Sunday, January 10, 2016
My Chocolate Chip Cookies
By "my" chocolate chip cookies, I mean Rose's, of course. But they're called "My," not "Rose's" in The Book, so that's what I called them. I think I'm stalling here to keep from confessing that I don't like chocolate chip cookies. I've just never seen the charm in them. When my mother made a batch of them, she'd always make a few without chocolate chips for me. (With nuts, though, definitely with nuts--still my favorite way to enjoy America's favorite cookie). But I made Rose's version without nuts and with chips because that's how my favorite grandson likes them.
They're on the Quick and Easy list, and they certainly are easy, although the steps of browning the butter, toasting and skinning the walnuts, and refrigerating the dough probably takes them out of a literal reading of a "quick" category. (J. Kenji Lopez, whom think of as home cooking's mad scientist) also agrees that chocolate chip cookie dough should be refrigerated overnight to amp up the flavors).
The photo of the browned butter doesn't look as brown as it did in real life, and maybe the brown bits weren't "deep brown," but just regular brown. My fear of burning the butter always trumps my desire to get that intense color.
This is the mixture of sugar, eggs, vanilla, and the browned butter--weird texture, isn't it? It looks like some kind of jelly.
But it comes together into a normal-looking, if soft, dough after adding the dry ingredients. See, it really is easy! Of course, omitting the walnuts made it even easier, even if it also eliminated the best part of the cookie.
Divide the dough in two pieces, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Relatively big pieces of cookie dough are rolled, then flattened. I weighed the first one, and then tried to make the rest of them feel the same. I must have come close, because each large piece of dough turned into 10 cookies, just as it was supposed to.
And there they are. Plain old chocolate chip cookies with no nuts. I tasted one just to see if I liked them any better than I thought I did. The answer was yes and no. I still don't like chocolate chip cookies, but I love the caramely, buttery cookies without the chocolate chips, just as I did when I was six years old. I thought about it some more and realized that every attempt to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie focuses on the cookie part, not the chip part. What the experimenters are looking for, I think, is a cookie that will stand up to the overwhelming flavor of pure chocolate. I love chocolate as much as the next person, but the unsubtle chocolate chip takes over from any competiing flavors. Now if this dough just had toasted, chopped walnuts in it, I could really go for it.
I'm clearly in the minority here. These cookies got scarfed up faster than almost anything else I've ever baked. And I'm willing to bake anything that the little boy in the first picture likes to eat.