Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Any-Kind-of-Chip Cookies

When it comes to whipping up some no-fail cookies fast, I have a utility recipe that I always rely on. This was one of the first cookie recipes I attempted, in my early baking days, and probably the one I have used most often. it is also the only cookie recipe that I know by heart. I've used it for chocolate chip and mint chip, M&M and white-chocolate macadamia nut. I even mixed these up with candy corn for Halloween once. If you need a great, buttery cookie base to show off some of your favorite candy morsels, this is the best one out there. And now, my friends, I share it with you :)

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/4 cups flour
Splash of milk (optional)
12 ounces of chips/nuts/whatever

First off, as always, start by creaming the butter. Butter temperature is IMPERATIVE for this recipe. I like to leave the butter out on the counter overnight, to really get it to room temperature all the way through. if your butter is cold and you need it immediately. chop it up into tablespoons and nuke it, 10 seconds at a time, until you can easily press your thumb into it. DO NOT MELT the butter. cookies made with melted butter will spread out while cooking and become paper thin. cookies made with cold butter will not spread at all and be very dense.

Add in the 2 sugars, and cream together. scrape down the bowl, and add the vanilla and eggs. beat until well mixed.
Add in the dry ingredients, with-holding 1/4 cup of the flour. I've known people who will systematically omit salt from recipes. RESIST. The salt is so important, small as the quantity may be. Once the dough is mixed, check out the consistency of the dough. if it is already very thick and sticky, you may be able to omit the last 1/4 cup of flour. if it's still pretty smooth and creamy looking, definitely add it in. This last quarter cup can vary depending on how you did with the butter temp. If you end up with crumbly dough that just looks dry and unappetizing, throw in a splash of mil to moisten things up.

Then it's time for the chips. Put your mot creative ideas to the test. Last night I threw in half a bag of white chocolate and half a bag of chocolate chunks that had been sitting around in my cupboard-of-fun. The sky is the limit.

Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and inch or so apart. Parchment is particularly important if you're using sticky candy like toffee, candy corn etc.... trust me, I've destroyed many-a-cookie sheet in my day, and this was one of the messiest mistakes ;)

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Check the cookies at 8 minutes, they're done when the tops are slightly browning. The cookies will be very soft when you take them out of the oven, so give them a few minutes to set up before moving them from the cookie sheet. if you have some vanilla ice cream on hand, I would highly suggest putting a cookie in a bowl with a big scoop of it, and eating it with a spoon. Yummiest. Thing. Ever.
Happy Baking!

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