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October 31, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Anne Paddock
A few months ago, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies from a Neiman Marcus recipe that has been passed along on the internet for years.  The story of the recipe isn’t important as any person reading about its origination (a woman having lunch at Neiman Marcus ordering a chocolate chip cookie and getting a bill for $250 for the recipe) would question why the woman even had a credit card. And, who has ever seen a recipe for sale on a lunch menu? But, that’s not the point.  The issue is:  are the cookies good? I thought so because they contain ground oatmeal and I love oatmeal but that’s not what my family and friends think.

We had friends visiting when I made the Neiman Marcus cookies and my friend, Bill who has a frozen Pepperidge Farm chocolate chip cookie every night after dinner tasted one of my cookies and promptly said “Anne, these cookies suck.”  Yes, he really said that and no, my friends aren’t always gracious although we all laughed because he was right. My husband and daughter reluctantly confirmed the assessment and were secretly happy someone else told me the truth.  I went back to the drawing board determined to come up with a good chocolate chip cookie that was simple to make.

Finding the right chocolate chip cookie recipe is no easy feat because everyone has their preferences:  some like thick cookies (me), others crisp.  My husband prefers semi-sweet chocolate chips while I prefer dark chocolate chips and my daughter prefers both. Eight recipes later a recipe emerged that pleases almost everyone. My friend, Bill says the cookies are better but not quite crunchy enough. The recipe is a variation on “Nigella’s Chocolate Chip Cookies”:

10 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces of chocolate chips (I use Guittard semi-sweet chips from www.kingarthurflour.com)
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the salt, sugars and blend for 2 minutes on medium high speed with an electric mixer.
  • Blend in the vanilla and the eggs and blend for 2 minutes on high with an electric mixer (very important for thick cookies).
  • Mix the flour and baking soda and add to the liquid ingredients and blend for 1-2 minute on mediums speed.
  • Blend in the chips with a spatula.
  • Scoop tablespoon size balls of dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 325 for 13 minutes.
Helpful Hints:
  • Make sure to use light brown sugar, NOT dark brown sugar.
  • Make sure your oven is at 325 degrees as the cookies will overcook at 350 degrees.
  • Don’t overcook the cookies. The cookies will be light-colored and the faintest brown at the edges.

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