One activity I've been able to pursue much more fervently since taking time off from my studies is baking. I think my baking skills have improved tenfold since obtaining my degree in Chemistry which required me to be in labs for about nine hours a week and follow 'chemical recipes' to the letter. I had no idea that my lab skills would pay off in my everyday life but surprisingly the practice I gained in the lab transferred into confidence in the kitchen. I find baking relaxing as it rarely matters if you added exactly 1 cup of sugar or precisely 2 teaspoons of vanilla. And the best part is that you can eat your final product whereas in a Chemistry lab, you're lucky if you're allowed to smell your end product without getting lightheaded or nauseated.
So on this rainy, blustery Sunday evening, I decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies for my husband as we had run out of his favourite 'Chips Ahoy' cookies and I promised him a homemade replacement. I know that chocolate chip cookies are one of the most basic treats that any baker should have in their arsenal of recipes but sadly, I had not yet found my 'go to' chocolate chip cookie recipe.
As I was searching through food gawker (one of my absolute favourite apps) for a suitable recipe, I came across a link to a blog by Scientifically Sweet that gave tips about how to make chocolate chip cookies taste amazing. Among them was something so simple yet (as I discovered tonight) works wonders for your cookies...refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before baking them. As Christina from Scientifically Sweet explains, it enhances the flavour of the cookies and after adding this little step to a recipe I found on another blog thanks to my faithful food gawker app, (recipe found here) I was ready to bake!
With some slight modifications, I made the most gooey, chewy, chocolate chip cookies I have ever made. And the best part was that after one bite my husband declared them better than his store bought cookies and swore he would never buy Chips Ahoy cookies again ('till death do us part). After my first bite, I decided they tasted like something I've tried at Cookies By George and wish I knew my neighbours in our building well enough so I could share my joy and cookies with them! But since we're not BFF's with the people down the hall, I decided I would share this recipe with you, my virtual neighbours. I hope you carve out a little bit of time from your busy schedule to make some of these delicious, decadent cookies because you will not be disappointed with the results!
Gooey, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Heather Homemade's 'Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies' Recipe)
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Chipits Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Skor Chipits
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl with whisk; set aside.
3. Melt butter in the microwave and let it cool until it is warm.
4. By hand, or with an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars together until well combined.
5. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until incorporated.
6. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined (by hand will work too – it just takes a little more effort).
7. Stir in the chocolate chips and skor chipits.
8. Place the dough in a sealed container and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
9. Go do homework, read a book, exercise, run some errands, or do whatever you need to do in an hour so that you can feel both domestic and productive by the end of this recipe ;)
10. If you have a stoneware bar pan (like the one from Pampered Chef shown here) this is what I used for this recipe and I didn't need to butter the pan before use. Otherwise, prepare two large baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or buttering the pan before use.
11. After the 1 hour is up, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
12. Roll the dough into golf ball sized balls and place them on the baking sheet.
13. Place one baking sheet/pan into the oven once it has reached 325 degrees and bake for 15-18 minutes.
14. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the edges start to harden, and the centres of the cookies are soft and puffy.
15. Cool cookies completely on baking sheet and repeat the baking process with the remainder of the dough.
16. Remove cookies from sheets with a flat, metal spatula.
17. Store in an air-tight container.