Ok, this may be a really bold statement, but…I’m about to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite dessert. If given the option between a really great chocolate chip cookie and just about any other dessert, the cookie will win. Not all chocolate chip cookies are the same, however. My #1 requirement to win my seal of approval: they must be extremely soft. Crunchy cookies? No thank you. I really prefer for the whole entire cookie, even the edges, to be soft. And then there’s the chocolate chip ratio. I like a 50/50 split between chocolate chips and batter. Too many chocolate chips and you may as well be eating a chocolate bar, too few and you might think you’re eating a blondie. Another requirement to add to the list? No chocolate chunks, just chips please. (That goes back to my “too much chocolate” issue.) I’m saying all of this to impress upon you the fact that I am very picky with my chocolate chip cookies, and this recipe is the real deal.
So, the recipe. Karen, a dear friend of mine at work, had borrowed a tupperware container from me. Several weeks later, I found it sitting on my desk, filled with a few chocolate chip cookies. A hand-written note said “thank you!” and explained she was taught never to return tupperware empty. I made a mental note of this because it was so thoughtful. She loved to bake, so I knew they were homemade. I tried one, and immediately flew over to my laptop to email her. I HAD TO GET THIS RECIPE. They were shockingly good! Insanely soft, but still chewy! Chocolate-y, but not too much! Hands down, they were the best homemade chocolate chip cookies I ever had. I emailed her right then, frantically trying to convey to her just how much I loved these cookies, hoping she would be willing to share the recipe with me. Sure enough, a few minutes later I had a response back with the recipe to these amazing cookies. I saved the recipe to make at a later date, and now, a year later, I finally got around to it.
Karen passed away unexpectedly earlier this spring. She was a very special lady and I will always remember her, especially every time I make these cookies (which will be often now that my hunt for “the” chocolate chip cookie recipe is over!). If you love chocolate chip cookies, you need to try this recipe. At first glance, it is a bit unconventional, but I believe that’s what makes the flavor so unique. Let’s look at what’s different about it. (Nerd alert: baking science ahead!) 1) It calls for only brown sugar. Most cookie recipes call for both white sugar and brown sugar. Brown sugar has molasses in it, which adds moisture to the dough. In cookies it also adds chewy-ness. You can thank the brown sugar for helping every bite of the cookies be chewy. 2) It calls for butter-flavored shortening, not butter. Weird, right? I was so skeptical about this. I always use butter in my baked goods, and to be honest, shortening kindof grosses me out a little bit, but I decided to follow the recipe and use it anyway. Turns out, using shortening instead of butter to make cookies is great because it is already at “room temperature”, so unlike butter, you do not have to plan ahead and leave it out for hours in order to be able to cream it with sugar. Likewise, because butter has a lower melting temperature, it makes cookies prone to spreading, resulting in really thin cookies. To avoid this, many recipes call for chilling the dough anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours before baking. Honestly? That’s too much planning for me. Using shortening solves both of those issues and helps make a perfectly soft batter. In her email, Karen gave me 2 awesome cookie-baking tricks: use an air-bake pan, and slightly under-bake the cookies. I took her advice and purchased two air-bake cookie sheets. For years, I always found my cookies to be slightly overcooked on the bottom and I thought I was doing something wrong. I couldn’t believe the difference using the air-bake pans! Problem solved. As for the 8 minute baking time, I was a little apprehensive to remove the cookies from the oven when they looked underdone, but they continued baking while I allowed them to rest on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes. By the time I moved them to the wire rack they were perfect. Under-baking the cookies helped ensure they stayed soft for days to come, so that is a key piece to making these cookies perfect!
Karen’s Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies — The Best!!
- 3/4 stick Butter Flavor Shortening Baking Stick
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk (I used skim)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1). Pre-heat the oven to 375F. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla with a hand-held mixer on medium speed until well-blended. Add the egg and blend again.
2). Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, using a spatula to fold the ingredients into the batter. Add the chocolate chips and mix.
3). Using a cookie-scoop, drop rounded tablespoons of the dough on air-bake pans, about 2-3 inches apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will appear under-done. Remove from oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 130 Fat: 8g Carbs: 16g Protein: 1 g Sugar: 10g Fiber: 1g Points+: 4
Recipe adapted from: http://www.crisco.com/Recipes/Details.aspx?recipeID=2102