Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the recipes that I wanted to create for the new book is a stellar chocolate chip cookie. I know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes already out there, but I needed one with my touch. A chocolate chip signature, if you may. I've always had an immense love for chocolate chip cookies, which goes back long before my first cookbook (125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes).

Looking back, there was a time in high school that I think was the "pivotal" chocolate chip moment for me. My best friend Jennifer and I would fly to San Francisco regularly to visit her father. One day, Jennifer gave me a peek at her step mother's pantry. What I saw was something to behold. It was all of the makings for chocolate chip cookies. And not just one batch. This pantry was set up so that at any given moment she could bake hundreds of cookies. It was at that exact moment that I knew what my future would be.

I can assure you that my pantry does hold the makings for dozens of batches of these sweet little babies, at any given moment. I buy my semisweet chocolate chips (vegan, of course), in bulk 25 pound boxes. This is no joke, and has actually become something that my kids show off regularly to their friends ("want to see my mom's giant bucket o' chocolate chips?"). That bucket is something to behold.

As you can see, my love for the cookies goes way back. Once, in college, I even did a presentation in class on how to make the "perfect" chocolate chip cookies. I collected recipes for them wherever I went, looking for unusual techniques or interesting additions. I was even known to rate bakeries and restaurants, purely on their chocolate chip cookies.

So my love for the cookies continue, which is why I felt that I had to come up with my own delectable chocolate chip cookie for the book. I mixed and baked dozens and dozens of different variations, until I felt that I had the "one". The cookie gods must have been with me in the kitchen that week, because it worked. I came up with a perfect puffy, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie. It's also much lower in fat than regular chocolate chip cookies too.

I wish I could share the cookies with you, warm from my oven. Instead the pic will just have to do for the moment. But, in the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think are the best traits of a chocolate chip cookie. Are they flat and crisp? Fat and chewy? Crisp and chewy? Whole grain? Nuts? Lots of chips or just a few?

25 comments:

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Great looking cookies!

My favorites are slightly thin with a terrific crunch to the outside, but still soft on the inside...with gooey chocolate chips (enough for a couple in every bite)...fresh from the oven!

Can't wait to try yours!

aimee said...

I'd like to know where you buy 25# bulk containers of vegan chocolate chips! Care to share?

Vegyogini said...

Semi-sweet chocolate chips for sure and lots of them! I like that slightly crispy around the outside edge, but soft and chewy everywhere else texture. The classic Nestle Toll House cookie recipe has always turned out best for me long ago when I was an omni. I'm thinking about veganizing it this weekend. :)

dsharp88 said...

I'm not sure which chocolate chip cookies are the best type, but I know how to find out. Send me samples of each type so I can understand what you mean, and I will report my complete testing results back to you.

VixedVegans said...

"Buttery" and slighty gooey with melting chocolate chips :)

aTxVegn said...

My favorites are fat barely crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Semisweet chips, and not too many, and no nuts. My grandmother said the secret to her fabulous cookies was a shot of bourbon. I don't know why, but it does seem to add something special.

VeggieGirl said...

I like soft & chewy with CAROB CHIPS!! :-)

Vegetation said...

I want to see your gigantic bucket of chocolate chips!!!

And mmmm cookies. My favourites are anything without nuts and they can't be crunchy. Otherwise I'll take them any way they come, chewy, soft, pillowy, crispy...anything!

kittee said...

Hi Julie!
I want to see the big box o' chips too. My favorite are pretty TollHousie--thin and gooey in the middle with crisp outer bands with a good amount of chocolate, maybe 8-10 in each cookies.

xo
kittee

mamalama said...

My favorite cookies are any you make.

Katy said...

I also consider myself a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur. They are my favorite dessert of all time! So far my favorite are Dreena's homestyle cookies, but I'm always willing to give new ones a try. (hint hint...) ;)
I don't like cookies that are too cakey or too greasy. They have to be soft and chewy. Sometimes I throw in a handful of walnuts. Being able to successfully make the recipe with whole grain flour is a big plus too!

BitterSweet said...

My favorite sort of CCC are super fat, soft, and chewy. And as much as I love chocolate, I don't want a ton of chips, because I think it's important not to overwhelm the flavor of the dough. The vanilla and brown sugar should be prevailing flavors.

Just my 2 cents. :)

Yaelian said...

Crisp, chewy and whole wheat,not so much nuts but lots of chocolate chips!

BJ said...

Soft and fat....definitely not crispy. Love walnuts with the chips - a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate.

Lauren said...

i love mine right from the oven... gooey and with a tall glass of orange juice!

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

When I used to have my cookie business out of my home, I bake SOOOO many chocolate chip cookies. I also had 25lbs of chips at a time!

I really like my veganized version of the cookies I used to make... They are chewy and and substantial.

I can't wait for your book to come out!

I love hearing about your past love of baking.. I think most of us foodies have had a passion for a long long time!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

My answer to all your questions is YES! Except, no nuts. I'd love to sneek a peek in your pantry almost as much as I'd like to sample the picture.

Alisa said...

Fat and Chewy, or that Bakery melt-in-your-mouth soft style. No nuts, no cakey, those are my only standards.

dandykins said...

Like most here, I like crispy edges, soft middles. And a fantastic vanilla dough, with character that adds something to the cookie, not just a vehicle for chocolate chips. I am actually finding I like darker chocolate chunks for chips - offsets the often sweet dough.

Cooks Illustrated just did an article about the Tollhouse cookie recipe. They found that whipping the wet ingredients with a whisk for about 30 seconds a time, letting the dough rest, and repeating three times lets the sugars dissolve better than the regular tollhouse cookies. The result - that deep, toffee-like flavor that separates the good from the fantastic.

I have probably put WAY too much thought into this, but I have always been disappointed in chocolate chip cookies - there are a lot of mediocre ones out there! They can be so much better!

(I am completely intrigued by this idea of a shot of bourbon, though!)

Xiaolu said...

I, like many others, love a thick CCC with a soft, chewy, gooey center with the slightest bit of crunch at the edges. I thought I'd found my perfect recipe a couple of years ago, but then it started producing very flat results. I'm not sure why. I also like Dreena's recipe but find the maple flavor a bit strong. Can't wait to try yours if you share it!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh baby, chocolate chip cookies are the best! I like mine soft in the center & chewy / firmer around the edges!

PurpleStick. said...

My chocolate chip cookies have to be soft and chewy. Nuts are optional, but I do think pecans make a nice addition. Mmm.. I think I have to go make some cookies now.
By the way, your cookies look phenomenal. Care to share? ;D

julie hasson said...

Thanks so much for sharing your cookie love and tips. It helps a lot as I'm working on this cookie recipe. It sounds like most of us are on the same page with chocolate chip cookies. There were some great suggestions, including the one about the bourbon. I used to add a splash of dark rum to recipes, and I'm not sure why I stopped ; )

dandykins, I too get bugged when cookie dough spreads out in the pan for no reason. I find that a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes do that. This new recipe hasn't spread on me yet.

Sam said...

I LOVE soft, chewy warm cookies straight from the oven. The best I've ever seen are here: Crunchy and Chewy Cookies

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