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Friday, October 17, 2008

Foodie Friday - Preferences and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cooking is personal, ya know? At least it is for me.

It's a love language.

I figure that one way I can say, "I love you" to my family is to cook for them. Whether it's dinner that I'm just trying to get onto the table or sweets that I bake when I have a spare minute, it's a way that I can love them.

And it's especially sweet when that love is accepted and enjoyed.

But it's also personal just from a preferences perspective.

We all have our preferences about food.

I have several friends and two children who don't like tomatoes. I don't get it, because to me, there's just about nothing better in the summer time than sweet tomatoes. But that is their preference versus mine.

And I am getting to the point where I can look at just about any recipe and pick it apart and re-work it so that it meets my and my families preferences.

I got to thinking about this the other day when someone brought chocolate chip cookies to our office. Let me be clear... they were good or I wouldn't have eaten like 10 of them (jk... it was only nine). But they were not cooked according to my preferences.

These cookies were crisp. All the way through. Crisp like a tortilla chip (before it gets stale because the package has been sitting open in the Texas humidity). And my preference is a soft cookie that is fluffy and cracked on top.

I attended a Pastries and Confections workshop at the Disney Institute back in 1999 when I went to Disney World in Florida while Mike was in a conference for work there. I don't even know that the Disney Institute is still around, but it was a wonderful experience.

One thing I learned in this Pastries and Confections class was how to alter a cookie recipe according to my preferences. So I thought I'd share that with you today, in case you didn't already know.

It's all about the type of sugar, flour and fat that you use.

Crispy cookies that spread out usually use all butter and white granulated sugar.

If it's the fluffy soft cookie you like, then use all shortening and brown sugar. You can even use cake flour instead of all purpose flour for some extra cakey fluffiness.

Those are the two extremes and many recipes that I encounter are somewhere in the middle and include combinations of these ingredients.

For instance, Sara @ Greetings from Butterville shared hers just the other day here. It calls for all butter with all brown sugar. I am curious to make these to see what their texture is like.

Today I am going to share my chocolate chip cookie recipe with you, which I believe I initially took from the chocolate chip bag and then altered it for my preferences. It is below and it is also on the Recipe Blog.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Cream Crisco, brown sugar, milk & vanilla. Beat in egg.
2. Combine flour, salt & baking soda and mix into creamed mixture just until blended.
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. In 375F oven, bake 8-10 minutes for chewey cookies or 11-13 minutes for crisp cookies. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack.

And just for fun, here's some history on the chocolate chip cookie.

So what about you? How do you prefer your chocolate chip cookies? Thin and crispy? Tall and fluffy? With or without nuts? (Notice my recipe is blissfully lacking nuts!) Care to share your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with us?


Kay said...

At our house.. nuts are 'always optional'. We don't like crunchy things mixed in with soft things. No nuts on brownies either. I like my cookies very soft too. : )

Anonymous said...

I like my cookies soft but without the trans fats in Crisco so I only bake with butter and then pull them from the oven a bit earlier.

Kim from PA

Holly said...

In Colorado, at almost 7000 feet up, I have to alter the recipe by adding up to 1/4 c. extra flour and reducing the sugar by about 3 T.

Here is a good recipe from a friend I knew in Little Rock--it is not adjusted for altitude:
A different kind of Chocolate Chip cookie
2 sticks butter
2 eggs
2 T molasses
2 t. vanilla
1/3 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
5 c. flour
18 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter, add eggs, molasses, vanilla and water in mixer. Sift together dry ingredients (sugars, powder, soda, salt and flour). Mix moist with dry ingredients well in mixer. Add chips and stir a couple of times through.

Roll into 1" balls and cook at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until light brown.

beyond this moment said...

Just about any chocolate chip cookie is a good chocolate chip cookie!

My favorite though is big and soft with lots of chocolate chips. Even better if they're peanutbutter chocolate chip cookies! =)Or this time of year pumpkin and chocolate!

Way More Homemade said...

Holly - OOOH molasses. I bet that keeps 'em soft.

Beyondthismomet - And I had seen the pumpkin choc chip cookie recipe. I think a post about all the different variations of the classic might be in order. :)

Kay said...

Donna... You've been tagged. Hop on over to see me for the info.


Bridgette said...

Thanks for the recipe! You make it sound so simple, I might try to them! I'm not much of a baker!
I wanted to let you know that my blog is updated, so the recorded version of Tiny Hearts is on there and the lyrics. Should be easier to hear.

Brittany said...

all and fluffy w/o the nuts.

Oh, and we use the recipe on the back of the bag!

Kim said...

Thanks for the great info! I've always wondered why my c.c.cookies didn't come out how I "prefer".
Only problem is, I'm having a hard time finding shortening of any kind, to say nothing of butter flavored. I'm hoping they have it at the Wal-Mart in Cordoba and I'll check next time we go (the beginning of next month).
Also, the brown sugar here is different. More moist. So I'm trying to figure out whether I should maybe reduce the amount called for in most recipes? Cut it with a little white? Any ideas?
Can't get chocolate chips here either BUT I brought a big bag of Ghirardelli from Sam's Club so that should last for a while. Although I did go through two big bags during our year in Uganda. Hmmmm. I'll have to make sure anyone who comes to visit us brings more :-)

Liz said...

My grandma has always made her chocolate chip cookies crunchy, and I love them. They're like no other cookie I've eaten. She says she just uses the recipe off the Tollhouse bag, but I've used it and gotten a soft cookie result. Strange.

I do enjoy just about any chocolate chip cookie, though, unless they're sugar free. I love them soft (unless they're grandma's).

Chantelle said...

Thank you, thank you for the info about how to make chocolate chip cookies soft and fluffy instead of thin and crispy! Obviously, I prefer the soft, fluffy kind. I've heard before to use Crisco instead of butter to achieve thanks for validating and providing other tips!

angie h said...

We use the recipe on the back of the Hershey's bag with a few changes (no egg and part wheat flour):
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter (melted)
3/4 c. gran. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 medium banana (mashed and stirred)
12 oz. pkg. choc. chips

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt. Stir butter, sugars, and vanilla in another bowl. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chips.
Roll in 1 inch balls, flatten slightly, bake at 375 for 10ish minutes.
We started using banana as an egg substitute (due to allergies) and ended up really liking the flavor of the banana mixed with chocolate. The wheat flour gives an interesting texture and it is easier to convince myself the cookies are healthy that way too. :o)

Way More Homemade said...

angie h -

What a great tip on substituting banana for egg. I am going to share that with a friend who recently discovered her son has some food allergies including egg.

Thanks for sharing!


Melinda said...

Okay girlie, here is my FAV chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's involved and it makes 9 million (dozen) cookies, but it is OH-SO-GOOD!

2 C Butter
2 C White Sugar
2 C Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
2 t vanilla
4 C Flour
1 t salt
5 C Oatmeal, finely ground (measure out 5 cups then blend or process to fine powder)
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
24 ounces chocolate chips
8 ounces grated Hershey bar
3 C chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and both sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, salt, oatmeal, baking powder and soda. Blend with egg mixture. Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate and nuts. Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 9 dozen (and they ain't kidding!)

Man. I might have to make these again. And I didn't have one sweet thing on my shopping list! Just goes to show that I should never check your blog before I head out to shop! :o)