Our youngest daughter is ‘back home’ in California for a couple of weeks, reconnecting with the pals she left behind when she went to college last fall and we simultaneously moved across the country. I want to send some kind of thank you gift to the family she’s staying with. I’ve been scouring the Internet for something to send, and boy, the gift basket market is pretty lame. It’s your choice of lame cheese and crackers, lame candy, lame fruit, lame flowers, etc. Maybe I’m just resentful because all that lameness costs an arm and a leg. Plus shipping.
I’m going to go a simpler, more heartfelt route with homemade chocolate chip cookies; nobody can argue with that. And anyway, I was dying to use these new dark chocolate chips. I’ll just tell you right off the bat, they’re amazing. (I broke into the bag one night when there was absolutely nothing else around to snack on.) They’re way better than the semi-sweet. They have a creamier texture, richer flavor, and they’re just all around great. These are better than the Ghirardelli bittersweet chips, which up till now were my favorite. I’ll even go out on a limb and say these are the best chocolate chips on the market.
I found my recipe on Brown Eyed Baker, but it originally came from the cookbook Baker’s Illustrated. (I love how these recipes make the rounds)
Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; add the chocolate chips and set aside.
3. With a whisk, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.
4. Using a small ice cream scoop thingy, make balls of dough the size of large walnuts, space them well apart.
5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Don’t over bake; these cookies will look slightly underdone and puffy in the center. They will continue to cook a bit because you will cool them right on the cookie sheets.
These are great cookies. I like them better than the classic Tollhouse, which is what I have always made. They don’t spread out, they stay lumpy. They’re soft and chewy, not crispy— just the way I like them. This recipe has now risen to the top of my chocolate chip cookie file.