makes baking really speedy - you pour ingredients into the bowl right from their containers (press and hold the on button to reset the weight or "tare" the scale when adding a new ingredient). It's also much more accurate than volume measurement, and - bonus! - results in fewer dishes. I've had my scale for at least 5 years, and it's still accurate to the gram.
One more thing about this chocolate chip cookie recipe: the dough really does need to chill at least overnight. The chilling period causes the flour to break down slightly into it's component parts (one of which is actually sugar) and the water in the dough to evaporate - both of which lead to a cookie that is crisp on the outside and chewy within; in short, the cookie of your dreams.
I also want to include a link to the Butter Flavored Crisco chocolate chip cookie recipe. Butter Flavored Crisco has no dairy (surprise!), and so if you substitute almond or soy milk for the 2Tbs of milk and use non dairy chocolate chips, you can have dairy free chocolate chip cookie that is also extremely good. Trader Joe's regular chocolate chips are also non-dairy, but it should be noted are packaged on machines that also package dairy and so are not safe for those with serious dairy allergies.
Even a simple batch of chocolate chip cookies deserve to taste great. If you buy pre-made dough, it will taste a LOT better than Chips Ahoy, and if you make cookies using the Butter Flavored Crisco recipe, they will be a LOT better than the pre-made dough. But to reach the pinnacle of chocolate chip cookie goodness, try the adapted NYTimes Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe - you may never go back.
For those interested, the plate in the top photo is indeed depression glass, a gift to my grandmother from my grandfather for their very first Christmas in 1932. Here is the note she sent when she gave me the dish:
My grandmother was a child of the depression, and loved and valued her beautiful things. She passed away in 2007 at age 93, and I miss her still.
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