Friday, September 17, 2010

My Go-Go and "the one"

One of the greatest memories of my "Go-Go" (decoded that means grandma) was her chocolate chip cookies. Big, soft, and yummy. Every time we went to visit her, she had a batch ready for us. Nothing compared to her chocolate chip cookies. Nothing. It was my grandma's signature. She was even buried with a bag of chocolate chips. I kid not.

My mom, bless her heart, just couldn't replicate her mom's chocolate chip cookies no matter how many times she tried (love you mom!). And tried she did. For years. I, as well, have tried recipe upon recipe to find "the one". The one that brings back the memories of Go-Go.

The recipe on back of the Tollhouse chocolate chips just didn't cut it (though that was my grandma's recipe...I think she added an extra ingredient and told no one). I've used this oatmeal recipe with tahini and it's pretty good. More "healthy" than regular chocolate chippers, but not exactly what I was looking for.

Two weeks ago whilst out sale-ing garages, I stumbled upon a lady selling Cook's Illustrated cookbooks (big, huge, hardcover books). I'm a sucker for cookbooks. They are my downfall and I fall hard. I ended buying 3 (a total purchase of $3..can't beat that!). I figured you just can't go wrong with Cook's Illustrated. Love them! I found a chocolate chip recipe and thought, "I should try that one...might just be the one" but then put it on the back burner of my brain. Some days later I was going to try these cookies, but clicked on the link for "thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies" instead and saw that it was the exact same recipe as Cook's Illustrated.

Coincidence? I think not.

So I gathered all ingredients, whipped them up, popped them into the oven, took them out and tried to distract myself while they cooled (WARNING: THERE IS NOTHING HEALTHY IN THESE, but as a treat? You better believe it!). Finally it was time to try one. I was rushed back to Go-Go's house. Sitting at her table with my cookie and milk in her kitchen with the half wall to my back that lead into the living room (I thought a half wall was really neat as well as her laundry shoot in the bathroom that I would throw toilet paper down (clean mind you) to see if it would land in the laundry pile in the basement). I opened my eyes to find myself standing in my kitchen with a pan full of cookies in front of me. These were as close as humanly possible I think I would ever get to my Go-Go's cookies. Not as thin as hers, but the taste? Nailed it on the head.

You need to make these. No, seriously. You NEED to make these. Right now. No, I mean RIGHT now. I've made two batches in the past week (it makes about 18 cookies depending how big you want them) and they didn't last a day and a half. Mixer not even required!! The trick is an extra egg yolk and breaking your dough ball in half and then putting it back together with the pulled-apart side facing up. Read the recipe. It may just take you back to your Go-Go's.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Source: Baking Illustrated, page 434)

Makes about 18 large cookies.

These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

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

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.


anne said...

Not only am I super hungry right now, this was a great story. :) Lovely writing skillz, babe.

Amy said...

Can not wait to try these! My grandma always had a cookie jar full of Little Debbie's and Oreos. :-) I love grandma stories!

Rebecca Keys said...

When you said I needed to make these cookies now, my first thought was I WOULD love to, but I don't have an oven!! lol anyway, just wanted to let you know I will keep this recipe handy and I may have to go invade my friend's kitchen. :) Hope all is going well. Miss and love you all! Love Becca

whitney blane said...

that looks delicious! Now i have to decide between this and an egg tahini salad recipe that i found for my lunch hard to chooose!!!