Post 121 – Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember that ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream at Blue Dragon?

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Well it was heavenly. Divine. I was tempted to come home and make one myself. Nonetheless I don’t have a personal cookie sized cast iron pan (and I know I would eat way too much of a 10″ pan myself!) so I made regular chocolate chip cookies instead. Well, not entirely regular I’ll admit, but nothing crazy. As part of the continuation of my Cookbook Challenge I decided to try a new technique in making chocolate chip cookies. My godmother gifted me Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Dessert cookbook long ago and I have made some recipes out of there – such as these beautiful checkerboard cookies – though I still hadn’t ticked it off my list for my Cookbook Challenge.

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Now there are many drool-worthy cookie, cake, and dessert recipes in this book, but I was looking for an excuse to make chocolate chip cookies, check a cookbook off my list, and try something a little different. Now some people don’t care much about their chocolate chip cookies. They are happy to eat them if they are overbaked, lacking flavor, named Chips Ahoy, or with just a few measly chocolate chips per cookie. To them, a chocolate chip cookie is a cookie for goodness sake! I, on the other hand, am particular about my cookies. I like a soft, chewy cookie with no baking soda after taste and plenty of chocolate chips per cookie. Now I have heard many a good thing about the famous Jacques Torres recipe with cake flour, bread flour, two plus pounds of chocolate and multiple days of dough refrigeration, but sometimes you just want your fix NOW. Maida Heatter’s recipe meets my cookie criteria and is pretty easy to make. The one thing she does differently is she dissolves the baking soda in water before adding it to the dough. I think the dissolving step significantly helps reduce the baking soda taste you can sometimes get in cookies while still allowing the cookies to do their thing – that is rise a little.

IMG_0847So I won’t spend any more time waxing poetic about chocolate chip cookies because I know some of you just don’t care, BUT if you’re looking for a little experiment (I did one once though there is always room for another one especially if taste testing cookies is involved!) give this recipe a try. I’m not claiming that these are THE BEST cookies ever, but they are pretty darn good using ingredients you probably have around. My chocolate-chip-cookie-loving husband tried them and strongly approved and though we didn’t do a side by side comparison, he said they were very similar to his favorite – his mom’s recipe. You could even try baking it as one giant cookie and topping it with ice cream like Blue Dragon – Mmmm!

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Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts

In Heatter’s book she actually calls these the “Positively The Absolute Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.” She gives a brief history of Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts who first made these cookies on accident, thinking the chocolate chips would melt into the batter to create chocolate cookies. They have since become an all American favorite.

2 sticks unsalted butter – (Not specified but my recommendation: have out at room temperature)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs ( large or extra large) – my recommendation: at room temperature

2+1/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. hot water

2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer the 60% Ghiradelli ones)

Optional: 8 oz. chopped walnuts

In a large bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the salt, vanilla, and both sugars and beat well. Add the eggs and beat well. On low speed add half the flour and, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, beat only until incorporated. In a small cup stir together the baking soda and hot water to dissolve the soda and then mix it into the dough. Add the remaining flour and beat only to mix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (if desired). (Here Heatter notes that Mrs. Wakefield, the recipe’s creator, always refrigerated her dough overnight before rolling it, though Heatter skips this step. I decided to refrigerate my dough too as I hear it helps develop flavor and proper consistency. Either way proceed as indicated)

Scoop dough with a cookie scoop or spoon and roll into balls with your hands. Space apart on a foil-lined sheet (I tried foil though I think I still prefer parchment paper) and flatten slightly with your hand. Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. I made mine pretty big so they took a little longer. If you like your cookies chewy like me, be sure to watch them and take them out before they look completely done. Let cool as long as you can wait and then enjoy!

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