January 14, 2006

This Time For Sure

The chocolate chip cookie recipe is one of the great urban legends. The recipe itself has at various times been attributed to Mrs. Fields' cookie stores and to the Nieman Marcus department store. In reality, restaurants either won't reveal a recipe for love nor money or will gladly share it (altho, as did my mother, they will sometimes omit a subtle detail). Nieman Marcus prides themselves on customer service (they once ran an ad in the New Yorker describing how an out of town customer used their charge card to post bail after a post-college football game drunk and disorderly arrest) and have responded to the legend by making a recipe freely available.

Debbi Fields has been even more generous. In The Expert's Guide To 100 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do Well she supplies not only the recipe, but instructions on how to bake them well.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees - confirm temperature with an oven thermometer, even a cheap one is more accurate than the knob.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugars at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. You could do this with a hand mixer, dragging the blades on the side of the bowl, but a stand mixer and rubber scaper will be easier on your arms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix at medium speed only until just blended.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips and blend at low speed until fully combined. Do not overmix.

Press the cookie scoop (Mrs. Fields recommends the Hamilton Beach #40 from a cookware or recipe shop) into the dough and then against the side of the bowl so cookies are consistantly packed. Release the cookie onto an ungreased, light-colored rimless cookie sheet (so they bake evenly - the lip traps heat so those near it overcook), 12 per sheet. Place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven, one above the other, and bake 18 to 22 minutes, till the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch at the center. If your oven has a window and light (lah-de-da) use them to monitor progress so you don't need to open the oven door).Transfer immediately to a cool surface with a flat metal spatula. Serve to your friends, and tell them you used the genuine Mrs. Fields cookie recipe you found on the Internet.

Surplus scooped balls of cookie dough can be frozen on a cookie pan covered with plastic wrap and then stored in the freezer in a zi-ploc. If you bag them before freezing they will mush together and freeze into a mess.

Posted by triticale at January 14, 2006 11:13 AM | TrackBack
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