Monday, September 13, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I used to make these really good chocolate chip cookies. I mean, they were really good. Every time I made a batch, somebody asked me for the recipe. At one point, I even had it memorized. But somewhere along the way, I stopped making them. Maybe it was because my new boyfriend Jonathan preferred this new recipe I had for banana cookies. Maybe it was because after Jonathan and I got married I was more interested in baking bread than cookies. In any case, these cookies went unmade for years. One day, I pulled out the recipe card and gave them a try, but they weren't really good anymore. They used to be chewy and soft. These were crunchy and brittle. I chalked it up to living at 5000 feet and turned my attention to muffins.

For some reason, in the last couple of weeks, I've been obsessed with making good chocolate chip cookies again. I tried two recipes in the last two weeks. The first batch looked great and the cookie dough was so good, it almost didn't make it to the oven at all. But they were of the hard variety. The second batch, the recipe for which I painstakingly copied from a TV cooking show, promised to be The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. They came out nice and big, but almost too big. They were very soft and chewy, to the point where they crumbled when you picked them up.

At lunch today, I fished the last crumbled pieces out of the cookie jar. There were only enough crumbs for two, so Hannah got a remnant of the hard and crunch batch. She didn't seem to mind.

As soon as Hannah went in for her nap, I dug out my old faithful recipe again. I thought it's time to give it another try. Since I was running out of butter by this point, I mixed up half a batch, which still turned out to be three dozen cookies...or would have been if I hadn't eaten a good deal of it straight out of the mixing bowl. (Obviously, I'm not one of the people worried about salmonella from eggs. I know it's not exactly safe, but you can save your lecture. I love cookie dough.)

Right out of the oven, the cookies were great: chewy in the middle, with just a hint of crunch around the edges. Golden brown. Small enough to feel like you could eat two or three. After they had cooled, still chewy and good. Maybe two or three more.

When did I ever doubt my wonderful recipe? Perhaps the problem really was the high altitude. In any case, I've got my chocolate chip cookie groove back!

In case Jonathan asks when he comes home, half a recipe makes TWO dozen cookies. Can't imagine where the rest of them have gone!

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