Sunday, June 21, 2009

Great American Bake Sale Recipe #1: Chocolate Chip Cookies

For the Great American Bake Sale I had a few weeks ago, I had to make up my mind about what to bake. Now, I tend to be very ambitious and think that I have more time than I really do. I also think that I'm a faster worker than I really am and almost never anticipate that anything will go wrong. Of course, with work occupying most of my time, I have very little time, I am a slow worker, and something goes wrong (or shall I say, something unexpected happens) almost every time I bake. Well, this time was no different. Even something as simple as chocolate chip cookies somehow made my heart drop at least once during the process of production.
I decided to make six different items (if I am counting correctly) for the bake sale. Looking back, I wonder how I pulled it off, but I did. Let the record show, however, I did not go without help. For the sake of time, a few days before the bake sale, I decided to make all the cookie dough. I rolled them into balls, placed them on a cookie sheet, froze them, and then transferred them to a zip lock bag and froze them until I wanted to use them. The night before the bake sale, I simply took them out of the freezer, and baked them without thawing them, which turned out just fine. Before getting to that "just fine" stage, let me mention that I was not the one doing the baking. I was instructing my sig-o, who I thought was attentive and careful, to perform the steps above (take out of the freezer, put on cookie sheet, bake). He looked at the balls, looked at me and said, "Wow, these are fool proof". He spoke too soon. You see, he spaced the dough balls on the cookie sheet just fine, with my approval, and placed the sheet in the oven at the right temperature and time and everything. When he took them out, I told him to transfer the cookies from the sheet to the cooling rack with a spatula. I turned my back and then I heard "Ooops" or was it "Uh-oh". I cringed and slowly turned around. He was in the process of transfering the cookies to the cooling wrack, but some how managed to miss and the cookie went sliding down the rack, in between the wire. Cookie 1, goodbye. After he learned not to do that, the rest of the batch went fine.
If I were to poll 10 people of the five top items that should be in a bake sale, I think undboutedly chocolate chip cookies would be in one of those five, everytime. In other words, a bake sale would not be complete without chocolate chip cookies (I seemed to overlook that it would not be complete without rice crispy treats either, which a customer so kindly pointed out, but seeing that it is not one of my most favorite dessert items, it didn't even cross my mind) so that is the first recipe that I will start out with.

I have made plenty of chocolate chip cookies during my baking days, using numerous recipes, and add-ins, and such, but this recipe trumps them all. It was delicious and soft and chewy, just the way I like it.

Chocolate Chip Cookies adpated from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 2/3 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbls. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed (7 oz.) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

3. In a large bowl, beat teh melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in teh egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, scrpaing down the bowl and beaters as needed.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined.

5. Mix in the chips until incorporated.

6. Working with 2 tbls. of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on a baking sheet, spread about 2 inches apart.

7. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.

8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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