Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Je me rends! I surrender!

So instead of constantly bombarding my friends with tales of culinary endeavours, I set this up so I can prattle as much as I want and simultaneously enjoy:
  • the ability to reach out to the entire world, and
  • no actual readers.
You see, that's my rationalization for adding to the already subway-at-5pm cramped world of food blogging: I don't actually expect anyone to read this. It's alright, I don't mind: my photography's not that great and my writing somewhat less than inspired.

...still here? Oh alright then.

These are my favourite cookies. I could probably count on one hand the times when I baked cookies that weren't from this recipe. They don't always come out perfect, sometimes the oven is being fussy or the vibe just isn't there, but they're usually great: chewy, slightly browned and lumpy with chocolate chips and tangy dried cranberries.

But here's my shameful confession: I don't actually own cookie sheets. (See upcoming "equipment I really actually need but refuse to buy so I don't need to keep moving it" post) So my cookie-baking is limited to when I go home, at which point I will bake a batch (or 2), leave a few, and freeze most of them to take with me wherever I'm going. I make them small, so they last longer, and I rarely share.

The recipe is adapted from I believe the 1987 version of the Canadian Living Cookbook and makes as many as 40ish cookies, depending on how big you make them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup Butter (at room temp)
½ cup Shortening (ditto)
1 cup Granulated sugar
½ cup Packed brown sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups All-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Salt
1 cup Dried sweetened cranberries *
2 cups Chocolate chips

* You could use raisins, or nuts I suppose, if you were going to be boring. Don't put in more than the 2 cups of chocolate chips though. Trust me, it doesn't work.

  • Cream together butter and shortening, then gradually add the brown and white sugars. Mix until fluffy. (the best way to do this is with an electric mixer, but I've done it by hand. The trick is to start with room temperature (but not melted!) butter and shortening)
  • Beat in the eggs and vanilla till you get a soupy but delicious smelling mess. At this point, you are hereby prohibited from sampling the raw cookie dough, or else you will get salmonella from the eggs and die.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) and then mix it into the wet stuff a little at a time. Say, in 2 or 3 batches. Put away the mixer, you're done with it.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries with a spoon for a mostly even distribution. At this point, it is recommended (but not essential) to put the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill. I've found that it effects the baking less than you'd think, especially with small cookies. Plus I'm lazy and impatient so I usually skip it.
  • Cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you've never used it than trust me, it's the best thing ever. So much easier than greasing the pans, and stuff never ever sticks. Plus it's reusable, and makes cleaning up super fast. Oh, and you preheated your oven to 375˚F right? Sure you did.
  • Your cookie formation method will probably involve some sort of combination of spoons and hands. I like to make a ball no more than an inch and a half diameter, and then flatten it slightly between my hands before putting it on the cookie sheet. Also, if I had refrigerated my dough, most of the benefit would be gone after all this handling. Just letting you know. Keep your cookies pretty well separated on the pan (It's not just about making sure they don't touch, they will brown better with lots of space between them).
  • Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. The cookies should be golden brown around the edges and slightly underbaked in the middle. If you poke it lightly in the middle and it completely deflates, though, you need to go in a little longer. After you take the cookies out of the oven, let them sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so to finish setting up, then move them to racks to cool.

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