The weather has dipped in degrees as of late, and has put me in a "comfort food" phase. So when I was shopping at the grocery store last week and saw that Nestle morsels were on sale, I snatched up a couple packages of the semi-sweet, suddenly craving some chocolate chip cookies. These, to me, are classic comfort food when it comes to desserts.
Usually I pull out my copy of Baking Illustrated for such an occasion, but I thought this would be a grand opportunity to use one of my thrifted cookbooks and see how the recipe stacks up. I settled on the one in the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook from 1968, and it was definitely the right choice.
These cookies are not only moist, but the butter flavor and the bit of salt that's in the batter come through just enough, so when it mingles with the chocolate, you've got a rich sweet and salty experience happening with each bite.
The only changes I made were omitting the walnuts, using butter in place of shortening, and making the cookies twice as big (I ended up with 24 cookies instead of 50), which I did by dropping heaping teaspoonfuls (as in a teaspoon from my kitchen utensils instead of a measuring spoon) onto the cookie sheets.
Some key tips I've learned over the years come in handy with this recipe:
1) Make sure your butter is room temperature. This is a must.
2) Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper for quick clean-up.
3) Make sure your cookie sheet leaves at least an inch between itself and the oven walls on each side, otherwise the bottoms of the cookies will overcook and possibly burn.
3) When you're storing them, put them in an airtight container with a slice of bread. This keeps them soft and chewy because the cookies, since they're high in sugar content, are continually sucking moisture from the air; bread, on the other hand, is constantly releasing its moisture (which is why it comes in a plastic bag), so when these two combine, the cookies take the bread's moisture. Just put a new piece in when the first one gets dry, and you'll have soft cookies until they're all gone (which won't be long).
This recipe is definitely a keeper for me!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 50 small or 24 medium-size cookies
1 1/8 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening/butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate morsels
Sift flour, soda and salt together. Cream shortening and brown and granulated sugars together. Add egg and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients. Fold in nuts (if using) and chocolate. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) about 10 minutes (mine took about 12-14 since they're bigger).
*Once you take them out, let them sit on the sheet for a couple minutes before removing the cookies to a cooling rack. Once cooled, put them in an airtight container lined with wax paper and put a slice of bread on top before putting the lid on.