Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chaos & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wherein we learn the perils of baking under the influence, and that quiet cats are rarely being good cats.

We had just finished dinner (see previous post), and a leisurely couple of glasses of wine, and I said to Jack "I think it's too late to start baking cookies." But then he looked at me with those big teddy-bear eyes, and I gave in. Which is when the trouble started...

The Recipe: Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Found the recipe on Cooking Stuff, where Bob cooks the kind of stuff that makes you take his cookie recipe recommendations very seriously.

And sure enough, even though I did just about everything wrong (how can you do cookies wrong?! see below...) they came out delicious. That makes them the best chocolate chip cookies in the world as far as I'm concerned.

I'm no connoisseur though - you need an American for that job, and Jack pronounced them excellent, crisp at the edges, but soft and chewy in the middle. Then he started reminiscing about his mum's cookies, how she used to put walnuts in them, etc. So these may not be absolutely the best to his mind. But I'm definitely not getting into a bake-off with my 80-year-old mother-in-law, so am just deliriously happy that they were worthy to be compared with hers.

Oh, and a big shout-out to Kate, who gave us the baking equipment as a wedding present.


Bob has all these great step-by-step instructions, with pictures too - but these can only help you if you actually read them.

Somehow I managed to put the sugar in with the flour, instead of keeping it separate to mix with the melted butter. So in despair just threw everything in together and hoped it would work itself out.

Then noticed I should have let the butter cool first. Oops.

Then emptied the whole packet of chocolate chips into the mixture, and immediately wondered if 12 oz by weight is really the same as 1.5 cups by volume. (Still haven't got the hang of the American cup system.) Anyway, it did seem like an obscene amount of chocolate chips (though hey, what's wrong with that?)

But went ahead and stuck them in the oven. At which point a cry went up from the bathroom. While we'd been baking, this had been happening:

Peanut (supposedly the "good" cat) sitting in the wreckage like - as Jack put it - a drunk surrounded by his empty bottles:

Back in the kitchen, the cookies took a bit longer than the 10-14 mins in our oven, but they came out perfect. You definitely don't want to overcook them, though, as they will firm up over time (a few days later and some of ours could use being a wee bit softer). They do pack a big punch of sweetness with all those chips - we might use dark chocolate next time? Or perhaps (horror!) fewer chips?

A few tips for other newbies:
  • Didn't know how to tell when the cookies were done - this is what the internet is for - but once again, don't overcook
  • They also recommend cooling the cookie sheet between batches, otherwise the cookies will spread
  • Also, in a more sober moment, I'd researched silpat vs parchment - the conclusion seems to be that people prefer parchment for cookies (though this is probably a bit of a nicety if you're the kind of person who completely messes up the recipe...)


With everything that was going on, I only got shots of the final product:


Bob said...

Ha! My cat Bob's (who I got my nom de blog from)full name is Bob the Destroyer. When he was a youngun he hated paper towels. He would trash them whenever he saw them. Glad the cookies came out well, even with the excitement. :)

Oh and as far as silpat vs parchment, I think parchment is the best, myself. I use it for everything, it's the bomb.

Anonymous said...

just like mom used to make...well, almost. but hey, she's had about six-and-a-half decades of practice on you. once you start baking sweets, you'll need to splurge on veggie dinners to balance out all the sugar/chocolate!

ps: such a naughty kittie...and he's the "good" one??!

Yesica N. Cook said...

@Bob: Bob the Destroyer - that's great. Peanut is (sometimes) Peanut Nonuts (speaks for itself really). He did it again today, sigh...

@Anon: No point competing with the mums - that way madness lies... And yes, more healthfood for us! :)