{Recipe Corner} Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody knows the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip recipe!  Its on the packaging, its in many recipe boxes and books, and is timeless.  So, you have the recipe, I do too, and I have been baking "my" chocolate cookies the way I do for the past years, and all I receive are compliments, and "what's your recipe or secret?"  There is no secret, and the recipe isn't mine.  But, I do a few things that are what make my cookies come out as great as they do.  I am posting the recipe and directions first, and below I will walk through what I do.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 
PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars. 
PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 
* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks. 
FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

So, that is the recipe and directions.  Pretty easy and familiar.  Most important item I use is to make sure the butter is unsalted butter.  I prefer Land O Lakes Unsalted Butter, or simply Fresh and Easy's unsalted butter. This makes a HUGE difference, because, butter is salty to begin with, and the recipe calls for salt, only 1 tsp, but if you use regular butter which has a lot of salt, adding more salt makes a salty batch of cookies-not a great surprise to the taste buds.

I also prefer to use C and H's Bakers Sugar.  It is ultra fine, professionals use it for their baking needs, and I am a fan.

Next, the thing I do is use a hand held mixer to beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.  I used to just beat the batter mixture with my own elbow and wrist power, with a wooden spoon or spatula, but the consistency of the creamy batter is far better using this little tool.  I use the lowest setting, to start, making sure the melted butter, sugar, and the brown sugar are all blended, and no brown sugar lumps, but a few might exist.

Once the eggs are then added to the batter, usually the brown sugar lumps will begin to dissolve, and then I hit the level 3 or 4 to really make sure there are no air bubbles, and I let this continue for about a minute, then wind it down to the lowest setting.

When it comes to adding the flour mixture, I add in a cup of flour, or so, at a time, keeping the speed on the lowest setting.  As the flour is thickening the batter, the higher the speed will not help, and can wear down the motor.  Keeping it on the lowest setting will keep it consistent.  Once all the flour is added, mixer is turned off,  and you have a really thick cookie dough, that is when I add in the chocolate morsels and nuts, and I fold them in with a spatula.  The mixer could chop the morsels and nuts, which again isn't good.

Then, I put the batter into the fridge.  Almost like letting bread dough rise, cookie dough needs to set to get that "perfect" cookie texture!  I know this from experience.  If I put cookies into the oven straight after I have made the dough, the first batch or two will come out with really large cookies that have spread into one another, and it seems a waste-yummy still, but if I'm making cookies to give as gifts or to sell, I'd rather all cookies be same shape, size, thickness.  After I let the dough sit in the fridge for about 20 mins, I will then use a small "melon ball" sized scoop to scoop out the cookie dough.  And, when I scoop, I scoop up the dough, and pull it against the bowl to get any excess off the edges, release the dough ball and place it on the cookie sheet.

Another tip, if you have a well used cookie sheet that has darkened from use, I actually use non-stick aluminum on top of the cookie sheet.  The oven light reflects off this, which will help with the golden light color of the cookie.  If you are using a well used cookie sheet, there isn't much light to reflect off the oven light and won't create an overall golden hued cookie, but rather a darker, almost burnt color.

One more piece of advice...the recipe calls for 9-11 minutes in the oven.  I tend to pull them out at 9, and if too pail put them back in for 1 more minute to get a little more golden, but to not darken.  The cookies will continue cooking when out of the oven, and the coloring will stay the same light golden coloring.

And there you have it!  That is the recipe I use, and my tips and tricks to get them looking like "almost" perfect, store bought cookies!  In my opinion, anyways, but many whom greet the cookies as well!