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THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND “THE CHEWY”


It seems fitting as a new mom that I should start with something simple and necessary for every mother to master. I have to admit that my cooking and baking have both taken a hit since my son was born.  For the first month I was in shock, and remember little of his life, nevermind my culinary attempts – if you can even call them that. The next month was spent furiously trying to make up for lost time – freezing berries, making jam and processing pears into purees to be served up during the winter months of his first few meals. Then apple season hit, followed by Thanksgiving, and now my Oliver is 4 months old, and the other day I realized that I have been anything but satisfied with my cookie making of late. In particular, my chocolate chip cookies are an embarrassment. Not cool for a mom. So I started trying recipes – in an attempt to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie – at least by the time that Oliver is old enough to eat them. Every few months I have been halfheartedly trying a recipe, hoping for good results and then disappointedly tossing cookies into the rubbish bin or in the direction of my insatiable younger brother when they do not turn out. Last weekend, I decided to put an end to this madness – and solve the cookie problem.

I flipped through my books and decided to start with Martha Stewart’s chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe – and once again found less than desirable results. While the cookies were chewy, they were also cakey – a big no-no in my cookie books. If I want something cakey and chocolaty – I will make chocolate cake. Cookies should be chewy and crispy and golden. No exceptions. So this recipe was out for me. As was the one on the back of the “Chipits” package – too cakey once again.

attempt 1: too cakey!

The next thing I did was a surprise even for me – I was on Facebook, mulling over the cookie problem – when I decided to swallow my pride and update my status to a request for chocolate chip cookie recipes. This was a novel approach – and you can tell the extent of my desperation as I was loath to admit that I am a chocolate chip cookie failure. The thing is, so many of my friends love food as much as I do (or almost as much), so it worked brilliantly. The first one I tried was the winner, Alton Brown’s “The Chewy”. Made with Caillebault chocolate chunks, they are the epitome of what a chocolate chip cookie should be. So I owe a great debt to one of my fellow teachers and past colleagues for this one. The embarrassing part was that it was so obvious. As one of the highest rated recipes on the Food Network: it had been there all along.

just right!

MOM-O-METER: 5/5

The best part about this recipe is that it is easy to follow and that it requires refrigeration for an indeterminate amount of time. This means that you can put it together whenever you have 10 minutes, toss it in the refrigerator, and bake it whenever you feel like it.


Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies: Adapted from Alton Brown’s “The Chewy”

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon cream      (NOT optional – do not use milk instead)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 small teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1.5-2 cups high quality semi-sweet chocolate chunks   – do NOT use milk chocolate chunks as the cookies are already quite sweet.

In a small bowl mix baking soda, flour and salt. Combine melted butter with sugars in bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed to combine. Turn to low and add egg, vanilla, water and cream. Do not overbeat. Gently pour in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours – more is better as the dough will be quite runny at first. Bake at 375 for 9-12 minutes depending on size.


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