This morning when I woke up early to let the dogs out, there was a slight chill in the air. The sky was not quite light as I stood on the deck shivering in my tank top and shorts. The end of summer always reminds me of the wheel from the story Tuck Everlasting. The author, Natalie Babbitt, compares the first week of August to the top of a ferris wheel that is poised to drop, but is stagnant for that one magical week. She states that all the weeks after are a “drop to the chill of Autumn.” The fall is when things seem to get moving again.
Although the true beginning of a new calendar year is in January, I tend to unofficially mark my years by autumns. Maybe it is the former student in me, or perhaps it is the fact that this is the first time in a few years that I am not shopping for classroom supplies and preparing for a new school year, but I am feeling that end of summer/ beginning of fall restlessness. What better way to counter this feeling and take advantage of the cooler weather than to bake? (Especially since I know that these cool days can immediately revert back to 90 degrees and humid for summer’s last hurrah that will leave me sweating in my Ugg boots).
Let’s talk cookies, more specifically chocolate chip cookies- the ultimate dear to my heart comfort food. I think they are the first thing I ever learned to bake, carefully poring over the back of the Tollhouse Nestle Semi-sweet Chocolate Chip bag like I was some sort of chemist. Over the years, my mother and I have used that recipe – only to achieve inconsistent results. Maybe we both have unsteady hands when it comes to measuring our ingredients, or maybe the butter was too melty or the baking soda was old, but sometimes we’d get the fluffy delights of television commercials, and sometimes we’d get these sad flat crisps. I am sure that there was some type of rhyme or reason to it, but we never did figure out what the problem was. What my mom did figure out however, is her own adaption of the recipe with slightly different sugar and flour ratios. I also haphazardly throw in as many chocolate chips as my heart desires and cook them at a slightly lower temperature.
I know everyone has their own opinion about what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but this is ours. This recipe has yielded consistent results over the course of several years of being made by various members of my family. It is a fluffy, “cakey” cookie, with no crunch. If that is not how you like your cookie, thats fine, you do you, and we can still be friends.
This recipe also yields a smaller amount of cookies that is perfect for a small family (about 3 cups of dough). I usually whip up the dough at the beginning of the week, and we “put on” a few cookies at a time the way some people put on the kettle. This way, my husband and I have warm cookies for dessert all week. I wouldn’t keep the dough in the fridge for longer than five days. It also never lasts longer than that in our house!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 softened stick of butter
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Use your largest mixing bowl or just the bowl from your stand mixer. One of the easiest parts of this recipe is that it does not require you to separate your wet and dry ingredients into different bowls. Less cleanup is always welcome around here, because I do not have a dishwasher!
Beat together your butter and both types of sugar until fully combined, then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix that as well. Next, add your flour to the bowl and sprinkle your baking soda and salt over the flour. To me, this makes up for not mixing your dry ingredients separately. Beat the mixture until there are no lumps and then add your chocolate chips. You can add more or less, according to your taste.
Once the dough is assembled, I usually refrigerate the it for about half an hour, because I find that this makes the dough easier to work with and the cookies just a little bit more fluffy. However, I have also neglected to do this before, and the cookies turned out fine. It is hard to mess this recipe up! I use a cookie scoop to place my cookie dough on the pan, just because it makes the job easier and ensures that my cookies are about the same size. If you don’t have one, use a spoon and your hands to plop a small ball of dough onto your cookie sheet. Bake them for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they are golden brown.