Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best Toll House Cookies

I write "Best" on all of my favorite recipes so I know which of the five cookie recipes I like... well... BEST. :)  The 1/4-cup cookies are on the left and my "regular-size" cookies are on the right.

Preheat: 375*
Group: Desserts

2/3 Cup Shortening
2/3 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
3 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Nuts, chopped (optional)
12 oz. Chocolate Chips

1. Cream shortening, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Lots of times, I'll skip the shortening and just use butter. If my pockets are running on empty, I'll use margarine for the whole thing. When the recipe says, "cream," in this case it means get that fat and sugar into the mixer and beat the holy heck out of it. As my mom would say, "You can't beat it enough!"

The other thing to consider, instead of using the microwave or letting the butter soften on the counter, you might consider putting the butter into a saucepan and melting it.  Remove the pan from the heat when the butter is all melted, and then (and make SURE the pan's off the heating element!!) add the two sugars.  There is something about the heat of the saucepan-melted butter that really makes the sugars dissolve that makes the cookies chewier and more... melded.  That's the word that comes to mind.  The cookies are truly a unit after baking.  After the mixture has cooled off (and it doesn't take all that long), THEN add it to the mixing bowl and beat the heck out of it.

Here is a super-model we hired to do our butter melting.

We added the sugars--our model was sure to stir carefully, so as not to splash and make a mess! 

 Meanwhile, our second (very goofy!) model was beating the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl.
 Ahhh, the butter and sugars have done their magic.  Time to beat!
Now we add the eggs and vanilla to the cooled butter/sugars mixture.

 2. Add baking soda, salt and flour. I like to sprinkle in the baking soda and salt. The flour? Make sure all of the flour is in the dough after adding each cup.  Here are the kids adding the pre-measured dry ingredients. 

As it is with baked goods, just following the recipe doesn't always work.  Our first attempt didn't have enough flour.  Behold:

I had made a double batch, so I ended up having to add an extra four cups.  If this is your first time making cookie dough, add 1/2 cup of flour at a time and mix it in well.  If you live in a humid climate (like, we live in Snellville, Georgia, which is outside of Atlanta, so YES, humid!), then you're probably going to have this issue.

Here is what the cookie dough SHOULD look like.  Notice that I pinched the dough.  If your dough mostly keeps its shape (instead of flowing down like the above picture), then you're probably okay to go.  If you add too much flour, your cookies will be awful, so too little is better than too much.

Ahhh, that's more like it.

3. Spoon onto cookie sheet. I make smaller cookies, Scott makes them the size of his fist. Sometimes we never even make it to this step. (Although I should warn you that raw eggs... salmonella... and toilets... all go together. Never say I recommended eating raw stuff that should be cooked. Even if it is delicious.)

Notice the spacing.  I am picky about my cookies and don't like them touching when they've baked.  If you don't have this weird glitch to your central nervous system, please, go ahead and put your cookies closer to one another.

For larger cookies, you can level off a 1/4-cup measuring cup.  Bake for about 11-13 minutes.

4. Bake at 375* for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT overbake! The cookies should have lost the sheen of rawness at the top and should be barely tanned. They're cookies, so they're good no matter what, but they might be a little crunchier if you don't take them out early.  Also, let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet (that, if you have it, has been placed on a cooling rack).  When they're mostly cool, they'll scoop right off of the cookie sheet and YUM, they're ready to eat.

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