Wednesday, June 28, 2006

WFMW - Perfect cookies every time

Don't you just love a perfect cookie - thick, chewy, and fudgy? Here are my tips for baking luscious cookies every time.

1. Use real butter. If you're going to indulge, why not make it worth your while? My philosophy of sweets is that I'd rather have a small portion of something really great than a large portion of something marginal. Don't EVEN talk to me about Splenda or "diet" desserts.

2. Get a good cookie sheet. I have one of those "air pocket" ones (about $7 at Wal-Mart and worth every penny). It makes all the difference in the world. To make cleanup easier, line with aluminum foil.

3. Refrigerate the dough. Especially in the summer when the butter gets runny and makes the batter sticky. If I'm actually thinking ahead (on a RARE occasion!) I like to refrigerate several hours or overnight, but even an hour makes a difference - the dough will set up so that the bottom of the cookie bakes golden while the center remains chewy and moist. Mmmm!

If you are like me, and always in a hurry, use the butter straight out of the fridge (you can let it set out a few minutes so it's not rock hard, but still cool). It takes a bit longer to mix, but your first batch into the oven will still be cold. Keep the dough cold by putting the bowl in the fridge between batches.

4. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet a minute before you think they are "done." The bottom and outside edges should look golden, but the center should still be a bit gooey. I put down a piece of wax paper or Saran wrap on a cool countertop and unload. Cookies keep cooking for a few minutes because of their own heat, and they come out perfect!

And now, to test my theory, I'll let you try my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipe is adapted from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and is just a bit different than (okay, I'll just say it - BETTER than) the Toll House recipe. Check it out!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together in a large bowl:

1 c. butter (cool, if you're in a hurry; otherwise at room temp)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla


2 eggs

Stir together in a bowl and add to wet ingredients:

2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Stir in:

1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

(Refrigerate the dough, then) drop by teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Works for me! Enjoy!

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's best ideas!


Unknown said...

Who else has to bake cookies today now? Maybe that will be our rainy day project. I will try the butter straight from the fridge, but I never thought it would really "work."

T.S. Eliot said...

Yummy yummy! We LOVE chocolate chip cookies around her. DH and I have been known to finish off a bath in one evening. Shhh. Don't tell. This will inspire me to ditch the pre-made cookie dough and actually COOK. Thanks!

Nettie said...

Okay, this post makes me crave cookies! I wish I had known about the aluminum foil when I had an airbake sheet. I hated cleaning it and got rid of it. Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

Great tips! I am obsessed with baking so I will have to try this recipe! I also have a Pampered Chef medium scooper that makes uniformly shaped cookies and those silicone mats to put down on my cookie sheets (which make clean up a lot easier too!)

I will give your recipe a try- thanks Katerine!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Yum! Thanks for sharing the tips, AND the recipe! I will definitely try these out. Also, I have two air-pocket cookie sheets, and I agree - they make a big difference.

Beck said...

So those air pocket cookie sheets are worth the money? I'd wondered - now I'll get one. And I am so with you on the butter for most cookies! Great post!

Mama Duck said...

Mmmmm, making me hungry just thinking about it! Thanks!

Julie @ Creating This Life said...

Great tips! I use butter in my cookies too. And lately I've been using half whole wheat flour and half white and no one has noticed.

Mom2fur said...

Hooray, real butter and sugar! A woman after my own heart. And of course...real vanilla extract. You use so little in any recipe that a bottle will last a long time, so why pay for that imitation junk?
Oh...and don't forget to buy extra butter when it is on sale and freeze it!

Anonymous said...

"My philosophy of sweets is that I'd rather have a small portion of something really great than a large portion of something marginal. Don't EVEN talk to me about Splenda or "diet" desserts."

I agree! Thanks for the tip.

Shalee said...

Yes, yes, yes! No splenda or substitutes. I think why bother if you can't enjoy what you're eating!

And you have made me hungry for a sweet now... And it's only 9:30 in the morning! Shame for shame!

Laura said...

Ya know - every time I come here, you're encouraging my chocolate craving, first with your no bake cookies and now this? Too much - I cry mercy! :) Can't wait to try out your recipe!!! Now if only I can tear myself away from the cookie craving to go get a healthy breakfast.

Sandra said...

Mmmmmm real butter....sorry couldn't get past that for a few minutes LOL Nothing tastes better than using real butter :)

Now I'm hungry for cookies though, which is bad since it's not even 9am LOL

Anonymous said...

I agree with all your tips and I make cookies everyday!! You must use real butter. I wasn't a real butter fan until I really started making a lot of cookies and then it was a must. I also firmly believe in the air bake cookie sheets but find that cookies that are mostly all butter need to have a regular cookie sheet. Great tips! Thanks!

TheNormalMiddle said...

And butter IS good for you afterall, well in small doses anyway :)

You make me wanna cookie right now!

voni said...

Can I come to your house and have one! Please!!!! My husband is a juvenile diabetic and I have been trying hard to be good:( Butter and sugar sound really good right now:)

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

I think I really MUST make some of those today. YUM. And I agree. Real butter is the only way to go.

Unknown said...

As I am sitting at the kitchen desk finishing up surfing around WFMW, dd7 (almost 8) is making these cookies all by herself. Remember, she has to Pull Her Weight. LOL

Jennifer said...

Oh, I suddenly developed a HUGE craving for chocolate. Thanks for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

Ohhhhh, I'm hungry....

Julie said...

Good tips. We all love chocolate chip cookies so I try everything to make them better. I was thinking of cooking up a batch this afternoon.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

yum - if I onl had some extra time this week...yummmy!

Nettie said...

I had a dream about you last night! Well, actually about a book by you. I was at a friend's house and noticed a book titled "Raising Five" by Katherine on her table. It had your profile picture on it and the cover was done in shades of blue. I was excited to recognize you and picked it up to look at it, when I was awakened by my toddler's cries. Weird, huh?